Texas – Known For Its World Famous Brisket

Texas – Known For Its World Famous Brisket

This is it!

David Ekstrom’s Brisket.

The Greatest Texas Ranch Recipe Ever!

This recipe looks long and complicated, but I’ve included every detail I can think of.  (It’s really pretty simple.)

Buying The Brisket
Get a whole beef brisket, don’t buy the market trimmed. The trimmed are leaner but less fat means a less flavorful finished product.
Take the brisket and try to fold it in half. It should bend to a ninety degree angle or less. That tells you the meat has the right fat content.
Unlike most things in Texas, the size doesn’t really matter. I usually smoke a 10-15 lb brisket.


The Smoker
I use a smoker with the fire chamber separate from the cooking chamber. I build the fire with charcoal to get things started. I measure the temperature with a digital thermometer placed near the chimney of the smoker, furthest from the fire. When that temperature gets to 275 – 300, I add two or three small mesquite logs (or big chunks) on top of the coals and put the brisket on. The mesquite will smoke a lot at first, and get that flavor into the meat.



Preparing The Brisket
I’m a purist. I season with garlic salt, lemon pepper, and fresh pepper. I don’t use a rub. Go light on the garlic salt, that can dry the meat out. Season both sides. Cook with the fat side up.



When the temperature gets to 275-300, put the brisket on, thicker end angled slightly towards the fire. You can shift the position a time or two while it’s cooking.

Once you put the brisket on, leave it alone. Check the temperature every half hour to hour, but do not open the cooking chamber.

Open the fire chamber only to add mesquite. Use the fire vent and the chimney damper to maintain the temperature between 250 and 300. Don’t worry if the temperature gets out of that range, it’s no big deal. Just try and bring it back into range.


Cook for about 4 hours on the smoker, longer if you can keep the temperature right.


Put the brisket into a pan about 3 inches deep, and pour a beer over it. I like corona or shiner bock. The beer choice will give a slightly different flavor, pick a beer you like. Add 12 oz of beer, and another half bottle (6 oz) of water.


Cover the pan with foil, and crimp the foil to the top. Put the brisket in the oven, at 225-250. If your smoker temperature stayed above 275, use 225 in the oven. Cook about 4 hours, for eight hours total cooking time. Again, leave the brisket alone. Check it once or twice, maybe slice a piece off the end to test the flavor and tenderness. When it tastes tender and perfect ~ dig in!



Want the perfect biscuit recipe? Perfect for BBQ? Here it is!


The perfect dessert?  Quick and Easy Lemon Cream Pie




There are 77 comments for this article
  1. Wallie at 1:56 pm

    Good information. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely be smoking a brisket soon. I have a master built propane smoker. The fire is inside with the brisket. I hope I can get it right.

  2. Reg at 8:59 pm

    I just started smoking brisket. I love it. I marinate with Worcester sauce, mustard and Montreal steak spice for 24 hours and the rest is like yours but 17 hours at 225

    It’s amazing and fun. I use digital thermometers and monitor meat and smoker temps separately using Bluetooth technology. I get to do other stuff while smoking

    I’m finished when the internal temp hits 190 to 200. Let it rest in insulated coolers for 3 hours while I bake potatoes. The last time I did it I smoked 90 lbs for 170 guests at my nieces wedding

    • Ed at 8:24 pm

      Reg how much of each ingredient do you use in your maranate? Do you wrap it in tin foil when you put it in the cooler?
      Thanks Ed

    • Joe at 5:31 pm

      Reg, do you ever wrap or cover brisket up in that smoker? Also when you marinate it..does it cover the whole brisket or just sits in the marinate?

      • Karen Ekstrom at 8:21 pm

        I do not ever cover the brisket in the smoker. When I put the brisket in the oven, I put it in a deep pan, pour the beer over it, and then cover the pan with foil. The brisket just sits in the beer/water marinate, but it is not covered in it. I hope this answers your question. Happy Smoking.

  3. Rick at 7:01 pm

    Did you not put the brisket in the pan until you put it in the oven? If I have a green mountain smoker that will maintain at 225° could I do the entire cooking on the Green Mountain? Your brisket looks great! Thank you!

