Texas-Style Brisket

Recipe courtesy of Matt Pittman of Meat Church. You can read more about Matt and Meat Church on P30 of our Lifestyle Magazine.

This brisket is wonderful alone or served with soft tortillas and taco toppings.

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  • One 10 to 12 lb (4.5 to 5.5 kg) whole packer brisket (Choice or higher)


Mix the rub ingredients (listed below) in a large bowl. This mix will make more than you need for one brisket; store the remainder in an airtight container.

Trim the excess fat and silver skin from the brisket. Also, remove any “hard” pieces of fat as they will not render off during the cooking process. Trim the fat off the bottom of the brisket leaving only ¼ in (6 mm) fat. Apply rub to all sides of the meat liberally … I mean liberally! Cover the brisket and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Set the EGG for indirect cooking with the convEGGtor at 250°F/121°C.

Place the brisket on the grid, fat-side down – this is my preference, but highly debated in the barbecue world. Fat-side up is fine if that is your preference, but fat down is what many competitors do as it gives you a much better presentation. When the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F/71°C, double wrap the brisket in non-waxed butcher paper or aluminum foil – this is what we call the Texas crutch. The bark will have formed nicely by this point.

Continue to smoke the brisket until the meat is “probe tender,” which means when you probe it there is no resistance … think of a toothpick in a cake. Each piece of meat is different but this will likely be at an internal temperature of between 200-202°F/93-94°C. Remove the brisket from the EGG, wrap in a towel and place in a cooler for at least one hour. This will allow the juices to re-distribute in the meat. Unwrap the brisket and slice against the grain.

Brisket Rub Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) non-iodized salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) granulated garlic
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) onion powder
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) paprika

Brisket Rub Instructions

See above instructions…but how about we listen to Matt’s podcast!!

58 thoughts on “Texas-Style Brisket”

  1. Night before last I did an 10.8 lb packer brisket on my medium BGE and it was one of the best I ever had (certainly the best I ever made).

    I used USDA Choice brisket from Costco. I used a slather of French’s yellow mustard (very thin, just enough to bind). The rub was half Morton’s kosher salt and 1/2 16-mesh black pepper, pre-ground, with a little onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and chipotle powder.

    For smoke I used FOGO Super Premium Lump Charcoal and Weber Pecan, placing the pecan chunks in the middle and around the charcoal bed, working my way out to the edge so I had consistent smoke. I waited for blue smoke before dropping the brisket.

    I shot for around 260 F at the grate for most of the cook (dome temp was higher). The brisket was too big to fit flat on the medium egg so I stuck a stainless “beer can chicken” can underneath it to get it to fit until it shrunk some. I let it ride for 3 hours before doing anything else or opening the lid, but watched temps and adjusted the old daisy wheel and damper accordingly. At 3 hours I it had shrunk so I pulled the can out so it could lay flat and started misting it with cider vinegar. I kept misting it every 30-45 minutes. By hour 4 the internal temp hit 180 F which freaked me out thinking I was overcooking it because of the temperature spikes from opening the lid. I think in the future I’ll try lowering the grate temp a little (maybe shoot for 150 F). I tamped it down to about 145 F on the grate at this point. Meat peaked at 187 F.

    Then the temp started dropping and leveled out around 178 F and stalled there. Kept misting with cider vinegar every 30-45 minutes and let it ride longer. Around hour 7:30 I started bumping temps back up, getting as high as 178 at the grate with not much change in internal meat temp. Around hour 8:30 I wrapped it in butcher paper and put it back on, very slowly climbing to about 180 F at the grate. Pulled it at hour 10 and let it rest until the meat temp dropped below 170 F.

    Lots of stuff went sideways during the cook (it was my first) but the brisket came out perfect, great smoke and beef flavor and perfect pull-test.

