Smoked Beef Brisket: Texas BBQ Classic

David Dial | Spiced Blog

Smoked beef brisket is a Texas BBQ classic. Discover why with this tasty recipe!

Smoked Beef Brisket Picture

I was born in Texas. Although my family moved to the Carolinas when I was still fairly young, I still have family down in Texas. Whenever I get the chance to visit, I always seek out some delicious Texas BBQ while I am there! (Usually I seek it out several times.)

Seriously… I remember stopping and grabbing pulled pork and smoked beef brisket on Thanksgiving evening one year. Forget leftovers, Texas BBQ is the way to enjoy the long weekend of football games! I live in upstate New York now, and I love this area of the country for many reasons. However, the BBQ up here is just not the same as the BBQ in Texas. So whenever I have that craving for some delicious, smoked, Texas-style, BBQ, I head out to the back deck and fire up the smoker.

Smoked Beef Brisket Photo

This smoked beef brisket is a classic Texas BBQ dish, and it doesn’t require much effort other than setting up a smoker. There’s not much that can beat a nice Autumn day with smells of smoked meat drifting through the air! Here’s a couple of tips about smoking meat that I’ve picked up over the years:

Smoked Beef Brisket Image
  • Use lump charcoal rather than briquettes. Lump charcoal is larger and provides a more consistent burning temperature. (Plus, it doesn’t have all of the chemical additives that you find in briquettes…)
  • Use wood chunks. Wood chunks burn much slower than wood chips, especially when cooking at lower temperatures like you use for smoking. Plus, you don’t have to soak them in water before putting them on! And don’t overdo it on the wood chunks. You want the meat to have a nice smoky flavor, but you don’t want to go overboard. 4-5 chunks of wood are usually enough.
  • Get a probe thermometer. If you don’t have a probe thermometer, then now is the time to get one! Seriously. No matter what kind of meat you are smoking, it will probably be on the smoker for 8-10 hours. With a probe thermometer, you can just insert the probe when you put the meat on, and then you can easily check the internal temperature of the meat all day long. Plus, you don’t have to keep opening the lid of the smoker!
  • Let the cooked meat rest. And let it rest for a while…like 1-2 hours. When the meat reaches the desired internal temperature, pull it off the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. Then place it in a cooler for 1-2 hours before attempting to cut/carve it. This will allow the natural juices to absorb back into the meat rather than drain away.

Serve up David's Grilled Sweet Potatoes recipe to go with your smoked beef brisket. And check back later today for the perfect dessert to your meal! It's a David Double Feature!

Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

    10 Servings


  • 6-7 pounds Beef Brisket
  • 4-5 hickory wood chips or chunks, or cherry
  • Lump Charcoal
  • 1/2 cup Beef Stock, or vegetable stock
For the Spice Rub:
  • 4 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dry Mustard
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin


  1. Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
  2. Prepare the Spice Rub by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until well blended.
  3. Generously apply the Spice Rub to all sides of the brisket.
  4. Once the smoker has reached a stable 250°F, add the wood chunks directly to the coals. Put the grate in place and put the brisket on the grates with the fat cap (the fattier side) up. Insert a probe thermometer into the brisket, close the lid, and walk away. (Do check the temperature of the smoker occasionally to ensure it stays around 250°F +/- 10°.)
  5. When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 165°F, remove the brisket and place in the disposable aluminum pan. Mix the stock with ½ cup of water and pour it into the pan. Wrap the pan (brisket and all) with aluminum foil and place it back on the smoker.
  6. When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 200°-205°, remove the brisket from the smoker. (But leave it wrapped in the aluminum pan!) Allow the brisket to rest for 1-2 hours before carving.
  7. Slice across the grain into ½” slices. Serve as slices, or chop the slices into smaller bits and serve as a brisket sandwich.
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David Dial

About David

David is bringing up the guy quotient here on Food Fanatic, representing all things Grilling in a big way. On his own site, Spiced, David covers every kind of culinary adventure.