What Are the Best Tips for Slow Cooking Brisket?

Lee Johnson

The best tips for slow cooking brisket are to use a dry rub or marinade, to cook for between one to two hours, to braise the meat before roasting, and to cover tightly during cooking. Cooking the brisket in stock can also increase its tenderness. Some chefs prefer to use both a dry rub and a marinade when cooking brisket. Slow cooking brisket is a common practice, so there are many different tips with regards to herbs and spices to use with the meat.

Brisket is typically seasoned with a dry rub before cooking.
Brisket is typically seasoned with a dry rub before cooking.

Most chefs will use a dry rub, marinade, or both when slow cooking brisket to enhance the flavor of the meat as much as possible. Marinades should be added to the meat and left overnight to soak in. Chefs should choose a marinade which contains an acidic ingredient, because acids break down muscle fiber and therefore help to make a tender cooked brisket. Dry rubs are mixtures of herbs and spices, and the cook should cover the brisket liberally in a dry rub before cooking.

Some chefs prepare to use a dry rub and a marinade when cooking brisket.
Some chefs prepare to use a dry rub and a marinade when cooking brisket.

Braising the brisket before slow cooking is another useful tip to keep the natural juices in the meat. The idea of slow cooking brisket is to make the meat as juicy and tender as possible, and therefore braising is exceptionally important. Chefs should shallow fry the joint in oil prior to roasting to brown the meat all over. This essentially forms a seal around the meat and reduces the amount of fat that will escape during the cooking process. The brisket should be seasoned prior to being braised.

To get the best results from slow cooking brisket, the chef should cover the cooking pot securely during roasting. As the natural fat and moisture in the meat gets hotter, it will begin to evaporate. This will result in a lot of moisture lost if the cooking pot isn’t covered. The chef should aim to cover the meat as tightly as possible to create a closed system from which the moisture cannot escape. Slow cooked brisket left uncovered is much more likely to be dry.

The required length of time for slow cooking brisket depends on the size of the cut of meat. Generally, a brisket joint will need to be cooked for between one and two hours, but different sized cuts may require more or less time. Most chefs recommend slow cooking brisket at around 320° Fahrenheit (160° Celsius). Cooking the meat in stock or wine can help to keep the meat juicy.

Brisket can be cooked "low and slow" inside a crock pot.
Brisket can be cooked "low and slow" inside a crock pot.

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