Tangy Tomato Brisket w/ Onion Strings

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Smoking Guru
Original poster
OTBS Member
Sep 25, 2007
March 18th, 2015
Tangy Tomato Brisket w/ Onion Strings

Sitting with my wife (Laura) on a lazy Sunday we were watching cooking shows, she had the remote, anyhow, Laura pops on Pioneer Woman and I said, I love her show, so we sat there and watched her make her "Tangy Tomato Brisket" and commented on her beautiful home, Ranch and polite kids, and sighed as we looked at each other and said, "that's nice", both pondering such a picturesque life style. I am pretty sure that Ree Drummond's family has their moments just like any of us, but I always say, "she seems so pleasant" for one she is always smiling, but could that just be a nervous smile in front of the camera? I don't think so because her personality comes through on her blog.

I love my family and everyday I get to spend with them, but let's be honest, there are times I need my space and time AWAY, from all the mayhem.

Cooking is where I find my sanity or should I say, "what's left of my sanity", maybe it's the same for Ree?

This is Ree Drummond's recipe below from her blog "The Pioneer Woman" titled "Passover Brisket".
A couple notes on this recipe, on the food network airing and website, it is titled, "Tangy Tomato Brisket".

If you make this recipe strictly following the TV Show, she does not mention Marinating overnight or flipping the brisket when saucing or flipping halfway through the cook, However, the directions on the food network website does say to flip when saucing but has no mention of marinating overnight or flipping during the cook.

I think that the marinating overnight is important in this recipe.
**The "step by step" on Ree's website shows her flipping halfway through the cook but the recipe does not.


So with Ree's recipe in mind, I was off to find a fair priced brisket, first stop was at Sams Club and Sams wanted $6.99 a pound for brisket, REALLY!! $6,99, C'mon give me a break, I can get prime rib for cheaper, anyhow I ended up at Restaurant Depot and picked up a 12.5 pound brisket for $3.87 a pound, I was all proud of myself and mentioned it at dinner and my daughter's boyfriend blurts out, "$2.99 a pound at Giant",  yep! my thunder was gone quicker than the blink of an eye... Oh well!

With that said, lets get started,

Original (Pioneer Woman Blog) recipe

Passover Brisket

  • 1 whole Beef Brisket, Trimmed Of All Fat (5 To 8 Pounds)
  • 1 bottle (24 Ounce) Ketchup Or Chili Sauce (make Sure It's Kosher)
  • 1 package Onion Soup Mix (make Sure It's Kosher)
[h4]  [/h4][h4]Preparation Instructions[/h4]
  • Place trimmed brisket into a large baking pan.
  • Mix ketchup with onion soup mix. Add 1 cup of water or more to make it slightly thin.
  • Pour sauce over the meat, cover pan with foil, and marinate 12 to 24 hours in the fridge.
  • Place covered pan into a 275-degree oven and walk away for 6 to 8 hours, **FLIPPING ONCE HALFWAY THROUGH COOK, depending on how large the brisket is. Check tenderness when brisket has been cooking several hours: stick in two forks and pull in opposite directions. Meat should come apart easily.
  • When meat is done, remove from oven and place on a cutting board. Slice against the grain; don't be disturbed if meat totally falls apart! That means it's good.
  • Either return the sliced meat to the sauce until serving, or place meat on a platter and spoon sauce over the top.

I usually like to try a recipe "as is" before tweaking so I have a building foundation and also as a courtesy to the individual posting the recipe, however, after reading all the reviews on this recipe, I decided to tweak it right off the bat.

My tweak of Ree Drummond's (Pioneer Woman) recipe;

  • 12-pound beef brisket, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 48-ounce bottle ketchup
  • 2 package dry onion soup mix
  • 2 cans of Campbell's French onion soup
  • one crushed dried cayenne (Omitted this time)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 Coke
  • 1 Can of Guinness
I wanted more liquid as this is my first try with this recipe and felt there wasn't enough liquid for a 7-8 hour cook in the original recipe, this is my buffer.

  • Combine the ketchup, yellow mustard, Worcestershire, Coke, Guinness, soup mix and one can of "Campbell's French Onion Soup" (one can is reserved to add more liquid if needed) in a bowl, mix thoroughly. Optional: make beforehand and Place in the refrigerator.
  • Place the brisket in an oven-safe pan, deep enough so the brisket is below the top of the pan.
  • Pour the sauce over top of the brisket coating the brisket, and then flip the brisket over to coat the other side.
  • Then cover the meat tightly with aluminum foil. Stick the pan into the fridge for at least 12 hours—24 hours is better.
Next Day
  • Preheat PIT to 275°F.
  • place uncovered in the pit two - three hours, (longer if more smoke flavor is desired), flipping once , I just like a kiss of smoke.
  • Preheat oven to 275°F
  • Carefully remove the pan from the pit and cover the pan with heavy duty foil and seal tightly, roast in the oven for 6 to 7 hours longer checking towards the end, a good rule of thumb is one hour per pound up to 8 pounds, add more liquid if needed.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and test the brisket to make sure it's fork-tender. The brisket should fall apart. Slice the brisket into thin, about 1/4" -3/8" strips, then return the beef to the sauce and keep it warm until you're ready to serve.


