Barbecue Brisket (Easy!!!)

I’ve always been told that cooking a brisket is hard, which is why I avoided ever buying one…even though Matt always told me that it was his favorite cut of beef. Finally one day at the farmers market, I timidly went ahead and splurged on a small grass-fed beef brisket. I proudly brought it home and showed it to Matt (who was of course very excited to see me the brisket in my hands).  

So what did I do next? I promptly put it into the freezer and avoided looking at it…for weeks

Good grief…I was afraid of a frozen piece of meat.

I’d paid good money for that little hunk of beef…I did not want to mess it up! No one I asked knew how to cook a brisket or they simply answered that same answer I’d always heard:  “Cooking a brisket is really hard. They can come out really tough.”

Well shucks.

I don’t know where the courage finally came from, but one day I pulled that brisket out and did a little research on how to cook it. A barbecue variety of brisket sounded better than anything, so that is what I decided on.

Um hellllllooooo!!! NEWS FLASH:  Cooking a beef brisket is REALLY EASY!!!!  And don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!!!

The trick is this:  Cook it low and slow. Or slow and low, whichever works better for ya

I’ve now made many a brisket because after biting into THE most delicious and tender meat EVER I’ve decided to join Matt in the “Brisket is my Favorite Cut of Beef Club”.   

Care to join our club?

Here’s a little tutorial, which is rather silly because why do you really need pictures to show you how to put meat in a dish and cook it, but whatever. And also, it really isn’t very fun to look at raw meat in a dish. Ah, but here’s a tutorial for BBQ Brisket nonetheless… (Apparently reading this is your initiation before joining our “Beef Brisket is my Favorite Cut of Beef Club”.)

I usually buy a 2-3 pound brisket. They aren’t the cheapest cuts of meat, neither are they the most expensive. I have been able to find them for about what I’d pay for a roast (grass fed, organic), so I feel like it’s a pretty good deal. 

Step number one:  Put your brisket in a cooking dish (Wow Laura, thank you for showing us a picture of this. We would never have been able to follow that step if you hadn’t shown us what you meant.):

Step two:  Whip up a quick batch of High Five BBQ Sauce. Spread the sauce over the brisket.

Step three:  Put a lid on the baking dish. (Again, what a fabulous tutorial.)

Bake the brisket low and slow and slow and low. I go with 250° for 4-5 hours.

Slice the meat “against the grain” (which, of all things, I don’t have a picture of) and serve.

This meat tastes so, so, so good served with Cream Scalloped Potatoes and some green beans or a salad.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that cooking a brisket is hard. And if anyone ever DOES tell you that it is hard, you give them a link to this tutorial because it could be that they’ve just never had anyone ever show them how to put meat into a dish before. Ah yes, I’m always here to help.

So what club are you in…as in…what’s your favorite cut of beef? Or do you have a favorite? (Hmm, maybe you have a favorite cut of…chicken?)

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Comments

  1. Bethany B. says

    I have to admit I have always “feared the brisket” myself, but if it’s this straightforward then maybe I can cook it too. My hubby would love this!!! Thank you!!!!!!!

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  2. Vicki Ronsick says

    Thank you – I wasn’t sure how to cook the one in my freezer. You made it very easy and barbeque sauce is always popular in our house!

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  3. says

    I love brisket- I’m from TX, how could I not!
    I always cook mine on low in the crock pot all day with (bbq-ish) marinade over it. (A marinade that I get in a bottle…I really need to test a few recipes of my own. I’ll let you know if I hit the jackpot.)
    I don’t even have to use a knife- it just falls apart- yum!!

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  4. Stephanie says

    Not a huge BBQ fan…wondering if you could use a different marinade?

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    Laura Reply:

    Oh yeah…any sauce will do I’m sure. I’ve never tried a different one besides bbq sauce so I don’t have one to recommend. I bet one of my very smart readers might comment with an idea though!

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    Holly Reply:

    you don’t even need a sauce. The brisket has so much flavor of it’s own

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  5. Brenda says

    Yummy!

    I haven’t made one for a long time, but years ago what I read to do was to sprinkle it with salt, garlic, and liquid smoke, and then stab it to death. And then stab it some more. And then turn it over and do it again on the other side.

    Wrap it tightly in foil overnight.

    Bake at 250 for 4-5 hours.

    Mmmmmmm!

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  6. Annie says

    I’m not so experienced in cuts of meat, except for the “manager’s special.” Then I just figure out how to cook whatever it is I’ve just purchased…unless it sits in the freezer for ages.

