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May 22, 2007 02:25 PM

How to make great BBQ brisket

Without starting any wars....looking for a great brisket recipe. I have a smoker, I have a grill. Looking for that ideal combo of smoke, rub, dip, wet mop for a spicy sweet BBQ brisket for an upcoming party at my house.


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  1. Keep it simple, Texas style. Rub with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, maybe a little garlic powder and a little cayenne. What kind of smoker? As long as you go with a low heat around 250, with wood for smoke (hickory or really your choice). Just the dry rub, then low and slow for anywhere from 6 to 10 hours for a complete brisket flat, ranging from 5 to 8 lbs (bigger the better). Get one in the cryo, with a nice fat cap, at Sam's or the like. I go with fat cap up, so it melts down over the meat. Go to an internal temp of about 190-200... you'll want a remote temp probe to keep track. when the fork goes in easy, its done. Some folks will foil the brisket after about 160 internal, to retain more moisture. Probably a good idea at first. If you can get a full "packer" brisket, with the flat and point, even better... it will go about 12-16 lbs. A couple hours more on the cook. Same treatment. When the flat is done, the point will need to be removed, and left to keep cooking, since it will have more fat to render out. If you go that route I have a link to images on separating the point from the flat. The real burnt ends come from chopping up the point, hitting it with a little sauce, and continuing to smoke till done (tender and smoky). I like to offer sauce on the side... no mopping or saucing through the cook. Sauce I use is an approximation of what I saw down in TX:

    14 oz ketchup
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
    2 tbs yellow mustard
    2 tbs lemon juice
    1 tbs chili powder
    2 tbs paprika
    1 tsp crushed red pepper
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp dark brown sugar
    1/3 cup brisket or bacon drippings (optional)
    3 cups water

    Combine all ingredients in saucepan, whisk and bring to rolling boil. Simmer about 10 minutes. Enough for 2 briskets (or more) as a side sauce.

    1. I like what woodburner had to say. Here's a dry rub method, with pictures. I'm not spamming their dry rub and have never tried it. I just liked the idea of the pictures.

      6 Replies
      1. re: dhedges53

        cool. People use many methods. I still think there's more benefit to fat on top, drenching the meat as it renders; the rub will not likely penetrate better if the fat is facing down, but it will simply fall down into the drip pan without doing any "good." Here's a pic of a recent effort on the Weber kettle, small fires on the sides... BTW, remember to slice that bad boy perpendicular to the grain... if it is REALLY tender, you can slice it a little thicker, just like the Texans do!

        1. re: woodburner

          I agree with you 100%, the fat must be on top. And, I also agree that the big, 12-15 lbs "packer" brisket is absolutely the way to go. I had no idea that a Weber with those 2 side pods for the charcoal could cook a brisket as beautiful as the one pictured. I have one of those bullet shaped smokers, that uses charcoal and a water pan, and, for the life of me, can't seem to get the temperature up high enough for a big brisket.

          1. re: dhedges53

            Sounds like you might not be getting enough air to the fire.....There are some easy mods that can be done to those cooekrs to make them work better.

            When you say you can't get the temperature high enough for a big brisket, what temps do you get to? Generally brisket will cook at the same temps as ribs or pork......

            1. re: BackyardChef

              I found a web site for modifying a Brinkmann smoker, and am going to get to work on that. Also, I picked up a good thermometer with a probe. As you said, 200-250 is the temp to shoot for. I have some apple trees and some plum trees in my yard and have had pretty good luck with that wood. I pick up pecan when I'm in Texas. I've also heard a lot of good things about Post Oak.

              Thanks for the tips!!

              1. re: dhedges53

                In my limited experience Apple is the best wood to smoke with.


            2. re: dhedges53

              I have a bullet, and usually have problem keeping temperature down... I use the Minion Method- saves having to replenish charcoal and provides steady heat for the whole cook typically (15-18 hours for a packer.)
              I find that I've the best results when the temp takes especially long to come up- put the brisket on before it comes up to temperature.
              I like apple wood too.

        2. Is there a general rule of thumb on cooking?? So many hours at a certain temp per pound??


          3 Replies
          1. re: Davwud

            1-1.5 hours per pound is a good ballpark. Bring it to anywhere from 190-205 internal for maximum tenderness, but don't go by time or temp alone-- when the probe of a thermometer slips in and out like going through warm butter, or a fork twists easily in the meat, it's done. The meat should have a bit of the jell-o shimmy when it is done.

              1. re: Davwud

                Sorry....Forget to mention cooking temps you asked for-- anywhere from 200-250 is fine bbq cooking temperature for brisket....

          2. Does/has anyone tried smoking flank steak??


            1 Reply
            1. re: Davwud

              mesquite for smoke, following the method above for truest Texas style brisket. I put pure chili powder in my spice rub, but not garlic powder. Sometimes cumin.. I have never tried smoking flank steak. I think of it as better seared and served rare to medium rare. You could build a hot smoky fire and grill.

            2. I like this wet rub quite a lot. I've tried a few others but keep coming back to this one.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Evan

                I use a rub combo with celery salt, season salt, garlic, chili pepper,black pepper, and what ever else might move me for the day.....but I really think the key to my brisket is I do an initial oven cook at 350 for one hour or so then transfer to my weber....use one burner to mantain temp of 220 or so.....cook for 6-8 hours or so....and I use wood chips in foil to mantain smoke......and bbq sauce of choice........