Don’t have a smoker? No problem. Oven-baked brisket, if cooked correctly, is a fantastic dish to add to any backyard BBQ feast. Salt, pepper, ketchup, vinegar, onion, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and bay leaf and you have yourself everything you need to create the most amazing brisket for tenderness and flavor.
As with cooking a brisket in general, oven-baked brisket can be a tricky meat to master if it is your first time cooking it. This guide will provide you with all the necessary information needed so you can prevent any over-cooking or under-cooking and maximize meat flavor and tenderness. Keep in mind that brisket is an expensive meat, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, so please read through this guide carefully.
Purchasing a Brisket
When purchasing a brisket to cook in the oven, I go with the already trimmed brisket. You can find a pre-trimmed brisket flat at your local supermarket at market price. This not only saves you time but reduces the excess fat you will have on your meat when finished. Make sure the brisket is deep red all over and doesn’t have any brown spots as this can potentially mean it is going bad, or there is a hole in the package and the meat is oxidizing. Also try to pick one that has the most consistent thickness possible to limit the amount of meat you will have to trim.
Always check for fat striations and marbling within the meat, a purely lean brisket flat will dry out quickly without the additional fat to render down into the meat. Another tip to picking the best brisket for any type of cook is to do the bend-test. Pick the brisket up and check to see uniform flexibility. If the brisket is rigid and tough, it’s likely going to be tough even after cooking. If you are looking for further tips, check out the butcher’s guide to choosing the perfect brisket.
For the purpose of this article, I am choosing to buy a 4.5-pound brisket which provides 10-12 servings.
Gather the Brisket Ingredients
Oven-baked brisket requires extra ingredients compared to smoking, as the meat isn’t receiving the flavor enhancement from the smoke itself. From dozens of different mixtures and seasonings, this recipe has gained the most likes from tasters. The best part is that you likely already have most of these ingredients on hand in your pantry or spice rack.
The ingredients required are:
- 1 ½ tablespoon of salt
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- ½ cup finely chopped onion (your choice for flavor)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons liquid-smoke
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup ketchup
Season the Brisket
First, standard brisket preparation needs to take place by rubbing the brisket all over with salt and pepper. Then place your brisket into a 13 ½ x 9 x ½ inch ungreased cooking dish. Disposable tinfoil broiler pan (highly recommended) works great. Once you have done this, gather all remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Once mixed, pour it all over the brisket and be sure to coat the top and sides of the meat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and be careful to make sure not to puncture the tinfoil.
How Long to Bake Brisket in Oven
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. The best cook time I have found is approximately 3 hours. This will allow the brisket to cook at a long and high enough temperature to maximize tenderness and flavor. Depending on your oven, you may have to go a little longer or shorter so check for tenderness at the 2 ½ to 3-hour mark. Ideally, you want to use an instant thermometer and ensure the brisket is at 170 Fahrenheit in the middle.
Rest and Cut the Brisket
Once you have verified that it is fully cooked, allow the brisket to rest on top of a cutting board for up to an hour. Don’t forget this step! This will allow all the juices to reabsorb into the meat and this is exactly what you want. The temperature will likely rise a little more as well, about 5-8 degrees is expected and normal. After this waiting period, grab a sharp butcher knife and cut thin diagonal slices across the grain. Keep in mind that the grain changes between the point and flat so the direction you cut will change. This all depends on what cut of brisket you chose to use for this recipe.
Sauce It Up
For the finale, grab your favorite BBQ sauce and apply it to your brisket layer by layer. If you are short on time, which is likely why you are using this recipe, any store-bought prepared BBQ sauce will work. Make sure to heat it up prior to pouring. I prefer to sauce the brisket strips in layers and make a hearty sandwich out of some of the best, melt-in-your-mouth oven-baked brisket you will ever try!
What to Serve with Brisket
Decided to go with brisket but unsure which side dishes to include? One of my all-time favorites is southern-style potato salad. You can also make some deviled eggs, BBQ baked beans, cornbread, or mac n cheese. Click here to see 15 other side dishes to compliment your meal.
Oven cooked brisket is a great option when you are limited on time and has a great flavor when the proper steps are taken. Keep in mind this recipe calls for a 4.5-pound brisket and to adjust your spices as necessary to accommodate additional meat and personal taste preferences. Once you try this old southern-family recipe, you are sure to be asked to make it time and time again!
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