Our smoked brisket recipe walks you through the steps for either a gas or charcoal barbecue grill, to cinch your backyard barbecue fame! The "Cookin' Cousins" use the indirect cooking method to attain a remarkable, spice enhanced, smoke flavored, hunk of beef.
We believe that..."Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat"
Review 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 a great smoked brisket recipe. We're talking temperatures of 200-230°F/93-110°C for an extended cooking period. You'll need a bucket load of this virtue when you smoke brisket on a grill. Figure about 1.0-1.5 hours/lb.
Gas/charcoal grill A gas grill, with at least two burners, is preferable for indirect cooking. A kettle type charcoal grill, or a rectangular charcoal grill, work great also. Any type of charcoal grill will require that you place the coals off to one side.
Be certain you have plenty of gas, or charcoal, for the duration!
Meat Try to buy the freshest, fattest brisket you can find! Get a whole brisket (9-10+lbs/4kg-4.5+kg) if your grill is large. Most gas or charcoal grills will hold a 4 1/2-5lb./2-2.3kg) brisket, or 1/2 of a full brisket. This will serve about 7 hungry folks, and maybe enough left-over for a sandwich the next day.
Spices Our smoked brisket recipe calls for a rub, and enjoy putting together our own with these basic fresh ingredients:
Go to our Dry Rub Recipes for more on rub preparation.
Smoker box, or aluminum foil pouch Some gas grills come with a Smoker Box for the wood chips. If yours does not have one, just make a envelope/pouch from heavy-duty aluminum foil and put 2 cups of pre-soaked (in hot water for about an hour) chips on the foil; fold into a flat envelope/pouch shape, and poke a several slices in the top to release the smoke.
Tongs/Spatula You need a darn good pair of Tongs to handle a brisket. Long and strong is the secret. A spatula (preferably a strong professional type) is terrific for helping you get that big chunk of meat off of the grill.
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.
Mop tool This 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 "Prepare a Mop?" section, below.
Oven/Grill thermometer Accuracy is very important, and a very good thermometer is the only way you will really know what's going on inside the smoker! Our favorites are the Taylor Precision Classic Oven Thermometer or the Taylor Connoisseur Oven Thermometer.
Instant-Read probe type thermometer The ideal temperature of a brisket should be between 185-210°F/85-99°C. Our favorite inexpensive tool is the fast reading CDN Proaccurate Stainless Digital Thermometer. It is the choice of many "pros" due to its accuracy and stainless steel construction. Our other preferred instant-read thermometers that that we know to be faster, and also he choice of professionals (albeit more expensive), are the RT600C Super-fast Water-resistant Digital Pocket Thermometer (See all Instant-Read Thermometers & Timers), and the Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen - Instant Read Thermometer.
Chimney Charcoal Starter We highly recommend using a high quality model, as this is the best way to start, and maintain, the coals. If you've never used one of these ingenious tools, you're going to love the experience!
The brisket is first "rubbed", with a simple, dry, spice accented rub, and then smoked slow, with low indirect heat. All for that unforgettable tender, perfectly seasoned, eating experience!
Let's start with a classic rub that 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 good smoked brisket recipe need a mop? A long time favorite with many experienced brisket cookers is to occasionally apply a mop (baste sauce), during the cooking cycle, to flavor, and keep the meat moist. If you are following this smoked brisket recipe faithfully, slathered it with common yellow table mustard, and you have a pan of water on the grill, a mop is not necessary, and probably should not be used.
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 and it is OK to use just the basic spices of the rub (with vinegar and water). Experiment and have fun!
Here is a simple favorite:
Mix well and put mop sauce in a bowl, to be applied with a mop tool or...you can use just the water, vinegar and oil, in a spray bottle. Many folks use just apple juice! If you use the mop tool, stir each time before mopping. 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 be always kept in the refrigerator (below 40°F/4.4°C) prior to preparation.
When the temperature is reached, shut down all but one burner.
NOTE: Please, if you use a charcoal lighter fluid, allow the coals to burn to a gray ash coating,or you run the risk off ruining your smoked brisket recipe. There are several good "fire-starters" on the market that will not taint the meat, or impart potentially dangerous chemicals to the food.
NOTE: Always use tongs! Never use that forked, sharp, pokey-thing that seems to come with all backyard barbecue tool sets. It will pierce the meat, and allow the juices to run out.
When the grill temperature has reached 250-275°F/121-135°C...
With this smoked brisket recipe you will have a wonderful, natural flavor, but if you wish (or if you must) you can now bring out your favorite BBQ sauce and...
Starting with the brisket's widest end, find the fat seam and cut along it, cutting the meat in half, horizontally. Slice across the grain with 1/4" cuts. Serve it hot!