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How to Braise a Beef Brisket for a Pot Roast

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.

brisket and potatoes

brisket and potatoes

How to Braise a Brisket Pot Roast

We tend to think of a traditional pot roast as a labor-intensive dish—one reserved for grandmothers who slaved away all day in the kitchen. Of course, the results are worth it—tender, succulent beef that is fork-tender and loaded with flavor, alongside fluffy, richly flavored potatoes.

But there's a big problem with this notion. Mainly because it's just wrong. A great pot roast takes almost no effort, only a few ingredients, and not much else except a little time and know-how.

This recipe uses a large counter-top roaster, but you can get the exact same results with a large slow cooker or crockpot—even a large Dutch oven. So grab whatever large pot you have, a few ingredients, and get ready for glory. I'll even show you how to make the au jus! Now, pass the potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large beef brisket*, about 6-7 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, Russet or Yukon Gold, quartered
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine

*You can use any size roast you wish. The one I show in this article and the video was about 7-8 pounds, and I've done smaller ones that were about 4-5 pounds. The recipe doesn't change, so use whatever works for you.

Instructions

  1. Remove brisket from packaging and pat dry. Trim any excess fat. Excess fat simply means anything crazy - but you want to leave the fat cap intact while the brisket cooks. If you trim it too closely the finished pot roast will be dry and tough. This is comfort food, so it's fine.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the brisket with kosher salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Be generous - you're seasoning the entire dish, and if you skimp on seasoning here, it won't be fully flavored as it should be.
  3. Place the brisket into the roaster. You can use a slow cooker or a Dutch oven, anything that is large enough to hold the brisket. Place the brisket with the fat cap up, so that the fat renders out and through the meat, helping keep it rich, tender and juicy. Nobody likes pot roast that masquerades as beef jerky.
  4. Throw in the onion, celery, and parsley. Don't add the potatoes at this point, otherwise, they'll turn to mush by the time the brisket has cooked.
  5. Set your slow cooker to low, or a roaster or Dutch oven to 250F. Let the brisket cook for 6 hours. Leave it alone, no matter how tempting it is to lift the lid to peek, don't. It reduces the heat too much and adds cooking time. It also lets too much moisture escape. I promise the roast will be much happier if you let it sit and do its work in peace.
  6. After 6 hours, toss in the potatoes. You can also add carrots, parsnips or any other sturdy root vegetable you like. I kept this recipe simple and just added potatoes, but you can take advantage of the cooking time to include whatever you'd like.
  7. After an additional hour and a half, you are almost ready to go. Lift the roast out of the cooker and place it on a cutting board to rest. Drain off the juices that were released during cooking. Skim off fat, or use a fat separator to drain off the fat. Transfer the juices to a small saucepan, and bring up to a simmer.
  8. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of red wine, and simmer the jus for about five minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  9. You have a couple of choices for the roast. You can shred the roast by 'pulling' it - working with forks to pull with the grain of the meat to create shreds. Or more traditionally, slice the roast across the grain. I showed both in the pictures below.
  10. Serve the roast with the potatoes, and drizzle with the jus. That's it! All done and you look like a rockstar!
You can use this recipe for a beef brisket that is anywhere from 4 to 10 pounds - I've done the full range.

You can use this recipe for a beef brisket that is anywhere from 4 to 10 pounds - I've done the full range.

One side of the brisket will have a thick layer of fat - called the fat cap. Season this side as well, and cook the brisket with this side up.

One side of the brisket will have a thick layer of fat - called the fat cap. Season this side as well, and cook the brisket with this side up.

You'll need to season both sides of the brisket heavily with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

You'll need to season both sides of the brisket heavily with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder.

It doesn't matter - they all work. I used this giant roaster, which was rather overkill, but I like it. This one is large enough for a full turkey, although this brisket was only about 7-8 lbs, but slow cookers and Dutch ovens work perfectly well too

It doesn't matter - they all work. I used this giant roaster, which was rather overkill, but I like it. This one is large enough for a full turkey, although this brisket was only about 7-8 lbs, but slow cookers and Dutch ovens work perfectly well too

Turn the heat to 250F.  Slow, low cooking is the key to incredible pot roast.

Turn the heat to 250F. Slow, low cooking is the key to incredible pot roast.

Onions are the perfect pairing for pot roast, turning sweet and flavoring the roast and the au jus both.

Onions are the perfect pairing for pot roast, turning sweet and flavoring the roast and the au jus both.

Add a couple of stalks of celery chopped. The flavor of celery, like onions, mellows and sweetens as the roast cooks.

Add a couple of stalks of celery chopped. The flavor of celery, like onions, mellows and sweetens as the roast cooks.

Add the parsley. You can also use fresh thyme, which I adore, I just didn't have any when I made this roast. Both, or either, have a gorgeous pop of flavor against the richness of the roast.

Add the parsley. You can also use fresh thyme, which I adore, I just didn't have any when I made this roast. Both, or either, have a gorgeous pop of flavor against the richness of the roast.

The roast is almost done, time to add the potatoes. See how many juices have come out of the roast at this point? That's perfect - and why you don't add any liquid at the beginning. There's no need! The brisket produces it's own.

The roast is almost done, time to add the potatoes. See how many juices have come out of the roast at this point? That's perfect - and why you don't add any liquid at the beginning. There's no need! The brisket produces it's own.

Toss in the potatoes, and any other root vegetables you want to use. Carrots, parsnips and turnips are all good. Stir them around to coat them with the juices of the brisket pot roast, put the top back on and give it another hour and a half.

Toss in the potatoes, and any other root vegetables you want to use. Carrots, parsnips and turnips are all good. Stir them around to coat them with the juices of the brisket pot roast, put the top back on and give it another hour and a half.

Place the roast on a cutting board and just let it rest while you finish the au jus. Don't cut it yet!

Place the roast on a cutting board and just let it rest while you finish the au jus. Don't cut it yet!

Making jus is simple. Skim off the fat, then bring it to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add a little red wine or a shot of lemon juice or vinegar and it's good to go. The acid is a perfect counter for the richness here.

Making jus is simple. Skim off the fat, then bring it to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add a little red wine or a shot of lemon juice or vinegar and it's good to go. The acid is a perfect counter for the richness here.

Slice the brisket pot roast against the grain of the beef. This is the traditional way to serve it for most folks.

Slice the brisket pot roast against the grain of the beef. This is the traditional way to serve it for most folks.

The pot roast is ready to serve. Serve the slices alongside the potatoes and drizzle with the au jus. All done!

The pot roast is ready to serve. Serve the slices alongside the potatoes and drizzle with the au jus. All done!

Ideas for Leftover Beef Brisket Pot Roast

There are all kinds of things you can do with the leftovers. I make big roasts on purpose so I don't have to cook later in the week when things get busy!

  • MakebBeef and barley stew with diced beef roast and the leftover au jus.
  • Use the shredded beef in a salad with romaine and sliced red onion.
  • Make tacos with sour cream, tomatoes, and fresh, minced green onion.
  • Use romaine or fresh cabbage leaves for lettuce wraps - just toss leftover shredded beef with hoisin sauce, serve with rice and you're good to go!

© 2017 Jan Charles

Comments

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on September 13, 2017:

Hi Jan, I love beef brisket and your photos are making my mouth water. I never made it but order it when we are at a steak place. I don't actually see beef brisket in our grocery stores. Do they have another name to them? What cut of meat are they? I would love to make this for my family.

Blessings to you.