There’s an art to getting it right, but when you do, the tender, juicy meat is always delicious.
It's a very popular cut all over the world. But the way brisket is cooked differs quite a lot depending on where you are from.
Some cultures stew the brisket with vegetables and root veg. Others like to boil it slowly. But Texans love to grill brisket for a long, long time.
Here, we’ll go over some of the very best brisket recipes, so you can turn out perfect brisket on your grill each and every time.
First though, let’s take a look at what brisket is.
What Is Brisket?
A cut of brisket comes from the lower chest area of a cow.
Cows don't have collarbones, instead, they have huge muscles to hold their heads up.
Two of these muscles, which are also responsible for holding up around 60 percent of the animals weight, run through the brisket cut.
Because of these muscles, you can't cook this cut like you would any other. If you don't prepare it just right, brisket will be tough and impossible to eat.
Slow cooking is the only way to go.
There are a few ways to cook this cut. But in my opinion, the best and tastiest way is always on a grill.
The two best grills to use when cooking beef brisket are charcoal grills or a smoker.
You can use a gas grill but you won't get the same smoky flavor as you do with the other grills.
As an added bonus, when you use a smoker, it's also possible to add distinctive aromas and flavors through your wood choice.
How to Prepare the Brisket
When shopping for a cut like brisket, buy the best piece available.
Try to aim for prime beef. These prime cuts will have much more fat marbled through the meat, which makes it juicier and tastier.
It's a good idea to get a whole packer’s cut brisket. Then you'll get both the point and the flat muscles.
If you're planning a big grill party, you’ll need around half a pound of brisket for each person. It's a good idea to buy a little extra though, especially if kids are coming as well.
Before marinating or rubbing the meat with any spices or seasoning, make sure it’s at a cool temperature. It doesn't have to be very cold, but a chilled brisket is much easier to work with.
The way you trim the brisket is super important to get the best end result. It will essentially affect how well the meat cooks and the taste.
If there is too much fat then you won't get much smoky flavor, and it won't form a bark. If there is not enough fat, the cut might dry out quickly.
When you trim brisket, make sure there aren't any long, loose strips of beef that could burn. Then, cut off extra fat so that the grill can do its magic.
You’ll also want to check the flat end of the brisket. If it's uneven, it will cook unevenly too. The best thing to do is take your time. Touch and feel the flat end it, look for any rough places and trim if necessary.
The Best Brisket Recipes
Back in the day, this simple piece of meat was usually placed in an oven or a smoker and left there to cook for itself on a low heat.
While this did make the meat tender and delicious, there wasn’t much of a wow factor.
To jazz up brisket a bit, go for punchy flavors and combine with on-point cooking.
With that in mind, here are my all-time favorite beef brisket recipes:
Texas-Style Smoked Brisket
This recipe is so simple and straightforward. It doesn't have many spices, rather it just lets the meat speak for itself. That’s probably the reason why I love this one so much.
Here's what you need:
Mix together in a bowl. Then rub the brisket evenly on both sides, don’t be shy, make sure the seasonings get right into the surface.
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, using a hardwood smoke. Let it slowly cook for approximately eight hours or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
Remove the meat from the smoker and wrap in foil.
Put it back in the smoker and close the lid. Let it cook for another five to eight hours. Or until the internal temperature reaches 202 degrees.
Make sure the point end of the beef faces the primary heat source of the smoker, this end is thicker and can take more heat.
When finished, cover in foil and let it rest for an hour. Don't skip this. I know the cooking process takes a while and you’re probably hungry, but properly rested meat tastes better. After resting, slice and serve immediately.
Spicy Smoked Beef Brisket
If you like a little more spice with your grill, this recipe will be perfect for you.
It has just the right balance of spices that will give the meat a little kick without overpowering the beef.
This recipe is also easy to remember since you basically need 4 tablespoons of every spice.
Here's what you need:
If you don't like it too spicy, add only half of the chili and cayenne. This recipe works for a brisket of around 10 pounds. If yours is smaller simply adjust the spices.
Start by mixing all the spices in a bowl. Give it a good blend to make sure everything is combined. Then start rubbing the dry ingredients into the meat.
Then cover the meat and refrigerate it for 24 hours. The meat will soak up all the spices, and the results will be amazing.
