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Sweet and Sour Brisket for the High Holidays

Today’s savory and delicious Jewish tradition of Holiday Brisket is steeped in the history of Eastern Europe, when overlooked cuts of meat, often considered too “tough” to enjoy, were the only cuts that were affordable to many Jewish people. The secret to cooking brisket is allowing enough time for the fat cap on the brisket to render to tender, and allowing time for the tougher fibers in the meat to cook to a flakiness that melts in your mouth. At Rosh Hashanah, brisket is added to root vegetables with sweet, dried fruits, and slow-cooked into tzimmes (a traditional, sweet, Ashkenazi stew). This recipe is based on Ashkenazi Sweet & Sour Brisket:



  • 5-7 lb Brisket, 1st or 2nd cut (don’t trim fat)
  • ¼ cup EVOO divided
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lb carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lb celery, peeled and sliced
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes, whole, diced or crushed
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar (apple cider, white wine or red wine)
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Pat brisket dry and rub all sides with salt and pepper
  3. In a cast iron or large skillet, brown the brisket on all sides in a little oil
  4. Pour tomato, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, and 1 ½ cups broth into blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove brisket from the pan and allow to rest. Saute onions, celery and carrot in the same pan in a little oil. Once cooked down, remove the vegetables. Add the remaining ½ cup of stock to the pan and turn on the heat to a simmer to gently scrape up any bits clinging to the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Pour half of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a roasting pan. Place brisket in next, fat cap facing up. Pour the vegetables over and around the brisket. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over and around all.
  7. Cover the brisket with a layer of parchment paper, and then a layer of foil to seal it all in.
  8. Roast in the oven for 5 – 7 hours (about 1 hour per 1 lb of meat)


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