Beef brisket is a relatively lean beef cut with an outer layer of fat called the cap. Cooking brisket at temperatures above 121 degrees Celsius quickly melts the fat cap and leaves the meat to dry. Slow cooking at temperatures far below 121 degrees C leaves the beef in the bacterial growth danger zone for long periods of time. A sealed and basted beef brisket can be cooked to moist and tender perfection at 121 degrees C.
How to cook brisket at 250 degrees
Trim the fat cap to a uniform 50mm (1/4-inc) thickness. Score the fat cap in a crosshatch pattern using the tip of the knife. Make shallow incisions to avoid puncturing the lean beef below the cap.
Rinse the brisket under cold running water. Pat all the surfaces of the beef cut dry with paper towels.
Season the dried surfaces of the beef brisket liberally with coarse salt and pepper. Massage the seasoning into the meat to cause thousands of tiny abrasions. Wrap the seasoned meat tightly in two layers of cling film and place it in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
Set the oven to 121 degrees C. Place an oven thermometer on the centre rack.
Heat an empty cast iron skillet on a burner set to medium-high for three minutes. Pour 2 tbsp of vegetable oil into the centre of the skillet. Swirl the oil around carefully to cover the base of the skillet.
Unwrap the chilled and seasoned brisket. Use tongs to move the brisket to the pan and brown both sides. Position the fully browned brisket in the centre of the skillet with the fat side down.
Surround the brisket in the skillet with roughly chopped aromatic herbs and vegetables like garlic, onions or carrots. Pour a ½-cup of a flavourful basting liquid like apple juice, vinegar or wine into the skillet. Cover and seal the skillet with a sheet of aluminium foil.
Slide the covered brisket into the oven when the thermometer on the centre rack is at 121 degrees C. Peel back a corner of the foil to baste the brisket with a turkey baster every hour. Add another ½-cup of basting liquid if the skillet dries out.
Cook the brisket at 121 degrees C for 45 minutes for every pound of beef. Insert a meat thermometer into the centre of the thickest portion of the brisket. Remove the foil when the internal temperature reaches 76.7 degrees C.
Take the skillet out of the oven when the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 87.8 degrees C. Rest the fully cooked brisket on a cutting board for a minimum of 20 minutes before slicing to serve.
Slice the brisket against the grain to serve. Wrap the cooked brisket in cling film and chill it overnight in the refrigerator for thinner slices. The sliced brisket can also be returned to the braising liquid for another 45 minutes to an hour of baking. This procedure will further tenderise and moisturise the sliced beef.
Moving a brisket with a fork leaves holes in the meat wheres internal moisture can flow out. Tongs allow the cook to move the meat without causing any damage.