Barbecued Beef Brisket

  • Rating ****

Serves 18 to 24

Barbecuing brisket for less than a crowd is easy to do. Simply ask your butcher for either the point or flat portion of the brisket, whichever cut you prefer. Then follow the master recipe, reducing the spice rub by half and grill-smoking for 1 1/2 hours. Wrap the meat tightly in foil and reduce its time in the oven to 2 hours.


  • For the Spicy Chili Rub:
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • For the Brisket:
  • 1 whole beef brisket (point and flat cut together), 9 to 11 pounds, trimmed
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce (18 ounces)



Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.


Apply the dry rub liberally to all sides of the brisket; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 48 hours.

One hour prior to cooking, remove the brisket from the refrigerator and unwrap. Ignite about 2 quarts of hardwood charcoal or charcoal briquettes ina pile on one side of the grill; burn until completely covered with a thin coating of light gray ash, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, assemble a hickory chip pouch by wrapping 4 to 6 wood chunks (about 3 inches each) or 3 cups wood chips in double sheet of heavy-duty foil. Prick at least 6 holes in the top of the foil pouch with a knife tip to allow smoke to escape; place on top of the ash-covered coals.

Set the grill rack in place and position brisket, fat side up, on the side of the rack opposite the fire. Make sure that both top and bottom grill vents are open; position the holes in the lid directly over the brisket and cover the grill. Grill-smoke the brisket without removing the lid so that the smoke flavor permeates the meat,

2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Attach two 48-inch long pieces of heavy-duty foil by folding the long edges together 2 or 3 times, crimping tightly to seal well, to form an approximately 48 x 36-inch rectangle. Position the brisket lengthwise in the center of the foil. Bring the short edges over the brisket and fold down, crimping tightly to seal. Repeat with the long edges of the foil to seal the brisket completely. Place the brisket on a baking sheet; bake until fork-tender or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the meat registers 210 degrees F, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Remove the brisket from the oven, loosen the foil at one end to release the steam and rest for 30 minutes. Drain the juices into a large bowl. De-fat the juices (you should have 1 1/2 to 2 cups) and mix in equal parts with the barbecue sauce.

Unwrap the brisket and place on a cutting board. Separate into two sections. Slice each section, on the bias across the grain, into very thin slices. Moisten the slices with some of the barbecue sauce mixture and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 8506

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