Braised Brisket in Apricot and Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

A beef roast worthy of a holiday centerpiece, this flavorful and moist brisket point is simmered in a barbecue-inspired sauce that's given a seasonal touch by way of apricots and cranberries.

Why this recipe works:

  • The brisket point has more fat than the flat, which gives it a meatier flavor and added moisture.
  • Searing the brisket further enhances the beefiness of the dish.
  • A barbecue-influenced tomato-based sauce gets an appropriate fruity holiday touch with the addition of dried apricots and cranberries, plus apricot preserves and cranberry sauce.
  • Chilling the brisket after cooking makes for easier slicing and a more tender and flavorful end result.

Note: The brisket can be sliced and served after finished cooking in step 3, but for best results, cool and reheat.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 13 hrs
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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For the Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

For the Brisket:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 whole point-cut (also sold as "second cut") brisket, about 3 to 4 pounds total, fat cap trimmed to 1/8-inch

  • 1 1/2 cups finely sliced shallots (2 to 3 large shallots)

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped dried apricots

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. For the Rub: Mix salt, pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, hot paprika, and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Coat brisket liberally with rub and let sit for at least 40 minutes and up to a day, refrigerated.

  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Place brisket in Dutch oven and cook until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer brisket to a large plate and lower heat to medium.

  3. Add shallots, garlic, and tomato paste to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add beef broth and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add tomato sauce, apricot preserves, cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dark brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil. Nestle brisket in sauce, pouring in any accumulated juices from the plate. Cover Dutch oven and transfer to oven. Cook until brisket can be pierced with a fork with little to no resistance, about 3 hours.

  4. Transfer brisket to a large container and add sauce. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight and up to three days (see note).

  5. To Serve: Preheat oven to 325°F. Spoon off any congealed fat from sauce. Remove brisket from sauce and cut into 1/4-inch slices against the grain. Place slices in a casserole dish and cover with sauce. Cover dish with foil and place in oven until brisket is warmed through, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

Special equipment

Dutch oven

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
831 Calories
50g Fat
52g Carbs
45g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 831
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 64%
Saturated Fat 18g 92%
Cholesterol 156mg 52%
Sodium 1283mg 56%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 39g
Protein 45g
Vitamin C 10mg 49%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 6mg 35%
Potassium 984mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)