I used to be a brisket purist and saute a couple of pounds of onions and brown the meat while making a big mess of my kitchen. Now, here’s what I do and the result is just as good as the messy and laborious method:
-line a 9X13 pyrex dish with tin foil. Use enough foil so that it can be tented above the dish. A 6 inch tent will do. Place the brisket on the bottom of the pan, on top of the foil.
-shmear a generous amount of ketchup all over the brisket
-add 2 cut up onions and 2 cloves of garlic (or more of each–you really can’t add too much onion or garlic) on top of the brisket
-add water to the bottom of the dish so that it covers about 1/2 way up the depth of the brisket. You can add some left over coffee for extra flavor. I have heard of some people adding coca cola to their brisket.
-tent the foil above–you are essentially steam baking the brisket
-bake in 350 oven for 2-3 hours. Check every hour to be sure there is enough liquid. The liquid will be your gravy so you need enough.
-When done, remove from the oven and cool. Cut in thin slices against the grain and put into a clean baking dish (one that you can serve from would be nice) along with all of the juices. Refridgerate or freeze. The day you are going to serve it, bake for another couple of hours at 350. Be sure to taste the sauce to see if you need salt, pepper or other spices that you like.