Recipe: Second Cut Brisket with Plums, Wine and Thyme, Allergen-Free [Sponsored]

Photo credit - Zach Nelson

About ten years ago, I decided it was time I started hosting holiday dinners (versus going to a cousin’s house, which was a schlep away, to a party peopled mainly with extended relatives of that cousin’s in laws i.e. “who are these people?”).  For about five of those Rosh Hashanahs, I've been using various friends' and family members' passed down recipes that used ketchup and dried onion soup (very traditional). I fiddled, made my own ketchup, subbed this and that and the briskets were…okay but not great. 

But five years ago, all of that changed when Melissa Clark posted this recipe in the New York Times: Braised Brisket With Plums, Star Anise and Port. It was about cooking a second cut (deckle) of brisket in a port wine, plum, star anise sauce.  I read through the recipe and decided to make adjustments, mostly the ones she suggested: instead of star anise, orange and cinnamon, instead of port red wine (no sugar though), and first cut brisket easily purchased at my local Fairway Market.

The result was brisket magic. My aunt dubbed me the new brisket queen, officially passing the mantel of brisket cooking during the holidays to me. And I have made it for the last five years. It has become THE BRISKET everyone waits all year for (same with the sweet noodle kugel, recipe here).

How could I possibly top that? 

I made the recipe with the second cut, the deckleFairway Market Harlem, where the butcher can hand-cut orders, has plenty of deckles. I called a day before, ordered five pounds, the butcher cut it just for me and set it aside.  The next day, I picked up this gorgeous five-pounder of a second cut brisket and prepared to make magic.

And magical it was. It was several moments of reverence while we all ate, and savored every bite.  My taste testers, all dudes and no one with a dietary restriction, could not get over how luscious, well-flavored and totally tender this brisket is. Two testers came to Rosh last year and said this one blew that brisket away. From everyone else, the actual quote was: "F**k yeah!"

I didn’t think I could improve upon THE BRISKET recipe, but the deckle? It's a stunner. Consider brisket perfection unlocked and achieved!

*I bought all of my ingredients at Fairway Market in Manhattan. And Fairway Market graciously sponsored the making of this gorgeous brisket. Here are my policies regarding my sponsored posts.*

Recipe Notes:
First cut brisket is what is usually sold in stores. However, many stores like Fairway Market also carry second cuts. Call ahead to make sure they have the cut and size you want; 4-5 pounds is what you need.

This recipe is a three day process, mostly hands off. Plan accordingly. It’s worth every minute.

Cut your plums and onions and gather your aromatics into a cheesecloth pouch during the time your meat marinates i.e. the day before cooking. This will save you oodles of stress during cooking day and since that stuff will be done, really it’s only about 30 minutes of browning meat then onions before the whole thing goes into oven for hands-off 5 hours of cook time.

You’ll need a large Dutch oven with oven-safe handles. 

I’ve used Italian plums, red plums, black plums, plumcots, pluots: all work. Go for what’s in season at your local market or at your local Fairway Market.

I can be OAS to ripe, raw stone fruits but after 6 hours of cooking, this dish is totally OAS-free!

I use a red wine called Remole Toscana. It’s less than $10 a bottle, it's delicious to drink and to cook with. I’ll buy a half case when I find it, as it’s my standard cooking wine for braised meats (*It was not purchased at Fairway.) 

Onions – I’ve used yellow and red, didn’t taste a difference.

EVOO – My brand is Lucini.  

Thyme – I buy the bunch sold in the herb section of Fairway that it’s a sealed plastic clamshell and split that into half.

Salt – I have low-salt eaters in my family, so I just use generous pinches of Kosher salt during marinating. No more salt is added during cooking. You can always add salt when you are dining, but if you over-salt, you can’t take away

If you have leftovers, steam them. I steam mine in a double boiler

Photo credit - Zach Nelson


Recipe: Second Cut Brisket with Plums, Wine and Thyme, Allergen-Free
Lightly adapted from Melissa Clark's New York Times Braised Brisket With Plums, Star Anise and Port

1 brisket - 5 pounds, second cut
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2  bottle red wine
1 stick cinnamon
Zest from 1 large orange
2 whole bay leaves
2 pounds ripe but firm plums, pitted and quartered
Thyme leaves, for garnish (optional).


Pat the meat dry. Season all over with salt. Lay half the garlic and thyme sprigs in the bottom of a large container and then lay the brisket inside. Cover with remaining garlic and the other half the thyme sprigs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, wipe off all of the garlic and thyme and let the meat come up to room temp before cooking, around 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a very large Dutch Oven or Le Creuset over high heat. Add olive oil. Place brisket in pot and cook, without moving it, until browned. It'll take about seven minutes per side. Transfer to a plate once browned.

Add onions to the pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown around the edges and very tender about 15. Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in the cheesecloth pouch with bay leaves, cinnamon, orange zest and remaining thyme. Scatter half the plums over the bottom of the pot and nestle brisket on top. Scatter remaining plums over meat. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook, turning every 30 minutes, until meat is completely fork tender, about 5 hours.

Let brisket cool completely in the pot, then refrigerate, covered, overnight. 

When you’re an hour away from serving, take out the meat and slice it while still cold (so much easier!). Skim the fat off the top of the sauce, there will a lot of fat, and trim the fat off the meat itself. Transfer the sliced meat back into the pot. Reheat in a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes before serving.

Serve with steamed or sauteed greens (I served mine with sauteed string beans and shallots, see below), a side salad, evoo mashed potatoes or steamed rice/grain and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Photo credit - Zach Nelson


Thank you Fairway Market for sponsoring* this delicious allergen-friendly recipe!

Join me on Instagram @allergicgirlnyc and on my Allergic Girl Facebook feed to see what I'm cooking right now and to cook allergen-friendly yumminess with me!


Popular Posts