A close up shot of the sliced Texas Smoked Brisket.

Throughout my grilling and barbecue journey, no other cuts of meat are more revered than Texas Smoked Brisket. It is like the Holy Grail of good American Barbecue. Why is that? Because it’s really hard to perfect a smoked brisket recipe, but once you’ve done it the flavor will keep you coming back for more and more! 

The brisket bend test.

Smoking brisket is a feat in itself, as it takes forever! The cook time can be anywhere from 12 to 20 hours depending on how intense you want to be with it. That is a long time to cook one piece of meat (although it’s massive). So let’s break it down, because the truth is, the smoking process is relatively straightforward.

Smoked Brisket Recipe Tips

Having done a few briskets in my time, I’ve perfected a process that will make yours truly delectable. If you want to experience the glory of a delicious smoked brisket, follow these pointers I have learned either from friends, mentors, or by accident that will improve the cooking process.

Preparing Brisket Pro Tips:

  • Trimmings are Your Friend: I personally like to trim my brisket instead of leaving it untrimmed. Yes, it takes more time to trim; however, you can end up with a better looking brisket and utilize those trimmings for making your own Beef Tallow.
  • Make an “Against the Grain” Cut: When the brisket is fully cooked, seeing the grain structure is difficult. While prepping your brisket, make sure to cut a corner of the brisket. This will reveal the grain structure so that you know how you are supposed to cut it when done. You will thank me later.
  • Dry Brine: After seasoning thoroughly, place that smoked beef brisket in the fridge uncovered overnight. That dry brine is key to drying out the outside layer of the brisket to get an amazing bark. You should do this for a minimum time of 4 hours but can go up to 24 hours. I tend to do it for about 12-16 hours, which is what I did for this Texas Smoked Brisket. 
The smoked brisket recipe getting started by placing the seasoned brisket on the smoker.
  • Fat Side Up or Down?: Truth is, it really depends but not why you are thinking! So much research points to the fact that the fat “basting” the meat is just not true. Therefore, choosing which side to place up depends more on the grill and fire. If you are cooking on a classic offset smoker, it is the dealer’s choice. I prefer the fat side down as it makes for a better presentation, but it doesn’t really matter. If you are using a drum smoker, pellet smoker or something where the heat comes from the bottom but is protected by a diffuser plate, you should definitely do a fat side down. The fat will help “protect” the meat more from the heat this way.

Smoked Brisket Recipe Tips Continued: Wrapping and Resting

  • Beef Tallow: After learning this technique from my friend Brad Prose, I won’t ever go back. When wrapping your brisket, lather it with warmed beef tallow all over. This will help to make it extra moist and tender. It will also amp up the beef flavor. But what if you can’t find beef tallow at the grocery? Use your brisket trimmings!!! Place the fatty trimmings in a large deep skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let fully render (takes about 2 hours but sometimes more) then strain through a fine mesh strainer and then again  through a cheesecloth (or a coffee filter). Homemade beef tallow that you can make the night before smoking the brisket!

For more recipes with beef tallow, check out Steak in Beef Tallow, Rotisserie Prime Rib with Beef Tallow Injection and Smoked Beef Shank.

The rested brisket that's ready to slice.
  • Rest of 2 Hours: Resting is key to the whole process. Don’t go through all the hard work just to slice into your brisket right after it comes off the smoker! The juices will pour out and leave you with a less than ideal Smoked Texas Brisket. Place the brisket in a room temperature cooler (slightly opened) or a room temperature oven. If you wrap it in a towel and place it in a cooler, you run the risk of the brisket overcooking! Don’t worry about room temperature either, as the brisket will be plenty warm at the 2 hour mark.

Did someone say burnt ends… Check these out: Poor Man’s Burnt Ends and Smoked Salmon Burnt Ends.

Ingredients for Texas Smoked Brisket

You don’t need any crazy ingredients for this tasty smoked brisket recipe. All you need is a Full Packer Brisket (12-15 lbs), Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, and 1 cup Beef Tallow.

How to Make Smoked Texas Brisket


First, you need to trim the whole brisket. To do so, lay the cold brisket on a cutting board, fat cap side down. Next, trim off any silver skin or pockets of fat with a sharp knife. Remove the large pocket of fat near where the flat and point meet, then square off all sides of your brisket. 

Take a good look at your brisket to identify “the grain”. Cut off one of the corners of the brisket to mark the direction in which the grain is running. As mentioned above, this makes it so much easier to find the grain after the meat is cooked. And as we all know, slicing against the grain is a super important part of achieving the juiciest brisket and the best Brisket Burnt Ends. 