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  7. Aya says

    I always have to call my husband about most cuts of meat since he was a butcher a long time ago. He can typically tell me if it’s a good price and what I should do with it. I only did a brisket once, and it turned out pretty good. I’ll have to try it again cooking it even lower and slower!

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  8. says

    My family loves brisket. I had it years ago while at a couple’s retreat and ended up buying the recipe book just for this recipe.

    Deer Valley Ranch Smoky Beef Brisket

    Fresh Beef Brisket sprinkled with garlic and onion put in a non-metal pan. Pour an entire bottle of liquid smoke over brisket. Cover with foil tightly. If it is not covered tightly the rest of your food in the fridge will smell like liquid smoke :(
    Marinate in fridge 12-24 hours, turning the meat occasionally. Open foil and pour over Worcestershire sauce (about 5 ounces) reseal foil tightly and bake in over at 275 degrees or crock pot on low for 5 hours. At the end roll the foil back and cover the top with BBQ sauce really thick. Seal again and cook another hour. This is based on a 4 pound brisket.

    I think I will put it on the grocery list now, yummooo!

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  9. says

    I don’t cook big pieces of meat very often. How do you know when to take it out of the oven? And what is all that liquid in the baking pan? You didn’t add water, right, so it’s just juices from the meat? I’m a little scared because the meat still looks so red …

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    Lorinda Reply:

    Laura used BBQ sauce therefore it will look red.
    Find a great meat thermometer and reference the
    chart with temperatures for when the type of meat
    is cooked through. Hope this helps!

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, the meat made it’s own juices, plus my homemade sauce turns to liquid after being baked for so long. And yes, that redness is the sauce, not the meat.

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  10. Marianne says

    That’s me, never cooked a brisket. I will try one and join along in the “Brisket is my Favorite Cut of Beef Club” :)

    Thanks for the encouragement!

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  11. Lorinda says

    I had always heard that brisket was a meat definitely to use in a slow cooker/oven/grill.
    The PBS show BBQ University often has a brisket recipe.
    We enjoy beef! I don’t have a favorite cut, my husband, however would say steak!

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  12. Nancy says

    Laura,

    I love your humor. You make me feel like even I could cook a brisket…. =) Thanks for starting my day off with a smile.

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  13. Ashley Godoy says

    My husbands birthday is coming up and brisket is his all time favorite, we usually get it at Sonny’s BBQ but making this would be healthier and he’d love it! Thannks for the steps to it!

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  14. Erica says

    I’ve done em in the crockpot and the oven in a freezer bag. I like em with a rub and just a TBl. of liquid smoke. They turn out kind of dry like the bbq we get here in Texas. They turn out a little soupier when cooked in bbq sauce, and we like them that way too. Great on homemade buns!
    Sometimes brisket goes on a great sale around 4th of July- at least in TX. I’ve gotten whole ones at .99/lb. I just cut off the fat and cut it into 3 hunks and freeze 2. The dog likes the fat. Not grass fed, but we go back and forth, depending on the grocery budget!

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  15. Joanna says

    I’ve heard all the same “vicious rumors” and so have never tried it, but now with your dinner saving tutorial I may just give it a try! :)

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  16. Alex Hall says

    That looks delicious! I’ve never attempted a brisket before, only one that was already in a brine (corned beef). My husband loves corned beef, but I think it’s more for the flavor of the brine than the type of meat. I might have to try this sometime because we love BBQ in this house!

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  17. Leah says

    mmmmm…BBQ brisket is wonderful! I’ve been saving one in our freezer, but my reason is because it is so wonderful I want to savor the anticipation and use it for a really wonderful occasion!!

    I cook ours in the crockpot…low and slow.

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  18. Jennifer says

    I’m not really a beef person, I’d much rather have chicken or fish. My husband on the other hand is pretty much a bring on the beef kinda guy. I’ll have to try this for him.

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  19. Sheila says

    I have only eaten brisket that others have cooked and never with BBQ sauce. Have to admit that I am scared to spend the money and not enjoy it.

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  20. Heather Eide says

    I have a limited grocery budget and have been timid to purchase this cut of meat before also. I know my husband would love it so now I can watch for a sale and give it a try! Thanks for the easy instructions! :)

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  21. Katie M. says

    My favorite brisket is low and slow boiled corned beef (I’m irish and from New England, what can i say?). But i also make a sweet and tangy brown sugar brisket: brown brisket with a little garlic and onion; then cover with beef broth, add salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, boil covered on low for two hours, transfer to baking dish with broth and add 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 tb lemon juice, carrots, and sweet potatoes, cover and bake 1 1/2 hours. It may be slow, but easy and delicious! And perfect for fall!

