In the Kitchen: Smoked Brisket

WTNH– Gary McNeff teaches us how to smoke a brisket using just your oven.

Smoking foods can be time-consuming and difficult and you need specific equipment but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can very simply make smoked brisket in the oven.

For more information, go to


4 – 8 pound beef brisket*
Beef rub**
3.5 oz bottle Wright’s Liquid Smoke***
1 tbsp celery seeds
2 tbsp olive oil

*There are different cuts of brisket: the flat, the point and a whole brisket which is sometimes called a packer brisket (a whole or packer brisket is both the flat and point together, simply not separated. Also, I mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again – you do NOT want a corned beef brisket).

I typically use either a whole or flat cut. Beef prices have risen so much that when I bought a brisket last week, whole briskets were $3.39/lb and flats were $7.59/lb.  For that, you can get a whole brisket that weighs twice as much for the same amount as a flat.  I bought an 11 pounder, removed the point and was left with seven pounds for the flat and paid less that I would have for a five pound flat.  I then had four pounds of point to turn into burnt ends (arguably the best part of a brisket) for far less than the equivalent flat cut.

**There are LOTS of different kinds of rubs and just as many opinions as to which one is best. I suggest either finding a rub recipe you think you’d like and trying that or simply buying one at the store (you’ll have a lot to choose from). Here is a link to one that I’ve tried before and really like, but again, feel free to use whatever YOU prefer. When we were younger, we didn’t use a rub at all – we simply used the celery seed on top of the brisket along with the liquid smoke and that works as well!

Liquid smoke

***Liquid smoke is one of those things that a lot of people seem to either have never heard of or are kind of confused about. Exactly what is in it? Well, if you buy Wright’s, the answer is water and hickory smoke concentrate.  It is actually made from hickory (or applewood or mesquite depending on the type you buy) wood that is burned inside a chamber. As the smoke rises it is captured in a condenser and it cools. The cooled smoke forms water droplets (condensation). These droplets are then collected and filtered.  That’s it. No other additives (which is one of the reasons I prefer the Wright’s brand – there are other brands and they typically have additives).

This needs to sit overnight, so start the DAY BEFORE you want to cook the brisket:
1) Take the brisket out and put on a cutting board or in a large pan
2) Thoroughly rub one side of the brisket with one tbsp olive oil
3) Generously sprinkle the rub over the entire side of the brisket and rub it into the meat
4) Rub the rub thoroughly into the meat (sounds a bit redundant, doesn’t it?  You get the idea though)
5) Flip the brisket over and repeat the process on the second side, making certain to get the sides and ends coated with the rub as well
6) Put the brisket into a large pan, fat side up, and sprinkle the celery seeds over the top
7) Pour the entire bottle of liquid smoke into the pan, then cover the pan (aluminum foil works fine) and put in the refrigerator overnight

When ready to cook:

1) Preheat oven to 225
2) If you have a meat thermometer, place it in the thickest part of the brisket
3) Put the brisket (covered) in the oven
4) Bake until the internal temperature is at least 195. How long this takes is going to depend on the size of your brisket (the seven pound one I just cooked took about five hours).
5) When ready, remove the cover, flip it over (the fatty side should now be down) and coat with your favorite BBQ sauce
6) Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes (cover removed)
7) Remove from the oven and let sit for fifteen minutes
8) Slice thin (very important to slice AGAINST the grain not with the grain), pour on your favorite sauce and enjoy!

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