Go Texas style or go home. An epic process worth doing

Learn how to smoke brisket (Part 1), will get you on your way with Texan-style bbq-ing.

There has been a massive trend in smoking meat over the past couple of years.

Proper big Texas-style smokers.

So, I thought I’d do some posts dedicated to the long process of smoking brisket.

Hence why there is Part 1 – it’s a process.

And, to be clear, I’m no pitmaster as they’re called in the US.

Nor am I in any way talented at smoking brisket.

But I am trying to learn how to master brisket.


It’s such a great cut.

And is perfect for slow-cooking.

I have done a number of brilliant recipes with slow-cooked brisket.

Some of my favourites are brisket sliders, Bloody Mary brisket, smoked brisket.

But there is a method to smoked brisket, Texas style.

And it’s pretty hardcore commitment.

That requires time, patience and love.

Which I am yet to master.

However, I’m enjoying trying.

So, instead of pretending I am the master to you.

I’ve instead, done some research and discovered the award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin.

Which I’ve taken some of his key pointers.

And laid them out for you to kick things off for those keen to try some Texas-style-pitmastering (if that’s a word?)

Learn how to smoke brisket: Part 1

There are seven steps for a perfect smoked brisket:

  1. Choosing your brisket
  2. Trimming
  3. Seasoning
  4. Smoking
  5. Wrapping
  6. Resting
  7. Slicing

But first up…

What is brisket?

It’s a (beef) cut from the lower chest.

Which is tough and full of fat and collagen (- I’m not selling it, I know BUT just wait… -) which is why it needs a slow cook.

So this does mean that the fat will melt away giving the dish even more flavour.

It’s also a cheap cut so perfect for family meals or gathering crowds without breaking the bank and the best part, they’ll love it.

1.   When choosing a brisket

When choosing a brisket, look for cuts that have a good amount of fat marbling.

It should be firm but not completely stiff.

A brisket that’s too rigid may not have a lot of marbling.

But mainly, always buy quality.

Then you know the animal has had a good life and was treated well.

2.   How to prep brisket for smoking – trimming

Trim the brisket to remove excess fat and enhance the shape of the meat.

You want approx 1 – 1.5 cm of fat.

3.   How to season brisket

Here’s some insight from the pitmaster (Alan Franklin):


  • With beef brisket, it’s best to keep the seasoning simple and clean.
  • Every bite should taste of smoke and of the beef.
  • For the rub, use equal parts sea salt and freshly ground (not too fine) black pepper.
  • You’ll need about ½ cup of seasoning for a 5kg brisket.
  • For the slather (covering with a thick layer of sauce), use either mustard or hot sauce; after 12 hrs in a smoker, you won’t really taste it anyway.
  • The fattier side of the brisket is the presentation side, so apply the rub to it last.
  • Use one hand to move the brisket and apply the slather, and the other to sprinkle on the rub.


  • Starting with the fat side down, slather the meat with mustard, hot sauce, or a bit of water, getting the surface just wet enough for the rub to stick.
  • Next, shake the rub across the brisket from side to side in an even layer until the entire side is covered.
  • Keep an eye out for any gaps or imperfections in the surface of the meat as you go, and avoid filling deep pockets with salt and pepper.
  • Gently pat the rub into the meat once you’ve finished.
  • With the meatier side still facing up, cup your free hand along one edge of the brisket.
  • Pour the rub directly into your hand as you move along the length of the brisket, evenly pressing the rub into the side as you go.
  • Repeat on the other side, then flip the brisket over so it’s s fat side up.
  • Apply the slather to the fat side, then sprinkle the rub on top, patting it in at the end.
  • Allow the brisket to rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 mins.
  • The meat will begin to absorb the rub and the salt will start drawing out the internal moisture during this prep time.

4.   How long to smoke brisket

It takes about 12 hrs to smoke a 5kg brisket.

A good rule of thumb for working out how long a brisket will take to cook is:

  • 1 hr and 25 mins per LB (0.45kg) of brisket at 250°F (120°C).
  • For example: 4.5kg (10lb) brisket x 1.25 hrs = 12.5 hrs cooked at 120°C/250°F.

Learn how to smoke brisket: Part 1

In Part 2, we’ll look in more detail at the smoking process.

So, I hope Part 1 has given some insight into the true dedication needed to do a Texan-style smoked brisket.

And this will now give you a chance to find a big crowd to feed for when you fire up the smoker.

Plus put a day in your diary when you’re prepared to nurture a brisket for many, many hours.

(which will be worth it).

Slow-cooked smoked brisket. I’m still learning!