    • Karen Ekstrom at 9:24 pm

      Hi Rick! David doesn’t put the brisket in a pan until he puts it in the oven. If you can maintain a level temperature all that time, I’d keep it in the smoker! Good luck! Write back and let me know how it comes out!

  4. Mike at 9:45 am

    I’ll be using a natural gas smoker can I just leave the brisket in the whole time ? Instead of switching to the oven . The smoker maintains temp really well and by thimerosal I take it out and put it in a pan with foil the temp will be down to 225-250

  5. Steve at 10:59 am

    By covering it in the oven sitting in beer, you are really steaming it no? That’s very similar to the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 methods used for ribs. Saw an edition of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” where the chef put his briskets in a steamer for at least 2 hours (maybe 4?) and the combo of smoking and steaming seems to assure a moist piece of meat at the end! Also, you didn’t seem to worry much about the internal temperature … amazing!

    • Karen Ekstrom at 1:24 pm

      Hi Steve, the brisket essentially steams in beer assuring it will be moist and tasty… it marries the smoky, spicy flavor ~ making it delicious! (I really don’t know what the 3-2-1 or 2-2-1 method is) As for worrying about the internal temperature of the beef… after it’s cooked for that many hours… it’s cooked!

  6. Ronald Beach at 8:09 am

    Good job on telling people how to on brisket but a purist from Texas only uses salt and pepper to season a brisket with I usely wrap mine in foil in a pan and keep it on my pit but you have to control your temperature like you said but with my pit like yours it not hard great job

  7. tom at 12:37 pm

    Anyone tried this with Cider instead of beer? not a big beer fan. Going to attempt this on a lp grill and a smoke box.

  8. Cynthia at 7:53 pm

    Hi,I would love to make a brisket for my family, I read your recipe and the comments but i do not own a smoker . I only have a gas grill and oven.Will I still be able to do it? Thanks

    • Karen Ekstrom at 8:08 pm

      Hi Cynthia. You could cook a brisket in the oven. (Don’t do it in a gas grill.) But, you won’t get the smokey flavor. And, unfortunately it won’t be as good. I’m sorry…

  9. Ric at 10:50 pm

    Sounds like a winner specially with that prime hunk of meat. Where did you get that. Only place around here that carries Packers is Walmart. Not prime just select. Hit and miss so have quit trying. Maybe try a chunk roast. Heard thay can be good.
    Never quite smoking
    Bad for your health

    • Karen Ekstrom at 1:09 pm

      Hi Ric, I don’t remember where we got the meat. Either Sam’s Wholesale (owned by Walmart) or Costco… But we are picky about our meat. (Being ranchers, that makes sense.) Don’t give up! This brisket is too good!

  10. Armando Teran at 9:10 pm

    I do have a Master Built Electrical Smoker and had used several times to smoke some babyback ribs and beef finger ribs and some eibeyes, etc. My question is it will be the same to smoke the brisket as it shows here ?

    • Karen Ekstrom at 10:08 am

      My husband says he’s never used a electric smoker but he would assume, if you keep the temperatures the same, you should be good. Write back and tell us how it goes! Good luck!

  11. Diane Swanberg at 11:04 pm

    Bought my hubby a smoker a few years ago. He uses it for ribs, but I never have. We’re hosting a graduation/father’s day party this weekend, so I’m taking over the smoker. Planning on this brisket recipe (I really like that it’s not covered with a rub) and smoked pork butt. This recipe looks great. I’m ready to compete with hubbies baby back ribs.

  12. Steve S at 8:12 pm

    Not to completely change the subject but for anyone wanting to experiment with pork butt have no fear! I smoked a pork butt side by side with my brisket following these steps and they both came out phenomenal!!! Same rub, same beer, same cook time and same success as my brisket! Give it a try!! It was melt in your mouth, fall apart goodness. Thank y’all!

