Barbecue Brisket in a smoker is simple when you use the "Cookin' Cousins" 6 Secrets, and our step-by-step recipe. Now you can establish your backyard barbecue fame for this Texas staple! We believe that... "Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat"
Look at our "6 Secrets to Smoking Meat" page, to assure your brisket is a competition-grade winner!
Patience Low and slow is the real secret to smoked barbecue brisket. We're talking low heat (200-230°F/93-110°C) for an extended cooking period. This is not the fastest method, but the "bestest"! You'll need a full bucket of this virtue when doing using a barbecue smoker. Figure about 1.0-1.5 hours/pound.
Meat Try to buy the freshest, fattest brisket you can find! A vertical "bullet" or "box" style barbecue smoker will hold 4 1/2-5lb./2-2.3kg of brisket per smoking rack, so buy a full 10-12lb./4.5-5.0 kg brisket. This will serve about 15 hungry folks, and maybe enough left-over for a sandwich the next day! >Go to Secret #1 for more on this.
Spices We like to use a rub for our barbecue brisket, and enjoy putting together our own, with these basic fresh ingredients.Please visit our Great Rub Secrets for our secrets to competitor quality tips on rub preparation.
Smoker The vertical "wet-pan" type is the most popular backyard smoker, so we wrote this smoked barbecue brisket recipe from our experience with this fun cooker. Our favorites are the Masterbuilt 2-Door Propane Smoker and the Weston 36 inch Vertical Stainless Steel Propane Smoker.
Oven thermometer To ensure the success of your smoked barbecue brisket, this tool is the only way you will really know what's going on inside your barbecue smoker! Our favorites are the CDN High Heat Oven Thermometer or the Admetior Kitchen Oven Thermometer, because they are very accurate, sturdy, and priced right.
Instant-Read probe type thermometer We've found that the ideal temperature of a brisket should be between 185-210°F/85-99°C. Our favorite inexpensive tools are the fast reading CDN ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer and the Thermoworks Super Fast Water-Resistant Digital Pocket Thermometer.
Mop tool This is optional, but it sure makes basting a whole lot easier! Yep, a Mop...just a miniature version (12-18" long) of a string-mop you might have for cleaning the kitchen! More on this subject in the "Does a smoked barbecue brisket need a mop?" section, below.
Tongs You need a darn good pair of tongs to handle a brisket. Long and strong is the secret. Two excellent choices that will keep your paws out of the fire are the Weber Style Professional-Grade Chef's Tongs, and the Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs.
Insulated Food Gloves An optional alternative to tongs, these things are fantastic for handling the finished roast! Our hands-down favorite are these insulated gloves for preventing the "opps, dropped it" problem.
The brisket is first "rubbed", with a simple, dry, spice accented "rub", and then smoked slow, with low indirect heat. All for that unforgettable succulent, perfectly seasoned, beef favorite of the "wild west".
This classic rub will impart all of the flavors your drooling chops are hankerin' for. You can adjust the recipe (as the "pros" do) to make it "yours".
Mix together thoroughly the following:
Does a smoked barbecue brisket need a mop?A long time favorite with the "pros" is to occasionally apply a mop (baste sauce), during the cooking cycle, to enhance the flavors, and keep the meat moist. If you are following this barbecue brisket recipe faithfully, slathered the brisket liberally with common yellow table mustard, and you have the smoker water pan at least 2/3 full, a mop is not necessary.
Mops are usually a watery mixture of vinegar, water, and spices applied with a "mop". Notice the spices in the baste are similar to the rub. You want to compliment the flavors of your rub. Experiment and have fun!
Here is a simple favorite:
Mix well. Put mop sauce in a bowl and apply with a mop tool. If you use the mop tool, stir each time before mopping.
NOTE: Never save mop sauce left in the bowl (it is tainted with the meat's raw juices). Otherwise, the sauce will last a long time in the refrigerator.
NOTE: Brisket should always be kept in the refrigerator (below 40°F/4.4°C) prior to preparation.
Our recipe for smoking brisket is written for the vertical 'box", or "bullet" wet-pan type smokers, regardless of the heat source so...
NOTE: If you are using a charcoal-fired smoker, soak 3-4 cups of (dry) chips/chunks for about an hour, drain, and place them directly on the coals once the smoker has reached temperature. This will be sufficient for the entire cooking period, regardless of the addition of more coals. Too much smoke= bitter and nasty! Control the temperature using the bottom vents only. The top vent should always remain open and not used to control oxygen intake. Each cooker is different so, experience rules!
Barbecue brisket has a wonderful smoked flavor, and for the Cookin' Cousins" taste, we like to eat it just as is, but...
Many folks like a "finishing sauce". This is nothing more than a barbecue sauce, of your choice, served as a side dish, for the folks who would like to put something more on their ribs.