Growing up Jewish in New York City, brisket regularly appeared in my life. But often it ended up dry, crumbly, and overcooked. It wasn’t until I tasted this recipe while traveling in Rome on a restaurant research trip that I realized the cut’s full potential. Aside from barbecue—brisket’s true calling—this is the single best brisket recipe I’ve ever tasted.
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
- Season the brisket with 1 tablespoon of salt. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan (big enough to comfortably fit the brisket) and sear the brisket until well browned on both sides, about 7 minutes on each side.
- Remove the brisket to a large Dutch oven and set aside.
- Lower the flame to medium on the large sauté pan, then add the pancetta and stir frequently until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of salt and continue cooking until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until brick red and pungent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the full bottle of red wine, the bay leaves, cloves, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Season with additional salt to taste. Pour everything over the meat, cover with foil, and place in oven. Braise until a butter knife slides in with little resistance, about 3 hours. Serve.
- Notes: Skim and discard the fat and season to taste with additional salt along the way. Ideally allow the meat to cool in the braising liquid before slicing and reheating with the sauce.
Daniel Holzman started his culinary career at the age of 15 working for Le Bernardin. He attended the Culinary Institute of America with a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation then embarked on a 15 year culinary journey through some of the country’s finest kitchens including Palladin, Napa, The Campton Place, Aqua, Jardiniere and SPQR where his food received 3½ stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2010 Daniel returned home to team up with his childhood best friend to open The Meatball Shop on New York City’s Lower East Side. Daniel’s culinary experience includes work with consumer packaged goods having launched multiple nationally distributed brands. Daniel is an avid traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. He is the author of the bestselling Meatball Shop Cookbook, founder of Project Foodie, an online free culinary school and has appeared in countless broadcast segments, local and national publications, as a judge, competitor and the focus of reality television programming and authors a bi-weekly column for TASTE.