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  22. Blair says

    Yummy! My mom makes a really good brisket. She smokes it outside for a few hours, then cooks it in the oven, with beer in the pan, and I don’t buy alcohol.. At all…. So I haven’t attempted a brisket before :-(… And so much for homemade vanilla. :-(

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  23. Amy Schaffer says

    We do ours in the crockpot. Just season the meat generously put a little beef broth or water in and cook on low for 8 hours or so. Makes delicious sandwiches.

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  24. says

    I think there will now be a run on brisket due to this article! Hopefully it can still be found in my local grocery market. :-) However, maybe next time you can take a picture of cutting it against the grain? That is the hard part for me and it usually takes me a bit to get it right. Usually the only brisket I make is for St. Patrick’s Day.

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  25. says

    I like to put my brisket in an oven bag with a bottle of Claude’s Brisket Marinade. I usually cook it really low overnight so the house smells wonderful when we wake up!

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  26. Jen says

    I’m in the Ribeye club… YUM!!! Especially grilled, with a little gorgonzola or blue cheese sprinkled on top to melt while it rests.

    My husband is in the brisket club… especially corned beef brisket. We got a brisket with our 1/4 grass fed cow purchase last year, and I brined it myslef and made corned beef. It was awesome! I always make it for his birthday (the day before St. Patrick’s day). It definitely looked different than the chemical, artificial color filled corned beef briskets sold in the store, but the flavor was out of this world compared to store bought.

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  27. Julie says

    I must confess I have eaten brisket at a restaurant but did not know it was a specific cut of meat. I will have to look for one.

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  28. Carissa White says

    I can’t wait to try this! Just wonderful – including the pictures. Have you made the BBQ sauce from Animal Vegetable Miracle? I made it this summer and will hopefully try it with this recipe. Thank you again for the wonderful ideas.

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  29. says

    Yay! for the Ribeye Club =) Especially from a Jersey.

    I don’t know what happens to the brisket when we butcher our beef ~ I don’t think I’ve ever found one in our freezer. Unlike the liver, heart, and tongue :p

    I remember my sister cooking a brisket long and slow ~ and long ago ~ It was delicious!

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  30. Mary says

    I love brisket too. I do mine in the crockpot. I never heard it was a difficult cut to cook or I probably would still have dozens in my freezer piling up.

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  31. april says

    i could REALLY use the “against the grain” picture next time… I’m always confused on that instruction. Thanks for the recipe!

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  32. Vanessa says

    Mmm, sounds yummy. I wonder if there was anything labeled brisket in the 1/4 of cow we just bought. I just kinda threw it all in the freezer and figured as I pulled the meat out, I would look up anything I didn’t know how to cook :-)

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  33. Dana says

    I’ve never been brave enough to try a brisket, or even a whole chicken! I use mostly ground beef and chicken breasts (I know, I know!). I really need to branch out.

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    Chrissy Reply:

    Whole chicken is very simple and tasty. I do mine in my counter-top rotisserie but it’s also simple in the oven. A shallow baking dish or roasting pan and a roasting rack so the chicken sits up out of the juices. Bake at about 325-350 for apx. 15 minutes per pound. The juices will run clear when done. It will have a nice crispy skin if you like that, which I know is bad but I do ;) You can also stuff it with dressing, onion, apple, etc.

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  34. McKinsey says

    your blog cracks me up! I love your writing style! I will boldly buy a brisket the next time it’s on sale. thanks for the tips.

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  35. Theresa C says

    Wow, I was always afraid of this cut too! This recipe looks amazing and I know my hubby would love it! Thanks Laura :)
    Oh, fav cut of meat? Hmm, tri tip or porterhouse steak or of course the filet! I love red meat, grass fed of course ;)

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  36. Cheryl says

    My husband loves brisket also. But he usually cooks it. I’ll have to pay more attention next time or just get brave, buy one and cook it myself for him!!! Thanks for the tutorial. It really helps me to see what types of bakeware are fine/useful for different dishes.

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  37. says

    Venison tenderloin cooked on the grill tops my list of favorite meats!!

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    Missy Reply:

    Oooo… I have some of that in the freezer! How do you prepare it?

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    Tracey Reply:

    I usually rub the tenderloin down with olive oil, then apply a mixture of
    spices, mainly creole seasoning and garlic powder. I let that sit in the
    refrigerator for about 8-10 hours,
    then my husband grills it.

