Smoking a tender BBQ brisket was the last smoked meat for me to conquer. Nothing is quite like a moist and tender beef brisket smoked to perfection. I had a range of previous success with previous attempts. Most were on the dry or too much marinade side of the plate. Aaron Franklin’s Texas Brisket Recipe video helped me get it down to a science.
As one of the toughest cuts of meat you can cook, BBQ brisket takes time, skill and proper preparation. Some people inject, others have a signature rub that creates an alchemy reaction infusing flavor while creating moisture. Many do both.
The #1 secret I learned about BBQ brisket is; simplicity. Aaron Franklin is a BBQ Pitmaster that has ruled the kingdom of brisket in Austin, TX for many years and here’s his recipe. Franklin has appeared on national TV for his line down the street restaurant in Austin. I was pleased to find this two part video series where Franklin shows you how to smoke a brisket from trim and prep to slicing and eating.
His simple rub of half salt and half pepper allows for the taste of the meat to come through accenting rich smokey notes. I prefer to smoke briskets on a combo of peach and hickory for a traditional smokey flavor profile.
Smoked Brisket Rub Ingredients:
- 1, 10-12 pound “full packer” brisket
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup coarsely ground pepper
- Oak wood, chunks or chips, for smoking
- Brown/Pink Butcher paper for the wrap
Part 2: The Cook
Part 3: The Payoff – How To Cut Brisket Properly
Update June 2016: So many people have shared and enjoyed this BBQ Brisket recipe, we wanted to provide an alternative to the videos that includes the text of the recipe. Enjoy!
Liz and Greg Johnson’s website SourCherryFarms.com has great content covering restaurants, food, gardening and travel. They did a great post on Aaron Franklin’s Brisket Recipe (click to view the original post):
Aaron Franklin’s BBQ Brisket Recipe
Aaron Franklin smokes his briskets with post oak or live oak, according to Robb Walsh. He also cooks them to the “unheard-of internal temperature of 201 to 203 F.” We cain’t git oak for smoking around here, so we used a combination of briquettes and hickory. Not exactly the same, I know, but the ‘cue came out mighty good. I’ll give you both recipes here, and should you be able to replicate Aaron’s exactly, by all means, try. Our instructions are in ital.
1 (8-10 pound) first-quality beef brisket, untrimmed
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
Sprinkle the brisket on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine the Worchestershire sauce and water in a mister.
Prepare a fire for indirect-heat cooking in your smoker (the coals on one side only) with a water pan. Use wood chips, chunks or logs and keep up a good level of smoke. The smoker is ready when the temperature is between 275 and 300.
Put the brisket in the smoker on the cool side of the grate and close the lid. Cook for 6 hours, adding wood as needed to keep the fire burning evenly. At this point, test the brisket with an instant-read thermometer; the internal temperature should read 165.
What we did here was use an off-set smoker: Crumple one broadsheet newspaper page and place it under a chimney starter. Fill the chimney 3/4 full of Kingsford briquettes. Light the paper and wait 1/2 hour until the briquettes are glowing orange with grey ash around them. Set them in the smoker’s box. Place several large chunks of hickory on top.
The coals last between 1 to 1 1/2 hours, so you will need to repeat this process every hour. It takes 30 minutes for the coals to be ready (glowing orange with grey ash around them), and you need to always be ahead. Set your timer, and start the coals each hour. Wait until they are ready, then put them in the box, and place the hickory. Wait. Wait and watch. Watch the smoke coming out of the chimney; watch the temperature. Barbecue is an art, not a science.
Remove the brisket from the smoker. Spray it with some of the Worcestershire solution (there will be a lot leftover), wrap it in butcher paper and return it to the smoker. Let it cook in the paper for 2 hours longer.
Remove the wrapped brisket from the smoker and place it in an empty cooler or a 200 degree oven for 3 or 4 hours. The brisket is done when a toothpick passes effortlessly through the fat or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 185 but preferably as high as 203.
Put it in the oven for 2 hours. Placed the butcher paper-wrapped brisket in a gallon freezer bag and put it in the downstairs fridge. (Our downstairs fridge only has beer and wine, so the hope is that the amazing smoky smell won’t infuse any other foods that might be in there. If you don’t have an extra fridge, you might want to do a double-wrap.) Three hours before dinner, remove the brisket from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 250. Let it sit out for an hour. Then reheat, wrapped in paper, on a sheet pan, for 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches between 170 and 200.)
To ensure the brisket remains moist, do not trim away the fat cap before serving. Slice only as much brisket as needed and serve immediately. The remainder will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.