Chicago-Jewish Style Scorched Brisket

This particular recipe was passed down from my grandmother. I added “scorched” to the name because that is indeed what happens when you follow the recipe. The top layer does get burnt a bit by design and actually adds to the flavor when you mix it with the gravy (see below). The other name I’ve been throwing around is the “Don’t Worry Brisket” since that’s exactly the advice you should heed when the brisket comes out of the oven.

In any case, while the cook time is considerable, the oven does almost all of the heavy lifting. As you will see, it’s a pretty simple recipe to follow.

What you’ll need…

  • 1st cut brisket
  • Bennetts chili
  • Package of French Onion soup
  • Onions
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

Slice enough onions to blanket bottom of an aluminum foil pan (much easier to use since you can dispose of it).

Wash brisket and pat dry and lay on top of onions.

Sprinkle with garlic and onion powders.

In a bowl, mix 1 package of French Onion soup with 1 bottle of Bennetts chili. If you desire more sauce, add a 1-to-1 ratio of both items. Cover sauce over brisket and cover entire brisket.

Add water to bottom of pan, enough to cover bottom of pan, about 1/4 or 1/2 inch.

You may use conventional bake on the oven. Cook at 400 degrees for a 1/2 hour, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Do not cover  — top will burn a little but don’t worry.

When you can easily stick a fork in the brisket (which usually takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the oven), take brisket out and slice thinly against the grain.

Put sliced pieces into the gravy of the onions and water and continue to cook for another 2 hours. Do not worry about the burnt part. It mixes with the gravy.

If you can make it in advance and freeze it, it will be better.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native who has an unmistakable passion for the culinary arts. Many of her recipes have been passed down from generations through her Jewish heritage. She can be reached at Diane@DianeIsraelChicagoRecipes.com