Smoked Beef Brisket

Let’s end the summer with a Labor Day celebration! Most people celebrate the end of summer with picnics, parties, barbecues and fireworks.  In our family, Labor Day is barbecue day. Here’s a dish from our Labor Day menu.

First of all I have a confession.   I have procrastinated for a long time to post a “smoked” recipe. Smoking brisket is not the easiest thing to do.  My first try was not really successful.  I suggest this recipe to someone who has experience in using briquettes.  We bought the Kingsford Match Light Charcoal.  Even though we let it burn for 30 minutes before we started smoking the brisket, it still gave the meat a lighter fluid taste.  The second time around, we just used the “original” bag. I also used Pecan chips soaked in water for 30 minutes.

Choosing the Brisket

Getting the right brisket is very vital.  It is important that the meat has the right amount of marbling.  This helps the brisket stay moist during the long cook time.  Try to get a cut that has even thickness.  A cut that is thick on one end and thin on the other results to a brisket that is overdone on one end and perfectly cooked or undercooked on the other end.

Try to get a brisket that has not been frozen.  A cut that has previously been frozen results to a dry brisket.

Preparing the Brisket for Smoking

I prepare my meat 24 hours before I cook it.  I trim some of the fat but leave at least 1/4 of an inch.  Fat helps the meat stay moist but thick fat blocks the smoke flavor from penetrating the meat.


8-9 lbs. beef brisket

mustard (enough to cover the brisket)

1 1/2 cups paprika

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons onion powder

3 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoons black pepper

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup oil


In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

After trimming the brisket, rub the brisket with mustard. The mustard creates a sticky surface on the meat for the rub to stick to, and it also adds a great flavor when combined with the rub. Massage the mustard into every portion of the meat, including the fat, so that it covers the brisket nicely. Make sure that you do not put a thick layer of mustard. There should be just enough mustard to create a paste for the dry rub to stick to.

Cover the brisket with the rub.  Again, do not put a thick layer of rub.  Just put enough to cover the meat. Wrap the meat in cling wrap and refrigerate at least overnight.  When you are ready to cook it, put it out of the refrigerator (at least 2 hours) and allow it to reach room temperature before putting it in the smoker.

Cook the brisket at 225 degrees F fat side up for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, start spraying/basting the brisket with the apple juice and oil mixture.  This gives the brisket great flavor and makes it moist. Spray the brisket every 45 minutes to 1 hour.

On the 3rd hour, turn the brisket and continue smoking for another 3 hours or until the internal temperature is 195 degrees F.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes so the juices could redistribute in the meat.


Always let the meat rest before slicing

Cut the meat against the grain to make it more tender.


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