Sweet and Smoky Beef Brisket
Dec 03, 2023
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This beef brisket is the perfect combination of sweet and smoky flavors, thanks to the seasoning in the brisket rub as well as the braising liquid. It’s cooked low and slow in the oven for the most flavorful, tender slices that everyone will love!
I love smoked brisket and I’ve enjoyed it on travels throughout Texas, Kansas City, and Oklahoma. But if you, like me, don’t have a smoker, you’ll love this equally delicious oven-braised brisket recipe. It serves up a similar sweet and smoky flavor, but it’s perfect for indoor cooking.
Unlike other cuts of beef such as prime rib, beef tenderloin or filet mignon which cook more quickly, brisket requires a special labor of love — time. Brisket comes from the part of the cow that’s full of connective tissue, but a “low and slow” cooking method turns this tough cut of meat into something truly flavorful and tender.
Here’s what makes my version so delicious:
- The spice rub: Although you can always default to a simple blend of garlic, salt, and black pepper, my brisket rub is layered with the best blend of sweet and smoky flavors, including paprika and maple sugar.
- The braising liquid: The unique combination of ingredients helps to tenderize the meat and it mimics that smoky flavor you’d get from outdoor cooking, as if you were pulling this brisket straight out of the smoker!
Brisket may take a while to cook but the good news is that gives you plenty of time to decide on a few delicious side dishes to pair with it. If you’d like to hear some of my favorites, keep scrolling below!
Beef Brisket Ingredients
- Beef Brisket: Brisket is available in two cuts, the flat and the point. If you ask your butcher for beef brisket, you’ll most likely receive the flat cut. The flat cut (which I’m using) is more rectangular, and an overall leaner piece of meat that’s perfect for slicing. The point is more triangular in shape, fattier, and it’s often shredded.
- Brisket Dry Rub: The dry rub is a combination of granulated sugar and smoky spices such as paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.
- Brisket Braising Liquid: The blend of coffee, liquid smoke, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce all work together to tenderize the meat and add more smoky flavor. When this liquid is wrapped tightly with the brisket and cooked low and slow, you’re rewarded several hours later with flavorful, tender, fall apart beef brisket. And side note, coffee is great for brisket because it’s acidic and the natural enzymes in coffee help to break down the muscle fibers in beef. So brew a cup of coffee in the morning, then save a little for this recipe!
How many people will this serve? Generally, you want to buy a half-pound per person, which also leaves some room for delicious leftovers. With a 5 to 6 pound brisket, you should get 10 to 12 servings.
Equipment You’ll Need
All you need are three basic items for the perfect beef brisket — an oven-safe roasting pan, a thermometer, and a sharp knife.
- Roasting Pan: Since we’re cooking a fairly large brisket with the braising liquid, using a roasting pan is best. I’ve had this roasting pan for ages, but you could also use a disposable roasting pan.
- Thermometer: To ensure your brisket doesn’t undercook or overcook, using a thermometer crucial. I love using a probe thermometer (that you’ll leave in the meat) so I can check the temperature without having to open the oven. But, you can also use an instant-read thermometer.
- Knife: Sharpen your chef’s knife or carving knife before slicing! This will make slicing so much easier with beautiful, clean slices.
How To Cook Beef Brisket
Remember that brisket takes several hours to cook, plus some extra time for letting the meat rest once it’s removed from the oven. So plan ahead!
Apply the dry drub. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) and trim off any silver skin or hard fat (if there’s any). Liberally apply the dry rub on both sides of the brisket with your hands. Note: If the brisket is refrigerated, let it sit for 30 minutes, to let it come to room temperature.
Mix braising liquid. Whisk all of the liquid ingredients together and then pour into the roasting pan. Add the brisket to the roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can use a roasting pan or casserole dish with a lid. But note that if it’s not covered tightly, it won’t cook properly!
Cook the brisket. Cook for about 5 to 6 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 195°F to 200°F. Depending on the size of your brisket, you’ll want to cook it for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes per pound of brisket.
Slice the brisket. Remove the brisket from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender pieces of brisket!
If you’ve removed the brisket from the oven and it’s not fork tender, more than likely, it’s undercooked. Just pop it back in the oven. You could also slice the brisket after the allotted time and cook it for an additional 30 minutes to an hour, with the slices lying in the juices, to make it tender.
Side note: Brisket becomes even more tender after it’s been refrigerated overnight in the juices, then reheated in the oven. So, don’t fret if it’s your first time making brisket and it’s not as tender as you would like. There is a way to resurrect it!
While I personally love the maple sugar, I understand that not everyone may have it. You could swap in coconut sugar, which has slight caramel undertones. Or brown sugar, which is more commonly used. I typically avoid brown sugar as it’s just processed white sugar plus molasses, and I’ve already added the molasses separately in the liquid. But it can certainly be used, along with any granulated sugar.
What to Serve With Brisket
- For a classic Texas BBQ spread: You can drizzle BBQ sauce or horseradish sauce on top of the meat and serve it with an easy cucumber salad, creamed corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, or potato salad.
- For a Holiday Feast: Serve up the brisket with a side of garlic herb roasted potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, sauteed cabbage, or this simple kale salad for a delicious Christmas, Hanukkah, or St. Patrick’s Day meal.
If you have leftover brisket, here’s how you can store it.
- In the fridge: Just slice up any remaining brisket and store it in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
- In the freezer: Store leftovers slices in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight before you’d like to enjoy them.
- To reheat: Warm a few slices of brisket in the microwave for a minute or two, until warmed through.
More Delicious Beef Recipes
If you’re looking for more hearty and tasty beef recipes, here are a few of my favorites:
- Beef Stew: The coziest winter dinner and perfect for meal prep.
- Skirt Steak with Chimichurri: The fresh chimichurri sauce is the best herby pairing.
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast: A slow cooker dinner the whole family will love.
- Braised Short Ribs: The best way to cook short ribs!
I hope you love this beef brisket recipe! If you make it, I’d love to know how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.
Sweet and Smoky Beef Brisket
- Roasting Tray The roasting tray I've used for years!
- 5 to 6 pounds beef brisket
- Apply the dry drub. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Liberally apply the dry rub on both sides of the brisket. If the brisket is refrigerated, let it sit for 30 minutes or until it comes to room temperature.
- Mix roasting liquid. Whisk all of the liquid ingredients together and pour into a roasting pan. Add the brisket to the roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Cook the brisket. Cook for about 6 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 195°F to 200°F.
- Slice the brisket. Remove the brisket from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender pieces of brisket.
- As mentioned above, I’m using a flat cut in these photos and videos, which is a leaner cut. If you like a fattier (and thus more juicy) brisket, make sure to choose a point cut.
- When it comes to the Worcestershire sauce, if you’re gluten-free like me, please do read labels. Many brands of Worcestershire sauce are not gluten-free as they contain soy sauce or malt vinegar. For a gluten-free version I recommend this one.
- When it comes to liquid smoke, this all natural hickory smoke is my favorite.
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This recipe was originally posted May 2017, but updated to include new photos and information for your benefit!