  13. Carl P at 8:34 am

    I like your method of making a brisket. I have learned over the years that with some types of wood, like oak in smaller pits, are easy to over smoke the meat giving it a bitter taste in the bark. By smoking in for a certain period of time, like four hours, you get the smoking part of the process correct. Then you can concentrate on finishing the brisket at the correct temperature while cooking the smoke flavor into the meat during the final hours. Sealing it in a pan or wrapping it in foil for the last few hours tenderizes the meat and will allow you to finish it on the pit without over smoking if you don’t want to use an oven for the last part. Thought I would clarify the reasons for wrapping the meat after a certain period of time based on my experience in the past. I have over smoked one or two while learning.

    Food for thought. Hope it helps.

  14. Rachel at 2:59 am

    Has anyone tried this with no beer? Or a substitution for beer? How did it turn out? Not a big beer fan, so just wondering if it turns out without using the beer!

    • Karen Ekstrom at 11:34 am

      Hi Rachel, David says to try root beer (he thinks coke might be too strong) as a substitute for beer. He thinks that might work. Neither one of us have ever made it without using beer but, if you do, please let us know how it turns out! (Just for the record, the alcohol content burns off in the cooking so I don’t feel like I’m serving my 9 year-old grandson booze!) Good luck!

  15. Chris Tribur at 9:57 am

    I’ve found the post-cook wrap and rest in an insulated cooler for at least 2 hours adds a whole new degree of flavor and tenderness. I pull at 201 internal, then wrap in foil and towels.

  16. Rey Gonzalez Jr at 3:01 pm

    Hey folks, you all have really great ideas…. I’m from way down South Texas… I use a regular BBQ pit with mesquite wood for my BBQ’s.. My brisket is prepped with a stab here and there and then insert a clove of garlic in there; then I season with just about any seasoned salt you favor. Once prepped, a double wrap of heavy duty foil and in the pit we go. I never use a temperature gauge, it cooks at about 400 for so for 3 to 4 hours. Yes, turn it every thirty minutes and when it smelts right, your done. Take it off the grill, punch a hole in the foil, collecting all fluids; mix the fluids with your favorite BBQ Sauce, and some pineapple orange juice; slice the brisket, let it rest in the sauce and grab some napkins…. enjoy!

  17. Chris Purse at 2:53 pm

    I’m going to have to try my next one with the beer. I’m curious as to what it would taste like if I used Coca-Cola or Dr Pepper? I’m weird like that. Lol. Y’all’s brisket looks tasty and making me hungry.

    • Karen Ekstrom at 11:32 am

      Hi Lee, This recipe is delicious. The crust is what keeps the juices in and keeps it tasty. So, yes, this recipe does form a crust. But, it sounds like you like your brisket really crunchy, so this may not be the recipe for you.

    • Karen Ekstrom at 9:28 pm

      Hi Barbara, We usually cook 12- 14 lb brisket, so a 3.60 lb brisket leaves us guessing… but, you’d still cook it 3 hours on the smoker (at the low end of the temperature range – 250 to 275 degrees) and an 1 1/2 hours in the oven. (Lower the temperature to 225 degrees in the oven.) Check it for tenderness… If it is still tough, cook it an hour longer… As for the flavor, we assume you are talking wood… David prefers mesquite wood. Good luck! Let us know how it turned out!

  18. Smoke_it at 1:39 am

    Thanks for this recipe. The oven is the key in my opinion. I’m jacked to try this now! I’m in Chicago and it’s 20 with snow on the ground, but I need a little Texas heat here!

  19. Art w at 3:23 am

    Another way to do a brisket is injecting it with 2 cups of beef broth. A quarter cup of both soy sauce and Worcestershire. Cook it to an internal temp of 203 to 204 degrees. Then wrap it and put it in a cooler for 2 to 3 hours. The process will break down the connective tissue and you will have an awesome brisket. Texas 101

  20. Dad Life at 10:44 am

    This looks like some delicious brisket. I have tried different recipes but yours is a little different in a good way as you have fewer spices to keep it simple, so I am going to give it a try this weekend.

  21. Kim Bradley at 6:39 am

    My husband has a Bradley Smoker…how do we do this if not using a bbq smoker? Thank you! Yours looks delicious and he’s been wanting to smoke brisket….

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