How to Cook a Brisket

Three Methods:Seasoning the BeefCooking the BrisketServing the Brisket

Beef brisket is a favorite choice of meat that is quite flavorful and easy to prepare. Using low heat and cooking slowly are the two tricks to properly prepare a beef brisket. You can also add various flavors based on your choice of seasonings and sauces.


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 4 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock

Method 1
Seasoning the Beef

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    Select your beef brisket. For the best flavor, you want a brisket known as the "packer's cut." This brisket still has a layer of fat across the top called the "fat cap" and good marbling or fat streaks throughout. This extra layer of fat will retain moisture and flavor while the meat cooks.[1]
    • Ensure that the brisket has a "prime" or "choice" label. If you don't see this label, ask the butcher about the origin of the meat to confirm you are purchasing a quality cut.
    • If you'd like to make more brisket, purchase an 8 pound piece and double the seasoning recipe.
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    Trim the brisket. Use a sharp knife to trim away the excess fat from around the brisket. You could also ask the butcher for a cut that is pre-trimmed.
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    Mix the seasonings. Place the spices and salt in a bowl. Use a whisk to mix them together until they're thoroughly combined.
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    Rub the seasonings on the brisket. Sprinkle half the seasoning mix over one side of the brisket and use your hands to spread it around and rub it in. Turn the brisket over and season the other side.
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    Place the brisket in a roasting pan. Choose one with high sides, since the brisket will produce a lot of juice as it cooks.

Method 2
Cooking the Brisket

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    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
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    Roast the brisket for an hour. Place it in the oven (without covering it first) and let it cook. Don't open the oven during this time.[2]
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    Add the beef stock and some water. Open the oven and pour the beef stock into the roasting pan. Add enough water to bring the liquid level to about 3/4 an inch.
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    Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. The rest of the cooking process is low and slow.
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    Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil. This is to ensure the brisket doesn't dry out during the remaining cooking period.
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    Return the brisket to the oven for 3 hours. Poke it with a fork to test whether it's ready; if the meat easily falls apart, it's done. If not, let it keep cooking until the meat is tender.
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    Remove the brisket from the oven and let it rest. Uncover it and allow it to set at room temperature on a cutting board for 20-30 minutes.

Method 3
Serving the Brisket

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    Trim the fat. Remove and discard the "fat cap" from the brisket with a chef's knife.
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    Carve the brisket. Use a sharp chef's knife to carve the brisket while it is still warm. You need to cut against the grain of the meat, not with the grain.
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    Serve the meat with the juices. You can pour the juices from the roasting pan into a small gravy dish. The juice should be poured over the brisket a few slices at a time for serving.
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    Store the brisket. Leftover brisket will keep in the refrigerator for several days. You can also place cooled slices of brisket in a freezer bag and keep the meet for 2 - 3 months.


  • You can also cook the brisket in a smoker. Follow the instructions provided with the smoker for proper cooking.
  • If you are cooking the brisket in an oven, you can place the foil-wrapped meat directly on the middle rack or place it in a baking dish to collect any drippings.
  • There are two distinct ends of a beef brisket, the flat cut and the point cut. The cut looks like its name. The flat cut is flat and the point cut is pointed. The flat cut is better for slicing and the point cut is better for shredding.


  • All cooking devices will be hot, as well as the cooked brisket. Use proper hand mitts to protect yourself from burns.

Things You'll Need

  • Roasting pan
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board