To all my smoking Brethren, you may want to skip the next few pictures as you may find them unbearable to look at.
This reminds me of the time when I was 12 years old and trying to help in the kitchen, I was making breakfast and trimmed all the fat off of the bacon before cooking, I was all proud of myself, however, Dad was not happy!

  • I decided not to separate the point from the flat but trimmed in between a bit. (This proved to be a wise choice.)





I didn't realize that there was just the right amount of ketchup in the container or I would just have dumped everything in the container and shook it up making life much easier.
  • Everything is mixed then poured back into the ketchup container and shaken like crazy. This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

  • Mix is poured over the brisket and the brisket is flipped to coat real well, hell that's a lot of pickled fish sauce!

  • The Brisket was marinated for 36 hours, why 36 hours? I didn't feel like getting up early Friday to trim the brisket and throw in the marinade, so I prepped every thing Thursday night.
  • Friday night I got everything ready for the pit, Wood, Flashlight, Lighter, so I wouldn't be fumbling around in the dark and loosing precious time.
  • Saturday morning, the alarm goes off at 5:00am, as I lay there asking myself is this worth it? I pushed myself out of bed,  and headed out to the pit and fired up the propane log lighters.
  • The brisket is scraped with a spatula on both sides and placed on the 300°F pit, the lid is closed at 5:30 am and will not be opened until 8:30 am. The temperature is maintained between 250°F and 275°F during these three hours.


  • Steamer pan is placed on the firebox and covered.

  • Last nights snow!


  • After three hours on the pit, the brisket is transferred back to the pan.


  • The brisket is flipped twice then covered in two layers of HD Foil.

  • Into the oven @ 275°F. Now we got some time to kill!

  • This cook was planned around my daughters Student acceptance day at Widener University.




Were having about 12 dinner guests arriving by 5:00 pm, we left Widener University a little after 2:00pm. We got stuck in traffic on 1-95 so we got off and made our way through the back streets, we still had to food shop for some odds and ends, finish cleaning the house, make the cornbread, shoe string onions and slice the brisket. I think we were home by 3:00 pm.
  • As soon as I got home, I sliced the onions and placed in buttermilk for a one hour soak. I used the #2 setting on my Borner mandolin V-Slicer

  • Took out the Brisket started slicing, separated the Point from the Flat and scraped off the excess fat. The sauce is mixed real well and the brisket is placed back into the pan, point on one side and the flat on the other side. There was a wee bit of a smoke ring.





My back and legs were killing me so I soaked in a steaming hot tub, after I loosened up a bit I put my fat clothes on and headed down stairs. My parents had just arrived, mom had made a spiced cake.

Time was running out, so I finished frying the onions, Laura setup the buffet line, the cornbread just finished, I popped in the brisket to make sure it was warmed up for dinner.

For the onions I followed Ree's Recipe but instead of seasoning the flour, I made a 50/50 mix of flour and Zatarains Fish Fry.

I used the number 2 setting on my Borner Mandolin V-Slicer


  • The rest of the dinner guests were trickling in around 5'ish as I was doing the onions. We were ready to go a little before 6pm.

Everything turned out great. I don't have a picture but I took a bite of the sandwich pictured above (first picture) and it was pretty good, I then decided to put Laura's home made cole slaw on top ...Let me tell you something... the coleslaw with the onions and brisket were out of this world. This is the first time I made brisket that knocked my socks off. There was a hint of smoke flavor but not much, the beef was incredibly tender, not mushy and the sauce was top notch. The coleslaw really worked well with the Tangy Sauce. The next day Laura couldn't get enough of the cole slaw topped brisket.

What did everyone else think?
  • Sister; "I really liked the sauce, I don't care much for barbecue sauce but this was really good".
  • Brother in Law and Sister; "This reminds me of Sweet Lucy's Brisket, only better", BIL says, "I agree".
  • Brother; "This is awesome and I really like the sauce".
  • Sister in Law; "Excellent Brisket".
  • Mom; "This is really good and extremely tender". (Moms not a beef person)
  • Laura: The beef is awesome and the cole slaw on top really goes well with the tangy sauce".
  • Dad -----------(Crickets)--------------- (This means he like it because the man thinks pudding is chewy.)
Would I make this again? "Yes", but since I like to play, my next brisket will be a "Sweet and Spicy Orange Beef Brisket".


Something to ponder;

"Am I a bad person for not having one picture of my family at the dinner party but have a zillions shots of the food"?


Fire Starter
Oct 28, 2014
Looks Great!!!

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Jan 6, 2011
Man, Looks Great    
  wish I had some   And Congrats to your Daughter

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