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grandma louise’s brisket

It is your lucky day, dear readers. I am sharing one of the few cherished family recipes I have and use regularly. This brisket is a beloved staple in my dad’s family. Sharing the gwumpki recipe prompted me to share a tradition from the other side of the family too. My cousin Shonter and I love this meal so much that we practically beg my grandma to make it when we’re together. I have to warn you that although you and I can make brisket, it will never be my grandma’s brisket. I’m not sure what she does that is so special; I have watched her make it zillions of times and jotted notes along the way, but it will never be as good as hers. Ah well, I suppose there’s something poetic about that.


serves: 6 hungry people, or 4 with leftovers

prep time: 15 minutes, plus 1-2 days marination

cook time: 4 1/2 hours

1 4 lb. beef brisket, untrimmed

1 large onion, chopped4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in half

6 carrots, peeled and cut in half

Fresh chopped herbs


1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup steak sauce (I use Heinz 57)

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

3 Tbs. left-over coffee, or 1 tsp. instant coffee granules

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. sugar

Criss-cross two large sheets of foil. Line in shallow baking dish. Lay meat, onions, and garlic on foil and cover with liquid marinade. Marinate in refrigerator at least overnight, preferably two days.

Preheat oven to 300 degF. Cook brisket for 3.5 hours. While brisket is cooking, steam potatoes and carrots until fork-tender but not falling apart. Place meat on cutting board and catch juices. After 1 hour of cooling, cut against the grain on a slant about 1/8 inch thick. Place meat back in liquid, add potatoes and carrots, (add water if more liquid is needed) and reseal in foil tightly. Cook 1 additional hour at 300 degF. Top finished brisket with herbs; I like basil and flat-leaf parsley.