    In a saucepan I melt a little butter, add some steak sauce and a bit more
    creole seasoning, and he uses that to baste the tenderloin while it
    grills. We usually have a good-sized tenderloin, so it takes
    30-40 minutes over low to medium heat to get it cooked the way we like
    it. It’s one of our favorite meals; even our two girls can’t get enough!

    Have a great night!

    Tracey

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    Missy Reply:

    Great! Thanks so much!

  38. Laurie Plath says

    I’ve never cooked a brisket. Not because I’m scared, I just never thought about it. But it sounds wonderful.

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  39. says

    What part is a brisket? We bought half a cow, but there was not brisket in it!

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    Laura Reply:

    Brisket is the meat from the breast or lower chest. You usually don’t get a brisket when you buy a half a cow…I don’t have any idea why?!

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    Trudy Reply:

    Hi Laura,
    At my family’s slaughterhouse, the brisket would have went into the hamburger meat unless you specifically asked for the brisket to be saved and left whole. Most families needed more hamburger meat and few knew about it or wanted to learn to fix it. I’ve never fixed one either but had two saved in the freezer and one is in the oven now thanks to your inspiration!

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  40. says

    We just got our grass fed 1/4 beef and I’m sad to report there was no brisket. I’ve seen how Pioneer Woman does hers and I always start drooling! Now I’ve got two drool worthy options…yum.

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  41. Rachel B says

    I’ve never been a huge red meat fan but it’s definitely growing on me. My husband would LOVE this barbecued brisket. Anything barbecue is always his favorite. One of my favorite ways to do beef is to soak a roast in buttermilk for a few days as per Nourishing Traditions. It is SO good that way! Very, very tender.

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  42. Carmen says

    I’ve never made brisket. We love to do roasts – chuck, arm, etc. in a low-and-slow method in our electric skillet. After searing the meat in the pan, you turn the heat down to low and add some water to the bottom. You can add potato halves and sliced onions at the same time. Simmer, keeping watch on the water level. If you’re lucky, you will get some nice caramelization from the meat that penetrates the potatoes an onions – but be careful! There’s a fine line between caramelization and burning. About 1/2 hour before you think the roast is ready, add some carrots.

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  43. Wendy says

    Laura, don’t feel bad about being afraid of a piece of meat and how to cook it! We raise beef for a living and I am still nervous about cooking my prime rib…it’s been in the freezer for quite some time! Maybe it’s time for me to tackle it too?! :)

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  44. Elaine says

    looks good, I have never had brisket. we get meat from a local farmer and we don’t get “brisket” on a butcher’s label— is it just a type of roast?

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  45. says

    Looks yummy! I’ve always wanted to try corning my own brisket for St. Patrick’s day too since there’s so much yucky stuff in the store-bought ones. I’ll have to try your recipe so I can get over my own fear of brisket first!

    Oh, and my favorite cut of beef has to be skirt steak! You cook it the opposite of a brisket, high and quick, but it’s oh so tasty and easy!

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  46. AmyR says

    I made brisket only once. It was in the crockpot and came out so dry. Now that we’ve moved to pastured grass-fed beef, I’m afraid it will be REALLY dry.

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  47. Nicole S. says

    I’ve always been intimidated by brisket, but think I’ll give it a try now. Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  48. Jozana says

    I have a brisket in the freezer from the 1/4 of beef we got and I didn’t know what to do with it (I grew up eating VERY little red meat and married an “meat and potatoes” Iowa boy). Guess what we are going to have on Sunday!!!! My husband will be so impressed. Thank you!!!

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  49. Danielle B says

    I’ve seared brisket (to seal in the juices and stuff) and then put spaghetti sauce on it and baked it!

    Never had it w/BBQ sauce tho. hmmmm

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  50. says

    I make BBQ brisket all the time and do it in the crockpot on busy days. My family loves it both first serving and the leftovers. I always reheat the brisket with more sauce so it doesn’t dry out.

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  51. Sue Moo says

    My hubby loves brisket from the restaurant. It would be nice to be able to cook it and surprise him when I tell him it’s not from Famous Dave’s. HAHA Thanks for the recipe and PICS.

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  52. says

    This may be a dumb question but I’m serious. How do you know when it’s done? My brisket is larger than you mentioned (5 1/2 lb) but one thing I have learned is you can’t always go by color of meat, especially when using a sauce or marinade. Temperature? Thanks for all your wonderful tutorials and wisdom! <3

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    It’s not a dumb question at all! Look for an internal temp of 175 or more. :)

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    Matt Reply:

    Tamara, a brisket is done when it is done. What does that mean? It means it might be done as llow as 190 or as high as 210. What you are looking for is that the meat probes tender, or as those of us who do a lot of BBQ often say, “like buttah”. You need to give time for the fat and connective tissue to render. Tougher cuts of meat must be cooked at lower temperatures for longer periods of time and to higher internal temperatures to become tender. Paradoxically, although the meat temperature is technically “overdone” for beef, because the fat and connective tissue has rendered at the higher internal temperatures, it will be tastier, more moist, and more tender than if you remove from the cook earlier.

