Whether you like it braised, smoked or slow-cooked, beef brisket is one of the best cuts of meat you can get your hands on. For a simple yet versatile meal, try foil-wrapped brisket in the oven. The prolonged cooking time helps tenderize the meat while enhancing its flavor.
Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil to boost its natural flavors and reduce the cooking time. Bake or broil it until its internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beef Brisket at a Glance
This tough cut of meat can be challenging to cook but yields delicious results. It usually weighs up to 20 pounds and comes from beef or veal. The brisket is one of the strongest chest muscles, supporting the entire front half of the animal. For this reason, it's lean and has a lot of connective tissue that turns into gelatin when cooked properly.
Beef brisket is relatively low in calories and fat. One serving (3 ounces, raw) has only 134 calories, 7 grams of fat and a whopping 17.5 grams of quality protein. It also provides about 10 percent of the daily recommended iron intake, 39 percent of the daily recommended allowance of zinc and 67 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B12.
Read more: 15 of the Best Lean Animal Proteins
Zinc, one of the most abundant minerals in brisket, supports growth and development, enhances insulin action and keeps your immune system strong, points out the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Low levels of this nutrient may affect reproductive function, immunity and bone health, according to a February 2013 review published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.
Teenagers, children and pregnant women need more zinc in their diets — and beef brisket can make it easier to meet their nutritional needs.
The USDA recommends choosing brisket with the USDA grade mark. Look for the USDA Prime or USDA Choice mark on the label to make sure you get the highest quality meat. These cuts are on the higher end of tenderness and marbling.
Foil-Wrapped Brisket in the Oven
Smoked brisket is a holiday favorite, but it's not your only option. You may also cook brisket in foil in the oven to tenderize the meat and get it done faster.
Read more: Middle-Eastern Spiced Brisket
First, trim the fat cap and remove the tough, thin membrane covering the meat. Rub the brisket with salt, spices and herbs such as cumin, chili powder, black pepper, smoked paprika and even brown sugar. Massage the spices into the brisket to enhance the meat's natural flavors.
You can also prepare a marinade for brisket in the oven. Use your favorite spices plus red wine, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and other flavorful ingredients. Mix them well, spread them over the brisket in a large dish, cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Next, wrap the meat in two layers of aluminum foil and put it in a deep roasting dish. The foil retains heat and protects your brisket from temperature fluctuations, resulting in a shorter cooking time. It also keeps the meat tender and moist, resulting in a rich flavor, notes TexasMonthly.
The downside of using aluminum foil is that it can damage the brisket's crispy exterior, known as the bark, according to Amazing Ribs. Therefore, you won't get that delicious crispy texture everyone loves.
Get the Cooking Temperature Right
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, recommends Cook's Illustrated. However, depending on the recipe, you can also cook your brisket in the oven at 250 degrees to 275 degrees F. Cook the foil-wrapped brisket in a deep roasting pan or on a cooking sheet until its internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.
Read more: How to Reheat a Brisket
Another option is to broil the foil-wrapped meat in stock or broth. In this case, cook until the meat's internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, advises Cook's Illustrated. Lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees after one and a half hours of cooking. The brisket should be ready in about four hours.
Cooking time also depends on the size of the brisket. A 12-pound meat cut, for example, takes seven to eight hours to cook (when braised), according to HEB. A 5-pound brisket, on the other hand, should be ready in five to six hours. Wrapping it in aluminum foil will reduce the cooking time. As a rule of thumb, cook the meat until it's falling-apart tender.
Once it's done, let it rest for about half an hour. Cut it against the grain and serve it with black bean and corn salad, roasted potatoes, cabbage salad, green bean potato salad and other healthy side dishes.
Now that you know how to cook foil-wrapped brisket in the oven, try other delicious recipes like slow-cooker brisket, beef brisket with caramelized onions, smoked brisket and more!
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Beef Brisket Flat Half Boneless Separable Lean and Fat Trimmed to 0 Inch Fat Select Raw"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Zinc in Diet"
- Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: "Zinc and Its Importance for Human Health: An Integrative Review"
- USDA: "Does Your Smoked Brisket Make the Grade?"
- TexasMonthly: "The Importance of Wrapping Brisket"
- Amazing Ribs: "The Texas Crutch: Wrap in Foil to Tenderize and Speed Cooking"
- Cook's Illustrated: "How to Braise Brisket"
- Food Safety: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Charts"
- HEB: "How to Cook Brisket - 4 Ways"