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Lean and Mean Barbecued Brisket


Brisket, slow cooked over wood takes 15-20 hours. There are grillmasters who pride themselves on how they make brisket. We wanted a version we could make at home, on our Weber, that would come close to the flavor of oak wood, with those beautiful red smoke rings. We adapted this recipe from Steve Raichlen's "How to Grill" book which has become our grilling bible. I also made a beer-based mopping sauce and BBQ sauce that has a nice balance of savory and sweet. This took about three hours to make, but it sure was good!

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  • For the brisket:
  • 1 trimmed brisket (5-6 pounds) with a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch thick
  • For the rub:
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse sald
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional, I left it out)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon (up to 1 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
  • For the mopping sauce:
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ dry rub
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • For the BBQ sauce:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup


Preparation time 240mins
Cooking time 300mins
Adapted from


Step 1

For the brisket:
Rinse the brisket under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.
Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and stir to mix. Reserve 1 tablespoon.

Rub the mixture into the brisket on all sides. If you have the time, let the brisket stand in the refrigerator, covered, for 4-6 hours. But you can certainly cook it right away.

Combine all the ingredients for the mop sauce in a non-reactive bowl and stir until combined.

For the BBQ Sauce:
In a medium to large saucepan, saute the onions in the butter over medium heat until soft.

Add remaining ingredients.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

NOTE: The sauce can be stored in a well-sealed container, in the fridge, for a few weeks.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling, If using a gas grill, preheat to low. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in a smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke then reduce the heat to low.

When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss 1 cup of wood chips on the coals. Place the brisket, fat-side up in an aluminum foil pan and place in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat and over the grill. Grill the brisket until tender, about 4-6 hours (the cooking time will depend on the size of the brisket and the heat of the grill). Baste or mop sauce once an hour for the first four hours.

If using a charcoal grill, you'll need to add 12 fresh coals and 1/2 cup of wood chips per side every hour.

To test for doneness, use an instant-read thermometer; the internal temperature should be about 190F.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain; using an electric knife or sharp carving knife.

Transfer the slice meat to plates or a platter and pour the pan juices on top, if you desire. We like to serve BBQ sauce on the side.


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