How to Smoke a Brisket on a Charcoal Grill


The brisket is the portion of beef between the front legs of the animal. It is composed of two pieces of meat, the "point" and the "flat," that have a layer of fat between them. The meat is grainy and well marbled, and absorbs the flavor of smoke easily. In some states, mainly Texas, barbecuing brisket is considered an art form. There are many recipes and techniques for cooking brisket. One of the simplest is smoking it on a charcoal grill.

Things You'll Need

  • Brisket
  • Barbecue rub ingredients
  • Mopping sauce ingredients
  • Culinary mop
  • Pan
  • Plastic wrap
  • Hickory or mesquite chunks
  • Charcoal
  • Meat thermometer
  • Select a brisket that weighs about 10 pounds.

  • Mix your favorite barbecue rub. This usually contains paprika, salt, pepper, chili powder, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.

  • Prepare your favorite mopping sauce to slather over the brisket while it is cooking. Some recipes contain beer, vinegar, oil, chopped onion, minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce.

  • Press the barbecue rub mixture into the brisket by using both hands and applying direct pressure to really work it in.

  • Place the brisket in a pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Soak six chunks of hickory or mesquite chips in three inches of water for at least 30 minutes.

  • Take the brisket out of the refrigerator about one hour before cooking and let it sit at room temperature.

  • Place two layers of charcoal (approximately 45 briquettes) on one side of the grill. Lght them and let them burn down until the internal temperature of the grill is at least 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Sprinkle the wood chips over the hot coals. Place the brisket on the side of the grill away from the charcoal. The fatty side of the brisket should be facing up.

  • Mop the brisket thoroughly with the mopping sauce by using a large culinary mop, then lower the grill lid. Lift the lid briefly once per hour to mop the brisket liberally. Allow as little heat as possible to escape.

  • Cook the brisket for approximately six hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit measured by a meat thermometer.

  • Let the brisket sit for about 30 minutes after it is done so the steam can escape and the brisket firms up.

Tips & Warnings

  • To trim the fat from the brisket, use plastic gloves to lift up the point, which is the piece of meat on top of the brisket. Use a sharp knife to remove the fat between the point and the piece of meat below it, which is called the flat.
  • Slice the brisket for maximum tenderness by cutting the point from the flat and rotating it 45 degrees so the meat grain in the point matches that of the flat.
  • Never place raw meat over cooked meat while barbecuing.
  • Never use the same fork, cutting board or work area for processing cooked meats that you used for raw meats without first washing or sterilizing it.
  • Wash your hands with hot water and soap after handling raw meat.

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