    Some mistakes I made: I didn’t let the egg come to temp long enough before I dropped the brisket. I didn’t put the convEGGerator in early enough to come to temp. I need a convEGGerator basket, fire bricks, or something to raise the grate to the top and bottom cook more evenly. I had a bent top ring (I inherited this BGE and it’s a mid-2000 model with the box hinge which has issues) and the lid literally came off mid-cook when I opened it to spritz and I had to put a hot BGE lid back together.

    Hope this helps. Don’t give up, even when the lid comes off.

  2. This is my third (unsuccessful) small Flat (2.86#) – Unfrozen, Grade unknown (Walmart)
    Here’s how I cooked it following a “different” recipe.
    Remove Brisket from fridge and Cryo Pack. Rinse & pat dry. Apply Coarse ground S & P and let sit while preparing BGE.
    Bring BGE to 300 deg. Dome temp. Put on Hickory lumps soaked overnight. Put on plate setter (legs up). Place drip pan on plate setter with about 3″ of water.
    Place Brisket (fat side up) directly on grid. Set pit temp to 225 deg. and food temp to 195 deg. Cook for 30 minutes at this temp.
    Raise pit temp to 250 deg. Cook for 30 minutes at this temp.
    Raise pit temp to 275 deg. Cook till done (195 deg.) at this temp.
    Removed from BGE and let stand for 30 minutes. Sliced cross grain. Decent bark, Slight smoke ring. Smokey taste buy DRY. About 1/2″ water still in pan. Total cook time 4:40. Temp remained very consistent using BBQ Guru Temp controller.
    I don’t know if I find a “Choice” Flat will help with the dryness issue.

    1. Dave cook it till done at 225. At 160 internal temp double wrap with brown butcher paper. Keep cooking at 225 until meat is 200-203 internal
      Pull wrap on towel place in cooler for 1-2 hrs. Cut and enjoy.

    2. Well I can tell you it is probably the piece of meat. Flat is super lean all the fat really comes from the point so it is super easy to dry out.

      I would say just go for a full packer brisket and you will have better luck

  3. I’m smoking a 16 lb prime packer brisket. Some say to smoke it fat side up so it’s more juicy. Any comments about this ?

  4. Do you use a brisket from the left side or right side of the cow? I heard there’s a difference but don’t know. What have you heard? Is it just a tale told around a smoker with a couple of beers?

  5. I’m smoking an 11 pounder this week. I am thinking of doing it overnight. (I have the thingy that electronically manages the temp.) It will definitely be finished before dinner the next day, so I’m wondering if you can “over rest” the meat? I was thinking of letting it rest for over 4 hours. Thoughts??
    I’m just afraid if I start in the morning it won’t be done for dinnertime and I’m having guests.

  6. A lot of comments about overshooting the temp. when starting the egg. I like to get all my charcoal hot before starting to burn off all the unwanted stuff that creates white smoke. You want clear blue smoke. To get this you often have to get the internal temp. Up to around 400. I do this first, then add my drip pan full of ice water on top of the conveggtor, then put my grate and meat on. The water and meat will usually bring the temp down to the ideal smoking range of 225. If it’s still too hot, pull the drip pan and dump the warm water and refill with cold water.

  7. We have a 10lbs flat that we put on the Egg this morning at 5:15 am, temp steady at 250. By 7:20 am it was already at 165. We use a DigitQ auto thermometer, and even checked with a regular meat thermometer because we couldn’t believe how quickly it reached that temp. Double wrapping in foil now to continue. Are we cooking too quickly, or should we expect a stall to come? We were planning for a much longer cook time for dinner tonight.

  8. So we have tried about 8 briskets over the last 2 years and they are always tough. What are we doing wrong?

    Thick layer of salt and pepper. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Put in 225 degree ceramic cooker egg. Cook for 8-12 hours with final internal temp of 203. Shoe leather. Any help is appreciated. is it about the fat trimming? The cooking time? What?

