Texas Smoked Brisket Two Ways

Smoker and Oven – The pinnacle of barbecue in Texas is smoked brisket. Different than pork, beef brisket is a complex meat with tough connective tissue and a complex muscle structure. To get an idea of how serious barbeque is in Texas, visit a supermarket in Austin and you’ll see long aisles filed with all grades and sizes of brisket and beef ribs. Moist brisket with a dark black bark is the goal. Cooked low and slow (8 to 18 hours) in a smoke filled smoker. One’s social standing in Texas is directly connected to the quality of of one’s smoked brisket. This recipe should raise your social status dramatically.

Contrary to BBQ purists, it is possible to come close in terms of flavor and texture without a smoker. An oven smoked brisket will never be exactly like its smoked counterpart but this recipe sure comes close…faux BBQ at its best.

American Texas smoked brisket

Texas Smoked Brisket

Cooking a decent brisket seasoned with salt and pepper low-and-slow is easy. The trick to a great one lies in the quality of the meat, smoke, wood, and the little details. With very little work and lots of down time, you can create a masterpiece at home, either using a "proper" smoker or an oven.
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Course: BBQ, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine: American, American Southwest, North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Smoker or large rimmed baking pan
  • Waxless "Pink" butcher paper or tin foil
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Spritz bottle


  • 6-8 lb High quality beef brisket, flat cut (use 4-6 lb brisket for cooking in oven. ½-inch fat cap for either.
  • ¼ cup Each: dill pickle juice and dijon mustard (smoker)
  • ½ cup Each: kosher salt and coarse black pepper
  • 12 oz Can of cheap beer (smoker)
  • 3 cups Post oak wood chunks, soaked, or chips (for smoker)
  • 1 bowl "Smoke Juice" (oven): 2 tbsp Worcester sauce, 2 tbsp adobo liquid from a can of chipotle peppers, 1 tbsp molasses, and1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 RECIPE Texas Espresso BBQ Sauce or another favorite that's not sweet
  • Spritz bottle


Texas Smoked Brisket

  • Prep – If using wood chunks, soak in water for an hour. Set-up smoker according to manufacturer's instructions at 225°F (125°C) and fill the water pan with beer. Mix mustard and pickle juice together in a bowl. Pat down the brisket with paper towels and trim any excess fat off the top, leaving at least ¼-inch of fat on top.
    Place brisket fat side down on a baking tray. Brush pickle-mustard mix all over one side and then cover with ¼ cup salt and ¼ cup black pepper. Turn meat over and repeat. Add wood to smoker as specified by the manufacturer.
    Cook – Place brisket fat side up in the smoker. Cook until the outside develops a dark brown crust and the meat hits 170°F (77°C) on an instant read thermometer. Figure about 6 hours or longer.
    Remove brisket, wrap in butcher paper, and return to smoker. Replenish any charcoal and wood as needed. Cook another 1-to-2 hours until brisket reaches 190°F (88°C) on an instant read thermometer. As soon as it hits temperature, move wrapped brisket to an insulated cooler for 1 to 2 hours to rest.
    Serve – Unwrap brisket and transfer to a cutting board. Pour any liquid left in butcher paper into a bowl. Slice brisket across the grain into ¼-inch slices. Arrange slices in a large serving dish and pour reserved juices over the meat. Serve with BBQ sauce on the side for dipping.

Oven Smoked Brisket

  • Prep – Preheat oven to 225°F (125°C). Pat brisket dry with paper towels. Combine "Smoke Juice" ingredients and let meld together for 5 minutes. Lay brisket fat-side down on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to completely fold over and wrap the brisket. Brush liberally with half the "Smoke Juice," flip brisket and brush the fat side with remaining juice.
    Cook – Wrap brisket tightly in foil and cook in oven until temperature hits 190°F (88°C), about 8 hours. Move to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes in its unopened foil packet. Remove foil and transfer any liquid to a bowl. Slice meat across the grain into ¼-inch slices. Arrange slices in a serving dish and pour juices over meat. Serve with BBQ sauce on the side.


  • Briskets will hit what’s called the “stall” at around 165° and could stay there for hours before resuming its climb again. Don’t panic, this is standard.


Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 71g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 211mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 1134mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 7mg

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