Passover Brisket

A Passover or three ago, during full COVID lockdown, about 15 members of my extended family got together on a Zoom call with varying levels of internet connectivity and shouted over one another for 45 minutes, mangling the Haggadah beyond recognition. My wife and I ate Chengdu Gourmet in sweatpants because the email said we should be eating something on the call.

This year, like most years, we will have the opportunity to make an awesome brisket for Passover. Note about smoking brisket: I have a huge commercial smoker for my business, but the home cook does not need one, and I stand by this.

Passover Brisket Recipe


USDA prime brisket, 1/4 pound per guest post smoke
Charcoal and flavored wood chips
Empty tin can
Haskel’s Magic Spicy Sauce*


  1. Get rid of any silverskin or weird little connective tissue flaps on the bottom of your brisket with a sharp, thin knife. Lots of YouTube tutorials on this.
  2. Turn the fat cap up, and knock on the fat like you’re trying to crack a safe. If the fat feels really hard, take some off. Don’t go nuts, you really want full-fat coverage for maximum moisture. Salt and pepper both sides liberally.
  3. Make a loose half-moon of coals on one far wall of your kettle grill, four inches or so deep, with the grate removed.
  4. Take your opened-up tin can and stick it in the middle of your half-moon pile. Fill it up a third of the way or so with coals and one or two of those firestarters that look like a tiny hay bale, and get those coals rippin’ hot, but not the whole pile. You want the grill uncovered now.
  5. When those coals are blazing, remove the tin can, and using your grill tongs, spread the hot coals thinly onto the unlit coals. Now take a few handfuls of smoking wood (whatever smells best to you) and throw them on the coals evenly. Don’t soak the wood.
  6. Slap your brisket on the grate fat cap up as far away from the coals as possible. We want indirect heat to cook our brisket at a temperature of 225-ish degrees for one hour per pound of meat. More air equals more heat, so play with your top and bottom air vents until the thermometer on your Weber gets to 225.
  7. Go do all the other stuff for Passover, or take a nap because your sister is cooking everything else this year.
  8. A half-hour before your brisket hits the magic internal temp of 165 degrees (squishy and tender but not shredding like pot roast), brush the spicy sauce on both sides of the meat. Let brisket rest a half hour before slicing into it. When you take it off to rest, drizzle a whole bunch of sauce on. Pour the rest of the spicy sauce onto the brisket post slice, and eat until you need another nap.

Haskel’s Magic Spicy Sauce Recipe*


3 cups pineapple juice, just juice, not chunks
6 tbsp Double Seahorse Sambal (or whatever, but double seahorse is the best)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp MSG (available at almost any Asian grocer)
6 tbsp red miso
6 tbsp blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, or agave


  1. Whisk everything together, reduce in a pan until miso has dissolved and everything is nice and sticky. It should coat the back of a spoon without dribbling off.

Recipe by Jonathan Haskel Barr

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