Braised Beef Brisket with Onions


All Phases | Serves 12 to 16 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Total time: 4 hours


  • 1 brisket (about 3 to 4 pounds)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 medium onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • Sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place a large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid (or other heavy pot) over medium-high heat.
  3. Sprinkle the brisket with 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and then brown it on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the brisket to a platter (or a baking dish — something big with sides that will catch the juices) and set it aside.
  5. Add the onions to the pot.
  6. Cook and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot until the onions are soft and browned about 15 minutes.
  7. Tuck in the bay leaves.
  8. Place the brisket and any accumulated juices on top of the onions.
  9. Sprinkle the brisket with the paprika, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and another 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and add the garlic.
  10. Cover the pot tightly (on enameled cast-iron pots, sometimes the lid isn’t really tight; you may need to cover with foil and then the lid).
  11. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.
  12. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and use a very sharp knife to slice the meat across the grain, about 1/8-inch thick.
  13. Return the slices to the pot in their original shape, overlapping at an angle (it should look like the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward).
  14. Check the seasonings.
  15. Spoon some of the juices over the meat. (If your pot is tightly covered, there will be plenty of liquid. If things have dried out, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of water to the pot.)
  16. Cover the pot tightly, lower the heat to 325 degrees, and bake until the brisket is fork-tender, about 2 hours.
  17. Baste once or twice during cooking.
  18. You can serve this immediately, but it’s even better the next day.