That first bite of tender brisket is like butter in your mouth. Add to that the flavorful juices and amazing texture and you’re in beef heaven. But how do you get your brisket to taste so good?
Brisket is known for taking a long time to cook but the tasty results make all that patience completely worth it.
Ever wonder how long does it take to cook a brisket? Continue reading for the optimal time it takes to get the perfect brisket.
What is Brisket?
Beef brisket is boneless meat that comes from the breast section of the animal. It is cooked very slowly and on a low heat setting because it is a tough cut of meat. By using the low-and-slow method, the meat becomes tender.
There are two types of beef brisket that can be used for any brisket recipe unless the recipe states otherwise. The beef brisket flat half also known as the thin cut, flat cut, first cut, or center cut is usually more expensive. This is because it has minimal fat.
The point half, front cut, point cut, thick-cut, or nose cut, isn’t as expensive but has more fat. This can also offer more flavor. Corned beef brisket is the same cut as beef brisket however it is cured in a seasoned brine.
If you’re unsure of what to choose, check with your recipe to make sure you have the right brisket style.
Make the Perfect Brisket
Brisket is known for taking a lot more time than steak in order to give it that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Making the perfect brisket flavorful could start a few days before you even cook it.
Put a rub of salt on your brisket and store it tightly wrapped in plastic in the fridge. This will help the meat to tenderize and season the meat as well. You can do this up to three days ahead of cooking.
But when it comes to cooking the best brisket, the secret is in the timing. The recipe is only part of the battle. The real skill comes from knowing how long to cook your brisket.
Pick the Best Meat
Before you can master the cooking process you’ll need to be sure you pick the right meat for your brisket. Choose a piece of beef that has a 1/4 inch of fat on it with some marbling.
Excess fat can be trimmed off. You should put the side with the fat on the highest heat when cooking to protect the meat.
Make sure the beef brisket has a good color to it. It should be moist but not wet. Don’t purchase it if the packaging has tears or liquid at the bottom. Brisket is usually sold in 3 1/2-pound packages or larger.
How Long Does It Take to Cook a Brisket?
The exact length of time to cook a brisket depends on how you plan to cook it. You can bake, braise, cook on a stovetop or in a slow cooker, and barbecue brisket. Depending on what works best for you, we’ve broken down the various lengths of time.
You should always use a food thermometer to be sure your brisket is a safe temperature to eat. This is the only way to know if the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs that can make you sick.
As we mentioned earlier, barbecuing is one of the best ways to prepare a delicious smoked brisket. Although it requires you to be more hands-on, it’s actually easier than you might think.
This beef brisket injection recipe can help you grill the moistest and most flavorful brisket yet. Then prep your charcoal or gas grill. You will need to soak wood chips for at least an hour before grilling. Smoking 7 to 8 lbs of brisket takes about 5 to 5 1/2 hours or until the brisket reaches 185°F to 190°F and is tender.
When smoking, you should turn the brisket every 1 to 2 hours to keep it from drying. Never use a fork though! This will let all those flavorful juices run out. Instead, use insulated rubber gloves to turn it.
Cooking a small brisket in the oven takes time and often requires you to use a low heat over the course of several hours. If you are baking a brisket, you can expect to set the oven to 325° and cook a 3- to 4-pound brisket for 3 to 4 hours.
When braising brisket you will be cooking the brisket in an oven in a baking pan full of liquid. You can also use a Dutch oven and flavor the brisket liquid in many ways such as a barbecue or wine-braised brisket.
The brisket will need to cook in the oven for 3 to 4 hours for a 3- to 4-pound brisket. Then let the meat stand for 15 minutes before slicing it.
If you’re expecting to speed up the process by cooking brisket on the stovetop, don’t. The only way to prepare brisket that tastes good is to set aside a decent amount of time.
Similar to the baking and braising process, you will need to pat dry and season your meat, put together the cooking liquid, pour it over the meat, and cook it covered on your stovetop with low heat.
This will simmer the meat and will take the same amount of time (3 to 4 hours) or until it is tender. Be sure to use a heavy pan or skillet that has a tight-fitting lid.
If you don’t have time to sit and watch your brisket cook for hours, then you may want to consider using a slow cooker. This will allow you to cook your brisket overnight.
Similar to the other options, you just have to follow your preferred recipe and let the brisket simmer slowly in a cooking liquid. Your meat will come out tender and flavorful. You can even cook the vegetables alongside the meat making an easy full meal with little effort.
The length to cook a brisket in a slow cooker can depend on the recipe. However, often it will take a 3-pound brisket about 10 hours to cook on low heat. You might be able to shorten the time to 5 to 6 hours on high heat.
Brisket for Dinner?
Now that you know the answer to the question, “How long does it take to cook a brisket?” You’re ready to tackle the next big family meal. You may want to plan ahead for this one but it will be well worth it in the end!
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