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Brisket in the oven?

I client gave me a recipe for brisket that her Jewish grandmother used to make for the holidays. She said it was incredibly tender. I love brisket, so thought I would give it a try. It was terrible, hard as a rock and tough as shoe leather. I cooked it according to the directions she gave me. The recipe is totally simple. Where did this go wrong?
Bubbies Brisket:
1 whole brisket, 1 can Coke, 1 envelope onion soup mix, 1 bottle chili sauce.
Defat brisket and score diagonally. Place in roasting pan scored side down. Add chili sauce, onion soup mix and can of Coke. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook at 325 for 3 to 5 hours until fork tender. Slice brisket against grain where scored. Defat gravy and return slices to pan. Cook for another 45 minutes at 325.
What a bummer; had to stay home because the oven was on a good part of the day, and the meal was ruined anyway!

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  1. Oh my! The scoring, the scoring....shakes head. There is no need, and indeed it is drying to score the beef, especially cutting it and adding it back to the braise ,after it's been braising for hours.
    5 hours is likely way too long.
    Keeping the ingredients the same, I would:
    S&P, and lightly flour the brisket. Sear to brown each side in olive oil.Transfer to roasting pan. Baste in the coke/soup mix/ chili sauce mix in a tin foil covered roasting pan (or a large braiser if you have one) at 325 for 3 hours. Check for fork tenderness. DO NOT SCORE OR CUT!
    If it's fork tender, it's done. Let the brisket rest for 15-20 minutes on a cutting board before slicing. Place the braising gravy in a fat separating cup and pour over sliced brisket as desired.
    Bubbie, Bubbie, Oy vey!!

    eta: and leave some of that fat on!! Do not de-fat it because you'll lose flavor.

    1. I never defat the brisket nor score it (or even sear it).

      I'd place it in the pan (or dutch oven) pour the rest of the ingredients over it, cover and cook at 325 for 3-4 hours. Let it cool, put in refrigerator overnight. Brisket is always better the next day. Take the whole thing out of the refrigerator and let it get close to room temperature (it's just easier to slice when it's not so cold). Take the layer of fat off the liquid, slice the meat against the grain, put it back in the pan (or dutch oven) with the liquid, cover and reheat for about an hour at 300 or so.

      Give it another try! It really is easy!

      1. I have seen this recipe before without the scoring and defating. Makes a nice sweet sauce.
        I made a 9 lb whole brisket last friday night. I put it in a large foil pan with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, water/red wine to fill half way up the side of the brisket. Covered tightly and cooked 5hrs at 350. Removed the brisket and placed in the fridge to slice the next day. Strained the liquid and stached in the fridge. Next day defated sauce and added balsalmic vinegar, katsup, spices more wine. Reduced sauce by half. Cleaned brisket of all surface fat and sliced. Reconstructed with sliced brisket, sauce and carmelized onions on top and returned to the oven for an hour to heat up. Brisket was anything but dry. By cooking the day before you can defat the sauce and it makes the brisket easy to slice when cold.

        1. That just goes to show ya -- not all Bubbies were great cooks. The meat needs the fat for tenderness and flavor. It's easy enough to de-fat it after it's been cooked. And personally, I've never scored a brisket, and don't see the need for it.

          Low and slow is the way to braise it. Four hours at 325 ought to be just fine. Don't give up on making brisket. For what it's worth, here's my favorite brisket recipe:

          Chili-Beer Brisket

          3 very large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
          1 whole brisket, patted dry with paper towel
          ½ tablespoon kosher salt
          Freshly ground black pepper
          3 pounds yellow onions, halved and sliced
          4 medium carrots, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
          3 large ribs of celery, sliced into 1-inch pieces
          4 bay leaves
          2 bottles Heinz chili sauce
          2 12-oz. bottles good quality dark beer

          Preheat oven to 325°

          Rub chopped garlic onto both sides of the brisket. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper.

          Spread onions, carrots and celery in a roasting pan. Place the meat over the vegetables. Put two bay leaves under the meat and two on top of the meat.

          Combine chili sauce and beer in a large bowl. Carefully pour mixture over meat.

          Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and braise in oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven, remove foil and allow meat to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

          Strain liquid into a fat separator and pour off fat. Add liquid and vegetables from pan to a saucepan. Using an immersion blender, puree some of the vegetables, leaving some in large pieces for texture. Reheat. Serve over sliced meat.

          15 Replies
          1. re: CindyJ

            I've never made plain brisket but I have made corned beef brisket. I find its critical to let the brisket cool in the liquid and refrigerate in the liquid to keep it tender and moist. I too would never trim the fat..its the most flavorful part.

