Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy or My Mother’s Brisket (but not really)

Jewish Brisket
This foolproof Jewish Brisket always produces great results. It certainly proves that following a recipe works!
Jewish Brisket
(This post was written December 27, 2011. I think it was the 5th post I published. The recipe remains as good today, as it did then. Here are some new pics, but the writing remains the same.)

There are many things one can say about brisket, but dull is not one of them. Brisket is a piece of meat that just keeps on giving. Think about it. You’ve got your bbq, your stews, your Jewish versions, and you can even grind it into hamburger. And soup. Well, you see what I mean. In our house brisket, well Jewish brisket, was always the most talked, debated? about subject of the dinner table. Was it sliced correctly (no, not usually), whose fault was it, (usually dad’s, because my mother didn’t have faults), was it dry, (no, usually mushy and stringy due to being sliced wrong). Well, hopefully you get the picture.

Thus I think it is easy to say, that this Jewish version of brisket-may only have 5 people eating it, but there are 6 opinions offered on how to slice and bake it correctly. Was it the onion soup version, the tomato soup version, the Coca Cola version or was it just made up? Potatoes or carrots or both, and what about celery? Yes, brisket, is always something to look forward too. And just for the record my mother assures me, that she now has a wonderful Jewish brisket recipe from Williams Sonoma. Go figure. Where was it when we were kids?

Jewish Brisket

And that brings me to Hanukkah. Yes, the festival of lights.  The night where the house smells like oil and one hopes that the smell of brisket masks the odor of your personal fast food restaurant. Hence also the need for cinnamon applesauce. This year it happened to be the night of my birthday, so we were lucky enough to add a chocolate cake to the mix. Which somehow leads us back to the Jewish brisket, which is made a day before the big celebration (OK no guessing, it wasn’t THAT big.)

3 Tips on Making Brisket

1. It is important to plan ahead when you make brisket. Brisket is easier to slice after it has been chilled and of course it leaves less to do, when you are frying all those latkes. It also gives you an opportunity to get out the electric knife. Yahoo! So please…make the brisket the day before!

2. Slicing a brisket can be tricky. Always slice the brisket against the grain. Always. Or it falls apart into strings. And yes, the grain can change directions, so be aware.

3. My mother never made gravy to go with brisket. She always just poured the pan juices over the top. That has changed in our family. We always serve our brisket with gravy. This isn’t a traditional gravy. It is merely all the onions and pan juices blended together with an immersion blender. How simple is that? And if by chance you overcooked your brisket, this onion umami will save it!

Now hopefully you are thinking what I’m thinking; how to avoid all those brisket dilemmas? In my house I felt the need for a consistent and uncomplicated brisket. One that was  soothing to eat and heavenly to smell. Something that would fill my senses with warmth and goodness and love. (Yeah, getting a little sappy here) Well, I needed a new brisket recipe-one that would always turn out the same, taste the same and not cause the cook tsuris (trouble). And for that recipe (which I discovered when my children were just five), I have Ruth Riechel to thank. Yes, December, 2005 Gourmet, My Mother’s Brisket, saved this mother’s life. That good, that easy, and that satisfying. Don’t change it, just eat it. You’ll thank me, I promise.

Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy

More to Try:
Savory Sweet Potato Latkes
Roasted Za’atar Chickpeas
Chicken Soup Chicken
Kasha Varnishkes
Not My Mama’s Noodle Kugel
Salted Honey Rose Tart

Please Pin and Share the Brisket:


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Jewish Brisket

Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy or My Mother’s Brisket (but not really)

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 4.5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 8-10 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Jewish


Jewish Brisket with Onion Gravy turns out perfect every time!



1 5-6 lb brisket, well trimmed (fatty briskets are for BBQ)

1 t salt divided

1 t pepper divided (I usually add more, because it is good when it is peppery)

Garlic powder to sprinkle

3 T oil, divided

3 large onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic minced

1 t paprika


Pat brisket dry and season with 1/2 t salt and pepper and garlic powder. It is really hard to over season brisket. Place 1 T oil in Dutch oven and heat in a preheated 375 oven for 10 minutes. Place brisket in oil, fat side up and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Saute onions in remaining oil in a large skillet, until softened and beginning to turn golden. Reduce heat to medium and cook until deep golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, paprika, and remaining salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Spoon over brisket. Place lid on Dutch oven leaving it a bit ajar. Bake for about 3 1/2 hours until tender. Add more water if necessary during cooking, but this has never happened to me.

Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour. Remove brisket from sauce, scraping any clinging onions back into the sauce. Wrap brisket in foil and refrigerate overnight. Pour gravy from pan into a 4 cup measuring cup. Fat will rise to top overnight. Remove. The next day use an immersion blender to puree gravy until smooth. You should have at least 3 cups, if not add more water.

The next day slice brisket into thin slices, if possible, with an electric knife. Make sure to slice against the grain or your brisket will be stringy. Place some gravy into the bottom of a pan and then place brisket on top of that. Cover with rest of gravy and then seal pan with foil. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes. This will serve 8-10 people.


