Slow Roasted Oven BBQ Beef Brisket is so tender and juicy, with a sweet & smokey hickory barbecue sauce, that no one will care that the meat wasn’t cooked by a Texas pitmaster!
When I was growing up, my family usually had either Chicken Cordon Bleu or this easy, oven roasted BBQ Beef Brisket for Christmas dinner. This brisket is another one of my mom’s recipes collected from a church function when we were living in St. Louis in the early 80’s. The story she tells is that it came from “a bachelor” in the ward congregation that my family attended at that time, but I don’t know any more about this mysterious bachelor other than he made one heck of a brisket! I have made this for years now and it is always one of my most requested recipes, so I knew it was one I needed to share on this blog.
When we sat down to dinner last night, Clara (age 5 1/2) saw this brisket on the table and a huge grin split her face as she exclaimed that we were having “Who-Roast Beast” for dinner. Clearly it’s 3 days before Christmas and we have been reading “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and watching the old animated version of the movie a lot around here! I don’t remember having that thought as a kid, even though we always eat brisket in December, but it makes perfect sense and I love that she made the connection!
Here is the thing about brisket, if you have never cooked one before: it needs to be cooked slowly, at a very low temperature for many hours in order to dissolve the tough connective tissues of the meat. Do that and the meat will be so tender that is should practically fall apart when you cut it. The general rule is that you need to cook your brisket for 1 hour for every pound of meat, although with this recipe I always give it an extra 30 minutes to an hour after adding the barbecue sauce so that the sauce can heat up and combine with some of the juices coming off the meat. So if you are cooking a 5-pound brisket (like the one in these photos), you need to plan on 5 hours of cooking time for the brisket plus a little extra time at the end for heating up the sauce. But it works just as well with a 12-pound brisket that would take 12 hours to cook.
We have enjoyed this incredibly succulent brisket every year since and it has become a go-to recipe when planning food for a crowd. My mom has served this easy BBQ beef brisket at countless family gatherings, large and small over the years, and I have come to rely on it just as much. When I was asked to be in charge of the Christmas dinner at church a few years ago, this is the recipe I went to because I knew the results were reliable, it was practically foolproof, and everybody would love it. Plus, since I couldn’t cook 120 pounds of meat myself, I could just farm out individual briskets and ingredients to a few friends with double ovens who could start the meat first thing in the morning so they could roast all day and be tender and ready for slicing that night at the party. I’ve done this for 2 church Christmas dinners now with about 300-350 people in attendance and it went over splendidly! (There was a move to a new city between those Christmases so when I was asked to be in charge of the Christmas dinner in the new congregation I figured why reinvent the wheel when none of them had been to the first dinner where I had served this!)
But we definitely don’t reserve this easy BBQ beef brisket for the Christmas season. It’s a great Sunday dinner, especially when you have company, or you can make it for a summer BBQ, no grill or smoker required and no one will be the wiser! The meat comes out smoky and tender and sweet thanks to the hickory and brown sugar barbecue sauce and a long, low and slow roasting time. And if you have a large electric roaster or a big enough crock pot and small enough brisket, you could totally cook it in there as well.
My favorite side with BBQ beef brisket is macaroni & cheese, although I also really love serving it with twice baked potatoes or a cheesy potato casserole that I have plans to post on the blog at some point in the future. But you could serve it with baked beans, coleslaw, cornbread, baked potatoes, cold macaroni salad or any other Southern sides you like! I’m also partial to green beans with it, either the plain steamed variety or these amazing green beans with bacon & pine nuts!
But one of my favorite things about BBQ beef brisket are the leftovers! I love to chop up the leftover meat and use it to make some extreme BBQ beef brisket nachos or quesadillas or serve it on a crusty bun with some extra BBQ sauce for a brisket sandwich. That sandwich is even more incredible if you take the extra minute or two to butter the insides of the crusty bun and grill the buttered sides on a hot pan for a bit before adding your meat to it!
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