    On a side note, and just a minor quibble, slathering a piece of meat with BBQ sauce and throwing in an oven or crock pot at low temperatures isn’t technically BBQ. You need wood smoke for it to be BBQ. That means either adding wood to a dedicated smoker or learning how to smoke on a kettle grill using wood chunks over coals and indirect heat with the lid closed.

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    Rebecca C Reply:

    Matt is correct, cook it until it falls apart. We usually do a much, much bigger brisket, liberally season it with paprika, and bake it on 250* overnight and into the next day…until it’s done. It is a wonderful! We don’t put BBQ sauce on it until it’s done. That way you can use it for all sorts of meals. I like to make this and portion it out and freeze it for the days I need a quick meal. My favorite way to make a brisket is to smoke it in our BBQ smoker. SO good!

    Rebecca

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  53. Suzanne says

    Brisket is my husband’s favorite, too, so I made it in the crock pot once. It was the most expensive piece of meat I ever ruined. It has taken a while and a lot of dry meat to realize I am away from home far too long everyday to make a successful meat crock pot meal during the week. I even have one with a timer that switches to “keep warm” when the time is up and the meat is consistently dry. :( I will try your method in the oven one day when I am home.

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  54. Deb says

    Just made this a few weeks ago for our small group with a rub to cook and then homemade barbecue sauce on the side. We had crock pot macaroni and cheese and coleslaw to go with it, then I made homemade ice cream for dessert. A very labor intensive meal, but very well received!

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  55. Kim says

    Can I just cover the pan with foil? None of my oven safe pans have an actual lid! Looks yummy!

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    Laura Reply:

    Yep!

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  56. Jane G says

    I felt the same way about a brisket until I found a low and slow oven cooked method on foodtv.com. I used Paula Deen’s Texas dry rub, cooked it for an hour uncovered, then added beef broth and cooked it for 3 hours covered. It comes out super tender and absolutely delicious every time.

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  57. says

    I love brisket too, Laura, and you are right on about low and slow! Here’s my grandmother’s recipe which is our family’s favorite, and, yes, we should know being from Texas and all! ;) Here is Sibley Brisket:
    Take your meat and rub it all over with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, a little cayenne and pepper. Put the brisket in a dish a little bigger than it is, but not one that swallows it up. Place brisket (this is important), fat side up and drizzle worschershire sauce all over it under all of the meat has some sauce on it and there’s a little in the bottom of the pan. Cook on 300 degrees for 3- 3 1/2 hours and then let sit for 15 min. Slice against the grain and enjoy with the gravy! So easy, so delicious.

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    BetsyD Reply:

    Forgot to mention that it should be covered as it cooks!

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  58. Sarah says

    Question – what about adding liquid smoke? I’ve wondered about trying my hand at brisket but have the exact same reservations about ruining a very expensive piece of meat….it’s one of my husband’s favorite foods on the planet, though, so if I could make this, well….I don’t even know what to say.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Liquid smoke should only enhance the flavor! Really you can season it anyway you want. The only trick to brisket is cooking it slow and low! Stick it in the dish and walk away…it really is that easy!

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  59. kelly d says

    haha i laughed at you not wanting to waste the money if you were going to ruin it..the other day i got a rump roast(not grass fed, but still expensive)after waiting for quite a while for it to go on sale.it costs an arm and a leg for one big enough for our family of 9..put it in the crock pot for french dip sandwhiches..came home hours later to find my crock pot had died some where along the cooking process…i honestly wanted to cry!!!so i took my half cooked ice cold pice of meat and threw it our in our woods…it will be a while before we do that again..but i am going to keep an eye out for brisket..it looks so good!!

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  60. Amy says

    I have always wanted to try brisket. After finding your recipe I decided to give it a try. The grocer I went to did not have brisket, I found a big flank decided that will work the same(I know nothing about cuts of meat obviously) I found on the internet that flank can be cooked the same way as brisket…. Results may not be the same.. O great. Its cooking now.. Time will tell.. I doubled the BBQ sauce and wrapped the pan completely in foil, and since the meat is a tougher cut I am cooking it 5 1/2 hours. Will let you know how it works out..

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