My friend, Wendy, has graciously shared her grandmother Bertha’s recipe for slow-cooked brisket, and it is delicious.
As Wendy shared her memories, it was clear that her grandmother’s slow-cooked brisket was more than a recipe. It was a cherished family heirloom, passed down with love and care. Bertha’s culinary prowess created the perfect blend of flavors and traditions, tying Wendy’s family together across generations. Now, armed with Bertha’s recipe, Wendy carries the torch, ensuring her grandmother’s culinary legacy lives on. And what follows is Wendy’s recollection of her grandmother, Bertha—and Bertha’s recipe.
“She was the tiniest little person. I don’t know how she lifted anything from the oven. She never met my husband, Bob, but she would have adored him if for no other reason than he would be someone she could really feed! Her favorite thing was to feed people. You had to beg her to stop. She cared very much about her appearance, keeping a tube of lipstick in a kitchen drawer just in case someone came unexpectedly. She had a very wonderful sense of humor.“
Wendy told me that Bertha served this during Rosh Hashanah and other times of the year. Since Rosh Hashanah is Friday, I thought sharing the recipe was a good time.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, holds rich traditions and symbolism, and food plays a crucial role in this festive occasion. Brisket, a classic dish often served during Rosh Hashanah, carries significant meaning and importance. The slow-cooked beef represents the passage of time and the need for patience and reflection in the new year. Just as the brisket is tenderized through time and care, Rosh Hashanah encourages individuals to reflect on their past actions, demonstrate forgiveness, and seek personal growth for the year ahead. Moreover, brisket brings families and friends together to share a meaningful meal, fostering a sense of community and celebration. Its savory flavors and hearty nature embody the warmth and abundance of blessings that are desired for the coming year. With its symbolic meaning and delicious taste, brisket exemplifies the essential role of food in commemorating Rosh Hashanah and setting the tone for a sweet and fulfilling year ahead.
TIME TO PUT ON YOUR APRON!
4 lbs of center-cut brisket
1 cup of water and ketchup
1/2 cup of white vinegar
2 sliced red onions
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
I use a Dutch oven and heat the brisket over a medium/high heat. Cook until browned on all sides. Stir in the other ingredients (I combined them first). Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium/low. Continue simmering for about 4 hours.
Remove the brisket and let cool for about 15 minutes. Slice the meat AGAINST THE GRAIN (very important!). Place the slices back into the Dutch oven to float in the liquid. Simmer on a very low heat for about 1 more hour, at least.
You can make this a day ahead; cover it and refrigerate, removing the fat before you reheat and serve.
This can also be made in the oven at 325 degrees, using a roasting pan with high sides.
If you want, you can add potatoes cut into chunks, carrots, and celery for the last 2 hours or so.