Leftover Brisket Ragu

Last we spoke, we made an eight-pound brisket.

Here’s the thing about making an eight-pound brisket. If you make it? You’re going to have leftovers. And then you have to ask yourself: “What should I do with those leftovers?” That’s why I’m offering you this follow-up post, a quick recipe for leftover brisket ragu.

After you serve your brisket, put whatever’s leftover in a Tupperware with the juices that you strained:


Refrigerate it overnight or for the next few nights, it’ll be ok.

When you’re ready to make your Leftover Brisket Ragu, use your fingers or a knife to shred the meat or to cut it into cubes (but it’s better to shred it):


In a saute pan, cook a diced onion in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper:


When it gets translucent and starts to turn a little brown, make a little hot spot and add a squeeze of tomato paste (assuming you’re getting your tomato paste from a tube. If you’re getting it from a can, add a spoonful). Spread it around in the oil and cook it until it caramelizes and then incorporate it with the onions:


Now add all the leftover liquid from the brisket (you should have 1 to 2 cups of liquid). You don’t want the liquid to be cold when you add it, so if you haven’t left it out for an hour, you can heat it up in a separate pan before adding it to the onions. Either way, bring it to a rapid simmer and then add all your meat:


Stir it all around and taste: does it taste wonderful? It should! You can adjust with salt, pepper, and, if you like heat, some red pepper flakes.

Lower to a simmer and cook until it comes together into something that resembles a ragu:


Watch the ragu carefully. If it gets too thick, thin it out with some pasta cooking water (see next step.)

Now cook a pound of pasta–I recommend penne or ziti–until just al dente in rapidly boiling salted water and then, using a spider, lift it into the leftover brisket ragu. Stir in lots of chopped parsley and serve in bowls with Parmesan cheese on the side.


Wasn’t that a nice way to use leftover brisket?

I bet it’d work equally well with any other leftover braised meat: in particular, short ribs.

So braise some meat this holiday season and then treat yourself to leftover meat ragu. Santa will put you on the “Good” list for being so frugal.

Let's dish!

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