Finishing brisket in your oven is a great solution to extreme weather or unfortunate circumstances - simply set your oven temp to 225°F and stick the beef in there until it hits 203°F internal temp. Just keep a close eye on the brisket while it is in the oven so it doesn’t overcook.
I am all about smoking brisket the old-fashioned way - low and slow on my smoker. But there have been times when my fire died out, and I had to move the brisket to the oven. It happens.
In this post, I will guide you through finishing brisket in the oven one step at a time. I’m spilling all the tips and tricks. Let's cook!
I finish brisket in the oven at 225°F, the same temperature I like to smoke briskets at. There is conflicting advice in the BBQ community and on the internet on what temperature you should finish your brisket at.
Some will tell you to set the oven to 300°F.
Again, I like 225°F. Here's the thing - when you cook brisket at a lower temperature, you give the muscle and connective tissue in the brisket time to break down. This is what makes the meat moist, tender, and 10 out of 10, next-level delicious.
The drawback of using 225°F is that you will have to keep the brisket in the oven for longer.
I know that some people want to speed up the cooking process. That’s why they crank the temperature to 300°F when cooking brisket. Their reward is brisket that’s ready sooner. It also tastes much worse. It’ll be dry. It’ll be tough. Life’s too short for bad brisket - finish yours at 300°F and you’ll have an expensive mistake that leaves you disappointed.
If you are absolutely pressed for time, I’ve got a couple of suggestions.
First, wrap the brisket in aluminum foil instead of butcher paper. Foil creates an impermeable barrier that helps to trap moisture.
There are those that like to simmer onions in a Dutch oven filled with beef broth, let the brisket cook in this mix for a while, and then add it to the oven. This speeds up the cooking process. You can try this method (It’s braising, and I’ll bet it tastes great), but it isn't authentic BBQ brisket.
Here is how to finish brisket in the oven, step by step:
Trim the excess fat off of the brisket. The fat cap should be around 1/4th of an inch thick.
Sprinkle kosher salt all over the brisket. Place the brisket on a tray and keep it in the refrigerator, uncovered, between 2 to 24 hours. This is dry brining.
Combine the ingredients of the dry rub in a bowl. Mix well.
Apply a thin layer of yellow mustard to the brisket. Spread it over the entire surface with a basting brush. Then, sprinkle on the spice rub and gently press it into the surface of the meat.
Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
Place the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket.
Place the brisket in the smoker, with the fat side facing the heat source.
Cook until the internal temperature hits the stall - the stall is when the internal temperature of the meat stops climbing, around 160°F.
As the brisket approaches the stall, preheat the oven to 225°F.
On your workstation, cut out two pieces of butcher paper. They should be four times as long as the brisket is wide.
Place one of the butcher paper sheets down. Place the other on top, overlapping the other sheet halfway.
Take the brisket out of the smoker. (Heat-resistant gloves are handy for this. Otherwise, use potholders). Place it in the center of the paper. Remove the thermometer.
Take the bottom of the paper and fold it over the brisket. Then, take the left-hand side of the paper and fold it over the brisket. Repeat this with the right side. You want to wrap it tightly.
Fold the paper at the top over and then tuck it under the brisket.
Here’s a handy video if you’re a visual learner.
Insert the thermometer probe into the brisket (if using a leave-in thermometer). If you’re using an instant-read thermometer, check the brisket every hour or so, more frequently when it’s almost done.
Put the wrapped brisket on a roasting pan.
Place the brisket in the oven.
Cook until the brisket reaches 203°F.
Once the brisket reaches the desired temperature, take it out of the oven and place it in a cooler. Let it rest in the closed cooler for 2-4 hours. Your brisket will be far juicier and more tender if you allow it to rest - collagen in the beef continues to break down during this stage.
Time to slice and serve. Place the brisket on a cutting board and cut it against the grain. This can be a bit tricky, as the flat and point have different grain directions. Here’s a handy guide on slicing brisket if you’re not sure what to do.
Here are some of the tricks you should keep in mind when you finish cooking your brisket in the oven:
I always dry brine meat, including brisket. Do it 2 to 24 hours before smoking the brisket. Dry brining helps to keep the brisket moist. Use ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound or ¼ teaspoon of table salt per pound. Spread the salt all over the surface of the meat, then stick the meat back in the fridge.
The key to good BBQ, especially brisket, is cooking it at a low and even rate. Give yourself some help and use a reliable thermometer that can be placed inside the oven. Then you can keep an eye on the cooking temperature.
Thermoworks is an incredibly popular brand of thermometer manufacturer in the BBQ community.
Whether you’re cooking the brisket in the oven or on your grill, it is critical to keep a close eye on the internal temperature. This is the only way to know when the brisket should be taken out of the oven. It is key for a delicious brisket.
I avoid finishing brisket in the oven, but sometimes you have no choice.
Briskets can also take a long time to cook - upwards of 12 hours or more. You might run out of charcoal, pellets, or whatever fuel you’re using.
Extreme weather may also force you to move your cook inside. Tornados, severe wind, or lightning in your area are all examples of times when you should not be outside tending to your grill. The risk to your life and health is too great.
Since briskets can take an entire waking day to cook, some people feel more comfortable knowing that their brisket is safely cooking in the oven instead of smoking in a smoker outside. The oven, unlike some smokers, does not have the potential for large temperature swings.
While I am a bit of a Puritan when it comes to smoking brisket, even I have to admit that there are moments when being able to finish brisket in the oven can come in handy. There’s no shame in the oven game!
Yes! If you’ve smoked the brisket for hours in your cooker, that smoky flavor is already in the meat.
I get it. One of the reasons that people are hesitant to let brisket cook in the oven is because they are worried about the flavor. They are concerned that you won't get that smoky flavor that makes for a delicious brisket.
But once you wrap the brisket in foil, it’s not getting any more smoke anyway. Since you are finishing the brisket in the oven only once it has been wrapped, it will be just as smokey as a brisket that was finished on the grill!
If you stick to 225°F for cooking it in the oven, it will take about an hour for each pound of meat to cook. Again, times in BBQ are rough estimates. The brisket is done when it’s very tender and a toothpick glides into it, around 203°F.
If you are cranking up the temperature - which I don’t recommend - to 275°F or 300°F, then it will likely only take about 30 to 45 minutes per pound. Wrap your brisket tightly in foil if you cook it this way. The foil will trap the moisture and make the meat more tender.
That’s it! Everything you need to know about finishing a brisket in your oven. If severe weather, insufficient fuel, or another issue forces you to finish your cook inside, don’t worry! You’ve got all the know-how to crank out some mouthwatering ‘que. Happy grilling!