Smoked Brisket

Recipe courtesy of John Cox, Chef/Partner of The Bear and Star (Los Olivos, CA).

Known for his acclaimed ventures in micro-regional cuisine, Chef John Cox earned accolades for his work at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and Cultura in Carmel before concepting and launching The Bear and Star in Los Olivos, California, alongside the Fess Parker family in 2017. At The Bear and Star, Chef Cox presents “refined ranch cuisine,” inspired by Texan family recipes and a California sensibility. On any given day, guests dining at the restaurant will experience the bounty of the Parker family’s home ranch – co-located with their 30-year old vineyard in Foxen Canyon – including responsibly raised Wagyu beef, pork, rabbits, quail, chicken, honey and organically grown vegetables, herbs and fruits.

Chef Cox has appeared on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, BBQ Master Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire on PBS and participated in multiple epicurean events, including the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, Taste of Yosemite, Santa Barbara Wine Auction, Slow Food Nation in Denver, Big Green Egg’s annual EGGtoberfest and the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.

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  • 1 6-9 lbs. brisket (best available preferably Wagyu)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • ¼ cup Paprika
  • ¼ cup ground white pepper
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup ground mustard


Set the EGG for indirect cooking using the convEGGtor at 275°F/135°C, using soaked oak or mesquite chips.

Trim excess fat off brisket to make smooth-even surface. Mix all the dry ingredients together and rub the brisket well with the seasoning mix (reserve any remaining for future brisket).

Cook the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 203°F/9°5C. This usually takes 8-12 hours. Your brisket will hit a “stall” somewhere during the cook; you will notice the internal temperature increasing quickly and then plateauing when moisture starts to form on the outside of the brisket. Be patient – it can take a few hours to get past this stage. To speed up the cooking and reduce the darkness of the outer bark you can wrap the brisket in butcher paper and put back on the EGG.

When the brisket hits 203°Fdrop it from 3” above a cutting board.  The brisket should not bounce, rather it could settle on the board with a “jiggle”. This is the best way to test that all of the connective tissue has been fully cooked down and that the brisket will be tender.

28 thoughts on “Smoked Brisket”

  1. I do not use “table” salt, always Kosher or sea salt. I place a couple of small wood chunks on the grill under the brisket to make it “dome” when it cooks. It makes sure fluids runs off the brisket as it cooks and helps develop the bark. I also gently spray the brisket with water in a sprayer bottle every 1/2 hour.

  2. I have a “novice” question here. When smoking a brisket for several hours, do you need to add more charcoal or chips during this time? since it will only be around 225 was just curious if I would have to add charcoal during the smoke? also, I’m guessing you may need to add chips periodically.

    1. The times that I’ve smoked a brisket on the Green Egg, I haven’t had to add more charcoal but I always make sure to load it up to the limit. The Green Egg should be able to hold that temperature for the duration. Also, I only do the wood chips at the start otherwise, you might get “too much” smoke in the meat and it could ruin the taste – IMO.

    2. hello;
      I’ve had my green egg for a year now; I never need to add wood or charcoal. I put enough at start and regulate oxygen with the vents and this last the needed temp. and time needed. a hard wood log and some charcoal will last hours

  3. 225 is now no longer the standard of BBQ. It has been pushe to 275 and even some. Keep a drip pan with water in it under the brisket to maintain even temps. The temp you take it off at no longer is set. It is now called probe tender. If the brisket is Waygu it may be ready by 187 or so, prime low 190’s and choice 200 or so.

  4. Agree, internal 275F way too high. Cook to 195 -210 with the Egg stable at about 225. I use a WiFi connected temp probe that will alert if meat or grill goes out of range. Need about an hour / lb. I do direct fat side up first 1/3, fat side down second 1/3, finish either foil wrapped or in a sealed pan with some liquid. Coffee stout works well. Mustard is a good way to hold the dry rub. I like a pretty thick caramalized bark and this works well. Like pecan for the smoke. I use a lot of cyan in the rub.

    1. I always do 225 max on the egg, internal to 195 usually about 10-12 hours cook time, then immediately remove at 195 and wrap in foil then a towel and place it in a cooler for 2-3 hours to finish itself off. Just my way not saying right or wrong but it’s always been great. I also use brown sugar and not white.

  5. This is a great recipe and worked perfectly, with one exception: There is way too much salt in the rub (1 lbs!). Following the directions, the brisket was cooked perfectly, but the salt needs to be substantially decreased.

      1. Looking for answers I bought a trimed brisket set my genius at 225 temp meat temp 202 had a tough time keeping the heat at 225 more like 250 cooked for 7 hours let rest and serve it was dry and tough. I did rub it down with mustard, salt,pepper & celery seed. Looking for suggestions. Thank you

    1. Between the two, take your brisket out of the fridge before you start messing with the fire. Not long enough to get to room temp, but you don’t want to go straight from the cold as this will shock the fibers.

  6. I followed this recipe essentially to the letter. The weight of my meat was about 5.5 lbs, so a tad less than the prescribed low weight. The outcome was horrendous. Super dry brisket after 10 hours at between 270-280 F. The internal temp never exceeded 170. Not sure what happened but I’m looking for another recipe that is tried and true.

        1. When I smoke a brisket, I keep the temp at 225. 275 is too high IMO. Also, when the internal temp stops rising, this is called a stall, and you have to wait it out. It can take hours, so you have to be patient. Brisket is a tough cook at should be started in the middle of the night. The brisket should be cooked between 195-203 for best results. If running out of time, wrap the brisket in foil when a temp of 170 is reached. This will speed up the cooking time but soften the bark. Just stick the brisket under the broiler of your oven for a few minutes. BBQ purists call this cheating, but who cares.

          1. I use Myron Mixon’s method and start the cook at 350. After the first hour, I drip it down to 300. I can power through the stall and complete the brisket in 4 hours. I then wrap in butcher paper and place the brisket in a cooler and let it rest for up to 4 hours. Perfect every time.

    1. use a drip pan and ensure there is always water in it. and yes a lower temp would have been better. At that size, I would have wrapped it tight in tinfoil after approx. 4 or 5 hours max of smoking and returned it to the egg until it hit 203 F.

    2. Completely disagree when the recipe says to “wait out the stall.” The stall happens when your driving off moisture (and heat) fast enough that it keeps the meat at a constant temp, usually around 165 – 170. All you’re doing is dehydrating the meat which is what happened to you. I’ve seen stalls happen with brisket, boston butt or any other large slab of meat. You have to wrap the meat (crutching) to hold the moisture in and push thru the stall.

    3. Try using a foil pan after two hours of smoke. Pour your fav bbq, worcester, etc over it. Cover with foil and let it jell with it’s own juice before taking it off.

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