Cook the Book: 'Get a Book' Whole Beef Brisket

Cook the Book: 'Get a Book' Whole Beef Brisket

Be aware, this recipe for brisket adapted from Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang is an all day endeavor. But rest assured that the hours of cooking at a low temperature, spraying, rubbing, seasoning and basting will be well worth the effort. The brisket will end up charred and crusty on the outside and tender in the center with a glowing pink smoke ring that is the tell-tale sign of good barbecue.

Why is it called "Get a Book" Brisket? Because you are going to need something to occupy yourself during the cooking process. It might as well be called "Get a Bunch of Friends, Some Snacks and a Few Cases of Beer Brisket." The time commitment makes this brisket a great centerpiece for an all day cook out with good friends and family.

Win Serious Barbecue

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Serious Barbecue to give away this week.

  • Yield:8 to 12


  • Paste
  • 6 tablespoons mild chile powder, preferably Chimayo, Ancho, or Hatch
  • 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons beef base in paste form, such as Better than Bouillon
  • Seasoning Blend
  • 1/4 cup garlic salt
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • One 8- to12-pound whole beef brisket, trimmed to fit your cooker (see note)
  • About 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Apple Juice Spray (recipe follows)
  • Wrapping Mixture
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • Finishing Sauce
  • 1 cup APL BBQ Sauce (recipe follows), or your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Fleur de sel
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium sweet white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional if needed
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, plus additional as needed
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 jalapeno chile, grated on a Microplane grater, stopping before the seeds
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, grated on a Microplane grater.


  1. 1.

    Combine the paste ingredients and spread on all sides of the brisket. Combine all of the seasoning ingredients and sprinkle evenly on all sides of the brisket. You may not use all of the blend. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

  2. 2.

    Preheat an indirect barbecue with a drip pan and hardwood (preferably hickory, oak, or pecan), a ceramic cooker with deflector plate and hardwood (preferably hickory, oak, or pecan), or a charcoal or gas grill with a box or packet of hardwood (preferably hickory, oak, or pecan) to 275° F.

  3. 3.

    Using your hands or a brush, evenly, but lightly, coat the brisket with canola oil. Insert a remote thermometer in the thickest part of the brisket.

  4. 4.

    Place in the cooker, fat side down. After 2 hours spray every 2 hours with apple juice spray. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 6 to 7 1/2 hours (the colder the meat is going into the cooker the longer it will take).

  5. 5.

    Meanwhile, combine the wrapping mixture ingredients.

  6. 6.

    Lay out a double sheet of aluminum foil, top with the brisket, and cover with the wrapping mixture. Securely wrap in the foil. Reinsert the thermometer. Place back in the cooker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 195°F, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  7. 7.

    Meanwhile, line a small cooler with a beach towel or other large towels to insulate the inside of the cooler.

  8. 8.

    Remove the brisket from the cooker and carefully unwrap over a baking dish or disposable pan, reserving the liquid. Lay out a double sheet of aluminum foil and top with the brisket. Strain all of the juices from the pan through a fine-mesh strainer set over a liquid measuring cup. Discard any solids Allow the fat to come to the top, pour off, and discard. For the enhanced sauce, reserve 1/2 cup of the beef liquid. Pour the remaining defatted liquid over the brisket. Securely wrap in the foil, place in a disposable pan, and transfer to the cooler. Cover the top with the towels, close the lid, and let rest for 1 hour. After the brisket has rested for about 30 minutes, increase the temperature of the cooker to 300°F.

  9. 9.

    Meanwhile, combine the reserved beef liquid, BBQ sauce, and vinegar.

  10. 10.

    Remove the brisket from the cooler, carefully unwrap, coat with the sauce, place back in the cooker, fat side up, and cook for 30 minutes.

  11. 11.

    Paint the remaining sauce on a cutting board, top with the brisket, and let rest for 10 minutes.

  12. 12.

  13. 13.

  14. 14.

    Apple Juice Spray

  15. 15.

    - makes about 2 cups -

  16. 16.

    Adapted from Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang.

  17. 17.

    Combine the water and juice and place in a spray bottle.

  18. 18.

    APL BBQ Sauce

  19. 19.

    - makes about 7 cups -

  20. 20.

    Adapted from Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang.

  21. 21.

    Pour the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Stir in the garlic, onion, bell pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

  22. 22.

    Pour in the bourbon and cook until the alcohol has cooked off, about 5 minutes. There will no longer be the strong smell of alcohol.

  23. 23.

    Combine the chili powder, black pepper, allspice and cloves and add to the pan. Cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

  24. 24.

    Stir in the water, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce and preserves. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to be sure that nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. Continue to simmer, stirring often, about 45 minutes.

  25. 25.

    Add the jalapeno and apple. At this point the sauce can be left chunky or blended in a blender (blend in small batches since it will still be hot), or in a bowl using an immersion/stick blender until smooth.

  26. 26.

    Season to taste with additional allspice, cloves, salt, and vinegar to taste.