braising a brisket

brisket with mashed potatoes and spinach

On Sunday we did something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time – stayed home all day! We ventured out only to bring in the paper and fetch a bay leaf from the tree in the back yard. The morning was snowy and the rest of the day gray and uninteresting, so it was a perfect way to spend the day. We had gotten a brisket out of the freezer a couple days before. J got it prepped and simmering before breakfast, so its aroma filled the house all day long. We had it for dinner with mashed potatoes and some spinach sauteed with garlic.

We’d never done a brisket before, so we just picked a recipe that looked interesting from the book Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis. It uses ketchup, which sounded odd but somehow intriguing. The final product is very tender, and the flavor sort of reminiscent of barbecue, but also sort of like meatloaf. I might make this one again sometime, but I don’t think it’ll be my go-to brisket.

Braised Brisket

adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis

  • 1 small brisket (ours was only 3 lbs or so)
  • 7 oz ketchup
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire
  • 1/2 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp New Mexico chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 good grinding of black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup water


Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix everything together except the brisket and the bay leaf. Place the meat in a 9×13″ roasting pan and pour the sauce over it. Put the bay leaf on top, cover securely with foil and bake for 2 hours. Take it out and chill for several hours.

sliced brisket

A couple hours before dinner, take the brisket out of the fridge, remove any fat sitting on top of the sauce, and slice the meat. Nestle the slices down into the sauce, put the foil back on and bake another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles, and a glass of zinfandel for those who aren’t on annoying medications.

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