BBQ Beef Brisket

BBQ Beef Brisket

Yields 8-12 Servings

BBQ Beef Brisket

Slow cooking these big ol’ hunks of meat is necessary to break down the connective tissues or it will be tough. Using a “crutch” saves several hours of cook time, and holding the wrapped brisket in a cooler allows you to adjust the cook time as needed while still scheduling dinnertime. Figure 12-16 total cooking hours. A whole brisket has two muscles - the “point” and the “flat” - separated by a fat vein. The grain runs in different directions in these two muscles, so making a gash across the grain before adding the rub in each would create a guide for later. Use trimmed fat to render into the sauce, beans and popover. Freeze any leftover fat trimmings. Food scientists say don’t bother with a marinade. The meat is too dense to allow marinades through the surface. Same goes for the fat cap - the fat will not penetrate the meat as a baste.

30 minPrep Time

14 hrCook Time

14 hr, 30 Total Time

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    Dry Brine:
  • 1 whole brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch or less and silverskin removed from meat side, fat reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt per pound or ½ teaspoon kosher salt / pound
  • Rub (divided):
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ---------
  • 6 tablespoons freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper
  • Crutch:
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rendered beef fat
  • ½ bay leaf, bruised
  • 2 teaspoons rub seasoning minus pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Sprinkle salt all over trimmed brisket, a little heavier on thicker areas. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
  2. Light grill or smoker for indirect cooking.
  3. Mix all rub spices except black pepper, remove and reserve 2 teaspoons for sauce.
  4. Add black pepper to remaining rub spices, blend and rub all over brisket.
  5. “Smoke”: Drop brisket onto the grill, fat side down and insert thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Add a handful of mesquite wood chips to each charcoal pile, cover the grill and close the top and bottom air vents about ⅔ of the way to choke off air supply and reduce grill temperature.
  6. “Crutch”: Sometime around a meat temperature of 150 degrees the temperature will stop rising. This is the dreaded “stall”. Remove the brisket and wrap it tightly in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, adding a cup of beef stock before sealing. Add more coals to the fire or turn oven on to 225 degrees and put the wrapped brisket in to cook until the internal temperature reaches 200-205 degrees.
  7. “Hold”: Wrap brisket in some old towels and put in a plastic cooler 1-4 hours.
  8. Render some of the reserved beef fat in a small skillet over medium heat.
  9. Warm stock, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and hot sauce in a medium pot.
  10. Add 2 tablespoons rendered fat and the bay leaf and reserved rub spices to the pot and whisk to emulsify. Bring to a slow boil then turn heat down to low and hold until dinner.
  11. Carve brisket fat cap up. Slice off burnt ends and reserve for later use. Carve brisket across the grain into ¼-inch thick slices and drizzle with a little sauce. Serve immediately.



787 cal


12 g


165 g


22 g
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