When it comes to barbecue, brisket is in a class all of its own. There's a reason it's known as the king of smoked barbecue meats: Not only is it tasty, but it's particularly challenging to perfect even for experienced pit masters. Many people who don't like brisket just haven't had a particularly good one, since cooking it well is such a heavy lift. Given its difficulty, you'd think that anything short of optimal conditions would make achieving an A+ brisket impossible. Surely an expensive smoker and some high-grade tools are needed, right?
Wrong. You can cook a brisket in the oven and have it come out really well; you just need to follow some crucial steps. You might think this involves special temperatures or complicated cooking techniques, but it doesn't. Instead, the real key comes down to techniques that can give your brisket a signature smoked taste despite the fact there's not actually any smoked wood involved in oven-baking one.
Smoked Paprika Is One Trick To Achieving A Smoky Oven Brisket
There are some things you should not do with brisket (for example, grilling one is a huge no-no). And so it goes with smoking a brisket in the oven: You can't just throw it in there, turn it on, and expect your meat to come out delicious. But the key difference here relative to a smoker isn't the temperature or even the timing -- you're still cooking it low and slow, the way all briskets should be cooked to let its connective tissue break down.
Instead, there's one big obvious difference: Your brisket isn't going to taste smoked if you don't use a smoker since there's no burning wood involved. While you can't make your oven use wood (nor should you try), there are ways to impart smokiness on oven-cooked food that don't require actual smoking and burning wood. The first is using a specific spice: And that's smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. Smoked paprika brings a savory barbecue flavor to any dish it's used in, and honestly, it's pretty difficult (although certainly not impossible) to over-season with it. But that's also hardly the only method here.
Liquid Smoke Or A Smoking Gun Also Help Bring A Smoky Flavor
You've got two other options for instilling smoke in an oven-cooked brisket: a smoking liquid or a smoking gun. The two are used at different points in the process, with a smoking gun coming in after the cook and liquid smoke being used during it. A smoking liquid is essentially a pan filled with a broth over which the brisket is suspended; you don't want it sitting in the mixture itself because it will get saturated, but you do want the evaporating liquid to infuse the brisket. This mixture can be made to taste -- Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and beef broth are all good options. But the key ingredient is liquid smoke, a potent black liquid that tastes exactly as it says on the tin.
There's also the option of using a smoking gun, a cooking apparatus specifically designed to infuse a smoke flavor into food. A smoking gun essentially works by trapping smoke inside an enclosed space (like a tray wrapped in foil) and then letting it infuse the brisket over time, causing the meat to take on a smoky flavor. It's also fast: A smoking gun only takes about five minutes after the cook is complete to do its work.
Remember that nothing is stopping you from using all of these methods on the same cut of meat. Try them out and see which is your favorite.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.