Barbecue Style Beef Brisket in the Oven or Slow Cooker

As this Texas girl can tell you, just about everyone in Texas has their favorite brisket recipe.  Some people swear by the dry rub or dry brine method and they smoke their brisket all night and throughout the following day.  Some people use the crock pot, but I personally have fallen in love with this braised method.  The slow cooking of the brisket over low heat for several hours in this homemade bbq sauce results in such a juicy and fork tender brisket.  The end result has amazing flavor, and every single time I have made this recipe whether I’m taking a meal to a friend’s house or having people over, people always ask for this recipe.

I love to make a big brisket and repurpose leftover brisket for meals throughout the week or even save in 1 pound increments and freeze for quick dinners throughout the month.  My personal preference is to enjoy this brisket is either with green beans and roasted sweet potatoes or as the meat for taco night.  However, you could certainly go a more traditional route and serve with potato salad or coleslaw for your side dish.  This fall-apart tender brisket is such a great recipe and is so easy to repurpose for a variety of meals – greek bowls, stuffed potatoes, quesadillas, taco night, soups, just to name a few!  This is the perfect recipe to feed a crowd or maybe you just want a recipe that you can make once and feed your friends and family multiple meals.

The Secret to Perfect Oven-Baked Brisket

Brisket is one of the most iconic cuts of meat in barbecue. When properly prepared, brisket has an irresistibly tender texture and robust, beefy flavor. But brisket can also be notoriously difficult to cook correctly at home, especially for beginners. The keys are patience and monitoring the internal temperature. Follow this straightforward recipe for oven-baked brisket success.

Tips for Oven-Baked Brisket Success

  • Cook low and slow at around 350°F. The collagen in brisket breaks down into gelatin and moisture around 160°F internal temp.
  • Flip the brisket fat side up about halfway through cooking so the fat bastes the meat.
  • Wrapping the brisket in foil locks in moisture and speeds up cooking after the stall.
  • Slice brisket across the grain for tenderness.
  • Save the defatted braising liquid for serving sauce.

The History of Texas Barbecue Brisket

While barbecue has historic roots across many cultures, Texas is renowned specifically for smoked brisket. The rise of beef brisket in Texas beef cattle ranching took hold in Texas in the 1800s. Brisket was considered a tough, inexpensive cut best suited for stews and braises. Early central Texas settlers cooked brisket low and slow over wood smoke out of necessity – the best way to tenderize this cut requiring hours of slow cooking. German and Czech meat markets in Central Texas sold these smoked briskets as a great way to make the most of the cheap cut. 

What started as the best way to transform a tough cut into something edible has now become a worldwide symbol of Texas barbecue, known for moist, fork-tender slices after the long time spent cooking brisket for hours to break down connective tissues. While many Texan households have perfected family recipes for smoking brisket, you can still find some of the best brisket in the renowned barbecue joints scattered throughout central Texas that keep alive the tradition of smoking low and slow for hours – the best way to achieve the state’s signature melt-in-your-mouth brisket after a long time spent making this cheap cut ridiculously tender through the magic of wood smoke and hours of slow cooking.

Choosing the Best Cut of Meat

When selecting a cut of beef for brisket at most grocery stores, the flat cut, also called the first cut, from the top of the brisket is the best choice. While brisket is a very tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue, the flat cut tends to be leaner and more uniform in shape than the fattier cut from farther down which has a thick fat cap. The flat cut allows you to better control the amount of fat when cooking the brisket, as leaving an adequate fat cap according to a good rule of thumb helps keep the brisket tender and moist during the prolonged cooking process needed to break down the connective tissues of this otherwise very tough cut of meat into a flavorsome and tender brisket. Choosing the right flat cut and managing the fat cap leads to the most tender brisket after low and slow cooking.  Choosing a leaner cut of meat also means that you aren’t paying for all of that excess fat.  It is also so much easier in the end to carve a brisket that does not have that much fat.

The Importance of Time

When preparing brisket for the first time, the most important thing to remember is having plenty of hours for the slow cooking required to make this tough cut of beef tender. Brisket contains a lot of connective tissue that requires low and slow cooking to break down into gelatin, which is what makes the meat juicy and tender after hours in a low oven or smoker. Having plenty of time is crucial since cooking time can vary substantially based on the amount of connective tissue and fat cap in a particular brisket. While brisket may seem like an easy recipe for beginner barbecue fans, having patience and allowing brisket it’s required hours of cooking is vital.

If you take your brisket out of the oven prematurely because dinner time is approaching, you may likely end up with a tougher, chewier finished dish. An easy mistake for first-timers following even foolproof bbq beef brisket recipes is misjudging the time needed for the collagen to fully transform based on the meat’s thickness and marbling. I suggest making brisket a day before you actually plan to serve it to hungry family members or guests. Cooking the brisket fully and then letting it rest wrapped in a cooler for several hours allows everything to relax into tender, sliceable perfection. Don’t rush the simple process of cooking brisket low and slow. Providing plenty of cooking time ensures first-time success in overcoming brisket’s notoriously tough cut into succulently tender barbecue.

