Since I originally created this recipe back in 2013, Brisket has tremendously risen in popularity and for good reason, when done the right way, it is DELICIOUS! But let’s not kid ourselves, it takes work. There is a reason that BBQ is called LOW and SLOW. But if you’re willing to put in the work for a slow smoked brisket, it is worth the end result- smoky, succulent, TENDER hunks of meat that melt in your mouth.
Let me give a bit of history of Brisket before you jump into making your own. In this case, let’s recap what, where and how brisket came to be, ie: BRISKET FOR BEGINNERS. If you already know all this, go ahead and scroll down to the recipe. But if you don’t, here’s some info you can drop when you are sharing delicious smoked brisket with your friends!
Where does Brisket Come from on The Cow?
Brisket is found at the front of the cow at the chest area, essentially it is from the breast area of the cow. This muscle supports a lot of weight and is heavily used, making it one of the tougher cuts of beef. Tough Brisket benefits from low and slow smoking, which helps break down the collagen, resulting in tender, succulent meat.
Primal Cuts of Beef
Before beef is ever broken down into the cuts you see at the grocery store, it is cut into Primal Cuts. Brisket is actually one of those primal cuts of beef, which makes it easier to understand where it comes from, and there are two packer briskets per cow. Meanwhile, other primal cuts like Chuck, are broken down into sub primal cuts like short ribs and chuck pot roasts. It can get confusing. What is not confusing is that Brisket is freaking delicious and has a unique meaty, beefy taste and is worth the effort of low and slow cooking.
Brisket Point Versus Flat
This is a big debate. A whole packer brisket is broken into the flat and the point (the point can also be called the deckle). I often just buy a point because I don’t often don’t have as much time to smoke an entire brisket, and it is also less costly than purchasing an entire brisket. The upside to smoking an entire brisket is that you will have you will have brisket for days! This means brisket tacos, brisket pizza, brisket on EVERYTHING! This is what you want to smoke when you are having a party of lots of people over.
The (Brisket) Point (aka “the deckle”):
The point has a lot of fat on it, and therefore is my favorite part to cook of the brisket because the fat does keep it more moist during the cook. However, you aren’t always left with a lot of meat left over when the fat has rendered off.
The (Brisket) Flat:
You are more likely to find the flat at the grocery store. Just like it’s name, it does lay more flat, has a fat cap on the top that most people will trim, and is more uniform in size which is great for getting those brisket slices you see everyone sharing on instagram!
So which one is better for smoking, the flat or the point?
I am a personal fan of the point. I think it has a meatier flavor and is a bit fattier overall. However, I have had good flats as well. I wrote this particular recipe below for a point.
Where to buy Brisket?
A lot of people always ask me where to buy brisket. If you are going to invest the time to smoke a brisket, I recommend getting high quality beef. Quality matters. Go for the best grade you can find. At this point, how many briskets are you going to smoke this year? Seriously. Go big or go home so get the best quality you can afford. And then don’t drink so much beer while you’re smoking that you pass out and forget to check on your brisket in the smoker. Or set yourself an alarm in case you do.
I recommend getting a Snake River Farms American Wagyu Brisket because the marbling is going to make this an epic eating experience for you. Let’s face it- fat equals flavor and if you are doing a brisket, you’re investing the time so just go ahead and get a good brisket with good marbling.
The second best option would be to go to Costco and look for a prime brisket if you can find one. Ask around and see what you can find. Don’t skimp on this, a crappy piece of meat will still be a crappy piece of meat after you smoke it for hours.
Brisket- How Long to Smoke?
Anytime you smoke something the time is going to largely depend on 2 core variables: 1) the size of the meat and 2) the temperature of your smoker.
A general rule of thumb is that a brisket will take about an hour and a half per pound at 225 degrees. This recipe was developed using a 5 lb point, which means it takes about 7.5 hours, give or take an hour depending on the temperature consistency of the smoker, but a full packer brisket could take anywhere from 12-18 hours, depending on the size of the brisket.
What Temp is Brisket Done?
The temperature that collagen actually breaks down is 203 degrees. This has always been the temp I have aimed for when smoking meats. HOWEVER, I have found that for high quality brisket, ie Prime or American Wagyu Brisket, it does better when you pull the meat earlier as letting it get to 203 renders it a bit mushy. For this brisket recipe, I recommend it to be pulled from the foil at 190 degrees, then put back on the smoker to set the glaze for 30 minutes. Keep in mind that Brisket will continue to cook once you remove it off the grill.
