Pulled Beef Brisket is a versatile recipe that works for burgers, tacos, nachos, sandwiches and more. Not quick to cook but easy to make and juicy, tender and delicious, the time is worth your effort. This pulled beef brisket recipe uses a dry rub and barbecue sauce combination for oven baked then grilled brisket.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Family friendly: weekends make time for family meals that take a little longer to cook than week nights allow for. This is the perfect recipe to get the whole family together for, each enjoying the juicy pulled beef.
- Taste and texture: some people like a tender steak, some a saucy cheeseburger and some the texture of pulled meats. This recipe will tick both the taste and texture boxes with room for even more highlights!
- Suits many occasions: be it a BBQ, picnic, family gathering, street party, game day or special occasion this delicious pulled brisket is adaptable for almost any occasion (it can fancied up for date night or be on the street food level 😉👌). Make a big batch and feed a crowd.
- Age group friendly: everyone from little kids to adults will love this recipe! Yes, there is lots of flavour, but not in a too decadent or refined for the taste palate kind of way. You can omit the hot spice for little ones!
- Freezer friendly: the shredded beef meat will freeze very well. Simply allow it to cool then portion into zip lock bags or an airtight container for night's when you don't have time to start from scratch.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make this easy brisket recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Salt and pepper: we use both a little salt and black pepper for seasoning in the dry rub.
- Mustard powder: excellent to use in dry rubs, it is soft and its flavor blends subtly with the other ingredients.
- Paprika: a vibrantly coloured dried spice that is made from capsicum. It is mild in flavor.
- Garlic powder: a dry way to keep dry rubs 'dry' yet add garlic and onion flavors.
- Onion powder: as above, these 2 are excellent pantry staples that come in handy for a wide variety of recipes.
- Cayenne powder: this is a hot spice 🌶! You will see that we use a little bit less of this that the other dried spices as a little of it goes a long way!
- Worcestershire sauce: we use this as one of the ingredients in our homemade barbecue sauce. It has a little oomph about it and forces me to spell it out loud in my head to get it right 👍🤣.
- Barbecue sauce: this is store bought barbecue sauce to which we add the Worcestershire sauce and honey to make a glaze for basting the brisket.
- Honey: this brings the sweet stickiness to the barbecue sauce. It is an excellent ingredient for basting meats.
- Beef brisket: you will be able to get this from the meat section at your local grocery store or your butcher.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making my recipes. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by making the dry rub.
- Gather the dry rub ingredients (Photo 1)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 2)
- Massage into one side of the brisket (Photo 3)
- Flip and do the other side (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Pulled Beef Brisket
We start by making the dry rub. You will find a small glass and mini whisk will come in handy for this initial step.
Add the mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to a glass and use a mini whisk to combine. Then set aside.
Remove the brisket from the packaging, rinse then pat dry with paper towel and place onto a chopping board.
Sprinkle half of the dry rub over the surface of the brisket and use your hands to massage it into the meat. Then flip the brisket to the other side and sprinkle the rest of the dry rub over the top before massaging in also.
Next line a baking dish with aluminium foil and then spray the foil with canola oil. Once done place the rub covered brisket into the centre of the baking tray.
Pour water into the base of the baking tray, so that it touches the bottom of the brisket but does not go too far up the sides of it. (This is around ½ cup of water for the tray you see in the photos throughout the post).
- Place brisket in centre of baking tray and pour water into the base (Photo 5)
- Cover with foil (Photo 6)
- Top up the water every hour (Photo 7)
- Gather the sauce ingredients (Photo 8)
🥩 Shredded Brisket
Cover the brisket with foil and place it on the middle shelf of a preheated oven.
Allow the brisket for cook for 3 ½ - 4 hours. Every hour, use oven mits to remove the brisket from the oven, place the baking tray onto a heat proof surface and top the water up.
Next, gather the ingredients to make the sauce.
Add the barbecue sauce, honey and Worcestershire sauce to a glass jug and stir to combine. Then set aside.
- Stir to combine the sauce (Photo 9)
- Baste the cooked brisket with the sauce and grill (Photo 10)
- Baked then grilled is ready to pull (Photo 11)
- Pull using 2 forks (Photo 12)
Once the cooking time is up, use oven mits to remove the baking tray from the oven and change the setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6.
Remove the tin foil and discard.
Place the cooked brisket onto a silicon mat over a baking tray and rack. Then use a pastry brush to coat the barbecue sauce over the top and sides of the brisket.
Place the tray into the oven and let the brisket grill for 10 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and repeat the basting and grilling process. (Total grill time is 2 x 10 minute periods).
Once done, again remove the brisket from the oven and place the tray onto a heatproof surface. After it has sat for 15-30 minutes (can rest for 1-2 hours if you wish) use 2 pairs of tongs to pick it up and transfer it to a chopping board.
Next take 2 forks, one in each hand and shred the meat, piercing the brisket with the forks and then pulling your hands apart.
Repeat to pull the entire portion of meat.
Once done, you now have the option of adding the pulled brisket and remaining bbq sauce to a bowl and stirring to combine. This makes your pulled brisket have a barbecue sauce smothering which works well in many situations.
This step is optional however, as I know how passionate people get about their meat and I am not going to tell you that this step is essential as it is more of a personal preference step.
When all of this is said and done, we can get ready for the best bit - serving the brisket! I have some suggestions below to help 😉👍.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
The question with this one is not what can you serve it with...its what can't you serve it with! The list is short for the can'ts and long for the cans!
Some ideas are serving the pulled brisket in buns with coleslaw, in a bowl with mashed potato, peas and corn, stuffed into tacos, nachos or sandwiches.
