Edna Lewis’s Oven Brisket – Leite’s Culinaria

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Our Edna Lewis’s oven brisket recipe is a classic. It’s an eminently affordable Sunday supper made with a bare minimum of ingredients—essentially just brisket, onions, and love.

An enamel baking dish holding a sliced oven brisket topped with onions with jus on the side.

Edna Lewis was well known and loved for many reasons. Her spare prose. Her soulful recipes. Her kitchen frugality. Her endless wisdom—and not just as it pertains to culinary matters. All these attributes come together in this oven brisket recipe that’s simply flavored with onions and pan drippings.

Ms. Lewis relied on brisket as opposed to other cuts of meat as it possesses “a bit more taste than some of the other more expensive, better-known cuts.” She suggests you use whatever size brisket is available “so long as you purchase half as many onions as beef.”


Why our testers loved this

The recipe testers had plenty of good things to say about this slow cooked tender baked brisket. They found it to be exceptionally easy to make and loved that it required a minimal number of inexpensive ingredients. Helen Doberstein described it as “an epic brisket worthy of the finest tables.”

Robin C. had this to say about the tender meat, “Edna Lewis’s oven brisket is perfection. It magically hits all the notes with the sparest of ingredients and seasoning, somehow achieving great depth of flavor.

Notes on ingredients

Ingredients for Edna Lewis' oven brisket -- brisket, onions, allspice, bay leaves, and oil.
  • Brisket–Look for flat-cut brisket, which has a uniform shape. This will cook more evenly than the fattier point cut.
  • Onions–The onions should be sliced into approximately 1/4-inch-thick slices.

How to make this recipe

A raw brisket on a rimmed sheet pan, and a piece of brisket being seared in a red skillet.
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Pat the brisket dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and slick it with oil. Add the brisket and sear on all sides until browned. Transfer to a Dutch oven.
Onions being sauteed in a red skillet, and onions piled on top of a brisket in a red Dutch oven.
  1. Heat oil or butter in the same skillet and add the onions. Cook until browned and tender.
  2. Pile the onions on top of the brisket in the Dutch oven and add the allspice berries and bay leaf. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 225°F and continue cooking until the brisket is tender.
Onions being pushed through a fine-mesh sieve and a partially sliced brisket on a cutting board with a knife beside it.
  1. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board to rest. Strain the onions through a sieve into the pan juices, pressing on them with a wooden spoon. Reduce the pan juices if desired.
  2. Slice the brisket and serve with pan juices.

Recipe FAQs

What temperature should brisket be cooked to?

To get tender brisket, it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 190°F to 200°F. Do not let the internal temperature exceed 210°F.

How can I tell if my oven brisket is done?

The brisket should be tender and easy to slice when it is done cooking. Plan on a total cooking time of about 1 hour per pound of meat.

Helpful tips

  • Leftover brisket can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches, can be stuffed into brisket tacos or can be used in these steak quesadillas.
  • To scale the beef brisket recipe, use 1/2 pound of onions for each pound of brisket. Plan to cook the meat for approximately 1 hour per pound.
  • Brisket will shrink as it cooks. Purchase enough meat for 1/2 pound of uncooked brisket per person.
  • For tender meat, always carve against the grain of the meat.
A sliced beef brisket in a baking dish with a gravy boat and basket of bread rolls on the side.

More great oven brisket recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Edna Lewis’s Oven Brisket

An enamel baking dish holding a sliced oven brisket topped with onions with jus on the side.

Our Edna Lewis’s oven brisket recipe is a classic. It’s an eminently affordable Sunday supper made with a bare minimum of ingredients—essentially just brisket, onions, and love.

Prep 15 mins

Cook 3 hrs

Total 3 hrs 15 mins

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

  • Pat the brisket dry and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, slick it with just a little oil, then add the brisket. Sear it well, turning until all sides are well-browned. Place the seared brisket in a heavy ovenproof pot or pan such as a Dutch oven.
  • Wipe the skillet clean and then add the butter or oil and onions and return to medium-highish heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pretty well browned, 7 to 10 minutes.

  • Sprinkle the brisket with pepper and then add the browned onions, allspice, and bay. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225°F (107°C) and let cook, undisturbed, for 2 1/2 hours.

  • Transfer the brisket to a cutting board to rest. Reserve the pan juices in the skillet.
  • Spoon off any visible fat from surface of the juices and discard the bay leaf. Spoon the onions into a sieve or strainer, place it over the pan juices, and press the onions through the sieve, discarding any solids. If desired, strain again and reduce over medium heat for a few minutes. Taste and season the pan juices with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Slice the brisket and serve with the pan juices.

  1. Leftovers and storage–Leftover brisket can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches, can be stuffed into brisket tacos or can be used in these steak quesadillas.
  2. Scaling–To scale the recipe, use 1/2 pound of onions for each pound of brisket. Plan to cook the meat for approximately 1 hour per pound.
  3. How much meat to buy–Brisket will shrink as it cooks. Purchase enough meat for 1/2 pound of uncooked brisket per person.
  4. Carving the brisket–For tender meat, always carve against the grain of the meat.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 414kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 11g (4%)Protein: 48g (96%)Fat: 19g (29%)Saturated Fat: 7g (44%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 146mg (49%)Sodium: 199mg (9%)Potassium: 916mg (26%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 71IU (1%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 40mg (4%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.



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