Sweet and Smoky Beef Brisket


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This beef brisket is the perfect combination of sweet and smoky flavors, thanks to the seasoning in the brisket rub as well as the braising liquid. It’s cooked low and slow in the oven for the most flavorful, tender slices that everyone will love!

Sliced beef brisket on a wooden board.
Photo: Gayle McLeod

I love smoked brisket and I’ve enjoyed it on travels throughout Texas, Kansas City, and Oklahoma. But if you, like me, don’t have a smoker, you’ll love this equally delicious oven-braised brisket recipe. It serves up a similar sweet and smoky flavor, but it’s perfect for indoor cooking.

Unlike other cuts of beef such as prime rib, beef tenderloin or filet mignon which cook more quickly, brisket requires a special labor of love — time. Brisket comes from the part of the cow that’s full of connective tissue, but a “low and slow” cooking method turns this tough cut of meat into something truly flavorful and tender.

Here’s what makes my version so delicious:

  • The spice rub: Although you can always default to a simple blend of garlic, salt, and black pepper, my brisket rub is layered with the best blend of sweet and smoky flavors, including paprika and maple sugar.
  • The braising liquid: The unique combination of ingredients helps to tenderize the meat and it mimics that smoky flavor you’d get from outdoor cooking, as if you were pulling this brisket straight out of the smoker!

Brisket may take a while to cook but the good news is that gives you plenty of time to decide on a few delicious side dishes to pair with it. If you’d like to hear some of my favorites, keep scrolling below!

Ingredients for oven beef brisket.

Beef Brisket Ingredients

  • Beef Brisket: Brisket is available in two cuts, the flat and the point. If you ask your butcher for beef brisket, you’ll most likely receive the flat cut. The flat cut (which I’m using) is more rectangular, and an overall leaner piece of meat that’s perfect for slicing. The point is more triangular in shape, fattier, and it’s often shredded.
  • Brisket Dry Rub: The dry rub is a combination of granulated sugar and smoky spices such as paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.
  • Brisket Braising Liquid: The blend of coffee, liquid smoke, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce all work together to tenderize the meat and add more smoky flavor. When this liquid is wrapped tightly with the brisket and cooked low and slow, you’re rewarded several hours later with flavorful, tender, fall apart beef brisket. And side note, coffee is great for brisket because it’s acidic and the natural enzymes in coffee help to break down the muscle fibers in beef. So brew a cup of coffee in the morning, then save a little for this recipe!

How many people will this serve? Generally, you want to buy a half-pound per person, which also leaves some room for delicious leftovers. With a 5 to 6 pound brisket, you should get 10 to 12 servings.

Equipment You’ll Need

All you need are three basic items for the perfect beef brisket — an oven-safe roasting pan, a thermometer, and a sharp knife.

  • Roasting Pan: Since we’re cooking a fairly large brisket with the braising liquid, using a roasting pan is best. I’ve had this roasting pan for ages, but you could also use a disposable roasting pan. 
  • Thermometer: To ensure your brisket doesn’t undercook or overcook, using a thermometer crucial. I love using a probe thermometer (that you’ll leave in the meat) so I can check the temperature without having to open the oven. But, you can also use an instant-read thermometer.
  • Knife: Sharpen your chef’s knife or carving knife before slicing! This will make slicing so much easier with beautiful, clean slices.

How To Cook Beef Brisket

Remember that brisket takes several hours to cook, plus some extra time for letting the meat rest once it’s removed from the oven. So plan ahead!

Apply the dry drub. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) and trim off any silver skin or hard fat (if there’s any). Liberally apply the dry rub on both sides of the brisket with your hands. Note: If the brisket is refrigerated, let it sit for 30 minutes, to let it come to room temperature.

Adding spice rub to brisket.

Mix braising liquid. Whisk all of the liquid ingredients together and then pour into the roasting pan. Add the brisket to the roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can use a roasting pan or casserole dish with a lid. But note that if it’s not covered tightly, it won’t cook properly!

Brisket braising liquid in a bowl.

Cook the brisket. Cook for about 5 to 6 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 195°F to 200°F. Depending on the size of your brisket, you’ll want to cook it for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes per pound of brisket

Brisket in a roasting tray wrapped with foil.

Slice the brisket. Remove the brisket from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender pieces of brisket!

Oven braised beef brisket in a roasting tray.

Common Questions

Why is my brisket not tender?

If you’ve removed the brisket from the oven and it’s not fork tender, more than likely, it’s undercooked. Just pop it back in the oven. You could also slice the brisket after the allotted time and cook it for an additional 30 minutes to an hour, with the slices lying in the juices, to make it tender.

Side note: Brisket becomes even more tender after it’s been refrigerated overnight in the juices, then reheated in the oven. So, don’t fret if it’s your first time making brisket and it’s not as tender as you would like. There is a way to resurrect it!

