Texas Beef Brisket Barbecue
8- to 10-pound beef brisket, untrimmed (it should have a thick layer
of fat on one side)
Texas Dry Rub, or salt and black pepper to taste
Texas Wet Mop, optional
Lone Star Barbecue Sauce
10 to 12 white sandwich buns, optional
Dill pickle slices, sliced onions, and/or pickled jalapeno peppers,
Generously coat all sides of the brisket, particularly the fat
layer, with the rub or salt and pepper. Cover and let the meat come
to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare a fire by lighting wood or a combination of wood
and charcoal in the firebox of a cooker or at the end of a barrel
smoker opposite the end with the vent or chimney. Or light the coals
in a water smoker. Or preheat a gas smoker/grill.
When the fire has burned down to glowing embers or the coals are
covered with gray ash, place the brisket on the grate but not
directly over the coals. Or place a full pan of water over the coals
or hot lava rocks, then add the grate and brisket. The fire should
be low, 225 to 250 degrees.
Cover the cooker and smoke the brisket, turning every hour or so,
until it is tender and the internal temperature reaches 180 to 190
degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 hours. Tend the fire
by adding wood (or wood embers from a separate fire) or coals to
keep it from going out and to keep the temperature inside the cooker
between 225 and 300 degrees. If using a mop (basting is advisable
only when cooking without a water pan), brush it on when turning the
brisket or after tending the fire.
When the brisket is charred and tender (a fork should insert
easily), remove it from the cooker and allow to rest about 20
Trim off the fat layer and cut brisket in thin slices across the
grain. Serve with warm barbecue sauce, if desired. Or stack several
slices in a sandwich bun spread lightly with sauce. Add more sauce,
Serve with pickles, sliced fresh onion rings, and jalapeno peppers.
Serves 10 to 12.
Fail-Safe Technique: The following technique produces smoky, tender
brisket and cuts the time almost in half. Season the brisket as for
long cooking. Light a fire in a charcoal grill that is big enough to
hold the brisket. Allow the coals to burn until covered with gray
ash. Place the brisket on the grill, fat side down. Grill the
brisket about 45 minutes or until the fat is charred, turning when
necessary to stop fat from dripping into the fire. Squirt flare-ups
with water to douse the flames. Remove the brisket from the grill.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the brisket on a double
thickness of aluminum foil in a shallow roasting pan. Wrap it
tightly and bake for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Remove the brisket from the oven and peel back the foil. Increase
the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Return the brisket to the oven
and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes to crisp the top layer of fat.
Allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes. Trim off the fat layer and
cut across the grain into thin slices. Serve with barbecue sauce.
TEXAS DRY RUB
Use this rub to season brisket before barbecuing. It's also good on
ribs, steak, and chicken.
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
In an airtight container with a lid, combine the salt, pepper,
paprika, and garlic powder. Shake to mix well. Sprinkle over the
entire surface of the meat, concentrating on the fat layer. Rub or
press into the fat and meat.
Makes 1/2 cup.
TEXAS WET MOP
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large (or 2 small) bay leaf
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 1/4 cups beef stock
In a medium saucepan, combine the salt, dry mustard, chili powder,
paprika and vegetable oil. Stir to make a paste. Add the remaining
ingredients slowly, stirring all the while.
Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and
allow to cool. Pour into a container with a tight-fitting lid and
refrigerate until ready to use.
Brush the mop on beef or ribs while barbecuing over dry (no water
pan), indirect heat.
Makes 1 quart.
LONE STAR BARBECUE SAUCE
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter or pan drippings from barbecue
Combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar,
mustard, water and garlic in a medium saucepan. Place over very low
heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. For really smoky
flavor, place on the grill away from the heat source during the last
hour of smoking.
Stir in the butter or drippings and cook 15 minutes longer. Pour
into a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate to store,
up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 3 cups.
Note: To obtain pan drippings, place a drip pan under the brisket
during cooking or save the juices that collect while the meat rests
during slicing. You can also heat some of the fat trimmings to
obtain some fat drippings. If using the fail-safe technique of
barbecuing brisket, as described with the accompanying recipe, the
meat drippings collect in the foil and can easily be spooned up and
added to the sauce.