            1. re: CindyJ

              OMG, cindyJ, this sounds awesome.

              i've tried to cook brisket in the oven twice, once with great success, once without.

              i'd love to try BBQing it on my weber kettle, but judging from my iffy results in the oven - i'm hesitant. (as a newbie weber kettle owner)

              1. re: hitachino

                Now, I'm not bragging, but I can honestly say that this recipe has NEVER failed me. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out. And let me know what time to show up for dinner. :)

                1. re: hitachino

                  ok, hitachino, you should definitely do the BBQ in your Kettle... I do it all the time. here's what you need to know. for a texas-style real BBQ, take either an entire brisket flat, best from Sam's or Costco, in the cryovac, with the fat cap on (runs from 5-8 lbs), or an entire brisket (flat and point, usually 10-14 lbs). Don't try this with a 3-lb chunck from the grocery store -- it will dry out fast. rub with a mix of about 4T kosher salt, 1T rough cracked black pepper, 1T granulated garlic, and 1t cayenne. that's it. doesn't need to sit in the fridge for a day, either. just get started on the Kettle. You need either to make two very small fires (about 8-12 briquettes each) on two sides of the kettle. Or you can make a "rope" or "fuse" of charcoal running 3/4 of the way around the edge of the grill. A diagonal "slice" of this fuse shows three briquettes, two on the bottom and one on top, like dominoes knocked over, all touching, around the grill. then light about 8 briquettes on one end. Add a few chunks of hardwood if you like (i use a little mesquite and hickory). It will slowly burn around, maintaining about 250 degrees in the chamber. Cover on, top and bottom vents open. That fuse will burn, undisturbed, for about 5-6 hours. Nice trick; ought to take a pic of it so I can share. Anyway, the dry rubbed brisket goes in the middle of the grill, with NO fire under it -- fire is either on the sides or around the edge. If you do the sides, you''ll need to add 4 or 5 coals every 30-45 min on each side. So the fuse has it's advantages. It will take about 6-8 hours to do a 6-7lb flat this way. if you use the fuse, you'll just need to start adding coals every 40 min after it runs out. You want a dome temp of about 250-275. And the brisket will be done when the internal temp hits between 190-200. You need to track the internal temp with a probe or instant read, but also check to see when the brisket simply gets fork tender. That's when it's done. Don't let sauce touch the brisket when cooking. You can whip up a vinegary/tomato sauce to serve on the side. You can use something like a Stubbs, but not something sweet... not for Texans, anyway. I can give you a sauce from scratch if you like. One more thing. Some people will wrap the brisket in foil when it hits about 160-170 internal, and finish that way to 200. It will help retain moisture. It's a good idea. gonna give it a try??

                  1. re: woodburner

                    awesome, thank you!

                    i will definitely try this - i have to find some more of the uniformly-sized hardwood briquettes that i initially got at home depot when i bought the grill - after running out i've been using the hardwood chunks and they burn way to quickly and unpredictably.

                    the briquettes in that rope method (when i tried slow smoking some ribs) burned FOREVER. to the point where i think i overcooked the ribs, and the ring had only burned halfway around - i think it took 4 hours.

                    i can't remember the brand, so i'll have to just make a special trip to home depot.

                    thanks again!!!!

                    1. re: hitachino

                      You're welcome. This sounds goofy, but I highly recommend good old Kingsford. They burn cleanly and consistently. Store brands can be uneven. You're right about the lump hardwood... burn fast and hot.

                2. re: CindyJ

                  CindyJ: your recipe sounds great. Next time I make brisket, this will be the recipe I use. Question: what does a whole brisket weigh? In my grocery store, I usually just see pieces that range from 2 lbs to 5 or so. Maybe I should ask the butcher to give me a larger piece? I know brisket shrinks alot; what would be a good weight to buy and approx how many people would the above recipe serve?
                  Thanks!

                  1. re: mschow

                    I usually buy a whole brisket -- I'm guessing it's about 3-4 pounds. In a supermarket, they come cryovac (?) wrapped and sealed, and they often cut them in half to put into the meat case. This is NOT the same as the brisket they sell for corned beef! Yes, it does shrink quite a bit. A whole brisket will feed about 5-6 people, assuming there are side dishes, and depending on appetites. In my house, folks just gobble it up. Buy more than you think you need; leftovers (if there are any) are DELICIOUS!

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      Packer style whole briskets, untrimmed in cyro, are around 8-16 lbs. Even if you trimmed it out you would lose only a couple of pounds. Sounds like the supermarket cryos are the whole flats without the point and very well trimmed.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        that's exactly what I was meaning- CindyJ- if it's only around 3-4 lbs it is not a whole brisket, only the flat cut portion (which could only be around 5 at most). Most whole I find are average 10 lbs, as to why most recipes call for that.

                        1. re: pamd

                          Interestingly enough, the original brisket recipe (which I've now modified significantly) called for a whole brisket weighing about 10 pounds. From what I've read about whole brisket, I've concluded that (1) the cut of brisket I buy, even though it's cryo-wrapped, has already had that top portion of meat removed, and (2) it's difficult to find a "whole" brisket in my neighborhood. Where does one have to go to find a "whole" brisket?

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            We get ours (about 10lbs) at Costco. Sam's Club also sells them here in DFW.

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                actually, at the Costco in PA that I go to, I've only seen the flat cuts~3-5 lbs.
                                Probably the butcher on Germantown Ave, or possibly WayneFM?

                  2. re: CindyJ

                    Thanks for this recipe CindyJ. I made it tonight with a 3 1/3 lb brisket. The only thing I would change is next time I'll either use a bigger brisket or less veggies. I had way too much sauce for meat!
                    It was really good though!

                  3. No scoring! Fat side up. 200 degrees for 4-6 hours...Cool, refridge, bring to room temp, gently reheat in low oven. Deeeelish.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Funwithfood

                      How long wouldI cook a 4 lb brisket? I have dry rubbed it do I need to add liquid? I want to primarily cook it in the oven but place it on the grill for the last hour to get that flavor..sound good?