Barbecue: Brisket Recipe

A piece of smoked brisket with a charred crust on a cutting board.

Serious Eats

My appetite for large pieces of meat seems to increase with the colder weather. Even though most people equate barbecue with summer, fall is the season when my smoker gets the most action with bigger cuts like pork butts, whole turkeys, and as was the case a couple weeks ago, brisket.

For this brisket, I picked out a 14-pound beauty at the butcher, brought it home and trimmed off the excess fat, leaving a 1/4-inch thick cap on top. Then it was coated it liberally with a beef rub from Southside Market that has been waiting for the right application, and after a day's rest in the fridge, it went into the smoker at around 215°F.

I let it go overnight. The next morning the meat had reached 165°F, at which point I wrapped it in foil and let it keep cooking until it went up to 195°F. Normally I would scoff at wrapping the meat, but after some research, I found this method can be a recipe for success towards a perfectly cooked brisket, plus meat doesn't take on much more smoke after the first six hours or so of a cook, so I figured I had nothing to lose. After 16 hours of cooking, I was rewarded with an absolutely tender and moist piece of beef.

The meat held together well when slicing, then melted away in your mouth with the distinct flavor of smoke and a heavy beefiness that makes brisket such a wonderful cut. The only problem here was the Southside rub was way too salty for my taste. It was the first and last time I'll use a rub that I didn't prepare myself, but luckily it would take much more than too much salt to kill such a delicious piece of meat, and most eaters sang nothing but high praises for this brisket.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 18 hrs
Cure/Rest: 8 hrs 30 mins
Total: 27 hrs 10 mins
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 whole, untrimmed beef brisket

  • About 1 cup of your favorite dry rub

  • 8 large chunks of your favorite smoking wood (I like a mix of oak and apple)


  1. Trim the brisket of hard and excess fat, leaving 1/4-inch layer of fat along the top. Coat brisket liberally in your favorite dry rub and then wrap in heave duty aluminum foil. Place in the refrigerator and let it sit for 8 hours up to one day.

  2. Fire up your smoker between 215°F to 225°F. Add the chunks of wood, and when they begin to smoke, remove the brisket from the foil and place in the smoker.

  3. Cook the brisket between 215°F to 225°F until an instant read thermometer reads 165°F in the flat section of the brisket, about 10 to 12 hours. Wrap the brisket in heavy duty aluminum foil and put back into the smoker. Continue cooking until the point section of the brisket registers 195°F, about 4 to 6 hours more. Remove from the smoker, let rest at least 30 minutes, then slice and serve.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
765 Calories
49g Fat
0g Carbs
76g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 765
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g 62%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 280mg 93%
Sodium 127mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 76g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 42mg 3%
Iron 6mg 36%
Potassium 614mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)