Brisket is the hallmark of Texas 'cue. Made up of layers of fat and muscle, it can be one of the toughest cuts of beef around, if not prepared properly. If given plenty of cooking time to break down its dense connective tissue, it's one of the most flavorful and tender beef experiences you'll ever have--well worth the wait. In our restaurants we sprinkle it with Brisket Sugar Shake to round out the flavor. You can also smoke it "naked," as they do in Texas, or try it with our Original BBQ Sauce.
Recipe courtesy of Eva Pesantez and Josh Lebowitz
Smoked Brisket
6 to 8 servings
6 to 8 servings


  • 1 (4- to 6-pound) brisket, untrimmed, with a thick sheath of fat
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Brisket Sugar Shake, for serving, recipe follows
Brisket Sugar Shake:
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons "brownulated" light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Trim the brisket, leaving 1/4 inch of fat. Lightly score the fat so the rub can sink in. 

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (except the sugar shake) and thoroughly rub over the brisket. Wrap the meat in plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. About 45 minutes before you're ready to grill, pull the brisket out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature. 

Prepare your smoker or grill for barbecuing, using the indirect heat setup with a drip pan in place, and preheat to 190 degrees F. Pour some water in the drip pan and place some presoaked wood chunks or a packet of presoaked wood chips directly on the hot coals. Oil the hot grate and place the brisket in fat side up and smoke, covered, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours per pound. This could take as little as 5 hours or as many as 10. You want the brisket to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees F to 185 degrees F. 

Let the brisket rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. Remember to always cut across the grain. Finish with a sprinkle of the Brisket Sugar Shake.

Brisket Sugar Shake:

Once your brisket is sliced on the plate, give it a little sprinkle with this shake to round out the rich, fatty flavor of the beef. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and store in an airtight container. Makes just over 1 cup.

Cook's Note

Brisket comes in two basic cuts: the flat cut, which has minimal fat; and the point cut, sometimes called packer-trimmed, which has more fat. You want the fattier cut, which may mean placing a special order with your butcher to get it.

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