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4 Irresistible Smoked Brisket Recipes That Are Worth the Wait

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According to the hit TV show Young Sheldon, Meemaw may have the best brisket in Texas, but we can sure as heck try our best to come close to second. 

The number one brisket in Texas may be a tall act to follow. Still, I have a strong feeling that these smoked brisket recipes can give Meemaw a run for her money. 

1. Smoked Texas-Style Brisket

Of course, we’re starting with the smoked Texas-style brisket. 

Although smoked brisket didn’t originally come from Texas, the state played a major role in putting this dish on the map. 

In fact, you could probably go to any roadhouse and find some variation of a smoked brisket in their menu. That’s how popular this dish is. 

And while there are a number of ways to make a Texas-style brisket, we’re going to try something simple that still melts in your mouth. 

To get started, you’ll need one 12-14 pound whole brisket, and two tablespoons each of coarse kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.

After getting everything you need, the first step is to remove the silver skin or excess fat from the muscle. Then, trim down the fat section until you have a smooth surface from the point to the flat. 

Some people like to leave about a quarter inch of fat on their brisket, but if you want your meat a little fattier (for that extra juiciness), feel free to keep more of the fat intact.

Next, grab an empty spice container or a mixing bowl and combine your salt, pepper, and garlic. Shake or stir the spice blend and rub it all over your brisket. 

Now, place your seasoned brisket on your smoker and use indirect heat with hardwood to cook your meat. Be sure to put the thicker side of the brisket near the fire, since it requires more heat to cook. 

Close the lid and wait up to eight hours. After eight hours, take your meat off the smoker and wrap it in foil. Put it back on the grill with the seam-side down and continue smoking for five to eight more hours.

Finally, take your brisket out and let it rest for an hour before slicing it into strips. 

As you can tell, cooking brisket takes a while so be sure you plan ahead of time if you want to make this dish for your next cookout. 

2. Smoked Brisket With Mustard Rub

When you think about it, smoking brisket is a straightforward process. You get your slab of meat, prep it, season it, and smoke it. 

The hardest part of all the steps is probably the wait. Cooking the meat can take 16 to 18 hours, which is practically the whole day already. 

Once you can overcome that challenge, you can make any smoked brisket recipe you want — including this smoked brisket with mustard rub. 

The only difference between this recipe and the previous one is the rub. So, to make the mustard rub, here’s what you’ll need to get: 

Half a cup of Dijon mustard (or plain yellow mustard), a quarter cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons of paprika and sea salt, and a tablespoon of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper.

This one is optional, but for all the spice lovers out there, you can also add a teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper to infuse some heat into your dish. 

After combining all the ingredients for your rub, you know what to do: apply it all over your brisket and smoke it for eight hours.

Then, take your brisket out, wrap it in foil, and smoke it again for another five to eight hours.

Since smoking can dry out your meat quickly, it’s best to serve the dish immediately after cutting. Alternatively, you can slather it with a mustard BBQ sauce while it’s still hot to keep the moisture. 

There are a lot of mustard BBQ sauce recipes out there, but this Carolina mustard BBQ sauce recipe is by far the best in my opinion. 

So, to make this, you’ll need these ingredients: a three-fourths cup of yellow mustard, half a cup of honey and apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of brown sugar, and two tablespoons of ketchup.

On top of those, you’ll need two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne and salt, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. 

Add the ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes before brushing it all over your brisket or setting it as a side dip.

Because of the mustard and the other spices, this recipe has a more complex flavor profile, which I think is a level up from the traditional Texas style. 

3. Smoked Brisket With Chimichurri Sauce

I bet you Young Sheldon’s Meemaw’s never had a taste of smoked brisket with chimichurri sauce. And maybe you haven’t either. 

This sauce comes from Argentina and Uruguay, two countries famous for their beef dishes.

So, even though this recipe is unconventional, I’m 100% certain that this sauce will pair well with a smoked brisket. 

To get started, you’ll need two pounds of beef brisket, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of chimichurri seasoning blend, and half a teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt. 

