Don't be afraid of the garlic. This may well be the best brisket you've ever tasted. Roasted whole garlic cloves have a delicious mild nutty taste with just a hint of garlic flavor. This brisket is moist and tender.
Trim fat cap to within 1/4 inch and trim other side free from fat. Season brisket liberally on both sides with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
2Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy, deep-sided, oven-proof skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom. Sear both sides of brisket, beginning with fat-side down, until golden brown. Remove to a platter.
3Add garlic cloves and sweet onions to the remaining oil in the pan. Cook and stir until garlic just begins to turn golden and sweet onions are limp.
Add red wine or balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, stirring for 1 minute while scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
4Bring back to a simmer, then turn off heat. Move garlic and onions to the side and return brisket to the Dutch oven or skillet. Spoon garlic and onions over the top of the brisket, cover tightly, and place in the oven.
5Bake for 1 hour at 325 F. Reduce heat to 200 and bake an additional 3 to 3-1/2 hours, or until brisket is fork-tender.
Remove brisket to a platter and cover to keep warm. Let rest for 10 minutes.
6Remove half of the garlic cloves and most of onions to a bowl. Skim off excess oil from the pan gravy and discard.
Blend pan gravy and remaining garlic with hand held blender until smooth. You can add a flour or cornstarch slurry to thicken gravy if you wish.
Return reserved whole garlic cloves and onions to the gravy.
7Slice brisket diagonally across the grain and serve with pan gravy over rice or noodles. The whole garlic is delicious spread on crusty bread.
8*NOTES: Peeling such a large amount of garlic can be time-consuming. You can cut preparation time by using a garlic peeler tube. If you don't mind paying for convenience, most grocery stores sell pre-peeled garlic in sealed containers in the produce section.
Add water to any remaining garlic cloves in jar and store in refrigerator. If you don't cover the garlic with water it will mildew very quickly.