Cooking brisket in the oven is easy! Simply rub the meat with spices, bake it in a foil pouch, then briefly broil to crisp up the fat cap.
The result is so tender and juicy, and - just as important - leftovers are really good too.
Beef brisket is my favorite meat to order in barbecue joints. The best places smoke the meat slowly, over 18 to 24 hours. The result: wonderfully smoky, flavorful, and tender meat.
But even if you don't own a smoker, your oven is a great tool for making tender and flavorful brisket. Use smoked paprika (and smoked salt if you have it) to give the meat a bit of that wonderful smoky flavor, and cook it on low for several hours. I cook a 3-pound brisket for 3 hours at 300°F.
Apart from the meat itself, you'll only need Kosher salt, black pepper, and a few spices to cook brisket in the oven. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Beef brisket: I usually get a 3-pound piece at Whole Foods. You can also order it online on websites such as US Wellness Meats.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Spices: I like to use smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and dry mustard. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can really ruin a dish.
Cooking brisket in the oven takes time, but other than that, it's very easy. The detailed instructions for making this recipe are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
You start by mixing kosher salt, black pepper, and spices, then rubbing the mixture all over the meat.
Now, place the meat in a well-sealed foil pouch. The video below shows you how to do it.
Bake the brisket for three hours in a 300°F oven.
Brush the slightly cooled meat with the cooking juices and broil it to crisp up the fat cap. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Frequently asked questions
Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the lower chest of the cow. Since it contains a lot of connective tissue which can make it tough, it needs to be cooked low and slow to make it tender.
Unlike the very tender ribeye roast, beef brisket is a tough but very flavorful cut of beef that requires low and slow cooking. Tri-tip roast is another one, although it's typically cooked fairly briefly, to medium-rare.
Since it takes a while, this is a good recipe to make on a winter weekend when you're home anyway. It's not difficult at all, but it does require a time commitment of about 3 hours.
Beef brisket comes with a wonderful fat cap. Please don't remove it completely, before or after cooking. It's really the best part. But do ask your butcher to trim it into a manageable thickness - ¼ inch is ideal.
Then, you should cook it fat side up. This will allow some of the melting fat to seep into the meat, making it juicier and more flavorful.
In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast, especially on holidays.
For reasons of economics (it's a cheap cut) and kashrut (beef is kosher if slaughtered and prepared according to Jewish kashrut laws), it was historically one of the more popular cuts of beef among Ashkenazi Jews.
I cook the meat in the oven on low heat, which means I can't roast vegetables at the same time since they require a hot oven.
So I tend to serve this dish with easy side dishes that I can make separately in the microwave, such as mashed cauliflower or microwave broccoli. A simple arugula salad is another great option and it nicely balances out the richness of the beef.
Leftovers are very tasty! This is the type of meat that gets better with time. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
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Easy Oven-Baked Brisket
- 3 lb. brisket fat trimmed to ¼-inch thick
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or smoked salt)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Look at the raw brisket and locate the direction of the grain. When it's cooked, you will want to cut against the grain.
- In a small bowl, mix the rub ingredients together. Gently rub the spice mix all over the brisket.
- Make a foil pouch: place the brisket, fat side up, on two layers of foil. Pull the edges of the foil up around the brisket and wrap it. Use a third foil layer on the top if needed. Seal well to keep moisture in, but don't wrap the meat too tight - leave some room for the steam.
- Place the foil pouch on a foil-lined, broiler-safe, rimmed baking sheet. Cook the brisket for 3 hours (about 1 hour per pound).
- Turn off the oven and allow the brisket to rest until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Remove the brisket from the oven and open the foil pouch. Pour the cooking juices into a measuring cup. You can skim the fat from the top if you want (I don't).
- Turn the oven to broil. Brush the brisket with some of the cooking juices. Broil the brisket until the fat browns and starts to crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Allow the brisket to cool a few minutes before slicing. Slice the brisket against the grain and on the bias into ¼-inch slices, as shown in the video, and serve with the cooking juices for dipping.