For Southern Jews, brisket has multiple personalities. There’s the traditional Jewish brisket that Bubbie has always made for holidays and Shabbat dinner, and then there is the traditional Southern barbecue brisket that has deep roots in many Southern states.
They may be made from the same cut of meat, and they may both be tasty, but they really are world’s apart.
Last year, I hosted a “Holiday Traditions” potluck. I asked everyone to bring a traditional food from their holiday table. Our friends brought lots of delicious treats from their Christmas tables, including delicious dressing (don’t call it stuffing), creamy scalloped potatoes, pumpkin bread, Korean dumplings and more.
We made Bubbie’s brisket and matzo ball soup, and friends brought kasha with bow tie pasta to round out our Hanukkah fare. It was a lot of fun, and we plan to do it again this year.
Most of our friends had never tried “Jewish” brisket or matzo ball soup, but both were a hit. I think that even a few of the Southern barbecue brisket connoisseurs had to admit that Bubbie’s brisket was just as mouthwatering and delicious as their favorite barbecue brisket.
Want to try it out for yourself? Here is my husband’s Bubbie’s (no longer) secret recipe:
- Brisket (first cut), well marbled
- 1 clove garlic per lb of brisket, diced or minced
- Kosher salt (for non-kosher brisket)
- Several diced onions
- Paprika (enough to liberally cover both sides of brisket)
- Olive Oil
- Place brisket in a baking pan, and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt.
- Splash a couple TBSP of olive oil on top.
- Add half of the garlic and enough paprika to cover the brisket.
- Rub the oil, garlic, and paprika mixture all over the meat.
- Turn the brisket over, and repeat steps 1-4.
- Cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Dice the onions, and put them on and around the brisket.
- Cook for 30 minutes, or until one side of the meat is slightly browned.
- Turn the meat over and cook for 30 minutes to brown the other side.
- Turn down the oven to 250.
- Add enough water to fill the pan ⅓ of the way. (Do not overfill, or it will bubble over.)
- Cover tightly with foil, and cook for 1½ to 2 hours (if using a meat thermometer, cook to about 190 degrees).
- Remove from the oven, and put the meat on a platter to rest for 1 hour. (Do not leave it in the pan, or it may overcook.)
- Slice and serve.