Updated: Dec 22, 2018
Beef brisket is literally a slab of flavour that's fail proof to prepare. You can't do much better than that.
There's different ways that you can cook brisket.
The gold standard is Texas style smoked brisket. I've cooked brisket in my rustic outdoor smoker for a BBQ feast. The classic 'low and slow' method is a long process. Be prepared to wake up early to prepare the meat, allow it to sit at room temperature and soak your wood chips before smoking the meat for 8 hours +. The up side? It's a small amount of hands on preparation for a lot of flavour and a unique feast. If you're a fan of the authentic smoke infused meat, you can't beat the smoker box. I used hickory smoking chips and the smoke adds an entire other dimension to the flavour of the meat. A Texas smoker BBQ also makes for a memorable afternoon of gazing at the spirals of smoke emanating from the smoker, savouring the delicious aromas wafting into your home and waiting in anticipation for the meat to emerge, ready to enjoy. It's a perfect choice for a long lunch with family or friends. (If you're keen to invest in a smoker and try it, check out BBQ with Franklin for step-by-step instructions.)
If you don't have a smoker box among your cooking tools, you're in luck! All you'll need for this recipe is an oven. And while you do lose the incredible smokiness, you don't miss out on flavour. In fact, this set-it-and-forget-it method is so incredible, you may start to compare your brisket to the Texas BBQ elite.
What is brisket?
Brisket is a tough cut of beef from the pectoral muscle. It shines after long cooking to transform it into a tender, delicious roast.
Do you need a full brisket or just a cut of brisket?
If you're using a smoker box, make the most of it and find a butcher to sell you an entire brisket (about 3 to 4 kgs). If you're after a quicker and easier cut for your oven, choose either the flat or the point.
You can tell from this photo that I've used the point cut, because you'll notice the layer of fat and connective tissue that runs across the meat. This is pure brisket heaven.
You can see the connective tissue weaving across the meat.
Those little blackened bits? They are called the brisket 'burnt ends', little bursts of flavour cut from the point half of a brisket. They have a cult status in Southern American BBQ. You need to taste it to understand.
Or, you can use the flat. It's meatier, leaner, and slices better.
Oven roasted beef brisket
Tender beef brisket cooked for hours to a tender and succulent perfection
Prep time: < 10 minutes to prepare the rub
Cook time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Fail proof
Beef brisket, point cut (I used a cut about 1.25 kg for a total cooking time of 4 hours 15 minutes)
Here's my favourite five spices to make the rub. It's dry, I don't use any oil. I honestly don't measure the quantities or ratios, but I'd say I use about equal parts of each spice. I'm generous on the chilli and paprika - I like the kick.
Rock salt, ground
Roasting pan or cast iron casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Trim the uncooked brisket so that the outside layers of fat are even. Don't cut the fat off - just tidy it up so that all parts of the brisket cook at the same rate, not too dry or too fatty. You'll notice that some chunks of fat are really thick, and other parts are thin (this will also depend on whether you're cooking the point or the flat). Trim the larger chunks of fat to about 1 cm.
Mix the dry rub separately. Sprinkle it on the brisket. Use your hands to massage the rub into the surface of the brisket. You should use enough to cover all sides of the fat and meat in the spices.
Season brisket with salt and pepper to taste. Don't skimp on the salt.
Place brisket in a roasting pan or dish and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Decrease oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Remove brisket from the oven just to cover it. I use a sheet of aluminium foil and place a cast iron casserole dish lid on top to tightly secure the foil and make sure that the brisket is completely sealed.
Continue cooking for 3 - 3.5 hours.
Remove from oven and drain oil to keep for later. I use it to fry eggs, as a salad dressing or to add a sauce to steamed green vegetables, like broccoli.
Slice across the grain and enjoy!