What You Need to Make Barbecue Style Brisket

  • Beef Brisket – Choice grade brisket provides good marbling. Select wagyu brisket for rich flavor. 
  • Salt – Sea salt or kosher salt work well.
  • Ground Pepper – Coarse black pepper is best. 
  • Avocado Oil – Alternatively use olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil.
  • Yellow Onions – Yellow onion or sweet onions like Vidalia also work. Can substitute white.  I do not recommend using red onions at that would alter the taste.  And there is simply no substitution for the real thing, so onion powder is not recommended.
  • Garlic – No substitution needed. Fresh is best for this recipe.  It is not recommended to use granulated garlic or garlic powder.
  • Ground Allspice – Substitute a blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, although allspice has it’s own unique flavor and is recommended.
  • Arrowroot Powder  – Can substitute cornstarch or gluten free flour (regular all purpose flour works if tolerated).
  • Brown Sugar – Use light or dark brown sugar. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Red wine vinegar also provides nice tang.
  • Beef Broth – Substitute chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Diced Tomatoes – Use fresh tomatoes if preferred.
  • Note – This recipe does not call for any chili powder, as my family loves this recipe just as written.  However, you can add a dash or two depending on your desired level of spice.

How to Make Slow Cooker Brisket

  1. Trim the fat cap on the brisket to no more than 1?4″. Generously season the brisket all over with the salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and beef broth until smooth. Stir in the canned diced tomatoes and set aside barbecue sauce.
  3. Place brisket, sliced onions and minced garlic in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts). Pour barbecue sauce mixture over the brisket.
  4. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Halfway through, flip brisket over and spoon some sauce over top. Add cooking time for larger briskets.  If brisket is tough, continue to cook until fork tender.
  5. Remove brisket to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil. Skim off any surface fat from the sauce. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.
  6. Slice brisket against the grain into thick slices and transfer to a serving dish. Pour barbecue sauce over the sliced brisket to serve.


Refrigerator Storage:  airtight container

  • Allow brisket to cool to room temperature, about 30-60 minutes.
  • Place cooled brisket in an airtight container or zip close bags, removing excess air.
  • Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat, gently warm brisket in microwave or oven until 165°F internal temperature is reached.
  • Consume refrigerated brisket within 4 days for best quality and food safety.

Freezer Storage:

  • Make sure brisket has cooled completely before freezing.
  • Transfer brisket to freezer bags or airtight containers.
  • Remove as much air as possible prior to sealing bags/containers.
  • Brisket can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw frozen brisket overnight in refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheat thawed brisket gently until internal temp reaches 165°F.
  • Use beef broth or sauce to moisten reheated brisket.
  • Use frozen brisket within 3 months for optimal quality and safety.

Barbecue Style Beef Brisket in the Oven or Slow Cooker

Sarah Erickson
The braised brisket method is my favorite way to cook a brisket. This is simple to make and the perfect thing to batch prep for meals!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine American


  • 3 lb beef brisket
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
  • Make barbecue sauce: In a medium sized bowl, add the arrowroot powder, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and broth. Stir to combine, using a blender if necessary to fully incorporate the arrowroot powder. Once combined, stir in the tomatoes and set mixture aside.
  • Pat brisket with paper towels. Patting the brisket with paper towels removes excess surface moisture from the meat. When searing any cut of meat, you want the surface to be as dry as possible. If the meat is damp or wet, that moisture prevents the meat from browning well and developing that nice crispy sear.
  • Season the brisket generously with salt and pepper.
  • In a large, heavy pot (I used my Dutch oven), over medium-high heat, warm the avocado oil. Once hot, add the brisket, fat side down, and sear the meat on both sides. This will take about 10 minutes. Note: If you cannot fit the whole brisket in your pot or Dutch oven, you may need to cut your meat in half and repeat this one or two times. Transfer seared meat to a plate.
  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté over medium-high heat until softened, approximately 3-5 minutes. Once soft, add the minced garlic and ground allspice. Sauté for 30-60 seconds.
  • Add the broth mixture made in step 2. Stir to combine. The add the brisket back to the pot (or use a roasting pan if brisket is too large for your Dutch oven or pot). Cover the pot with a lid or foil and cook in the oven until the brisket is very tender – about 3 to 4 hours. Rotate the meat once halfway through the cooking process. Notes: You will need to add cooking time for a larger piece of meat. If your meat is too tough, cook longer to break down the connective tissue and make it nice and tender.
  • After removing from the oven, skim the fat off the surface cooking liquid.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  • Let the brisket cool slightly in the cooking liquid, then transfer to a cutting board and cut or shred to your liking.


Dutch oven
Roasting pan
aluminum foil
meat thermometer
Keyword barbecue, beef, braised, brisket, slow cooker

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