top of page

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket is more than a simple recipe, it’s a process for melt in your mouth smoked brisket. All you need is salt, pepper, smoke, and time, and you’re on your way to eating the best beef brisket of your life.

 Prep Time: 30 minutes


 Cook Time: 15 minutes


 Servings: 9

Texas style smoked beef brisket


Grass-fed Beef Brisket


Smoked Brisket

I totally understand how intimidating it can be to smoke a huge brisket for the first time. That’s why I’ve tested and re-tested many different methods and recipes to help you achieve perfect results every time using a relatively simple process.

Once you try this juicy brisket, you’ll be itching for the next opportunity to smoke another one. BBQ (especially brisket) is something you have to learn by experiencing it yourself, so let’s jump in and give it our best shot

Tools Needed to Smoke Brisket:

  • Smoker. I like to use my CampChef SmokePro, but any variety that can hold a steady temperature of 225 degrees F will work great.

  • Large Cutting Board. You’ll need a big surface to slice your hunk of brisket on once it’s ready to serve.

  • Meat Thermometer. Any reliable thermometer will do.

  • Butcher Paper. This Texas style brisket is wrapped in butcher paper during the stall. 

  • Chef’s Knife. A good, sharp knife is necessary to slice your brisket. 

How to Smoke a Brisket:

Smoking grass-fed brisket isn’t hard, it just takes time, and lots of it! Follow the steps below to get the best smoked brisket of your life:

1. SELECT YOUR BRISKET. Here are the basics: Plan on purchasing a whole grass-fed brisket with both the point and flat muscle included. Buy about 1/2 pound (or more) of brisket per person you are serving.

2. TRIM THE BRISKET. Some Texans claim they don’t trim at all. At most of the top smokehouses, however, they do trim. This step is so important for how the final product will turn out. Spend the 20-30 minutes you need to trim it properly.


3. SEASON YOUR BRISKET. Texas style is seasoned with only coarse salt and coarse black pepper. My only addition (and this is a personal preference, you can skip it if you’re a purist) is to add garlic powder as well. It doesn’t really change the flavor or take away from that amazing smoked beef, but it adds a little extra layer of goodness.

4. GET SMOKING! Use a nice hardwood in your smoker. I used oak as the base wood, with a little bit of cherry mixed in. The goal here, whatever type of smoker you are using, is consistent heat and a steady flow of thin blue smoke.

5. WRAP THE BRISKET. This is, in my opinion, one of the most crucial steps to achieving that super juicy, tender brisket with that killer dark caramelized bark. Opinions differ between using foil and peach butcher paper, but for this recipe, I am fully converted to the butcher paper after years of using foil. My briskets have never had a better smoke flavor or a more delicious bark. 

6. REST YOUR SMOKED BRISKET. DO. NOT. SKIP. THIS. STEP. Resting your brisket allows so many of those hot and bubbly juices to settle down a little and redistribute to the meat. It also brings your brisket down to the perfect slicing and serving temperature.

7. SLICE YOUR BRISKET. You want to slice your smoked brisket against the grain for maximum tenderness. But remember! There are two overlapping muscles and two different grain directions. You can split the point and flat sections and slice each individually against the grain before serving, but that sometimes leaves pieces with no bark on top. Traditional Texas joints split the brisket down the middle, as close as possible to where the point overlaps the flat, they then turn the point 90 degrees and slice it that way, and then finish slicing the flat the opposite way. You will have some pieces where the grain isn’t perfect, but if your meat is tender enough, it won’t matter too much.

8. SERVE YOUR GORGEOUSLY SMOKED BRISKET. In Texas joints, when you order, you can request fatty or lean brisket. The fat is the point, and the lean is the flat. The fatty is my personal preference, but I always grab a slice of the lean too because it has such an amazing smoke flavor! For an even more traditional experience, serve on a platter with butcher paper, lots of pickles, white bread, picked red onions, and pickled jalapenos. Sauce on the side. Always.

How Long to Smoke a Brisket

I wish I could tell you an exact time that smoking will take, but alas, that’s kind of the beauty of BBQ. It’s done when it's done.

For the initial smoke phase, I plan about 8 hours at 225 degrees F for my 12-13 pound briskets to reach 165 degrees F. However, your brisket will enter a phase between 145 and 165 degrees F where the liquid evaporating from the surface of the brisket will cool it w hile your grill is trying to cook it. This is called the stall, and the time frame is different during this phase for every brisket I’ve ever cooked. This is where a good internal thermometer comes in.

The second phase (once it’s wrapped in butcher paper), can take anywhere from 5-8 hours. I usually plan an extra 2 hours for each of my brisket cooks because if it is done early, I can always set it in a cooler and allow it to rest for a while. If it is done late, my wife gets hangry.

Bottom line: plan for anywhere from 12-18 hours to fully cook your brisket (this includes the initial smoke to 165 degrees and the wrapped smoke to get your meat up to 202 degrees Fahrenheit).

Tips for the Best Smoked Beef Brisket

Check out these pro tips to give you the upper hand when smoking your brisket:

  • Mix your spices in advance. Mix your salt, pepper, and garlic in an old spice shaker container. Shake the spices out about 2 feet above your brisket while seasoning. This will create a nice, even layer of salt, pepper, and garlic across the entire surface of your brisket.

  • Either side cooks just fine! Many people argue whether you should cook your brisket with the fat side up or down when smoking. There was no difference in final product. Place it there however you prefer!

  • Don’t forget to rest! Resting your brisket is extremely important. I recommend resting your brisket for at least an hour. You can just leave it in the butcher paper and set it on a cutting board or baking sheet. If you need to rest your brisket for more than an hour, that is no problem! Simply wrap it in a towel (one you don’t mind sacrificing for tasty brisket) and set it in an insulated cooler.

Variations for Smoked Brisket

Not all brisket methods are the same, and I often try different techniques to get the best results. Here are a couple of variations you can try:

  • Slather! Some people like to use a binder to help the rub adhere to the brisket. My favorite is yellow mustard. This helps the seasoning stick, but the acidity also helps break down the surface of the meat and create a gorgeous bark. It’s not necessary, but it's worth a try to see if you like it!

  • Wrap! I recommend wrapping in butcher paper, but foil is also an option. In fact, foil is the original Texas crutch to help push smoke dmeat through the stall. It’s still used in many BBQ joints. Your brisket may have a softer bark, but it will maintain a lot of moisture inside the meat itself.

  • Temperature! I like low and slow for my briskets, but some people like the process to hurry a bit. You can try smoking at 275 degrees F to shorten the cooking time. There’s no perfect formula for a perfect time line, so keep an eye on the internal temperature of your brisket.

bottom of page