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.


  • 1 6-9 lbs. brisket (best available preferably Wagyu)
  • 1 lb 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.

12 thoughts on “Smoked Brisket

  1. How do you get the salt stay on the meat? Do you use an oil to hold that much salt. Otherwise it sounds good.

  2. 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. But the above recommended temp was 275 degrees F. Was this incorrect information, or was John using a larger Brisket?

        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. 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.

  3. 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.

  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.

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