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Hook & Barrel
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We’re Kicking Off The H&B Smoker Series With A Slab Of Hot, Wet Brisket

The age-old tradition of bringing the smoker out of hibernation has begun. Let us remove dust covers, clean, and prepare for one of the best times of the year. The art has been passed down through generations and is poetically unique throughout the world. It is a deep-rooted rite of passage for many. It brings people together in a simple, yet authentic way. It always elicits smiles and it creates indelible childhood memories. Old Man Winter is gone, and the back porch is once again a gathering place. 

A Delicious Pastime

For some, it is well steeped into their DNA and comes easy for them, while for others it appears intimidating—yet the allure has been growing and they want to learn and participate. I am a passionate outdoorsman, and I am also consumed and fascinated with creating simple, easy-to-replicate great-tasting food in the kitchen and on my grills and smokers. I grew up in a family of amazing cooks. I was taught that simplicity does not sacrifice quality. My cooking obsession has evolved into helping others enjoy this passion for themselves in simple, yet effective ways. As one of Hook & Barrel’s “Cooking Dudes,” I am thrilled to kick off this Smoker Series of articles with one of my favorite things to smoke—beef brisket. 


I am a hardwood charcoal purist due to the unrivaled taste it creates. I get better and more consistent results with my current upper-end grills and smokers. However, with over 30 years of cooking experience, I have made brisket on a $40 charcoal grill and on pellet grills and have achieved acceptable results with both. Regardless of what you use, what matters the most is that you are successful in making a fantastic brisket you can be proud to serve using whatever grill or smoker you have now. The more you do it and get better at it, you will probably decide to upgrade your grill or smoker if needed. Funny how that works. 

Even though we are going to slice this brisket, a properly cooked one can be easily pulled apart with little effort. How much bark and smoke ring is subjective. I prefer medium to heavy bark, and a significant ring, so I pour heavy smoke into my brisket for the first half of the cooking process. 

I’ve proven many times that the following cook option works fantastic. Plus, you will love it if you don’t have 12-14 hours to babysit your smoker! 

REMEMBER THIS:  Cooking to internal temp is your number one goal, and your meat thermometer is your best friend to get there. Also, elevation can have an effect on your heat source performance. We are cooking to internal temperature, NOT time. 

Hot & Fast Cook  

You don’t have to invest 12-14 hours of smoking to achieve a phenomenal brisket. Are there some advantages to a longer cook?  Yes, but don’t worry, this method can be performed in just 4-6 hours!   

You Will Need: 

  1. Digital meat thermometer
  1. Disposable aluminum pan
  1. Disposable gloves
  1. BBQ paper, aka pink butcher paper
  1. Large tongs or meat fork
  1. Grill gloves
  1. Fuel source
  1. Large cutting board
  1. Brisket knife


  1. Brisket. A good rule of thumb is ½ to ¾ of a pound of cooked meat per person. Remember there will be cooking shrinkage due to the fat content in brisket. If you are smoking a 14-pound brisket that should be adequate for around 10-12 people.  
  1. Yellow mustard for binder. 
  1. I recommend a rub of kosher salt/pepper/garlic, aka SPG. You can make your own or buy a premade one. I also recommend a rub with coffee or charcoal in it as well. 

First Steps: 

  1. Trim off the fat cap to less than 1/2 inch thick. 
  1. Square up the entire brisket so it looks more uniform to make wrapping easier later. Place trimmed brisket in the aluminum pan and slather all sides with mustard. 
  1. Generously coat the entire brisket with SPG dry rub. You may think you are way over-seasoning, but you’re not. 
  1. Cover with foil and let brisket sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours. 

Cooking Steps: 

  1. Preheat smoker to 275°-300° F. 
  1. Add real mesquite or pecan wood chunks to the firebox if using a non-pellet grill. 
  1. Place brisket on the smoker with the fat side up. Cook to an internal temperature of 165°-170° F. 
  1. Pull brisket, and double wrap in BBQ paper. 
  1. Place brisket back on the smoker. Flip every 30 minutes and cook to an internal temperature of 202° F. 
  1. Pull brisket from smoker. Allow the brisket to rest wrapped on the countertop, with fat side up in the aluminum pan for a minimum of 1 hour, but 2 hours is better. The temperature will rise another 5-10° during the rest, and the rendered fat will seep into the pores of the brisket, making it juicy. Don’t skip the resting part. 
  1.  Cut the point from the flat, and slice the brisket against the grain, and serve. 

There are many ways to utilize brisket meat, and there’s no wrong way in my opinion. Now go, eat, and enjoy!


Gloved hands of a chef slicing a portion of delicious juicy tender roast beef brisket with a large knife in a close up on the blade and cutting board

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