Finish Brisket in Oven: Can It Be Done? If so, How?

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slow smoke sliced beef brisket bbq southern style

If you are short on time, you might wonder if you can finish brisket in oven. Purists would discourage you from trying this, but actually, it is possible to get great results. This article will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of finishing a brisket in the oven and describe some popular methods to try.

Finish Brisket in Oven

Finishing brisket in the oven can be done. It is a great way to shorten the cooking time but still end up with that amazing smoky barbecue flavor. It involves smoking the brisket until it is partially cooked, wrapping it in foil, and completing the cooking in the oven.

If you're short on time, you might wonder if you can finish brisket in oven. While purists may discourage it, you can still achieve a tender juicy smoked brisket this way. Our article explores the pros and cons of using the oven to finish your beef brisket and shares popular methods to try. Learn how to cook brisket to get that perfect smoked brisket for your next barbecue.

Benefits of finishing a brisket in the oven

There are many circumstances when smoking a brisket and finishing it in the oven is a good idea. The most common reason is to save time. Smoking a brisket for the whole cooking time is an all day affair. If you finish it in the oven, you get the same smoky flavor in much less time.

wet cover waterdrops on BBQ cover after the rain

It is also a great option if the weather turns bad in the middle of the smoking process or if you run out of fuel. An unexpected storm doesn’t have to ruin your brisket. Pulling it from the grill and finishing it in the oven can save the day.

Other benefits include saving money on fuel, making the house smell good, or getting a good night’s rest. You might also need the space on the grill for other foods that you are cooking.

Finishing a brisket in the oven should not affect the flavor at all because once it is wrapped, the smoke can’t get to the meat anyway. At this point, the heat is all that matters for finishing the cooking.

Are there any disadvantages?

In terms of flavor, there are probably no disadvantages. The only likely disadvantages are that it will heat up your house in the summer and that it is not the hardcore approach. Some people argue that the smoky flavor does go through to the wrapped meat, especially if you wrap it with butcher paper.

What do you need?

To smoke brisket and finish it in the oven, you will need mostly the same tools and ingredients as if you were to cook it the whole time outside. These include a full packer, a grill or smoker, a trimming knife, rub, aluminum foil, smoking wood, a quick read thermometer or probe, a cooker, oven, or Dutch oven, a cooler, and time.

How to do it

There are many different methods for finishing a brisket in the oven. Which one will work for you depends on your preferences, how much time you have, and what equipment you plan to use. Here, we will describe one method in detail and then provide you with some other options.

Start out by purchasing a whole untrimmed packer that weighs approximately 10-12 pounds. Look for one with good marbling. Next, trim the excess fat leaving 1/8 to ¼ inch to keep the meat moist. Pat the brisket dry, and generously apply your choice of rub. Put it in a cooler while you get the smoker fired up.

You can also prepare the brisket the night before, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight. The classic rub is made from just salt and pepper, but you can add other ingredients or use a prepared rub if you so choose.

Spray your smoker racks with non-stick cooking spray, and preheat it to 225 to 250 F. Add wood chips to the bottom rack. If you are using a charcoal grill, fill it with charcoal, and put some smoke wood chunks in with the charcoal. Light the grill, and place a pan of hot tap water beneath the grate.

Put the brisket in fat side up. Monitor the grill temperature so it stays between 225 and 250 F. Use the vents to let in air if it gets too hot. Turn the brisket after about four hours, and spray it with a liquid such as apple juice periodically after that point. Continue cooking until the internal temperature is 170 F.

During the cooking, refill the water pan as needed. It should take between eight and ten hours to reach the desired temperature. For smoking wood, you can use whatever you prefer. Don’t let the brisket touch the sides of the lid. The brisket will shrink in size and weight while it cooks.

Remove the brisket from the smoker, and wrap it tightly in two layers of foil. Insert the thermometer probe in the thickest part of the flat, and cook it in a 300 F cooker or oven until the internal temperature reaches 205 F. This should take about one hour and 40 minutes.

When it’s done, leave it wrapped, and let it rest for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can put it in an empty cooler for two to four hours. Separate the flat and the point at the fat seam, and slice the flat across the grain. The point can be sliced or chopped. Your brisket should end up with a dark bark that is full of smoky flavor and a smoke ring.

A Quicker Method

dutch oven cooking pot

This is a great method to try if you are really short on time. Prepare the brisket in the same way as above, and then smoke it for two hours. Remove it, and let it rest on a cutting board while you slice and simmer onions in olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat until tender, about three to five minutes.

Add the brisket to the Dutch oven fat side down. Simmer it uncovered for half an hour. Then cover the Dutch oven, and cook it in the oven for three hours at 300 F.

The Sleep Method

This is a great technique for anyone who wants a delicious brisket but also wants a good night of sleep. Smoke the brisket for five to six hours the evening before. Remove it from the smoker, wrap it, and put it in the oven at 210 to 220 F.

Leave it in the oven overnight for about nine hours. Vent it for 15 to 30 minutes, and put it back in the warm oven until it is time to serve.

For a less smoky version, smoke your brisket for three to four hours, put it in a foil pan, pour a can of regular Dr. Pepper on top, cover it in foil, put it in a 220 F oven, and go to bed. You will wake up to a delicious brisket.

The Finishing Another Day Method

If you want to have a brisket in your fridge ready to cook in a jiff, this is the way to go. Simply smoke it until it gets to an internal temp of 160 F. Double wrap it with some water or au jus, and put it in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to finish it, heat it until it gets to the desired end temperature, or check it with a probe. The downside of this technique is that it might not probe as smoothly as a brisket that is continuously cooked.

Other options are to cook until it is almost done, and finish brisket in oven on the day of serving, pulling it after the stall and finishing it in a 275 F oven until tender, or holding the brisket in the oven set at 150 F with a small pan of water.

If you're short on time, you might wonder if you can finish brisket in oven. While purists may discourage it, you can still achieve a tender juicy smoked brisket this way. Our article explores the pros and cons of using the oven to finish your beef brisket and shares popular methods to try. Learn how to cook brisket to get that perfect smoked brisket for your next barbecue.

Final Thoughts

You have nothing to lose by finishing brisket in the oven. It can save you time and money, and it can save the day in an emergency. There are many different ways to finish a brisket in the oven, so you can choose the one that works best for you. Whichever way you cook it, be assured that the smoky flavor will prevail.

Darren Wayland Avatar


3 thoughts on “Finish Brisket in Oven: Can It Be Done? If so, How?”

    • @Ray Kistler, I wouldn’t recommend oven first and then smoker. The Raw meat will really only absorb the smoke flavor for the first two hours or so and the flavor absorption rate drops off very rapidly. So you will want your smoker going heavy with lots of thick smoke during those crucial first few hours to get the deepest “smoke ring” penetration possible and then later move to the oven if you need to speed things up. If you cook your raw meat in the oven first, you will close off all the porous area in the meat and the smoke flavor won’t go very deep into your cut of meat. I have only been smoking for about 10 years and I consider myself a novice, but this has been my experience.


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