Most of the above times are not active cooking times.

Please eave a day for the brisket to chill overnight.

Keywords: Jewish brisket, best brisket recipe, Jewish brisket recipe, holiday brisket, amazing brisket recipe, my mother's brisket, brisket

P.S. I must apologize for my original pictures. I had about 16 people waiting to eat this brisket hovering over me while I was trying to get a few pictures. I finally decided that brisket is not really pretty. It just tastes really, really good. I also can confirm that there were not any leftovers.

Jewish Brisket with Challad

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  • Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    December 20, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Happy Hanukkah Abbe. I have to admit, when Hanukkah starts, I'm always jealous I'm not Jewish! 🙂 I've only made one brisket in my life and it was in the oven. I like your fatty tip, for the grill. I wonder if mine was fatty? Anyway, I've been dying to make another and this sounds like something I'd love to try. Thanks for sharing.

  • ChgoJohn
    December 20, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Your brisket sounds tasty, Abbe, and I love the debates that accompany each one. These discussions are as big a part of a holiday's traditions as are the decorations. My family never argued at a holiday feast but they sure did discuss the food! Although I've never cooked a brisket, the thought of all of those wonderful sandwiches sure is tempting. Yum!

  • Zoe
    December 16, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Hi Abbe,

    I'm sure this must be one of your most loved recipes that you are happy to cook with it again and again. No worries with the pictures… the 16 guests are more important 😀


  • Sharon D
    December 15, 2015 at 7:23 am

    ..You had me at electric knife, Abbe! I've never seen anyone use it at home here. I don't know anyone who has one either. Well, now I do.
    And I wonder if I should get one because it sounds like a fun thing to have. I know what I'll be doing this weekend – hunting the stores to see it firsthand.

    Thank you for the recipe – looks delicious!

  • Chris Scheuer
    December 14, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Yum, I love recipes that have been passed down, tried and true and Ruth Reichel is always a good source!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 15, 2015 at 5:42 am

      Tis was a great one from day one. Thanks Chris!

  • Karen Harris
    December 14, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I'm so glad you re-ran this post. I love brisket and missed it the first time. I hope I don't need to tell you how much this Texas girl loves brisket. Your photos are mouthwatering.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 15, 2015 at 5:42 am

      Awww. Thanks Karen!This is totally different than a Texas brisket, but still makes great sandwiches!

  • Liz Berg
    December 14, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I've just been making brisket for a few years as it wasn't anything my mom ever prepared! Your recipe looks wonderful! Happy Hanukkah, my friend! xo

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 15, 2015 at 5:41 am

      This is a great recipe! Tender, not dry and full of flavor. And so easy! Thanks Liz!

  • Tricia Buice
    December 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I think it's lovely! I bet is is wonderful 🙂

  • La Table De Nana
    December 13, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Happy Hanukkah Abbe and family..I love traditions..the recipes..the feelings:)

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Thanks Monique~ Traditions are what make everything worthwhile! Though changing the traditional childhood brisket was a good change!

  • mimi rippee
    December 13, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Looks fabulous! Love that gravy!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:04 am

      Thanks Mimi! Gravy is great, isn't it?

  • SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    December 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Ha-ha 🙂 Maybe not pretty but so good! You did a great job with the gravy and parsley garnish, though 🙂 I love tender brisket!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:04 am

      Thanks Susan! Not the prettiest dish , but this sure beats the first photos I took! This is so tender and not at all dry-because of the gravy. It totally falls apart!

  • Amy
    December 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I love it, You had me with the Onion Gravy and it just got better.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Thanks Amy. The gravy is so caramelized and rich. It would make anything taste good!

  • Angie Schneider
    December 13, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I wish I could reach in and grab the whole plate off the screen! Your beef brisket looks fantastic, Abbe.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:02 am

      I wish you could too, Angie! I'm going to have to freeze it now that Manservant left-for a change!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    December 13, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Good to see this recipe surface again! Isn't it fun to look back at old posts, and remember? This really is good stuff — I need to make your mom's brisket. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:01 am

      You should try it! Ruth Reichel is a great cook! This has withstood the test of time!

  • Cheri Savory Spoon
    December 13, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Hi Abbe, Happy Birthday!! love the onion gravy with the brisket. Happy Hanukkah!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      December 14, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Thanks Cheri! Hands down, this is a great recipe!

  • Kimberly Kopecky
    February 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    ohh yummy!!! going to try this when I make brisket again!

  • Abbe
    December 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    You are a kind man, Mr. Kitchen Riffs. Your comments always make my day! Make this recipe for sandwiches to go with your Chex Mix!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    December 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    In our house brisket was always the most talked, debated? about subject of the
    dinner table. Was it sliced correctly (no, not usually), whose fault was it, (usually dad’s,
    because my mother didn’t have faults), was it dry, (no, usually mushy and stringy due to
    being sliced wrong). Well, hopefully you get the picture. Thus I think it is easy to tell, that
    this was the Jewish version of brisket-the one where 5 people are eating but there are 6
    opinions on how to slice and bake it correctly.

    Really nice! And a great recipe – thanks.