What’s a substitution for the maple sugar?

While I personally love the maple sugar, I understand that not everyone may have it. You could swap in coconut sugar, which has slight caramel undertones. Or brown sugar, which is more commonly used. I typically avoid brown sugar as it’s just processed white sugar plus molasses, and I’ve already added the molasses separately in the liquid. But it can certainly be used, along with any granulated sugar.

What to Serve With Brisket

Slices of beef brisket on a wooden board.

To Store

If you have leftover brisket, here’s how you can store it.

  • In the fridge: Just slice up any remaining brisket and store it in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
  • In the freezer: Store leftovers slices in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight before you’d like to enjoy them.
  • To reheat: Warm a few slices of brisket in the microwave for a minute or two, until warmed through.

More Delicious Beef Recipes

If you’re looking for more hearty and tasty beef recipes, here are a few of my favorites:

I hope you love this beef brisket recipe! If you make it, I’d love to know how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community. 

Brisket on a wooden board with a knife.

Sweet and Smoky Beef Brisket

5 from 21 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 7 hours
Total: 7 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This oven beef brisket recipe is sweet and smoky, thanks to the spice rub and braising liquid, and cooked low and slow for ultra-tender slices everyone will love! Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!




Brisket Rub


  • 5 to 6 pounds beef brisket

Braising Liquid


  • Apply the dry drub. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Liberally apply the dry rub on both sides of the brisket. If the brisket is refrigerated, let it sit for 30 minutes or until it comes to room temperature.
    Brisket with dry rub on it.
  • Mix roasting liquid. Whisk all of the liquid ingredients together and pour into a roasting pan. Add the brisket to the roasting pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
    Whisking brisket braising liquid in a bowl.
  • Cook the brisket. Cook for about 6 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 195°F to 200°F.
    Cooking brisket in a roasting pan.
  • Slice the brisket. Remove the brisket from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender pieces of brisket.
    Sliced beef brisket on a wooden board.

Lisa’s Tips

  • As mentioned above, I’m using a flat cut in these photos and videos, which is a leaner cut. If you like a fattier (and thus more juicy) brisket, make sure to choose a point cut. 
  • When it comes to the Worcestershire sauce, if you’re gluten-free like me, please do read labels. Many brands of Worcestershire sauce are not gluten-free as they contain soy sauce or malt vinegar. For a gluten-free version I recommend this one.
  • When it comes to liquid smoke, this all natural hickory smoke is my favorite.


Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 2047mg | Potassium: 1193mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1777IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 7mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef brisket, beef brisket recipe, best beef brisket
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

This recipe was originally posted May 2017, but updated to include new photos and information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. First time making brisket and it turned out great! The flavor was amazing. I actually used the marinade on chicken too and it was delicious. Thanks for helping to make Christmas dinner a success!5 stars

  2. I made this brisket over the holidays for a dinner party which was risky since I’ve never made brisket before (or tested this out before the party) but it turned out beautifully. Everyone loved it and people were asking for the recipe (and texting me the next day to say how great this dinner was). I always trust Lisa’s recipes (and the reason I didn’t test it out beforehand). So good!5 stars

  3. Lisa my extraordinarily picky toddler LOVES the brisket. At least for tonight! That’s saying a lot. She will be two on New Year’s Eve5 stars

  4. I made the brisket recipe today and it was excellent! After 7 hours it wasn’t quite tender so I left it in the oven for another hour and it was great. I think this will be our Christmas meal – so easy!5 stars

  5. This is wonderful! Not my usual. I do have a question. Is the braising liquid leftover good for anything? It seems wasteful to throw it away.5 stars

    1. I’ve seen recipes made in the slow cooker, but you’ll have to be mindful that the slow cooker will make the brisket extremely soft. Instead, this recipe gets a nice golden crust and is perfectly tender.

    1. I’ve seen recipes made in the slow cooker, but you’ll have to be mindful that the slow cooker will make the brisket extremely soft and almost shred-like. Instead, this recipe gets a nice golden crust and is perfectly tender.

  6. This looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it out! I really appreciate all the ideas on what you can serve with the beef brisket, like the side dishes, and also the items that can be substituted. Thanks, and keep the good recipes coming!5 stars

  7. Looks great, have made brisket both in oven & pit. Do like them both. Have a daughter who can’t eat smoked on a outside pit, so in the oven when she is coming down here to South Texas… thanks5 stars

    1. I love outdoor smoked brisket as well, but this is a great oven braised option that’s equally delicious. Thanks, James!

