Smoked Brisket Sandwiches with Pickled Vegetables


Smoked brisket that doesn't need to be babied overnight? Count us in.

Smoked brisket sandwiches with pickled vegetables are displayed on wax paper, flanked by a glass of beer.

John Kernick

Cook Time:
0 mins
Active Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
8 hrs 30 mins

While most pitmasters religiously smoke their brisket low and (incredibly) slow, chef and television personality Michael Symon takes another approach with this recipe. Here, Symon uses a moderate smoking temperature throughout and speeds up the cooking process by wrapping the brisket in a double layer of foil for its last few hours on the grill. Already imbued with plenty of applewood smoke, the brisket cooks much more efficiently in the foil. An added bonus: The delectable brisket juices that are usually lost to evaporation collect in this aluminum cocoon, waiting to be skimmed and used as a jus for the tender sliced beef.

On its own, this applewood-smoked brisket is quite luscious. To cut through some of its beefy richness, Symon layers slices of the meat on mayo-slathered brioche buns with tart pickles and a bit of cilantro for his brisket sandwich. As far as pickles go, you can always go with our classic Spicy Dill Quick Pickles. We're also partial to Pickled Red Onions (or Pickled Ramps, if we have any left). For a slightly different take, you can try whipping up a batch of atchara — a mixture of pickled green papaya, red bell pepper, carrot, and jalapeño — from our recipe for Lechon Kawali.


  • 1 (4-pound) beef brisket roast

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 2 1/2 cups applewood chips, soaked in water for 1 hour and drained

  • 8 brioche buns, toasted

  • Mayonnaise, cilantro, and chopped pickled vegetables, for serving


  1. Season the brisket well with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  2. Light a charcoal grill and set it up for indirect cooking by raking the hot coals to one side. Close the grill and, using the air vents to control the heat, bring the temperature to 300°F.

  3. Scatter 1 cup of the wood chips over the hot coals. Set the brisket fat side up on the grill opposite the coals. Close the grill and smoke the meat at 275°F to 300°F for about 4 hours. Add hot coals as necessary to maintain the temperature. Each hour, add 1/2 cup of the wood chips to the coals and turn the brisket over. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 160°F.

  4. Wrap the brisket tightly in a double layer of heavy-duty foil and set on the grill opposite the coals. Close the grill and cook the brisket at 275° to 300°F for 2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the meat registers 190°F; add coals as necessary to maintain the heat. Remove the brisket from the heat and let rest in the foil for 30 minutes.

  5. Thinly slice the brisket against the grain. Spread the buns with mayonnaise, top with the brisket, cilantro, and pickled vegetables and serve.

Make ahead

The brisket can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the foil.

Suggested pairing

Substantial Cabernet Sauvignon.

Related Articles