Raw, seasoned brisket getting placed on the smoker.

Next, flip the brisket over and carefully remove the fat cap. Be sure that the fat cap side is about 1/4″ thick, then remove most of the fat “flap” located at the top of the brisket. Now, it’s trimmed! 


Next, we add some very basic seasoning. To season your brisket for smoking and for Brisket Burnt Ends, simply rub generously with kosher salt, black pepper, and optional garlic powder. Place the seasoned brisket into the fridge and allow it to dry brine overnight. 

Now, it’s time to cook! This recipe takes some patience but the delicious brisket and Brisket Burnt Ends are so worth the wait. Trust me.


First, preheat your smoker to a temperature of 250-265ºF. I like to add in some Post Oak wood chips or chunks because it gives the meat some extra smoke flavor. 

The brisket sitting on the smoker, ready to be wrapped.

Next, place the brisket into the smoker with the  fat side of the brisket facing the heat. This layer of fat allows it to serve as a “protection” layer against the heat. Cook for anywhere from 7-8 hours. I recommend checking it at 7 hours, then adding time as needed. You can check that it’s done with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the meat at the thickest point  should be 165-170ºF. 

Looking for more Burnt Ends recipes? Check out my Pastrami Pork Belly Burnt Ends, Honey Garlic Pork Belly Burnt Ends, or Smoked Tequila Lime Burnt Ends!

Now, you’ll need some butcher paper. Butcher paper is great because it lets the meat breathe, but traps in some moisture for an extra juicy and tender texture.

The wrapped Texas Smoked Brisket on the smoker.

So, lay out two pieces of butcher paper, each 6 feet long, so they are slightly overlapping. Warm your beef tallow up slightly, then drizzle it over the butcher paper. Remove the brisket from the smoker, set it onto the butcher paper about 2 feet from one end, then drizzle the brisket with even more beef tallow. 

Pull the short end of the butcher paper over the top of the meat, and then fold it underneath. Fold the sides into the brisket, then roll the meat up in the paper until it’s completely wrapped. 

Lastly, place the wrapped brisket back into the smoker. Be sure that the loose end of the butcher paper is on the bottom so it stays nicely wrapped. Cook for another 7-8 hours or until the internal temperature of the brisket is anywhere between 202ºF and 203ºF. 

Resting and Slicing:

Once it’s fully cooked, pull the Texas brisket off of the smoker and let the meat rest for at least 2 hours. I know. This smoked brisket recipe is long, but we’re almost there!

Texas Smoked Brisket getting unwrapped after it has rested.

When it is ready to slice, unwrap and place the butcher paper to the side (save for serving or for making burnt ends). Begin slicing the brisket right where you made your “against the grain” cut when prepping.

Derek slicing into the brisket.

Make your slices about the width of a #2 Pencil. When you make it a little over halfway through the slicing process, the meat will change from the flat to the point & the flat. Stop slicing and choose one of two things: slice more of the point now or cube up the point for burnt ends.

If slicing the point: Rotate the point 90 degrees and then slice in order to go against the grain. When you are done, serve and enjoy!

If making burnt ends: follow our Best Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends recipe from here.

For more brisket, check out my BBQ Brisket Nachos, Mesquite Peppercorn Lager Smoked Brisket and Hot and Fast Smoked Brisket Recipe.


What Makes it a “Texas” Smoked Brisket?

Texas Smoked Brisket or Texas Style Smoked Brisket is not that complicated. In fact, it’s the simplicity that makes it so desirable; and yet, what makes it so difficult to perfect. In theory, Texas Smoked Brisket includes:

  • 1 Whole Packer Brisket: This brisket will be trimmed to your liking. The more you trim in the beginning, the less work you have when slicing at the end. However, having less fat also means less to “cushion” the meat when cooking and could lead to potentially drying it out. That being said, the fat can definitely inhibit your crust for your end result. Trim wisely.
  • Seasoned with Salt & Pepper: Traditionally speaking, Texas Smoked Brisket is seasoned with just Kosher Salt & Black Pepper on the surface of the meat. These tend to be finer grain seasonings as they will make a better bark that way. You can OPTIONALLY add Garlic Powder. I prefer it this way, but keep it just Salt & Pepper if you like.
  • Dry Brined Overnight: Once trimmed and seasoned, place your brisket in the fridge overnight to dry brine. This will help the seasoning adhere well and develop that beautiful bark when cooking.
Derek slicing into the meat to finish out this smoked brisket recipe.

