Smoky Barbecued Brisket


A barbecued brisket has a slightly denser texture than one that has been braised, but Adam Perry Lang believes it can be just as tender if you buy the right cut from your butcher.

Active Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 30 mins
6 to 8

Ask for the packers cut or whole brisket: It will have a thick layer of fat that adds about 3 or 4 pounds to the typical 5- or 6-pound brisket. You can trim away some of the fat, but be sure to leave enough to keep the meat moist while it cooks.

This basic dry rub is delicious on all types of foods, including chicken, although you can add more chili powder and black pepper when using it on heartier meats like beef and lamb. Since the mixture is versatile and keeps well, buy the ground spices in bulk and premix an extra batch to keep on hand.


Seven-Spice Dry Rub

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup sweet paprika

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 1/4 cup dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger



Make the Seven-Spice Dry Rub

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.

Make the Brisket

  1. Rub the Garlicky Barbecue Marinade all over the brisket and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Bring the brisket to room temperature and sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the Seven-Spice Dry Rub all over it. (Reserve the remaining dry rub for another use.)

  3. Light a charcoal fire in a covered grill and set it up for indirect grilling: When the temperature reaches 225°F, carefully push the hot coals to one side and place a drip pan filled with 1 cup of water on the opposite side. Alternatively, bring a smoker to 225°F. Put the brisket over the drip pan, fat side up, and cover the grill; you'll need to cook the brisket for a total of about 8 hours, rotating the meat (but not turning it over) every 2 hours. Maintain the temperature at 225°F by replenishing the charcoal with a fresh batch of burning coals every hour. Every hour, drain 1/2 cup of the wood chips and scatter them over the hot coals. Add more water to the drip pan when half of it is evaporated.

  4. After the first 6 hours, spray the brisket generously with the Cider Mop Spray. Continue cooking the brisket, spraying it with the Mop Spray every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 190°F when inserted in the thickest part of the meat. Transfer the brisket to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Pour the diluted Sweet and Sticky Barbecue Sauce into a roasting pan and bring to a simmer. Slice the brisket 1/4 inch thick against the grain and transfer to the roasting pan. Simmer the meat over low heat, basting it with the sauce until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve with the buns and hot sauce.

Make Ahead

The dry rub can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months. The barbecued brisket can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before carving and reheating.

Suggested Pairing

To contrast this smoky, spicy brisket, serve a cooling Texas beer. Or select a full-bodied, fruity-spicy Zinfandel, such as one from Dry Creek Valley or Sonoma County.

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