  8. I just made this recipe and wow! The whole family devoured it! It really had so much flavor and was cooked perfectly. Thanks Lisa!5 stars

  9. Just bought the liquid smoke and molasses, thanks for the links! Non-traditional but our family might make this for thanksgiving as we’re not huge on turkey or ham ;) thanks Lisa!5 stars

      1. Just made it tonight for Thanksgiving tomorrow and it turned out amazing!! Yes, I had to sample it ha! Wow, so good. Can’t wait to reheat and serve it tomorrow. My brisket was 2.75 lbs and your timing per pound of meat was spot on (took 3.5 hours). Thanks for another perfect recipe, Lisa! :)5 stars

  10. Well it’s in the oven as we speak so fingers crossed. I intend to refrigerate overnight and serve to visitors tomorrow. Just wondering if I should re-heat in the juice or do them separate? Any suggestions, temp and timing?

  11. Hi, I like the idea of refrigerating it the second day, resurrection soup was always a family favourite, so I can see this working. However, how long and at what temp would you recommend to reheat? I’m in Scotland and promised this to a texan friend at the weekend so wish me luck :)

  12. Great recipe! The black coffee is a surprising addition. I “winged” the dry rub a bit to match my Family’s taste but followed the sauce exactly.  The results were so good – I had to print the recipe – it’s going into the Family Cookbook as a “keeper”!!5 stars

    1. You can find it in my brisket dry rub recipe! Just search for it on my website, or you can find it linked within the post.

  13. Gorgeous but I felt it needed a touch more sweetness,wasn’t sure if I should add more maple sugar or a touch of honey,, suggestions would be appreciated it’s for a dinner party on Tuesday.

  14. I love brisket and this sounds delicious. What can I substitute for the molasses? It is something  I never buy. Thanks.

    1. Hi Trudy, Not sure where you are but I’m in the UK, couldn’t get Molasses and then googled and found ‘treacle’ is the same thing so I used that. They also have recipes for making your own molasses by boiling sugar, cream of tartare and lemon juice.

  15. I cooked my 9lb beef brisket in an Orion cooker for 4 hours. It is so tender that I had trouble getting it out of the cooker. Juicy and delicious.5 stars

  16. So excited to make this tomorrow – we are on the island of Aruba so finding all the ingredients is taking some time :) Two questions … do you think this would work in a dutch oven as opposed to a casserole dish? If I can’t find maple sugar do you think I could use real maple syrup in the wet ingredients instead?
    Thanks SO much for sharing all your delicious ideas :)

    1. Hi Lindsay – I’m jealous you’re in Aruba! Yes, I think this would work fine in a Dutch oven. And I think the maple swap sounds fine as well. Hope it turns out for you!

    2. Another place to buy pure maple sugar is Welch’s Maple. They have a great product, reasonably priced and will ship anywhere. I have been purchasing Maple syrup, maple sugar and maple cream from Welch’s for years and have always been pleased.

  17. I overdosed on brisket tonight because I couldn’t stop eating it.  This was the best brisket I have ever had.  I’m so glad I found your site and your recipes!!5 stars

  18. So when I started browsing your website on eating healthy, and anti-inflammatory, I figured my days of brisket and pulled pork were over. Glad to see they are not. I love cooking salmon, vegetables, chicken, and yes, brisket and pulled pork on my pellet grill.

    1. It’s all about balance here at Downshiftology! I love pulled pork from time to time when I need a break from chicken or salmon.

  19. It was decided that brisket would be the family Christmas dinner this year despite the fact that no one had any idea how to make it. I was certainly relieved when I found out Downshiftology had me covered! This is delicious and easy to make especially if you have the day at home.5 stars

  20. Lisa,
    I LOVE all your recipes. I’d love to make this one next week and would like to know which liquid smoke you recommend (the link you left in your tips section is no longer working). We are Gluten Free. Thanks in advance!

      1. Thank you! I got the liquid smoke. Making it tomorrow. I’m a little hesitant to include coffee in this recipe as my 3 year old will be eating it. What do you think?

      2. Hi Lana – the coffee flavor is not strong at all, but if you prefer, you can leave it off.

  21. Hi Lisa, the Brisket sounds delicious!!! We want to do the recipe on the grill, how do you recommend we do it?

    1. Hi Naomi – I don’t typically cook brisket on the grill, but it seems most would sear it for about 20 minutes each side on a hot grill, then reduce the temperature and cook it low and slow until it reaches about 200F with a thermometer.

  22. This is the perfect summer dinner! Love the flavors from the rub that give this beef brisket a taste that will be a big hit! Great tip for using coffee to tenderize the brisket!5 stars

  23. This rub you used sounds so good. I would have never thought about adding coffee but sounds like a wonderful idea.

  24. omg yes! I wanted to make brisket sometime this week and I had no idea how I would deal with the hunk of meat so I am loving this recipe! I had no clue that coffee tenderizes the meat! I love these tips! :)

  25. Although I do have a smoker AND grill (both expertly wielded by the hubster), a beef brisket that I can braise in the oven is an absolute COUP for horrid, cold days. I love the idea of using coffee to tenderize the meat. This recipe is a winner!