    1. A couple of ideas you might want to try:
      (1) Don’t put your seasoning/rub on until about an hour before it goes on the grill. Salt might be drawing out the moisture.
      (2) Use a drip pan. I place mine on a couple of thick washers to create an air space between the pan and the plate setter. Keep 1/4 inch of water in it.
      (3) Spritz the brisket every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours.
      (4) At around 160-170 degrees, double wrap in unwaxed butcher paper and keep it wrapped until it’s time to cut it.
      (5) Pull it off between 200-203 degrees (use the probe test). Wrap it up in an old towel and place it in a cooler for 3-4 hours before serving. This redistributes the juices through the meat.

      Good luck!

    2. A couple of ideas you might want to try:
      (1) Don’t put your seasoning/rub on until about an hour before it goes on the grill. Salt might be drawing out the moisture.
      (2) Use a drip pan. I place mine on a couple of thick washers to create an air space between the pan and the plate setter. Keep 1/4 inch of water in it.
      (3) Spritz the brisket every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours.
      (4) At around 160-170 degrees, double wrap in unwaxed butcher paper and keep it wrapped until it’s time to cut it.
      (5) Pull it off between 200-203 degrees (use the probe test). Wrap it up in an old towel and place it in a cooler for 3-4 hours before serving. This redistributes the juices through the meat.
      (6) Some folks advocate injecting with beef broth. I’ve never tried it but if all else fails…

      Good luck!

    3. Cook it till you get to 160 degrees then wrap it with Aluminum foil. Put back on Egg till it reachess 195-203. Your thermometer should poke into it fairly easy like a toothpick on a baked potato. Good luck.

  9. GREAT recipe! Did a 6.5lb brisket (flat only) today following the instructions above and it came out AMAZING! Now… I didn’t use the rub recipe above opting instead to apply a brisket rub I purchased at a local retailer. I have to say, many brisket rubs use a lot of the same ingredients so you really can’t go wrong with whatever you decide to put on your meat.

    Next, the brisket I used was a choice cut from a local grocery. I know you will read various articles about getting a prime cut or an angus brisket; however, if you are a newly like me, a choice cut will do just fine. Anyway, I first coated the brisket with yellow mustard before heavily applying the dry rub the night before. In fact, after a few hours in the frig, I took the brisket back out and applied a little more as the moisture from the mustard and brisket absorbed the dust pretty fast. As many have said, you can never add to much rub to the brisket.

    The next morning I was up at 6:00 am and I immediately took the brisket out of the frig to let it move toward room temperature; of course you will never get there but you don’t want the meat ice cold when you put it on the BGE. Since I wanted to eat dinner with the family at 6:30 pm, my target time to have the brisket in the BGE was 8:00 am. When you do the math, a 6.5lb brisket would take 10 hours if you followed the 1.5 hours per pound rule. Where I did deviate from the recipe above is that I smoked the brisket at 225 degrees F; a bit lower. I suspect if you went at 250, it would take a little less time; however, I really wanted to try to do the low and slow.

    Speaking of temperature, I didn’t follow the temp gauge on the GBE and used a thermoworks dual temp thermometer. One probe was in the meat and one on the grate where the meat was sitting. While the BGE thermometer is good, if you are looking for precision (and you need precision with a brisket), you need a dual thermometer.

    Back to the details. At about 7:00 am, I fired up the BGE. Before lighting it up, you have to totally clean it out, which requires you to remove all the internal parts in order to get all of the ash and dust out. You then need to add a full complement of lump charcoal. I have been using sugar maple lump charcoal that I get from a local shop. For the smoke, I opted to use hickory this time spreading about 5-6 chunks throughout the charcoal before lighting it up. Once I lit it up, it was a good hour till I got the temp stabilized at 225 F.

    At 8:00 am the brisket was on with the fat side down. I didn’t touch it for 6.5 hours when it finally hit the 163 degree mark. I then took the brisket off and double wrapped it in heavy duty, extra wide foil. Before wrapping it, I added about a 1/2 cub of beef broth making sure to pour it around the edge and not over the brisket. You don’t want to wash away that great rub. I have read you can add red wine or coffee but have not tried it.

