I know all about your brisket. I know you have very strong beliefs. Five hours in the oven, low-heat. Cooled, cut against the grain, chilled, and reheated the next day. The flavors coalescing. The meat growing tender. I get it. I’ve cooked it. I love it. And I’m here to tell you the good news: There’s an easier, and—dare I say it?—more delicious way to cook brisket. It takes less than an hour and absolutely no work. It’ll make your Rosh Hashanah that much more pleasant. And all you need is one magical device: The Instant Pot.
Have you heard about it? I myself might’ve raved about it here and there, as did anyone else from The New York Times to NPR. Don’t you dare call it a pressure cooker—though pressure cook it does, it is to the hissing and explosive stovetop pots of old what the iPhone was to its rotary predecessor, an improvement so dramatic that you wonder how we’d ever done it otherwise.
If you’re one of those fussy types for whom the subtle notes of smoke or the slightest variation in temperature are matters of deepest dogma, read no further. But if, like me, you’re looking at a roomful of carnivorous guests descending on you this Wednesday evening and expecting a fleshpot to help them welcome in 5778, consider the evidence. Pressure cooking tenderizes meat, which means your brisket is guaranteed to emerge, well, just absolutely right. With no oven churning for hours, your kitchen will not feel like Phoenix in July. And with the brisket requiring no more attention than tossing in a bunch of ingredients and pressing a button, you’ll be free to attend to other dishes, or to tipple liberally in advance of having to spend the evening with your relatives.
So first, get thee the gadgetry, and then peruse the bounty of recipes available online for good, easy, pressure-cooked brisket. And as the gizmo silently and capably braises your meat to perfection, think of the pressure cooker as metaphor: Here we are, our souls entering the compressed period of reflection and repentance known as Yamim Noraim, or the Days of Awe, and emerging, just a short time later, tender and ready for all that lies ahead. Amen to that, and bon appetite.