For your sauce, you’ll need a quarter cup of chopped cilantro and flat-leafed basil, two finely minced garlic cloves, a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, half a cup of olive oil, plus some salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.

Trim your brisket as usual and rub your seasoning (including chimichurri blend, salt, and olive oil) all around. Then, smoke it as you normally would.

After about 16 hours, take your deliciously tender smoked brisket out of the grill and let it rest for another 60 minutes. 

While it’s resting, take this downtime to make your chimichurri sauce, and there are two ways to go about it.

The first option is to do all the mixing manually. Get a bowl and start combining all your dry ingredients first (like the herbs and spices) before pouring in your liquids (like the oil and red wine vinegar).

Just stir the ingredients with a spoon, and the result is a coarse sauce with tiny chunks. 

However, if you want a smoother consistency for your sauce the alternative method is to toss all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it’s evenly mixed.

Once you have your sauce ready, you can spoon it over your brisket or leave it to the side as a dip. It’s completely up to you!

4. Whiskey and Brown Sugar Smoked Brisket

We’re coming down to our final smoked brisket recipe, and I think this one takes the cake!

For this one, we’re taking inspiration from a celebrity chef named Tanya Holland. She’s been through her fair share of briskets, so I know that this recipe will exceed all expectations. 

To begin, get your ingredients, starting with your beef brisket. When buying from the market, try to get a whole brisket and choose one that’s on the fattier side. 

Then, get the ingredients for your brine — these include a two-thirds cup of kosher salt, 10 and a half cups of warm water, six tablespoons of brown sugar, and half a cup of bourbon.

To add some flavor to your brine, add one and a half tablespoons of pickling spices. These are coriander seeds, peppercorn, cloves, and crushed bay leaves. 

Besides the brine, you’ll also need to get your ingredients for the rub. These include two tablespoons of white peppercorns, a third cup of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, brown sugar, and some salt.

Once your ingredients are ready, the first step is to trim your meat while still leaving a little bit of fat. 

The second step is to make the brine. Whisk all the necessary ingredients in a bowl until your salt and sugar dissolve completely. 

Did you know that having bourbon in this mix will help not just add flavor to the meat, but also tenderize it?

Now, drop your brisket carefully inside the brine until it’s fully submerged, and let it chill overnight. If you can wait a little longer, you can leave it marinating for as long as 24 hours.

While waiting, soak your hardwood chunks in warm water for 45 minutes. 

According to Chef Tanya, the best types of wood for this dish are hickory and applewood because they have a soft and fruity aroma that pairs well with the sweetness of this recipe. 

When your meat is done soaking up that bourbon and brown sugar goodness, take it out of the brine and pat it dry as best as you can. 

Set the meat aside for a while as you prepare the rub. You’ll want the rub to be coarsely ground, so pour the spices into an electric coffee grinder and pulse it until you get the right consistency.

Then, transfer it to a bowl and add your brown sugar and salt. Whisk them all together, and slather the rub on all sides of the brisket (including the pockets).

For the best results, you have to wait an hour for the seasoning to really melt into the meat. One hour later, place your meat in the smoker with the apple and hickory wood and let it cook for eight hours.

After that, take your brisket out, wrap it in foil, and place it back in the smoker upside down to cook the other side for another eight hours. 

The last step is to let it rest for an hour before slicing it thinly and serving it with any store-bought BBQ sauce. 

Compared to the previous three recipes, this one requires more time and effort since we added extra steps — like brining, grinding our spices, and even selecting which woods to smoke with.

Rest assured, all these added measures are for the best because they will make your brisket taste immaculate and incredibly tender. 

Smoke, Savor, and Repeat

We can try all we want to beat Meemaw at her own game or at least come in second place, but the thing is: there’s really no one way to make smoked brisket.

It’s all just a matter of preference. 

So, instead of fixating on creating the best smoked brisket ever, try to be more open-minded. Explore new recipes and see which ones you like best. 

While these four recipes are at the top of my list, maybe you have family recipes of your own that you love making time and again. 

In any case, I’m still on the lookout for other smoked brisket recipes to add to my arsenal. So, if you have any recommendations, feel free to sound off in the comments section.

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