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Texas-Style Barbecued Brisket

Early Spanish explorers to North America brought the method of cooking meat slowly over an open fire from the Caribbean, naming the practice barbacoa. Barbecue in America began with pork, but in Texas, beef is king. Brisket is normally a tough cut of meat but through a smoky and low-heat cooking process, it becomes tender and moist. The preferred cut of brisket is untrimmed and has a thick sheath of fat. Cooking in a shallow pan retains moisture and keeps meat from drying out. Use a charcoal grill or smoker for cooking as gas grills will not produce enough smoke. Curing the meat for several hours is not necessary but produces even more flavorful meat. Today barbecue remains an America tradition with different methods as well as sauces and rubs.

Recipe Servings: 10

Prep Time
6 minutes
+ 15 minutes resting
Cook Time
6 hours
Total Time
6 hours 21 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 1 beef brisket (5–6 lbs) with a fat layer ¼–½ inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 cups hickory or mesquite woodchips, soaked for 1 hour in cold water and then drained


  1. Rinse brisket under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In small bowl combine salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
  3. Rub spice mixture on all sides of brisket. If time allows for curing, wrap brisket in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator 4–8 hours.
  4. Set up charcoal grill and preheat to low. No drip pan is needed for this recipe.
  5. Place 1½ cups moistened wood chips on coals, ¾ cup per each side of grill.
  6. Place brisket, fat side up, in aluminum foil pan and place pan in center of hot grate away from heat. Cover grill.
  7. Smoke the brisket until tender enough to shred with fingers, 6–8 hours. Baste occasionally with fat and juices from pan. Add 10–12 fresh coals to each side of grill every hour, adding wood chips also. This will be about ¾ cup woodchips for each side of grill each time coals are added in the first 3 hours.
  8. Remove brisket pan from grill and let rest 15 minutes.
  9. Transfer brisket to cutting board and thinly slice across grain using a sharp knife, electric knife, or cleaver.
  10. Transfer sliced meat to platter and serve immediately. Additional sauce is optional.

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