Right On ‘Que: Brisket From The Lone Star State

Texas is known for its barbecue. You can find a “Texas Trinity of BBQ” from the Panhandle to the Gulf coast: ribs, sausage, and brisket. Perhaps the most popular of all, brisket is a large, flat, boneless cut of beef chest muscle and a popular topic for discussion: should you smoke it slow and low, or high and fast? Fat-side up? Wrap it in foil? No matter the method, and sweet and tangy, fiery hot, or pure meaty: smoked brisket is a must-try Texas food. Wesley Jurena, pitmaster at Houston’s Pappa Charlies BBQ, loves to use all kinds of complex rubs and uncommon flavor ingredients like ground shitake mushrooms and fine ground coffee. But after an opportunity to cook with Austin and Central Texas BBQ pitmaster John Mueller, he converted to the simplest of rubs: salt and pepper.
By & / Photography By Scott Sandlin | January 20, 2016


12-13 pounds brisket (Select, Choice, or Prime—go for the highest grade)

1 cup coarse ground black pepper 

½ cup kosher salt 

water mixed with Worcestershire (50:50 ratio)

Prepare smoker at 300F (or use an oven if you don't have access to a smoker)

Remove the brisket from the packaging and trim off any hard pieces of fat. Brush with the water-Worcestershire mix and coat with the rub in a thick layer (use more or less to your own liking).

Place the brisket fat-side up in the oven or smoker and leave it for about 3 hours. 

Checking The Internal Temperature

After three hours, and once the brisket developed a dark crust, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. If it registers 165 (or between 155 and 175) degrees, take the brisket out and wrap it tight in heavy-duty aluminum foil (to retain moister) Put it back onto the pit (or oven) for another 1.5 to 2 hours until the internal temperature registers 195-210 degrees (one way to test: stick your meat thermometer into a stick of butter that is at room temperature: this is the feel you looking for when you probe the brisket).

Remove from the pit (or oven) and let rest for at least one hour, with the foil loosened and venting so the brisket doesn’t continue to cook. Let it rest until the internal temperature drops to 165 degrees, it is ready to be served. 

Slice across the grain and serve with pickles, onions, white bread and your favorite sauce.


About this recipe

Pappa Charlies BBQ started as a competition cooking team. After several successful years on the circuit, Houston born-and-raised Wesley Jurena decided to start selling barbeque for a living. Pappa Charlies opened as a food trailer, slinging barbeque at local bars, events and food parks. Jurena opened his first brick and mortar in September of 2015. www.pappacharliesbbq.com
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