How To Make Brisket Without A Smoker This Weekend

Cooking brisket in your home oven is very easy and extremely rewarding. While I like to braise brisket in sweet and sour liquids when I don’t have access to a smoker (or sous vide), I also often just do low-and-slow a salt-and-pepper brisket in my oven.

This method yields perfectly cooked, juicy, and delicious brisket in about four to five hours. You also get a cup or two of umami-bomb jus from the cook that you can use for gravy or French dips later.

This method is very low impact. And it’s a very easy way to get excellent brisket without spending all night shoveling coals. You don’t really need much equipment besides a high-walled roasting dish. I used a little handheld smoker, but you can skip that if you don’t have one. Overall, this oven-roasted low-and-slow brisket is a great centerpiece for any backyard BBQ, assuming you don’t have a smoker back there. Let’s dive in!


Zach Johnston


  • 5-lb. Brisket
  • 2 tsp. pink salt
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • Pinch of hickory and sasparilla chips

I got a brisket from the wholesale restaurant store I shop at. That meant I had to trim mine at home. If you go to a butcher, they’ll likely do this for you if you ask. I like trimming the hard fat cap at home because I save that fat for mixing into my own burger grinds down the road.

The rest is simple. Pink salt adds that little extra umami boost. But really, this is all about the salt and black pepper. A lot of black pepper.

Lastly, I’m using one of these handheld kitchen smokers to add a layer of smoke to the mix. It’s light but will be there on the final product. They’re about $25 and usually come with finely ground wood chips.

Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Large high-walled roasting pan
  • Foil
  • Cutting Board
  • Large knife
  • Paper towels
  • Large Ziploc bag
  • Foil
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Handheld smoker
Zach Johnston


  • Trim the excess hard fat and silverskin from the fatty side of the brisket making sure to leave a little fat on there.
  • Mix the salts and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Pat the brisket as dry as possible with paper towels.
  • Generously spread the salt and pepper rub all over the brisket.
  • Place the brisket in the Ziploc bag and seal around the tube of the handheld smoker.
  • Pump in as much smoke as you can and seal the bag. Let sit at least an hour in the smoke or until it’s completely dissipated.
  • In the meantime, heat your oven on its lowest setting (or around 225-250F).
  • Place the brisket into a large roasting pan and cover with foil. The foil should not be touching the meat.
  • Place the brisket in the oven and leave it alone for four hours.
  • After four hours, the brisket should be getting giggly. Remove it from the pan, pour off the juices into a bowl (save for making gravy and French dips!), and wrap the brisket in the paper.
  • Put the brisket back into the roasting pan, cover it with the foil, and place it in the oven for about one hour to steam.
  • Remove from the oven and unwrap. Since you’ve basically rested the meat while steaming it, you can dig right in.
  • Use a large knife to cut against the grain.
  • Serve.
Zach Johnston

Bottom Line:

Zach Johnston

I mean, look how juicy that meat is! It’s also soft without falling apart. There’s a nice bite to the meat but it’s a very easy bite.

The pepper adds a nice spice while the saltiness isn’t overpowering but definitely there. I tried a few pieces off the fat end while I was cutting this and it was freakin’ great. Meaty, peppery, fatty… everything you want in a slice of brisket.

I piled mine onto a brioche bun (I was out of rye) and smothered some old-school grainy mustard on top. I then poured a little bowl of that jus and dipped my sandwich into it. It was … perfect. The meat never pulled out when you bit down. You could bite through each layer of brisket with ease. The tangy and grainy mustard, jus, buttery bun, and meat just sung together.

I’m looking forward to a whole weekend of this brisket. And it’s so easy that if I run out, I can just make it again!

Zach Johnston