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Smoking the best brisket-Texas style

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 4

Texas Flag Barn

Growing up in Texas, I've always enjoyed cooking meat in the smoker or grill.  There are many different types of meat to prepare but the most popular by far is the brisket.  The brisket is a cut of beef from the breast or lower chest of the cow.  It usually includes two completely different types of meat, the "point" and the "flat".  The point of the brisket has a lot of fat running through it so when you cook it, it comes out very tender and juicy.  The flat of the brisket is a leaner piece of meat that does include a layer of fat on the bottom that will keep the meat moist.  When slicing the brisket, I usually separate the point from the flat before slicing as the point usually falls apart and the flat is very easy to slice up nicely.  

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It will probably be tougher to find a brisket in some parts of the country than it is in others.  If you are able to find briskets at your local meat market or grocery store, here is a trick that I use to help me pick out a good one.  The size of the brisket you need depends on how many people you are cooking for, but I usually try and find one around twelve to fourteen pounds.  You want it to have a good layer of fat on the back but not too thick.  If you can "bend" it in half without too much trouble then the fat isn't too thick and it's a good one to choose.  

Now that we have our brisket, we're ready to start getting it ready to smoke.  The following steps will help make your brisket very juicy, flavorful and tender.  It's worth the time and effort, believe me.  The marinade recipe I use is:

  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of coke
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of oregano

Place the brisket and marinade in a pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.  During that time, you can prepare the rub that will go on next.  My rub recipe that I use, which follows basically the same flavor profile as my marinade, is:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of oregano

Once the brisket is done marinating, take it out of the refrigerator and rinse it off.  Lightly pat it dry to prepare it for the rub.  Liberally apply the rub over the entire brisket, rubbing it in with your hands.  Once the brisket is covered nicely, place it back in the pan that has been rinsed out.  Then cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.  Let brisket refrigerate for another 12 to 24 hours.

Rubbed Brisket(94671)

Now, there are a few different types of smokers that you can use but it really doesn't matter as long as you follow the two T's, Temperature and Time.  I choose to use a Cookshack SM-025 electric smoker because they are really easy to use, set it and forget it.  It's completely up to you as to whether you go electric or stick burning smoker.  One thing you should use no matter which way you decide to go is a wireless remote thermometer.  They will make your life a lot easier and you can pick one up for around $15 to $20 at most outdoor stores across the country.

I prefer to smoke my briskets at a temperature of 225 degrees with about 3 to 4 ounces of hickory wood.  Now, as far as how long to smoke them, well that just depends.  You're looking for an internal temperature of around 190 degrees.  Whatever amount of time that takes varies from one brisket to the next.  Like we say, "It's done when it's done".  There is a certain temperature that the brisket will get to when the meat starts breaking down and thats what your looking for to give it the tenderness.  Also, don't be surprised if your brisket hits a "plateau" during the cooking process where the internal temperature seems to stop, this is normal.  It will continue rising, just give it time.

Once the brisket has hit the target temperature of 190 degrees, it's time to pull it off.  Double wrap the whole brisket in foil and then in a few towels.  Place the wrapped brisket into a pre-heated cooler with more towels on top.  To preheat your cooler, just fill it with hot water for about thirty minutes beforehand.  The reason for placing the wrapped brisket in the pre-heated cooler is to let it "rest" and retain it's juices.  This is a very important and worthwhile step in the process so don't leave it out.  You can leave the brisket in the cooler for up to 3 or 4 hours and it will still be plenty hot when you take it out to slice.  This is nice when you have to travel or aren't quite sure when you're going to be ready to eat.

Brisket done(94672)

To prepare the brisket for the table, I usually separate the point and the flat.  I slice the flat across the grain and chop up the point.  It makes it nice and easy to slice the flat if you have a good cutting board and an electric knife.  Once you have the brisket sliced up, pour any leftover juice or a little beef broth over it and you're ready to eat. 

Sliced brisket(94667)

Hopefully, this will encourage you to smoke your own brisket and get a little taste of what it's like down here in Texas.  I'm starving, let's eat.

The aftermath



Apr 17, 2012 10:42am
Sounds delicious, thanks for this recipe.
Apr 17, 2012 10:52am
I love smoked brisket, let me know how it turns out if you try it.
Thanks for the comment..
Apr 19, 2012 12:24pm
Awesome Texas BBQ. I really like the ingredients you use in the marinade and rub.
Apr 19, 2012 1:05pm
Thank you
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