    I put the brisket back on the BGE and let the temp creep up to 240-250 F because I was a bit worried I was gonna run out of time. By 5:20 pm, I hit the 200 F mark and off it came. I immediately wrapped the brisket in a towel and placed it in a cooler to rest. I only let the brisket rest one hour but have read you should shoot for 2 hours; however, the brisket was still so very tender and flavorful.

    In the end, it was a great success and wish you the best to luck.

  10. He puts one of those single serving bags of corn chips in a bowl, adds a big scoop of leftover chopped brisket, a similar amount of leftover smoked sausage, and a similar amount of beans.

  11. I tried doing a Brisket Flat for the first time ever with my BGE, and I have some questions. First – I hit the finish temp of 200-F after 5 hours. Here’s what I did: I started with a 6.5-lb flat, rubbed and refrigerated the night before. I started with a completely cleaned BGE with fresh lump charcoal. I lit the BGE at 7am (figuring it would take all day), let it get going, adjusted bottom and top vents until it was holding steady at 225. I put the flat on fat side down, and after 1.5 hours it had already reached 135 internal temp so I flipped it. After one more hour it had reached 160, so I put it in the Texas crutch with a cup of beef bouillon. After 5 hours it was at 200 internal temp. Now it’s 1:30pm. Still about 4 hours away from our planned dinner time. So I took it off and put it in a cooler to keep warm. When we unwrapped it to eat, there was no smoke ring, but the meat was definitely cooked all the way through. The narrowest tapered end of the flat was actually nice and crusted and kind of pulled apart like pulled pork, while the thicker end of the flat was meaty and solid like a roast beef. I didn’t really have much bark to speak of. The crust was still soft. It seems like my brisket cooked 3 to 4 hours fast than it should have, but I was very attentive to the lid temp, which held steady at 240-250 for the entire 5 hours. Should the whole brisket have been more like the thinner end? It actually seemed a bit more flavorful there. Sorry for so many questions, but this was my first brisket on the BGE (only got it a few months ago), and every website I read prior to doing the brisket said it should take 8 to 10 hours. Mine was half that. Thanks for any advice.

    1. I think 240-250 is too hot. I smoke my brisket around 210-220 and it almost always stalls out at 150 and I have to resort to the Texas crutch to get it up to 190. I find the Texas crutch softens the bark so you don’t get that crispy texture. But it helps to keep the meat moist so it’s a legit trade off.

  12. If you wrap the meat in foil at 71 celsius as mentioned above then how does the meat absorb the wood / smoke flavor the rest of the cook time?

  13. I’ve done several briskets on the egg before but only flats…tipr for doing a whole brisket, how many pounds for a party of 25???

  14. Really like the simple non-sugar rub recipe. Skipped my normal dry brining step and simply used rub 1 hour before cook began on a 6 lb brisket.

  15. I cooked my brisket for 12 hours, then wrapped it and let it sit for another 4 hours. It was a little dry, anyone have any hints for me?

    1. Ok, I don’t profess to be the best but I would say depending on the size and temp, if you injected it , refrigerated it overnight then allowed it to come to room temperature and maybe placed or even placed a pan with some water and Aromatics (onion, peppercorns and celery) could have helped worst case more flavor and moister. Also at the 8-10 hour mark when you had a good bark and a internal temp of 170 I would have wrapped it until it was tendered with Internal temp of 200, then towel and rest for an hour. Hope that helps some. But try cooking by temp not always by time.

  16. I have NEVER made a brisket that was this good. I used only salt and pepper on a 4-5 pound brisket and the flavor was incredible. I threw in some mesquite chunks along with the oak charcoal at the beginning. It never produced a whole lot of smoke but the flavor was there for sure!

    1. how do you apply the mesquite chunks throughout the day. do you take everything off for a second, then put back on. sorry for dumb questions.

