Cooking a 2.5 lb brisket in an oven
I got a nice 2.5 lb brisket marked down to $5 a few days ago. I put on a rub and wrapped it in plastic and it's been marinating in the fridge.
I would like to oven bake this little guy @ 250 in a Dutch oven. How long do you think this would take?
Or if you have another suggestion that can be done inside that would be nice too. Time is not a factor, I can take 12 hours if needed. I just don't want to get all saucey like a Bubbies brisket.
Almost any recipe for braised beef will give you some good guidelines. Some years ago (maybe 3( Cooks Illustrated published a very good braised brisket recipe. Unfortunately, I don;t have it to paraphrase. Maybe someone else does. I was in a hurry once and took the recipe and sliced the brisket raw on a meat slicer, browned the slices on both sides, and braised them in broth with a bit of red wine and herbs in about an hour. On another occasion, I cooked the whole brisket but let it go too long, and it tasted like canned beef. So ultimately, you need to test it and take notes. Probably 3 hours at 325 and more like 5 and 250. But do brown it first.
At 250 degrees F I wouldn't bother checking it before five hours.
However, you can speed things up considerably by boosting the heat to 350 degrees F. Here's what I'd do:
Roast directly on oven rack in middle slot of oven at 350 degrees F until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Wrap in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil and continue to roast until probe tender (a thermometer probe will slide into the brisket easily. Remove from oven and wrap the brisket (still wrapped in foil) in a big towel and put in cooler for at least one hour. Slice against the grain on the bias.
Could you say why you would make these changes to OP's ideas of how to do it? Also why the aluminum foil wrap and aprox time for second roast and lastly reason for toweling and cooling.
Thanks for your expertise and time. I learn and remember much easier if I know the reasons I am being asked/directed to do additional tasks.
You could certainly braise the brisket and get good results. I just prefer the texture and flavor that the method I mention yields.
Cooking the brisket using a dry heat method in the first part of the cook gives some moisture the chance to evaporate thus concentrating the beef flavor. I prefer the texture that this method uses (roasted directly on rack, then wrapped in foil and finished) rather than the pot roast texture that I've gotten from braising the brisket in the past.
One thing I did forget to mention is that I'd put a pan on the rack below to catch any drippings (take the pan out of the oven one the brisket is wrapped in foil). I'd then use those drippings to mix with the barbecue sauce (or whatever sauce) that was going to be used to dress the sliced brisket with.