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Popular in Food

Chef Dean's Never Fail Brisket

Try this scrumptious beef brisket recipe served with your favorite barbecue sauce. Directions are included for all three methods: smoker, charcoal grill, and gas grill.

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  • Makes: 15 servings
  • Yields: 15 to 18 servings (using a 10 to 12 pound brisket)
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Chill: overnight
  • Grill: 7 hrs to 10 hrs on grill

Chef Dean's Never Fail Brisket



  1. In a small bowl, combine rub ingredients. The night before smoking, soak wood chunks in enough water to cover. Drain before using.
  2. Do not trim fat from brisket. One day before smoking, remove 1 tablespoon of the rub mixture and stir into 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce. Cover and chill. Sprinkle brisket with the remaining rub mixture. Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Arrange preheated coals, half of the drained wood chunks, and the water pan as directed in manufacturers directions. Fill pan with hot water. Place brisket, fat side up, on grill rack over pan. Cover and smoke for 8 to 10 hours until a fork can easily be inserted into the center of the meat and a thermometer registers 185 degree F. Add more coals as needed, but do not add any more wood chips after the first three hours. (Too much smoke makes meat bitter.) Remove brisket from smoker. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. *Read and follow the instructions that came with your smoker.
  4. Heat barbecue sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. To serve brisket, trim away crusty outer layer, if desired. Starting at the brisket's wider end, find the seam of fat running through the meat and cut along it, slicing the meat in half horizontally. Trim excess fat. Slice each section across the grain. Pass with heated barbecue sauce. Makes 15 to 18 servings using a 10- to 12-pound brisket or 7 to 9 servings with a 4-1/2- to 5-pound brisket.

From the Test Kitchen

Gas and Charcoal Grill Directions:

For a grill, prepare a 4-1/2- to 5-pound brisket as directed above, except use only half of the rub ingredients. At least 1 hour before grilling, soak 8 to 10 wood chunks in enough water to cover.

For a Charcoal Grill:

Prepare grill for indirect grilling. Arrange medium hot coals around a drip pan. Fill drip pan with hot water. Test for medium-low heat above the drip pan. Add half of the wood chunks. Place brisket, fat side up, on the grill rack over the drip pan. Cover and grill for 2-1/2 hours. Turn brisket and continue grilling for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until a fork can be easily inserted in the center of the meat and an instant-read thermometer registers 185 degree F. Add coals (about 8 to 12 per hour) and wood as needed to maintain temperature and smoke. (Do not add any more wood after 2 hours of grilling.)

For a Gas Grill:

Start with a full tank of fuel. Adjust heat according to manufacturer's directions for indirect cooking over low heat. Add soaked wood chunks according to manufacturer's directions. (Or wrap chunks in foil and place packets directly over heat on the lava rocks, ceramic briquettes, or metal heat-diffusing bars). Place a small coffee can or pan of hot water on the side of the grill rack over a lit burner. Place brisket, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan; set the pan on the grill rack over the unlit burner. Cover and grill for 2-1/2 hours or until meat is dark, dark brown. Wrap brisket in foil; return to grill directly on grill rack. Cook meat 1-1/2 to 2 hours more until a fork can be easily inserted in the center of the meat and thermometer registers 185 degree F.

Place half soaked wood chucks in the center a 12 x 18-inch piece of heavy foil. Bring up two opposite edges of foil and make a pouch with a opening in the top for the smoke to come out. Repeat with remaining wood and another piece of foil. Place packets on the grill rack directly over heat on the lava rocks, ceramic briquettes or flavorizer bars.

Nutrition Facts (Chef Dean's Never Fail Brisket)

    Per serving:
  • 470 kcal cal.,
  • 18 g fat
  • (5 g sat. fat,
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 8 g monounsatured fat),
  • 177 mg chol.,
  • 623 mg sodium,
  • 6 g carb.,
  • 1 g fiber,
  • 4 g sugar,
  • 66 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet



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