Jason’s Ranting & Raving

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Cooking: How to Smoke a Brisket

Posted by jaystile on June 28, 2009

Coated with Mustard & Magic Dust

Coated with Mustard & Magic Dust

Smoking on the Grill

Smoking on the Grill

Smoking Complete, finished on the top shelf

Smoking Complete, finished on the top shelf

Get ready for the oven by sealing it in foil

Get ready for the oven by sealing it in foil

After cooking SLOWLY for another 5 hours.

After cooking SLOWLY for another 5 hours.

Voila! Ready to serve. If is looks a bit managled it's because it falls apart when you try and slice it.

Voila! Ready to serve. If is looks a bit managled it's because it falls apart when you try and slice it.

Smoking a Beef Brisket is easy! (It just takes a lot of time) I usually like to get started around 8am.

Before you get started make sure you have everything you need.

  1. Charcoal
  2. Lighter Fluid
  3. Hickory Chips
  4. Aluminum Foil
  5. Beef Brisket, you can use the point or the flat, or the whole darn thing (You’ll need a bigger pan though)
  6. Mustard
  7. Magic Dust
  8. BBQ Sauce!


  1. Get the brisket out and let it start warming to room temperature
  2. Start soaking your Hickory Chips! (I usually forget this)
  3. Rinse the Brisket and pat dry with paper towel
  4. Start with the fatty side down and coat liberally with mustard.
  5. Cover the brisket with Magic Dust.
  6. Flip the brisket over, cover with mustard and then magic dust.
  7. Start up the Grill! Only use 40-45 charcoal briquettes. Set the coals at your grills lowest level.
  8. Always cook the Brisket fatty side UP. This allows the fat to move down through the meat.
  9. Put the brisket directly over the heat source for approximately 15 minutes. This chars the bottom of the brisket and adds some nice flavor, but don’t do it too long otherwise you’ll dry out the brisket (which is exactly what we DON’T want to do).
  10. Move the brisket to the top shelf of the grill and let it cook until the coals burn out. Approximately 2hrs
  11. Remove extra wire shelves from the oven. Pre-heat your oven to 240F (155C).
  12. Create a foil wrap for the brisket. Take 3 sheets of aluminum foil approximately 1yd. (1m) long and fold them tightly together lengthwise.
  13. Place the foil in a baking pan (to help catch the juices) and transfer the brisket to the pan. Seal the foil completely. If there are openings in the foil your brisket will dry out
  14. Place the pan in the oven and let cook slowly until dinner!
  15. Remove the pan from the oven and open the foil (careful of the steam! don’t burn yourself!)
  16. Transfer the juice from the pan with a baster to a large bowl
  17. The Brisket should stand for about 15 minutes
  18. Transfer the Brisket to a cutting board and remove excess fat. (The fat should be able to be wiped off with the back of the knife if cooked correctly)
  19. I like to divide the brisket into three long sections and then thinly slice each length
  20. Transfer to a platter and lightly coat the slices with the drippings collected from the pan
  21. I like to serve the brisket with buns and multiple options of BBQ sauces

Low and Slow
This rule applies to all tough cuts of meat. You want to cook them at low heat very slowly. This allows the tough muscle tissue to unwind to make the meat more tender. Purists might say when smoking a brisket you should add more coals and keep it on the grill. That is fine, but not necessary. The smoke and char is a ‘flavor’ once you have it you don’t need to keep it on the grill. The oven allows for a long consistent heat instead of the ‘up and down’ of the grill.

Starting the Grill
Stack your coals in a pyramid shape and soak each coal in fluid. Light them up and don’t do ANYTHING until there a ring of gray around EVERY coal. We’re not in a rush since most of the cooking will happen in the oven. Knock the coals down flat once they are ready. Make sure you have long tongs or an asbestos glove when moving the coals.

Chips versus Blocks
You can get two different cuts of wood for smoking. Either blocks or chips. The chips will burn up quickly if placed directly on the coals. After soaking, make a foil container for the chips and then toss them on the coals. Note that wood burns hotter and faster than charcoal. If you use blocks these might dry out and start burning really hot! I usually put my soaked blocks on the edge of my coals so even if they do catch fire they won’t be directly underneath the meat and burn it.

Different Grill?
Not everyone has a grill like mine. You can still do this in a kettle style grill without options to adjust the height of the cooking surface and without an upper shelf. Just stack your coals on one side of the grill and cook the brisket indirectly (Don’t knock down the coal after starting). You’ll probably have to rotate your brisket every 20 minutes or so to keep the edge nearest the heat from drying out.

I get my Brisket from Sam’s Club. They have surprisingly nice cuts of beef. Additionally, I get BBQ sauces from Target their Archer Farm’s brand is quite excellent, might I recommend the Kansas City BBQ and the Carolina Style mustard BBQ sauce.

If you give it a go, let me know how it turned out for you!


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