Texas Smoked Brisket Criteria Continued:

  • The Wrap: At around 165F internal, the brisket will hit the dreaded “stall”. This is when the juices & fat of the meat are coming out of the brisket and actually “cooling” the brisket instead of cooking it. You can stay in the stall at 165F for 2-5 hours sometimes. That is why we wrap the brisket. By wrapping in butcher paper or foil, you help to break through that stall quicker. I prefer peach butcher paper compared to foil. Butcher paper allows more smoke into the brisket as it is porous compared to foil. But choose what you like! Some people don’t wrap and brave the stall all alone. To each, their own.
  • The Rest and Slice: Once the brisket has hit 203F internal and causes no resistance when temp probing, pull it off and begin resting. Rest for at least 2 hours in a room temperature cooler or oven. Finally, slice against the grain and you have Texas Smoked Brisket!

What Temperature Should I Smoke My Brisket At?

Many people debate what temperature to cook smoked brisket at for the best result. I personally have found the best results between 250-265F. While 225F is more traditional, it seems to have negligible difference to me (this is an opinion).

One final shot of the sliced brisket sitting on a cutting board in front of the smoker.

In the end, making some Texas Smoked Brisket is simple and straightforward, but time consuming. It is a really fun cook and can be done with friends and family watching it throughout the whole cook! When it’s done, rest your brisket and then slice against the grain. If you want even more fun, cube up the brisket point and make some Brisket Burnt Ends! Serve with pickles, white bread and your choice of sides. Enjoy and enjoy the process!

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A close up shot of the sliced Texas Smoked Brisket.

Texas Smoked Brisket Recipe

Texas Smoked Brisket for all you looking to give the classic brisket a go!
Author:Derek Wolf
4.38 from 24 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 15 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 People


  • 1 Whole Packer Brisket 12-15 lbs
  • 2.5 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2.5 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder optional
  • 1 cup Beef Tallow warmed up


  • Keeping your brisket cold, place the brisket on your cutting board fat cap side down. Next, trim the outside of the flat of any silver skin or pockets of fat. Remove the larger pocket of fat near where the flat and point meet. Square off all sides of your brisket then cut one of the corners on the point to show you how to cut against the grain later. Flip the brisket over and begin carefully removing fat from the fat cap. Make sure the fat cap side is about ¼ inch thick as anymore will be too much. Finally, remove most of the fat “flap” at the top of the brisket. Once completely trimmed, season thoroughly with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper (add Garlic Powder if you like). Place your brisket into the fridge to dry brine overnight..
  • Preheat your smoker for 250-265F with some added Post Oak wood chunks or chips for extra smoke flavor.
  • Add the brisket on to the smoker fat side either way. Cook the brisket until it reaches about 165-170F at the thickest and fattiest part (about 7-8 hours). Once it has hit 165, get ready to wrap in butcher paper.
  • Lay out 2x 6ft long pieces of butcher paper that slightly overlap. Drizzle your beef tallow over the butcher paper. Place your brisket on the butcher paper about 2 ft from the end, then drizzle the top of the brisket with more beef tallow. Pull the short end of butcher paper over the brisket and tuck underneath. Fold the sides into the brisket and begin to roll the meat over the butcher paper until it is completely wrapped. Any excess paper can be folded and placed underneath the wrapped brisket.
  • Place the brisket back onto the smoker at 250-265F so that the loose end of butcher paper is on bottom to prevent it from unraveling. Cook until the meat hits 202-203F internal (about 7-8 more hours). Once it is done, pull the meat off and let it rest at room temperature for at least 2 hour.s
  • When it is ready to slice, unwrap and place the butcher paper to the side (save for serving or for burnt ends). Begin slicing the brisket right where you made your “against the grain” cut when prepping. Make your slices about the width of a #2 Pencil. When you make it a little over halfway through the slicing process, the meat will change from the flat to the point & the flat. Stop slicing and choose one of two things: slice more the point now or cube up the point for burnt ends.
  • If slicing the point: Rotate the point 90 degrees and then slice in order to go against the grain. When you are done, serve and enjoy with smoked brisket!
  • If making burnt ends: follow out Brisket Burnt Ends recipe from here.



Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 2361mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 5mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Outstanding! Have 2 briskets ready to go this weekend, going to try to simplify like you say and very excited to try the Beef Tallow. But, was curious as to what wood you prefer to use? I’m a straight up Post Oak guy.