What makes a classic brisket is a rich braising liquid made from salty broths, soup mixes, ketchup, and canned tomato sauce. But it is easy to make this fork-tender dish without the high-sodium ingredients. Simply mix strong spices, apricot jam, no-salt-added tomato purée, and a kick of horseradish together for a powerhouse marinade that infuses the meat with the traditional flavors and keeps it moist throughout the hours of roasting.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Take out the beef brisket from your fridge and let the meat come to room temperature. Also make sure that it will fit into your chosen ovenproof Crock-Pot and if it doesn’t, go ahead and cut it in half.
As the meat warms up, mix together all the spices in a small bowl (curry to cinnamon). Score the fat on the top of the brisket, making large "X" marks with a knife. And then give the meat a deep massage with the spice blend.
Place a Crock-Pot on the stove with 1-2 tablespoons of oil and bring it to a sizzle over medium-high heat. When hot, throw in the brisket, fat side down, and let it brown for 5 minutes. Then turn to the other side and brown again, adding more oil if necessary. Take out the meat, let it rest on a plate, and repeat if you have two cuts of meat.
Lower heat a little and add the onions and garlic to the pot, scraping all the brown, fatty bits into the mixture. This is flavor. Let the onions and garlic soften and caramelize, another 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix together the tomato purée, the apricot jam, and the horseradish. Add the onions and garlic to the bowl and mix again.
Place the meat into the Crock-Pot, fat side down again, and jiggle the meat around until it is laying flat on the bottom of the pan in a single layer (not stacked on top of one another).
Dump the sauce over the meat and make sure the brisket is completely covered. Add water if needed (or more tomato purée) and throw the whole pot, lid on, into the oven. Set your timer for an hour and a half. Then carefully flip the meat and let it cook for another hour and a half for a total of 3 hours of cooking.
Finally, it’s time to eat. With at least 15 minutes or so before you plan on serving this juicy dish, remove the brisket from the oven and transfer all the meat to a cutting board. Cover it with foil and let it rest.
Now you have a few choices for presentation. You can ladle the juices directly from the pot and use that to coat each cut with some extra sauce. Or you can use an immersion blender and give the remaining juices a quick purée. Then, place the pot back on the stove and let the sauce reduce and thicken until it transforms into a smooth gravy.
Either way, slice that brisket into ¼-inch to ½-inch pieces, cutting against the grain of the meat. Serve over smashed potatoes, noodles, polenta, or couscous — anything that can soak up all that good sauce. Serve with the gravy, sprinkle with parsley, and enjoy.