Before cooking, soak the wood chips in cold water for eight hours. When ready to cook, drain them and place in the smoker. Preheat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the brisket in the heated smoker and cook for a full 12 hours. Or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
Take the meat out of the smoker and wrap it in a heavy-duty foil. Put it back into the smoker and let cook another hour. Or until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees.
After cooking, let the brisket rest for one to two hours. Slice and serve.
Gas Grill Beef Brisket
Not everyone is going to have a charcoal grill. And with the convenience of a gas grill, it’s easy enough to see why.
Gas grills are much easier for home users. You can hook it up to your gas line so you'll have endless fuel, and they are super easy to light.
Many gas grills also come with a smoker. So, if you want to, you can add a little of your favorite wood to give the brisket some smoky flavor.
This recipe is for a smaller brisket, suitable for an everyday dinner with family.
It still takes a while to cook, so it's probably not for anyone who has a tight schedule.
Here's what you need:
Mix the spices in a bowl. Then rub all sides of the brisket. Cover the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Take it out one hour before cooking to let it rest and come to room temperature.
Preheat the grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need a drip pan and indirect heat, you will also need a way to make smoke if you want to flavor the meat that way.
Place the brisket on the indirect heat side of the grill. Using a gas grill, you will need to give it a little more attention. Check on it after a few hours because it may require a flip.
Cook for about five hours or until a meat thermometer reads 195 degrees.
Take the beef off the grill and wrap in foil. Let it rest for one or two hours before serving
Applewood Smoked Beef Brisket
Applewood gives the meat an exceptional, smoky flavor and aroma. This recipe also uses a broth to provide the meat with an extra beefy flavor, and who doesn’t love that?
Here's how to make it:
Start by preheating the grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. I recommend leaving the rack uncovered for about five minutes, or until the fire is established. Once the fire has started, close the lid and let the grill heat up for 10 minutes.
While the grill is preheating, mix the spices in a bowl. Then rub the brisket on all sides.
Once it's ready, place on the grill and cook for five hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
Remember to check on smoke levels and top up the wood if necessary.
Remove the beef from the grill and wrap it twice in foil, leaving one end open. Pour the broth carefully into the foil packet.
Then place the brisket back on the grill and cook for another three hours. Or until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 204 degrees.
Let the brisket rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut and serve.
Southwestern Smoked Beef Brisket
Most beef brisket recipes use a dry rub of different spices. But that doesn't mean brisket is limited to that only. Wet rubs are just as delicious.
The only downside is that wet rubs don’t always create the same bark, or crust, that a dry rub does.
This recipe uses a wet, paste-like rub. It sticks to the meat, and all the gorgeous flavors blend with the brisket so well.
Here’s what you need:
Start by adding your desired wood chips to the smoker - cherry is a good choice with this recipe. Then preheat the grill to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the smoker is heating, mix all the ingredients to create a paste. It's essential to clean the brisket and then pat it dry. The paste will have a hard time sticking if there is moisture.
Then rub the paste into the meat, making sure to cover all sides. Place the beef in the smoker and let cook for eight to ten hours.
If you want the meat to be extra tender, take it out of the smoker when there is about two hours of cook time left. Then, cover the brisket in foil and place in the oven at around 200 degrees. Let it cook in the oven for the remaining time.
If the brisket is left in the smoker for ten hours, it might have a slightly bitter taste from the smoke. Some people love this, while others find it unappealing.
Letting the beef finish off in the oven will prevent any bitterness.
Allow the brisket to rest for an hour before cutting.
Beef brisket is a signature smokehouse dish.
This humble cut started off as a very cheap cut of meat. But it has now grown in popularity, becoming one of the most popular cuts across America.
A few years ago the price for smoked beef brisket rose significantly, upsetting many beef lovers. But cooking the brisket at home can be just as good.
It's time-consuming, yes. But if you have a good grill or smoker, and the time, you can easily make a better brisket than any restaurant.
The recipes I have shared with you are some of my favorites. They are all easy to figure out and the best thing about them is that they let the meat speak for itself.
Adding a lot of spices, seasonings, sauces, marinades, can take away the focus. After all, the best thing about the muscular brisket is that awesome beefy taste. You can't get much better than that.