Texas Brisket

When they barbecue in Texas brisket is almost always on the menu. The big pieces of beef are slowly cooked at low temperatures, which eases the good qualities out of this otherwise tough and fatty piece of meat.

A History of Texas Brisket

Tradition has that in the early days of the Texas cattle industry, German immigrants were prominent in the butchering industry. With their meat cutting and sausage making skills carried over with them from the old country, they filled an important niche of the cattle industry perfectly.

Tough and fatty beef brisket was always a troublesome cut of meat to them. Oftentimes they were pickled, or corned. Long hours of braising was another cooking method used. Other times the meat was ground to make them more palatable. All valid methods of meat preparation, but not one of them brought out the best that beef brisket had to offer.

At the time, Texans commonly cooked their foods over open fires, but used more of a searing, quick method of cooking. One of the old Germans (according to tradition) placed one of those tough briskets towards the back of his cooking fire, where the heat was a bit gentler. Many hours later, he discovered that the meat was smoky, tender and juicy. The fat had melted away, leaving the melt-in-your-mouth sort of brisket well known by Texans today. Don't you just love history?




Smoking Brisket...Texas Style

Nowadays, instead of using an open firepit (though still used in Texas) many of us use a meat smoker to bring the best out of our briskets. The low steady heat and light smoke are the transforming factors that do the job. Horizontal pit smokers create the most traditional smoking environment for the briskets. Charcoal, gas and electric smokers can also be used to smoke briskets successfully.

Texas briskets are seasoned well before they hit the heat. Spice rubs usually include a combination of Southwest spices in their makeup. Chili powder, cumin and various types of hot peppers are used as ingredients. Here's a Texas dry rub that's a favorite of mine.

Ingredients - Texas Smoked Brisket Rub Recipe

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper



Combine all of the ingredients, making sure the brown sugar is broken up completely. Use a good handful (about a quarter cup) to season one brisket. Trim the surface fat down to one-quarter inch thick, and score the fat to the meat first. Rub the seasoning in, then place the brisket in a covered container or plastic bag overnight...in the refrigerator, of course. By smoking time tomorrow, the brisket will be well seasoned and ready for that slow, Texas brisket way of cooking!

Return to Top: Texas Brisket