Authentic Texas Barbecued Brisket

Started by Pachanga, October 18, 2009, 09:12:31 AM

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I picked up a few briskets the other day and took a few photos to go along with a recipe Habanero Smoker kindly edited from pieced together previous posts of mine.  It is located on the excellent site Recipes from the Bradley Smoker Forum (  The specific recipe is Brisket Pachanga (  Included are detailed instructions on picking briskets, trimming, rub, slather, wood type, smoke duration, freezing, reheating and other tips.  I have smoked well over 150 briskets in my Bradley.  Being from West Texas and only smoking in large offsets with mesquite gathered by the trailer load, I was a little embarrassed to use the Bradley which was given to me as a gift.  I am over that.  I can turn out great tasting, moist, bark laden authentic Texas Brisket with less effort than ever before.

The following pictorial shows a four brisket smoke, however, one, two or three can be done the same way.  Less poundage will mean a shorter smoke time.

Packer cut brisket before trimming, lean side up.  Wet aged for four weeks. For more on wet aging go to;  I normally process my briskets in a very clean sink that is foil lined making clean up a snap and to catch rub and slather which are used on the last brisket.  In later photos, I removed the foil for better photo clarity.

Discolored meat trimmed and fat between muscles removed and folded back.  It is removed after photo.

Close up of trimmed deckle.

Brisket flipped.  A little trimming of the fat cap where it was overly thick.  Save these trimmings and place on the top shelf for self basting and a treat for your hounds.

Rubbed and patted in.

Mustard Slather on lean side.  We have a problem with the brisket being too long to fit in the Bradley.  But this problem can easily be solved -

Fitting an over-sized brisket: this brisket fits after lifting in the middle and wrinkling the brisket, forming an inverted U.  The brisket will shrink during the smoking stage and flatten out.  Here, we have the fat side up which is the way it will go into the Bradley.  Underneath the brisket basket is a flipped Bradley basket - this keeps surface contact to a minimum, protecting the rub and slather.

Four briskets loaded with fat side up, deckle ends alternating.  The largest brisket is on bottom, smallest on top.  The baskets are flipped as needed to get at least one inch between briskets.  Trimmings on top.  Can the Bradley handle almost 50 pounds of beef?

The water bowl has been replaced with a half size steam table aluminum pan.  A double layer of foil loosely covers the back half of the v heat deflector to force more even heat in the Bradley.  This is probably not recommended by Bradley.  Do so at your own risk.

Pour boiling water laced with beer, apple juice, onions, etc. into water pan.  This may need to be refilled once during the night depending on heat level and vent opening.  These briskets were started about 9:30 PM.

Open the door the next morning to check if anything crazy is happening.

Empty grease and used pucks and refill with boiling water.  Incomplete burning of pucks means it is time to wire brush the smoke generator heater element.

Bottom brisket is monitored with probe and checked for fork tender at 185 degrees F. and then checked every five degrees thereafter.  Most briskets come out around 190 to 195 degrees.  I have never taken a brisket beyond 195.  When the door is open for this check is the time to baste or spritz.  Move all briskets down as you take each brisket out.  The last brisket will come off between 18 and 22 hours if you maintained heat at 220 to 225 degrees F.

Smoke and moisture are the keys to great brisket.  Two probes in the flat of the bottom brisket (I like confirmed temperature readings) and a chamber temperature monitor on the front of the bottom shelf (the six rack digital has a rear mounted chamber temperature gauge also).  Check all probes for accuracy by inserting tips in boiling water  before each smoke.  Do not totally immerse the entire probe.

Finished fat side of brisket.

Finished lean side.  This brisket is so tender, it is trying to crack open under its own weight before FTC.

Another finished brisket and the way the bark should look.  This is not burned, it is pure layer of flavored bark.  This is the hallmark of Authentic Texas Brisket.  I will be posting soon on my reasons for not foiling in the Bradley.

Foil, towel, cooler.  This is the first time this brisket has touched foil.  No wrapping or boating during the smoking process which retards bark formation.  As each brisket comes out, it is now foil wrapped, stacked on top of the previous brisket and wrapped in the towel (after I taste test a little of the bark off the deckle end).

Sliced and ready for the table.

No knives needed here.  This brisket cuts with a fork.

Don't forget the hounds.

Other Threads:

Brisket Pachanga

Mustard Slather on Brisket and other Meats

I Prefer to Smoke Totally Naked - A Brisket and Ribs Manifesto

So your brisket doesn't fit - solution here

How do you make burnt ends?

To Mop or Not to Mop – That is the Question

Calling All Mop Recipes

Good luck and slow smoking.



Wow...  looks incredible!  I've got a couple briskets in my freezer....  to date I've been all about pig....  but I think this could be next weekends project!  Great photos and commentary!

Hopefull Romantic

Great looking briskets Pachanga. Really Great.

I am not as "think" as you "drunk" I am.


Another great write-up there, Pachanga. Your tutorial on the recipe site is incredibly well detailed and informative.
Bradley Original Smoker BT1S1
Auber PID WS-1200CPH
Traeger Lil' Tex BBQ070
Char-Broil Big Easy Infrared Fryer 10101480
Napoleon Ultra Chef UP405RB


very informative. Looks great. Thank you for the step by step.


Bacon is the Crack Cocaine of the Food World.

Be careful about calling yourself and EXPERT! An ex is a has-been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure!


Lots of good eats in that batch.  :)

Habanero Smoker

Nice pictorial. I will use some of your pictures on the recipe site.



Thanks again for a smoking education. This is a re-read again and again.


Always enjoy seeing a post from one on the true masters! That looks just awesome Pachanga!


How long did you smoke your briskets.

I know you started at 9:30 and you said you check it in the morning.

9 to 10 hrs?



The last brisket usually comes off at 18 to 20 hours on a three or four brisket smoke.  Twenty-two hours is not uncommon.  The brisket will tell you when he's ready; usually around 190 to 195 degrees but the test is fork tender.  The first brisket will come off around 16 hours but as low as 14 hours.  There are variables such as chamber temperature, outside temperature and vent opening.  Individual brisket weight and total brisket weight are also hefty variables.  Most of my briskets are 10 to 12 pounders.  Less briskets take less time.  This may seem like a long time but the first brisket comes off within four hours of a brisket's normal smoke time on most offsets that I use and the effort is so much less.

One of the great points and advantages of the Bradley is that I am not afraid to leave everything rolling on its own.  Near the end of a smoke, I will set my remote temperature alarm to 185 with the probe in the lowest brisket and stay within earshot.

I go into more detail in the recipe.




So if you go with 1 brisket, do you load it on the very bottom rack?

Also, how much smoke did you apply?  Forgive me if you mentioned that in the post, as I read through it quickly (concentrating on the pics vs the content!).


Wow those look amazing !!
I had the same question as Squirt, I have a small family and four briskets is too much for me to do at any one time..