I love beef. There, that is out of the way, I can now move on.
I enjoy barbecue and the process of barbecuing, whether it is pork, beef, or even hotdogs. Grilling and smoking are hobbies that I pursue as time permits, which seems to be less and less the older I get. Due to time/weather constraints I’ve found myself doing more and more “outside cooking” in a crockpot and the oven. This post is about one of my top two favorite eats, a brisket, and is one that I’ve done a few times in an oven and have been satisfied with every time. It is modified from a couple of others who I will link to below. The method is not about cooking a perfectly smoked brisket, this is about cooking great tasting food.
Above is a brisket flat that I cooked a month or two ago. It is a less-than-full sized brisket (not to mention cheaper size) with minimal preparation and little attention which is what makes it a solid weekday choice; this 3 1/2 to 4 lb slab is something that can be enjoyed without getting tired of it.
A little background to begin. The first brisket I cooked was around 10 years ago, and it would have rated as inedible to anyone other than us at the time. We were two days into a Talladega extended weekend which involved very little sleep and lots of drinking and eating. Breakfast usually involved a beer, after which more beer was consumed to get rid of the headache and dehydration. The night that we threw the brisket on the grill I was tapped to cook the thing, possibly because I was perhaps the soberest. Or perhaps they were sober and didn’t want to have to watch it.
Anyway, I rubbed it down with whatever we had with us, probably some garlic sat, pepper, maybe some worchestershire, I don’t remember. I do remember throwing it on the hot grill and wandering off to laugh at some LSU fans who had suffered a loss that afternoon. Came back a couple of hours later to a cooler grill and I got it stoked back hot again. I mean hot as in cooking hotdogs or marshmallows hot. A power nap followed. All told this poor thing sat on a hot grill for six or seven hours. When we finally ate around midnight the bottom was completely burned. We would pick up slices and hold it by the rind, eating it similar to eating a slice of watermelon. Fine eating that night, but it sucked for breakfast the next morning. You couldn’t make it moist by pouring beer on it it was so dry.
I’ve cooked a fair amount of beef (including brisket) on and off a grill since then, and I have learned a good bit. I don’t have a committed, to-the-letter rub for brisket, I usually use whatever I feel like at the time. The last time I did this I took a few notes which are listed below. This is something that nobody should be intimidated by, just stick with the guidelines and a good cut of meat and it will be hard to screw up.
- 1 Brisket flat (3.5 to 4 lb)
- 2 T Coarse salt
- 1 T Coarse black pepper
- 1/2 T Smoked paprika
- 2 or 3 Garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 cup of beef stock
First, preheat the oven to 350°. Trim the brisket if it needs it (don’t take all of the fat off, just try to make the fat an even layer.) Combine the salt, pepper and paprika together. Rub into the meat. Place the brisket into a baking/roasting pan (I prefer fat side up, but whatever you please) and place the cloves of garlic on top.
Place the brisket in the 350° oven and cook uncovered for about an hour. Pull it out, add the beef stock to the pan, and cover with aluminum foil. Drop the temp down to 300°, put it back in the oven and cook for three more hours.
At this point you can either pull it out of the oven and let it rest on the counter, or you can leave it in the oven for a little while longer. The juices from the brisket and the beef stock will help keep it from drying out if it sits in the oven for a short period of time, up to an hour (maybe more, but that’s as long as I’ve let it sit.)
Cut across the grain and serve.
That’s it, nothing too complicated. The inspiration for this came from a couple of sources, the first of which can be found here (thanks Vic), and another version method here. I like adding the beef stock to avoid drying out because I can run home at lunch, get the initial uncovered portion done, and then leave the stove on timer while I head back to work. The brisket will then set in the cooling stove until I return home.
Good luck, hope you enjoy.