Or you might like to do what I have done in the photos throughout the pot and that is to use the shredded meat for soft shell tacos! Pop some avocado and cilantro on the plate, some thinly sliced lettuce if you please and a bowl of sauce.
I am using the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce as it works really well with this combo and is a nice change from the bbq sauce we have smothered the meat in.
The best thing about small soft tacos are that you don't need a lot to fill them with.
The brisket takes up a lot of room and you can pop some additional toppings on the plate for a little sense of 'loaded tacos'.
You can also have a look at all of my homemade sauces if you are not set on the sound of one and want to check our their photos and make your mind up from there.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Let the meat fully cool before transferring into a sealed air tight container. It can be kept in the fridge for 3 days or placed into the freezer for 3 months.
How to Freeze
You can freeze the raw brisket and then remove and defrost prior to cooking. If doing this, you won't be able to freeze leftovers however.
Or you can cook the beef, allow it to cool, then place in sealed zip lock bags laid flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
If you are feeding a crowd or simply the family, you can keep the pulled brisket warm in the slow cooker using the warm setting or button. Or reheat leftovers in the microwave (high heat) covered in cling wrap.
They will only take 2 to 3 minutes to reheat.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can omit the cayenne pepper of you want 'no hot spice' in the brisket.
- Or you can increase the amount if cayenne pepper if you want a little more heat in the recipe.
- You can add brown sugar to the dry rub if you wish too. 1 tablespoon will keep the ratios right.
- If you want to use store bought barbecue sauce as opposed to making your own combination that will work.
- After you have pulled the brisket, you have the option to add it to a bowl, pour in the remaining sauce and stir to combine this with the meat. (So saucy and it works!! 😉👍)
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- You can place the brisket on a rack in the tray above the water if you wish to.
- Even though you have combined the sauce, give it another quick stir before using it to baste the brisket in. This is because it has sat for a bit whilst we were cooking and the honey will sit at the bottom of the jug.
- Tongs will be needed once the brisket is cooked as it is hot and you need to move it from one tray to the other.
- You can let the brisket rest for an hour if you have time.
- 2 forks (one in each hand) are the technique you need to pull the meat apart. One fork won't allow you to get the technique working.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Is brisket a good cut of meat?
Brisket is an excellent cut of meat. It performs best when cooked for a long time. Doing so allows the connective tissues to break down resulting in juicy, tender beef.
Do you add water when cooking brisket in the oven?
Yes. Add water to the base of the baking tray that hold the brisket. This ensures a moist cooking environment which ensures that the brisket does not dry out as it cooks.
Is brisket good for shredding?
Yes, brisket shreds well once it has been cooked and will easily pull apart with 2 forks.
What temperature should cooked brisket reach?
The brisket will be cooked when it reaches 180°F (82°C). Don't be too worried if the temperature rises a couple more degrees once you have finished cooking it.
What to pair with brisket?
Here are 11 sides to serve with brisket:
- Corn on the cob
- Roast potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Mac and cheese
- Garden salad
- Sweet potato wedges
- Caesar salad
- Onion rings
- Macaroni salad
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Variety is what we need when it comes to proteins, cook times, taste, texture and getting dinner sorted. Here is a selection of recipes that will help you switch it up and give you plenty of ideas for 'What's for Dinner?' every night.
- BBQ Lamb Riblets
- Chicken In White Wine Sauce
- Baked Marinated Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Ribs
- Tofu Noodle Stir Fry
- Caldo De Res
- Easy Pork Meatballs
- Meatballs Alfredo
- Panko Pork Chops
- Honey Mustard Sausages
It's time to get our Winner, Winner Brisket Dinner' on my friend! You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
Pulled Beef Brisket (Baked then Grilled)
- 2 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1.3kg/3 pounds beef brisket
- 1 cup/250ml barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup/60ml honey
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Dry rub: add the mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to a jug and use a mini whisk to combine. Then set aside.
- Brisket: remove brisket from packaging, rinse then pat dry with paper towel. Transfer to dry, clean chopping board.
- Rub into brisket: sprinkle half of the dry rub of the top side of the brisket and then use your hands to massage this into the meat. Then flip the brisket to the other side and sprinkle the remainder of the dry rub over the top. Massage the rub into this side of the meat also.
- Oven bake: cover a baking tray with a layer of tin foil and give it a spray with cooking oil. Then place the dry rub covered brisket into the middle of the tray. Pour water into the base of the tray so that it sits around the brisket and sides but not covering it. Bake for 3 ½ hours, removing from the oven every hour to top up the water.
- Grill/broil: use oven mits to remove the cooked brisket from the oven and place the baking tray on a heatproof surface. Change the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6.
- Sauce: use 2 pairs of kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked brisket to a silicon mat above a baking tray and rack. Use a pastry brush to liberally coat the top and sides brisket with the barbecue sauce. Place the brisket into the oven on the top shelf and grill it for 10 mins. Then remove, rebaste with sauce and grill for a further 10 minutes (Total grill time is 2 x 10 mins = 20 minutes).
- Pull: remove the baking tray from the oven and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Then use 2 pairs of tongs to transfer it to a clean chopping board. Hold a fork in each hand and use the forks to shred the meat (pull your hands away from each other). Repeat to pull the entire piece of brisket.
- Sauce (optional): add the pulled brisket to a bowl, pour in the remaining sauce and stir till this is combined.
- Serve: use the pulled beef brisket as a taco filling, for burgers, sandwiches grilled cheese filling or whatever takes your fancy.
- Serving size: this will depend on how you want to serve the brisket. For smaller taco fillings you will get more per person than if you use this for pulled burgers. For the brisket weight of 1.3 kg (3 Pounds) you will be able to feed 4 adults.