The first brisket I ever cooked was for a conservative Jewish family who employed me for the better part of a year as their personal chef. The recipe they had me use was hand written by the mother’s mother and did not contain any measurements for the ingredients, placing the responsibility of guessing entirely upon me. This was a recipe the family was familiar enough with and called for apricot preserves, Lipton soup mix, ketchup, and white onions. A quick search on the internet brought to light that this recipe was by no means a family secret and could be found on any number of websites.

The brisket I created utilizes the same inspiration as this “old world” recipe by deconstructing ketchup and uses the spices found in the condiment as a dry rub, removing the tomato flavor all together, and utilizing the Apricot preserves to both flavor the subsequent pan sauce and create a glaze in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Don’t run fair readers; this may only sound difficult, but this is a company worthy meal that I guarantee anyone can make following my easy recipe.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 3 1/2 lb first cut brisket, fat cap attached
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and sliced thin
  • 12oz Apricot preserves
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Spice Rub Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp ancho chili powder (substitute cayenne for a kick)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Colmans dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

1. Place the brisket on the counter for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rub ingredients together in bowl.

2. Place the brisket on a plate and rub the spice mixture onto the meat. Ensure the entire surface is covered. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Allow to stand for an additional 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Heat a roasting pan on top of the stove over medium high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with peanut oil (vegetable oil can substitute). When the oil is hot, place the brisket on the pan and sear the meat (about 1 minute). Flip the meat over and repeat. Remove the meat from the pan and turn off the heat.

4. Place the parsnips and onions into the pan. The residual heat will cook the vegetables a little. This is fine and to be expected.

5. Push the vegetables together to form a bed a little bigger than the brisket. Set the meat on top of the vegetables. Cover the top of the brisket with 1/2c of the apricot preserves. Brush to cover the meat. Cover the pan completely with aluminum foil and set in the oven for 4 hours.

6. 10 minutes before the brisket is done, place the remaining apricot preserves and the apple cider vinegar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk together until the preserves have melted.

7. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the aluminum foil. Set the oven to broil and allow to come up to temperature. Spread 1/3 of the apricot mixture on the brisket with a brush. Place back in the oven until the glaze begins to bubble. Repeat with the remaining mixture until their is a thick glaze on top of the brisket. Set the brisket aside to rest for 10 minutes.

I highly recommend you make a sauce to accompany the brisket. If you do not wish to make a pan sauce, kindly skip ahead to step 9.

8. Set a stock pot in the sink with a hand strainer on top. Pour the roasting pan juices and vegetables through the strainer. The stock pot should have only liquid in it now. The vegetables can be served alongside the brisket or thrown away. Set these juices over medium high heat and thicken with gravy flour (seen to the right) to your desired thickness.

9. Cut the brisket against the grain and serve warm. Brisket is also better the next day, so don’t be afraid to set some aside for lunch.


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