Oven Barbecued Brisket

My father is the master of the grill and smoker.  He can always nail the right level of heat, moisture, and oxygen for every type of fish, fowl, meat, or vegetable, and insists on using charcoal and wood instead of propane.  

Dad, I salute you.  But the movers broke our grill and we've been so busy getting settled into the new house that we just never got around to getting a new one this summer.  So when I wanted brisket I decided to go for the oven braise method and held my breath.

Whoa.  I mean - whoa.  The flavors of the seasonings melted right into the meat, which became surprisingly rich, tender, and a little smoky.  The house smelled amazing and my hair didn't smell like burning charcoal.  For cheat day, we piled this on soft buns and served with homemade bread and butter pickles and slaw.


4 pounds of beef brisket, trimmed of fat

2 tablespoons oil, like canola

2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

1 cup low sodium beef stock

1 cup whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup Sorghum syrup (or packed light brown sugar)

1 tablespoon PickaPeppa sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)

2 whole cloves 


1.  Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325F.

2.  Rub the brisket all over with the salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pan over medium high heat until it shimmers, then add the brisket.  Brown on both sides and transfer to a large baking dish (13x9).

3.  Add the onion to the skillet and saute with a wooden spoon until browned, about 7 minutes.  Add the beef stock to the pan and use the spoon to scrap all of the brown bits in the bottom of the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer all of this for about 1 minute.

4.  Pour the sauce over the brisket, then cover the dish with a sheet or parchment, followed but a sheet of tin foil.  Cover the pan tightly.

5.  Add the dish to the oven and let the brisket braise for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from the oven, remove the foil and paper and turn the brisket over.  Recover and return to the oven for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

6.  Remove from the oven and serve by slicing across the grain, or shredding with a fork,  Serve with the sauce.