Slow-smoked Brisket By Elizabeth Karmel

The key to roasting brisket is to set it directly on the cooking grates. This elevates the brisket and allows the air to rotate around the meat. Don’t be tempted to cook it in a pan, or it will sit in its own juices and steam. Placing it directly on the cooking grates, it will cook evenly and crisp up everywhere, melting the connective tissues, and the fat and leaving flavor and tenderness in the meat.


  • 1⁄2 cup Morton Kosher Salt
  • 3 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 (9-11 pound) whole beef brisket, untrimmed (sometimes referred to as a packer’s cut)
  • 1⁄2 cup Basic Brisket Rub (see above)
  • 1 bottle beer*
  • Post oak or oak wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes, optional


  1. Prepare Rub - Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Store leftover rub in an airtight container for three months.
  2. Prepare Brisket - Sprinkle brisket liberally on both sides with the rub. Preheat your oven or grill to 225 F or set-up a charcoal grill or smoker for indirect cooking. If using wood chips, place soaked chips directly on the gray-ashed charcoal briquettes or in the smoker box in your gas grill.
  3. Pour beer into a drip pan and place the drip pan on the charcoal grate between the two piles of briquettes. In a gas grill, pour the beer into a small drip pan and put on the far left corner of the cooking grates. In an oven, pour the beer into a loaf pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven.*
  4. Place brisket (fat side up) in the center of the cooking grate over the drip pan. If you are roasting in the oven, place brisket on the rack set into a sheet pan and place in the center of the oven. You will not turn the brisket during the cooking time at all. Grill/Roast 5-8 hours, depending on the size of the brisket, or until meat thermometer registers 185°-190°F in the thickest part. I like to wrap the brisket in two layers of heavy-duty foil when it reaches about 170°F. That way, the brisket steams and tenderizes even more as it finishes cooking.
  5. When done, remove from grill/oven and let rest a minimum of 20 minutes. Slice thin and serve warm.
  6. The brisket can also be made the day before and reheated on the same rack and sheet pan system, covered loosely with foil for a couple of hours at 250° F. Remember to let the meat rest again before slicing.
  7. When slicing, be aware that the grain of the brisket changes. Look at the grain of the meat and make sure to slice against it. If the slices look like a small honeycomb pattern, you are slicing it correctly, if it looks like long strings, then it is incorrect. And, remember a sharp knife is your best friend when carving. If you can’t remember the last time you had sharp knives, consider purchasing a Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpener.

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