There are actually 2 core temperatures to look for when smoking a brisket, when to wrap and when to pull off the grill.
- 170 is the number you should hit that you will then want to do the “Texas Crutch” (wrap in foil with the sugar/shallots, liquid mixture)
- 190 to remove the brisket from the foil, put back on the grill to let the glaze set for 30 minutes
This is a good time to remind you that you need to have a good thermometer when doing BBQ. Let’s face it, a thermometer is an invaluable tool for anything you cook! The Thermapen is the #1 thing I recommend to people when they start grilling, you CANNOT guess the internal temp of meat!
Also, your smoker may have a meat probe to tell you the internal temp of meat. I would not rely on this alone, you need to have a good internal read thermometer. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a Thermapen! If you don’t want to spend the money, get a Thermopop and it will make you a better cook! Do not guess when your meat is done and don’t rely on the cheap thermometer that may come in your smoker!
BBQ Terminology: The Texas Crutch, The Stall
The Texas Crutch: This is when you wrap the meat in foil, this is done to speed up the cooking process as it goes through the “Stall”.
The Stall: The stall is essentially condensation from the meat that cools the meat as it is cooking and slows down the cooking process. Hence why it’s called the stall!
Brisket Versus Tri Tip:
If you want a smoked beefy experience but don’t want to invest the time or money into a brisket, a good alternative is to smoke a Tri Tip. Give my Smoked Tri Tip a try, you won’t be disappointed. You can smoke a Tri Tip in a little over an hour. It’s not the same experience as a brisket, but it is equally satisfying. I like to think of a Tri Tip as the cross between a roast and a steak. They’re delicious. It is harder to find Tri Tip on the East Coast, but it is a staple cut on the West Coast. If you want to give it a try, I’m a big fan of Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket. This is actually the cut I used to compete at the Fire Women Competition at the World Food Champs!
Okay, so now you’ve been primed on Brisket. Let’s dig into this recipe.
Brisket On the Big Green Egg:
I’ve done this recipe on all kinds of grills, including the Big Green Egg. In fact, the Egg is by far my favorite way to do brisket because I think it gets the MOST smoke flavor in an Egg versus cooking in a pellet smoker. To smoke a brisket on a Big Green Egg, the only difference is that you will need to of course, use your plate setter the entire time and at the end you will need to keep it on the plate setter but let the temp come up to 350 to set the glaze.
Brisket on a Pellet Smoker (ie, Brisket on a Traeger, Green Mountain Grill, PitBoss, etc)
Using a Wifi enabled Pellet smoker (like my favorite the Green Mountain Grills Daniel Boone, you can read the review here) is by far the EASIEST way to smoke brisket because we all know that pellet smokers push the easy button and remove any aspect of fire management. It is for this reason that you will have the most consistent temp with a Pellet smoker because it is automated and therefore there aren’t a lot of temp fluctuations. And because smoking a whole brisket will mean you will need to smoke it overnight, having a wifi enabled pellet smoker that will allow you to monitor the temp and get notified when it changes, etc makes this easier if you want to actually get some sleep.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM 2013:
I did not grow up eating Brisket. Where I come from in North Carolina, BBQ was pork- period! Since the inception of “GrillGirl” however, I’ve come to learn more and more about all types of BBQ and low-and-slow. To a Texan, Brisket is BBQ. And you don’t mess with Texas! (or so they say!)
However, I digress. The point of this post and recipe is that Brisket is the bomb! Ever since I made Brisket on my BGE for the first time over a year ago, Scott has been asking me about making it again. Brisket is an aphrodisiac for my husband–hence the title of this post!
Last weekend we went to visit my parents in Myrtle Beach and we smoked a Brisket together as a family. If that isn’t some good family bonding then I don’t know what is! This time we did it on the Weber Smokey Mountain (a water smoker) and it turned out equally great.
For cooking direction, I consulted a few of my favorite chefs in “Que”, particularly Chris Lilly. Back in my earlier days of blogging I attended Kingsford University and got to see Chris Lilly in action making Brisket. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of spending more time with him at Memphis in May and via my sponsor Kingsford. Let me tell you- a combination of these techniques and recipes and YOU CAN’T GO WRONG. One key ingredient in this recipe that contributes to its success and great bark is the use of Beef Base.
