Have you ever tried to cook foil-wrapped brisket in the oven? This inexpensive cut of meat can feed a large crowd and tastes delicious. Although it might take a little extra time to prepare, it's worth the wait.
The best way to cook a brisket in the oven is slow and low. This delicious cut becomes tender and juicy when braised or roasted at a low temperature over several hours.
What Is Beef Brisket?
Beef brisket is often the go-to choice for pot roasts and casseroles. However, it tastes just as great when cooked in the oven or on the stovetop.
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This boldly flavored cut comes from the animal's breast and has a tough texture. It consists of two parts, namely the brisket flat half and the point half. The flat half is leaner and can be easily shredded or sliced and used in a multitude of recipes. It's ideal for roasting and baking as well as for braising.
The brisket point half is tougher and higher in fat, per the Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association. It's also higher in calories than the flat half. A 3-ounce serving (cooked) has 200 calories, 24 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat. The same amount of cooked brisket flat half provides only 170 calories, nearly 30 grams of lean protein and 6 grams of fat.
How to Cook Beef Brisket in the Oven
This juicy piece of meat is easy to cook but you'll need to be patient with it. Due to its tough consistency, it should be cooked at low temperatures for a long time. Brining, smoking and braising are all excellent choices.
When you slow-cook a brisket in the oven, it becomes tender because its connective tissues break down.
Use whole, untrimmed briskets with an even fat cap. Ideally, leave it attached to the meat during cooking to prevent it from over-drying, according to chef Jamie Geller. The brisket should have a dark pink color, a thick white fat cap and no gray areas. Once cooked, it will weigh less, so make sure you have enough for everyone.
Things You'll Need
Spices of choice
- Remove any visible fat with a sharp knife before you slow-cook a brisket in the oven.
- Rub the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, chili flakes, garlic and any other spices you like. Another option is to marinate it overnight to enhance its tenderness.
- Cover the meat with several layers of aluminum foil after seasoning it. Cooking foil-wrapped brisket in the oven ensures the meat stays tender.
- Cook the meat at 225 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. If you choose to braise it instead, set the oven temperature at 325 F for a 3- to 4-ounce brisket, recommends the USDA.
- The brisket will be ready as soon as its internal temperature reaches 145 F. Allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes so that its juices can settle into the meat. The longer you wait, the better it gets.
- Next, slice it across the grain and serve it with side dishes, such as sautéed vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes or rice pilaf.
How to Cook Pork Brisket
While traditional beef brisket rules the deli counter, pork brisket serves as a savory, tender and affordable alternative. Like beef brisket, this cut comes from the bottom half of the shoulder and features a similar consistency and texture, down to the signature marbling.
Many chefs smoke pork brisket, but it can be braised and oven-roasted much like its beefy counterpart.
Things You'll Need
Olive oil or lard
- Rub the deboned pork brisket with the seasonings of your choice. Stick with salt and pepper, or add other savory seasonings such as sage and thyme. For a little more kick, try garlic, chili flakes or smoked paprika.
- Lay the meat flat on a clean cutting board, then roll the meat into a rough cylinder shape. Tie the brisket with loops of kitchen twine, with each loop spaced about 1½ inches apart. Use kitchen scissors to cut the twine.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Warm a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a Dutch oven on the stovetop.
- Place the tied brisket in the Dutch oven for about 10 minutes, turning it every 2 minutes or so to brown it evenly. Halfway through the browning, add additional heartier seasonings or sides to the Dutch oven, such as chopped garlic or Roma tomatoes, if you wish.
- Remove the meat from the Dutch oven carefully and set it on a plate. Pour the oil out until just about a spoonful lies at the bottom of the pot.
- Add a few cups of braising liquid (milk, wine, beer and even cola can do the trick) and fragrant seasonings, such as whole bay leaves, cloves or lemon zest. Deglaze the pot by cooking the mixture until it reduces by about half.
- Return the brisket to the Dutch oven and place it in the preheated oven. Cover it and cook for about an hour, for a 3- to 4-pound brisket. Cooking times vary per the size of the cut.
- Remove the cover and cook the meat in the oven for about 30 more minutes, or until the meat is white and tender and the skin has a crisp texture and golden brown hue. Check the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer — it should read between 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit to be ready to serve.
How to Shred Brisket for Sandwiches
After long, slow cooking, brisket is transformed into tender, juicy and richly flavored beef, ready to be sliced or shredded. Shredded brisket sandwiches are usually made with barbecued brisket, but you can use your oven if you don't have a smoker-type barbecue.
After cooking the cut of meat, here's how to shred brisket to pile onto a sandwich:
- Slice the meat across the grain into sections 1 1/2 to 3 inches wide.
- Use two forks to shred the beef into coarse, stringy chunks. Make sure not to shred it too finely.
- Toss with your favorite barbecue sauce and pile the beef onto soft buns.
- Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association: "Brisket Flat Half"
- Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association: "Brisket Point Half"
- Scientific Reports: "Essential Amino Acids: Master Regulators of Nutrition and Environmental Footprint?"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Amino Acids"
- Nutrients: "Reviewing the Effects of l-Leucine Supplementation in the Regulation of Food Intake, Energy Balance, and Glucose Homeostasis"
- Jamie Geller: "How to Cook a Brisket in the Oven Overnight"
- USDA: "Beef From Farm to Table"