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Barbecued Brisket and Burnt Ends

Ten hours on the grill with a slather, a rub and a mop give this brisket an extraordinarily robust flavor. Paul Kirk's recipe calls for a whole packer brisket, which includes both the flat (the larger, leaner portion) as well as the point (the smaller, fattier part for the burnt ends). When slicing the brisket, cut perpendicular to the grain to keep the meat juicy.

slideshow More Beef Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10 to 12

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  • 2 cups beef broth or low-sodium consommé
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (from a jar of dill pickles)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • One 9-pound whole packer beef brisket, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
  • Kansas City-Style Barbecue Sauce


  1. Light 50 charcoal briquettes using a chimney. Run the wand of a thermometer through a cork and use the cork to plug one of the air vents in the grill lid. Leave the remaining lid vents open and adjust the lower vents as needed (if the fire gets too hot, close the vents; too cold, open them).
  2. Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain, cool and transfer to a spray bottle.
  3. Mix the slather ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the rub ingredients.
  4. Put the brisket on a large rimmed baking sheet and coat it with the slather. Sprinkle the rub all over the brisket.
  5. When the coals are hot, push them to one side of the grill and set a drip pan half-filled with water on the other side. Using tongs, transfer 4 of the hot coals to the chimney to light an additional 25 briquettes. Set the brisket on the grill grate over the drip pan, fat side up, with the widest end facing the coals. Cover and cook for about 5 hours, maintaining a steady temperature inside the grill of 250° to 275° (add more lit coals, 25 at a time, every hour or so, as needed). Spray the brisket with the mop every hour.
  6. After 5 hours, carefully flip the brisket and rotate it 180° so the opposite end is now facing the coals. Cover, then cook for 2 hours, spraying every hour with the mop and adding more hot coals to the grill as necessary.
  7. Flip the brisket and rotate it 90°. Spray with the mop again, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Flip the brisket a final time and rotate it 180°. Spray with the mop, cover and cook for about 1 hour longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 185°.
  8. To make the Burnt Ends, transfer the brisket to a carving board and cut off the point, slicing through the layer of fat that separates it from the brisket. Return the point to the grill. Spray it with the mop, cover and cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is almost black on the outside. Transfer the point to the carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice into cubes and serve, or save for making . Thinly slice the brisket against the grain. Serve with Kansas City-Style Barbecue Sauce on the side.

Suggested Pairing

This intensely smoky brisket demands a wine with full-bodied fruit and fairly substantial tannins—like a Cabernet from Central California's Paso Robles region, where the warm climate creates robust, generous reds.

Contributed By Paul Kirk Photo © James Baigrie Published June 2007

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