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Sep 3, 2013 02:00 PM

Brisket - Oven vs. Slow Cooker

Getting ready for Rosh Hashanah dinner on Thursday and I haven't been happy with my brisket the last two years (too dry and tough). I'm thinking about going the slow cooker route. What do people prefer? Oven or slow cooker?

Full disclosure, I'm on the CHOW team and can borrow a slow cooker from the kitchen. Should I give it a go or try an overnight method in my oven?

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    1. Zero brisket experience here, but a closed cooker does a better job than an oven on several counts, starting with simplicity - in an oven, you basically have to use foil etc, to replicate a slow-cooker's environment, though less satisfactorily - and on to overall cost. To check it, you just take the lid off, and temperature recovery is very fast. And if you have a superior-grade cooker you can regulate your temperature much more closely than the old LOW-HIGH controls allowed.

      My emotional favorite is overnight in the oven, just because I love waking up to good savory smells - if I ever do another cassoulet it'll be that way again. But in the case of your brisket I'm betting on the cooker.

      1. We always use the Oven. Tightly sealed with lots of browned Onions, Chicken or Beef Stock . 300 for at least 3 hours usually 4. Cool over night before defatting and slicing.
        Will a Whole Brisket even fit in a Slow-cooker?

        1. How big is your brisket? I use a full packer [15-18 pounds] and bake it with a Reynolds Turkey Cooking bag and a can of Coca-Cola [to make the meat tender and moist]. Cook at 200-225 degrees and about an hour-plus per pound. Follow all instructions on the cooking bag concerning the use of flour to coat and making holes [and I also use a disposable cooking pan for ease of clean-up].

          Good luck.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hawkeyeui93

            Picked up two 4 lb ones. Didn't think of using a turkey bag - thanks! Since I ended up with two, I may do a side by side comparison if I can get everything prepped tonight.

            1. re: TracyKaplan

              You might even get away with a smaller cooking bag, but I have found Reynolds to make the most sturdy ones. Good luck and I would love to hear the side-by-side if you are able to try it.

          2. Oven provides a more consistent and broader crust in most cases, and it's the way I prefer. I prefer it for pulled pork and most other slow-cooked larger cuts of meat.

            Oven bags do work well, and the trick is to trust the timing and let the low-slow cook go uninterrupted until the last few hours.

            Though hard to tell eaten separately, it's possible to taste the difference when side by side because the depth of flavor is usually a bit more with oven/bag cooked.