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And the winner is...

Mazel tov to Patricia Weiss, whose 3-Day Brisket (aka "And I'm Not Even Jewish!") took first prize at our annual Brisket Cook-off! Here's the recipe, along with a note from the newly crowned brisketeer.

Some people say you can determine what old country Shtetl (a tiny village) you descend from by the ingredients in your brisket recipe. The onion soup Shtetl? The wine Shtetl? Or, the chili sauce Shtetl? My Shtetl was a small neighborhood pocket on Chicago's South Side known as Bridgeport/Brighton Park, home to the best Italian cooks from Northern and Southern Italy.

Of course, there was no chili sauce in old Russia, but it's the sweet and sour play of vinegar and sugar that makes this sauce special. And the best part? The schmutz (translated loosely from Yiddish as dirt), but in reality, all the good veggies and caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan. 

It's a simple recipe but ideally a three-day process of marinate, roast and re-heat. In a pinch, you can marinate in the  morning and roast in the late afternoon, but there's no hurrying perfection.


2 bottles of Bennet's chili sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt (Note: Patricia uses two packets of Lipton dry onion soup mix rather than salt)
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 6 lb. first cut brisket
2 yellow onions, sliced
5 carrots, peeled and cut in coins
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 1/2 cups V-8 juice

Note: Ask your butcher to "score" the top side and bottom side of the brisket thus marking the angle to cut against the grain; the scoring also allows the marinade to reach deep into the roast.


Day 1

In a 4-cup measuring cup, combine chili sauce and vinegar. Mix in salt (or onion soup mix), brown sugar and garlic. Place meat in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Pour marinade over the brisket. Top brisket with onions, carrots and celery. Pour V-8 juice over meat, cover top of casserole with silver foil and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Preheat overn to 325F. Place covered casserole in the oven and roast for 3 hours, basting every half hour with the marinade. Remove foil and cook for an additional hour, basting every twenty minutes so the veggies don't dry out. 

Remove brisket from oven, cool and refrigerate.

Day 3

Remove brisket from refrigerator and skim off congealed fat. Slice meat thinly against the grain, and return to casserole and pan juices**. Cover and reheat in 325F oven.

**If you desire more "pan juices" - once the brisket is cut and ready to be reheated, pour 2 cups of beef stock over the brisket before reheating.


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