My family has always cooked our Passover brisket in the oven, low and slow. It’s delicious, but takes over three hours to make! This year, I wanted to see if I could speed up the process using a pressure cooker.
And you know what? You can.
Using a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, you can make tender, deeply flavorful brisket with a thick, rich gravy in about half the time! (New to the Instant Pot? Check out our post How To Use an Instant Pot: A First-Timer’s Guide.)
If you’re making this brisket recipe for Passover, be sure to buy a kosher brisket, along with “kosher for Passover” brands of red wine and ketchup.
If you are celebrating according to very strict kosher laws, you may also want to make sure your spices are designated “kosher for Passover.” Online stores like Rockland Kosher Supermarket are great resources for ingredients if you’re unable to track them down in your area.
The gravy gets lots of flavor from the seared meat, so whatever you do, don’t skip on that step! Give the brisket a good six minutes on each side so that it becomes deeply and thoroughly browned.
After the brisket is seared, quickly sauté the onions and garlic until they give up their liquid and the onions begin to brown. While they cook, scrape up any browned bits leftover from searing the brisket – these make the broth extra flavorful!
Oh, and one more great bonus of pressure cooking: You can make the gravy right in the pot! Use an immersion blender to whiz the onions and garlic into the cooking liquid, making a thick, rich gravy.
This also means zero stuck-on mess to clean up at the end of cooking. How much better does it get?
Instant Pot Beef Brisket Recipe
Oven-cooking Instructions: Using a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid placed over medium-high heat, follow the instructions for searing the brisket, cooking the onions, and mixing in the other ingredients as described in the pressure cooker recipe. Make sure the fat cap is facing up when you add the brisket back to the pan. Cover the pot and transfer to a 325F oven to cook for 3 hours, until the brisket is tender.
Make-ahead Instructions: Cook the brisket as indicated, allow it to cool, and refrigerate on its own. Refrigerate the strained onions and garlic separately. Transfer the cooking liquid to a storage container and refrigerate separately. The next day, scrape the solidified fat from the top of the liquid and discard. Warm the cooking liquid, onions, and garlic in the pressure cooker or in a medium saucepan. With an immersion blender or in a blender, blend the cooking liquid, onions and garlic into a thick gravy. Warm the brisket in the gravy before serving.
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds beef brisket (certified kosher, if needed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon paprika
1 Prepare the brisket: Rinse the brisket and pat it dry with paper towels. If your brisket has more than 1/4-inch layer of fat, trim off the excess. Season it on both sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the ground pepper.
2 Sear the brisket: Select the “Sauté” program on your pressure cooker, adjust it to its highest heat setting, and add the oil to the pot. (If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium high heat.)
Use a pair of tongs to lower the brisket into the pot with the side with the most fat facing down, and let it sear for 6 minutes. Turn it over and sear it for 6 more minutes. Both sides should be a rich, dark brown color.
Transfer the seared brisket to a plate.
3 Cook the onions and garlic: Adjust your pressure cooker to its medium "Sauté" setting. (If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, lower the heat to medium.) There should be plenty of fat left in the pan after searing the brisket; if not, add another teaspoon or two of olive oil to cook the onions.
Add the onions, garlic, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir the onions to help release all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
4 Stir the water, wine, ketchup, and spices into the onions and garlic.
5 Cook the brisket: Use a pair of tongs to lower the seared brisket back into the pressure cooker, with the side with the most fat facing up. Place the lid on your pressure cooker. Make sure that the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position.
Select the “Manual” program, then set the time to 50 minutes at high pressure. (For stovetop pressure cookers, cook for 45 minutes at high pressure.)
It will take about 10 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about 60 minutes.
6 Release the pressure: You can either perform a quick pressure release by moving the vent from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or you can let the pot depressurize naturally (this takes about 20 minutes). (For stovetop pressure cookers, perform a quick pressure release.)
7 Separate the brisket, onions, and cooking liquid: Use tongs to transfer the brisket to a plate or carving board. Strain the cooking liquid into a fat separator, collecting the cooked onions and garlic in the strainer.
8 Make the gravy: Return the drained onions and garlic to the pressure cooker pot. Pour the cooking liquid from the fat separator back into the pot, discarding the fat that is left behind. (If you don't have a fat separator, wait for the fat to rise to the top of the liquid, then skim off as much as you can.)
With an immersion blender, blend the cooking liquid, onions and garlic into a thick gravy. (Alternatively, transfer the liquid, onions, and garlic to a blender to puree. Don't fill the blender more than halfway, and be careful of the steam when opening the blender pitcher.
9 To serve: Slice the brisket against the grain into thin (1/4-inch) slices. Pour the gravy over the brisket and serve hot.
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