A lot of people ask about Beef Base- where do I find it? Beef Base can be found in the boullion/soup aisle. If you can’t find it in the store, you can easily get Beef Base it on Amazon.
If you like to grill…
Check out my GrillSchool, where I teach the fundamentals of Grilling, including how to cook the perfect steak using the reverse sear method, my Kick-Ass Chicken Thigh Recipe (inspired by competition BBQ) and three easy ways to grill fish! AND, if you have a significant other in your life who doesn’t know how to grill – share this series with them! It will help them on their path to deliciousness! 🙂
Before You jump to the brisket recipe, did you Know I launched fun BBQ t-shirts along with my new rub Craft BBQ Rub on the GrillGirl Shop?
Okay, let’s make some brisket!
This recipe will take you through the steps to make melt in your mouth brisket, even if you’ve never made brisket before. Follow the steps to rub the meat, smoke it, wrap it, and then finish the brisket on the grill to let the glaze set. Then, experience Brisket Ecstacy!
- 4 lb Brisket “point” ** I recommend using the highest quality beef you can find. Smoking a brisket is an investment in time and a better cut with good marbling will make a big difference in results. I order my briskets from Snake River Farms.
- 1 part hickory, 2 parts apple
- smoker or a grill set for indirect heat
Rub- part 1
- 2 tbsp beef base
- 2 tbsp garlic salt
- 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper (I used smoked black pepper)
- 2 tbsp chile powder
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
Wrap Sauce – part 2- The “Texas Crutch”
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar (I used bourbon barrel smoked brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp apple juice OR 2tbsp sweet tea (funny story here)
- 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Remove fat cap/very fatty areas and score the meat on both sides so it can absorb more rub.
- Rub the beef base into the brisket on all sides. Combine the rub ingredients and generously “rub” into the meat. Cover and refrigerate over night.
- Prepare your smoker to 225 degrees. If using a grill, you will need to prepare for indirect heat by creating a direct/indirect zone.
- I used a combination of apple wood and hickory- 1 part hickory and 2 parts apple. Once your grill is at temp, add the wood.
- Put your brisket on the smoker and let smoke until the internal temp reaches 170 degrees- this is going to take about an hour and a half per pound. For a 5 lb brisket point this takes about 7.5 hours.
- Next, you are going to do the “Texas Crutch”- or wrap it in foil. Roll out a bunch of foil and double it up so that you can fold the brisket into a foil “packet”. Remove the brisket, put it on the foil and pour on the wrap liquid. Seal up the foil packet and put it back on the grill. Let the brisket steam in the packet for another 2 hours OR until it hits 190 degrees as read with a thermapen.
- Cook the brisket in the foil for 2 hours, OR, once the internal temp has hit 190 degrees (203 is the temp that fat full renders in brisket, please read my comments above – I think 190 is the target temp for this recipe). I recommend using the Thermapen to check internal temps as a full-proof method for measuring temperature. If you’re curious what internal temp any protein you’re cooking should reach, check out our BBQ Calculator!
- Remove the brisket/foil and put the brisket back on the smoker/grill. Add the glaze and let the meat continue to cook for 20 minutes to absorb the sauce and get a nice glaze.
- Once you pull the brisket off, “tent” it in foil for 30 minutes. Slice against the grain in 1/4” slices.
- If the brisket is done before you are ready to eat, you can wrap it in foil or towels and let it rest in a cooler until you are ready to eat.
Experience Brisket Ecstasy! If you try this recipe and technique, please let me know what you think and tag me on instagram @grillgirlrobyn and use hashtag #grillgirlrobyn!
Notes. Some affiliate links have been used in this post. I only recommend products I personally use! Affiliate links help keep this blog going!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 hours ++
- Category: Beef, BBQ, Texas BBQ
- Method: Smoke, Roast
- Cuisine: American, BBQ
- Serving Size: 2-3 servings per Brisket point
Keywords: How to Cook Brisket, Brisket on BGE, Brisket on Pellet Smoker, Best Brisket Recipe, Better Than Sex Brisket Recipe, how long to smoke brisket
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