Texas-style Brisket


Texas-style Brisket is a culinary masterpiece that represents the heart and soul of barbecue culture in the Lone Star State. Known for its tender, smoky, and flavorful meat, Texas brisket is a true testament to the art of slow-cooking over wood or charcoal. This iconic dish is often served with minimal seasoning to let the natural flavors of the meat shine through, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience that barbecue enthusiasts crave. Whether enjoyed at a backyard cookout, a Texas barbecue joint, or a festive gathering, Texas-style Brisket is a beloved dish that brings people together to savor the rich and savory taste of authentic Texas barbecue. In this guide, we’ll explore how to prepare this legendary dish at home, featuring key ingredients, preparation techniques, and tips for success.

Video instructions available below 👇


For the Brisket:

  • 1 whole beef brisket, approximately 10-12 pounds, untrimmed
  • Salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper

For the Rub (Optional):

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • Prepare the Brisket:
    • If the brisket has a thick layer of fat on one side, trim it down to about 1/4 inch thickness, leaving some fat to keep the meat moist during cooking.
    • Score the fat cap in a crosshatch pattern to help the seasoning penetrate the meat.
    • Season the brisket generously with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. For added flavor, you can use a rub mixture of your choice.
  • Prepare the Smoker:
    • Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C) using hardwood such as oak, hickory, or mesquite for authentic Texas flavor.
    • If using a charcoal smoker, add wood chunks or chips to the coals for smoke flavor.
  • Smoke the Brisket:
    • Place the seasoned brisket on the smoker rack, fat side up, and close the lid.
    • Smoke the brisket low and slow, maintaining a steady temperature of 225°F (107°C), for approximately 1 hour per pound of meat. This typically takes 10-12 hours for a whole brisket.
  • Wrap the Brisket (Optional):
    • After the brisket has been smoking for about 5-6 hours and has developed a nice bark (outer crust), you can choose to wrap it in butcher paper or aluminum foil to help retain moisture and speed up the cooking process. This is known as the Texas crutch.
  • Check for Doneness:
    • To determine if the brisket is done, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The brisket is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C) in the thickest part of the meat.
    • Another way to check for doneness is to insert a probe or fork into the meat; it should slide in easily with little resistance.
  • Rest and Slice:
    • Once the brisket is cooked to perfection, remove it from the smoker and let it rest on a cutting board, loosely tented with foil, for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
    • Slice the brisket against the grain into thin slices, and serve immediately with your favorite barbecue sauce, pickles, onions, and white bread.

Tips for Success

  • Use a high-quality brisket with good marbling for the best flavor and tenderness.
  • Season the brisket generously with salt and pepper, as this is the traditional Texas-style seasoning.
  • Maintain a steady smoking temperature throughout the cooking process to ensure even cooking and optimal flavor absorption.
  • Let the brisket rest after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful end product.
  • Slice the brisket against the grain to ensure tender and easy-to-eat slices.


Texas-style Brisket is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary tradition that has been passed down through generations in the Lone Star State. With its smoky flavor, tender texture, and simple yet bold seasoning, Texas brisket is a testament to the art of slow-cooking and the love of barbecue. By following this guide and incorporating the suggested ingredients, instructions, and tips, you can recreate the magic of Texas barbecue in your own backyard. So fire up the smoker, grab a cold drink, and get ready to enjoy the authentic taste of Texas-style Brisket with family and friends!

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