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Battle of the Briskets

Written and Photographed by Yolanda Shoshana


The New Shul, a hip unaffiliated Greenwich Village Synagogue, recently hosted their second annual Battle of the Briskets fundraiser at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Over one hundred and fifteen people attended the brisket feast to see who would win the Golden Schmaltz award.

The event was completely sold out; people passed by the window of Cowgirls just to get a glimpse of the sixteen briskets. The attendees drooled over the briskets trays while the judges did their tasting. The celebrity judges included Josh Neuman, Editor and Publisher of Heeb magazine, Ed Levine from Food and Wine Magazine and Gail Simmons from the Food Network show Top Chef.

The briskets ranged from fried briskets to a southwestern brisket, complete with salsa and guacamole.

Some of us in the audience wanted to hear some trash talking between the contestants, but the hopeful cooks opted to cheer each other on and let their briskets do the talking.

After about thirty minutes the judges emerged from their huddle and the attendees were allowed to partake in the eating so they could select the winner of the People’s Choice Award. There were also delicious side dishes from baked latkes to a delicious kugel. Everything was so yummy that I lost track of whose briskets were whose.

Winner Cathy Gins

The first place prize went to a brisket made by New Shul Member, Cathy Gins. Her brisket recipe called for adding cranberries to the meat. The cranberries kicked up the flavor of the meat. Gins was completely surprised by her win. but managed to pull herself together to accept her award.

At the end of the event, each attendee received a goody bag filled with the brisket recipes. Now I have so many options for preparing a brisket, I have my own battle.

Cathy Gin's Winning Recipe - Cranberry Brisket

3- to 5-pound beef brisket
Olive oil
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 regular-sized package onion soup mix
1 can whole cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat brisket with a little oil and crushed garlic. Place in Dutch oven, cover and bake for one hour. Remove brisket, drain fat (optional: slice brisket) and return to pot.
2. Mix together remaining ingredients, and pour over brisket. Return brisket to oven, and bake (covered) for about 2 hours or until tender.





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