  17. This may be a little obvious, but you’ll want to use mesquite or post oak. I use Aaron Franklin’s central Texas method of only salt and pepper. When it stalls in the 160s, I wrap with butcher paper and a little Worcester and put it back on until finished. If you can wait 3 or even 4 hours after pulling it off before you slice it.
    I try to smoke it at 225 and for a 9 or 10 pound flat, that can take as much as 20 hours. But man, it’s incredible.

    1. I have a question. Do you get all your charcoal white first and then reduce/control airflow until your egg cools down to 225/250? Or do you just get your coals going wait until egg temp is 225/250 then put on the brisket and from there control airflow? Have you ever tried to wood fire/smoke your meats in an egg?

      1. Once it is to 225 you are good to go. Temp will drop when you add the meat but will work its way back up. Brisket is forgiving… just dont let the temp go above 250 for extended periods.

      2. Waiting till the charcole is white is wasting fuel. Typically I start the charcole and in 15 mins it is hot enough to get the egg to the correct temp. That way you can go low and slow and not have to add more lump later

      3. Try and never heat any kamado style/ceramic grill past your desired cooking temps. It is very difficult to reduce heat, it’s much easier to raise it. I start a small amount of charcoal first (only half filled) and let it fully ignite (all orange with a little flame). With the vents wide open, I place my wood chunks over the coals and then cover with more charcoal (unlit). I allow it to reach my desired cooking temps and then cut back the vents. For 225, I leave the vents cracked about the thickness of a couple of quarters. Once you place the meat on, the temps may fall a little, that’s normal. Give it 15mins and then check to see if it’s back to your desired range.

      4. I light a chimney full of lump and let it catch most all the way to the top, dump it in the egg with the remainder of the charcoal and stir. I start with a little air and open it up enough to let the temp climb to 225 before i start reducing the airflow again to stabilize the temp. As soon as I get a stable 225-230 for 30+ minutes i put my meat on.

        I find challenging to rein in the temp on the egg if it gets too hot right out of the gate.

      5. No, I don’t worry about the color of the charcoal. I get the fire going nicely, usually about 20 minutes with a starter piece , and then I add the plate, a water pan and the grate, close the lid and wait for the target temperature to put the initial meat on (usually another 20 min). When you put meat on, you are going to get a drop in the temp due to the mass of the meat, so I don’t close things up much until I am getting close to my target temp with meat on. If you wait for too much charcoal to get white at the start, then it is too easy to overshoot your target and have the tough job of reducing your temp. And at least with the BGE it is a waste of fuel.

          1. It also helps keep the temperature stable, as the boiling point of water is 212, close to your cook temp. And water releases heat more gradually than air. Or so I have heard on the interwebs…

      6. The color of the coals is not important – you want to watch the color of your smoke. White smoke means your not ready. Once the smoke is pretty clear and your grill is up to temp you are good to go. If the grill is up to temp and the smoke is white give it a bit more time. So, get your grill to temp – don’t go too fast or you’ll overshoot the temp. It’s time consuming getting the temp back down and wastes coal. Then watch your smoke. By the time it clears up the grill should be stable at your temp.

  18. Loved the interview.

    This is the first one I listened to so I was really interested in learning a bit about how to do a brisket the best way on the egg, such as amount time per pound, special tips, etc..

    I’m new on the egg but have traveled to Texas a lot and really love the way brisket is done there.

    Good stuff!

    1. Most of us in Texas use Oak or Pecan. I use pecan chunks with Oak Lump on Beef.
      Never Mesquite.
      Mesquite is used by some on Chicken but I NEVER use it. I don’t want my food to
      taste like an ashtray.

      1. When I grew up in the Hill Country of Texas we always used Mesquite for beef. Often a half calf was placed on an open pit and cooked over the wood. Everybody does like their own taste of wood for cooking. We did use pecan for wild game, venison, dove and duck. I alway remember having to cut the trees down in the pasture, so the wood was not dried. We had a pecan orchard where we got out pecan wood.

      2. Not sure about your info. Lots of people in Texas use Mesquite wood. I’m from East Texas and use mesquite and hickory. Pecan has such a subtile flavor I have never actually heard anyone using it for beef.

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