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Jan 24 / Tom Woodward

Oven Brisket

For building muscle or just getting a good healthy dose of animal protein, you can’t do much better than a large slab of brisket. Beef brisket is a tougher cut of meat from the lower breast of the cow. Unlike more tender cuts of steak that can be grilled, a brisket is best when applied to a low heat for an extended period of time so it can tenderize. One of the most popular methods for cooking up a brisket is to smoke it. Gant over at 70’s Big has a good post and video of a simple recipe and all the steps to completion for smoking a brisket. Another easy way to prepare brisket is pot roast style, where you toss the meat in with some vegetables, spices, and a bottle of red wine for about 5-7 hours. Since we don’t have a smoker yet at our house, I elected to have a go at slow roasting it in the oven. First, I needed to find a good slab to cook.

In order to stay as local as possible with my meat source, I went down to the local farmer’s market, where Marin Sun Farms has a booth every Saturday. Their beef is very high quality and 100% grass fed. At the market, I picked up this nice 5lb cut.

Glorious.

I tried to find a cut with a decent amount of fat as you can see from the picture. Saturated animal fat is as natural for us to eat as the meat itself, so don’t let it scare you away. Also, the fat helps to lock in a lot of flavor if you cook the brisket fat side up. To prepare the meat, I used the following ingredients as a marinade: olive oil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon sugar, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic salt. I was originally going to buy a dry rub at the store, but most of the ones I found had various artificial additives, so I just bought the base ingredients for a rub instead.  In a perfect world, I would have used butter, coconut oil, or lard rather than olive oil but I didn’t have any on hand.

I screwed up at the store. Buy extra virgin and not regular olive oil.

I find the amount of each ingredient is pretty immaterial. Some people obsess over getting very specific with cooking measurements, but I typically just eyeball it. To marinate, I first coated one side of the meat with olive oil, then added a healthy dose of the dry ingredients. The olive oil helps the dry stuff stick and makes it easier to rub into the meat. Be sure to really rub it in. Your hands should be covered in oil if you do it right. Repeat on the other side of the meat. Here’s how it looks after applying the marinade before going in the fridge.

Fully rubbed

Leave the brisket in the fridge overnight then cook the next day. On cooking day, apply another layer of the marinade/rub to the meat to give it additional flavor. Since brisket is a tough meat and needs to be cooked slowly, I set the oven to only 240 degrees. A good rule of thumb is about an hour or hour and a half of cooking time per pound at that temperature. I checked up on it periodically and finally took it out after 6 hours in the oven.

All together, a medium fat 5lb brisket provides about 400 grams of protein and 5680 calories.

If anything, it was a tad overdone, but still very tender. This might be a function of having to cook it in an oven rather than on a more indirect heat source like a smoker. Nonetheless, since brisket is so tender and flavorful, it’s the perfect meat to store in tupperware and eat over the course of a few days. It’s good by itself or with side dishes, good hot or good cold. Enjoy!