Summer Braise ~ Texas Smoked Brisket On The Grill

22 | June 6, 2012

Why is it when that first warm day of summer hits we instantly light up the grill and throw practically everything on it? It’s because food tastes better when kissed by flames. It’s true and if you tell me I’m wrong I’ll plug up my ears.

The smell of the grill, the crisp bite of fresh produce, and the laughter of friends and family is what summer cooking is about. That is why I’ve teamed up with my friends Shari from Tickled Red and Kristen from Dine & Dish to bring you delicious recipes from around the country to brighten up your summer.

Summer Braise is a summer long journey of recipes from around the country. we’ll focus on Summer Entrees, sides, and desserts. We ask if you have a food blog and would like to participate to please link your summer recipes at the end of our posts!

Stop on by Tickled Red and Dine & Dish for their recipes for Summer Braise and look forward to some great giveaways in July and August. Don’t forget to follow the Summer Braise Board on Pinterest for mouth-watering recipes.

Summer Braise – Part 1: Entrees

For this month’s Summer Braise topic we’ll focus on summer entrees. On of my favorite summer time meals is Texas smoked brisket. Texas is famous for their smoky charred and tender brisket. On a hot summer day nothing beats a brisket sandwich with a Big Red or a Shiner Bock.

I unfortunately did not get a chance to head out to the ranch this past weekend to use the smoker out there. This is how we usually do it. It was just as well because I proved as I have been told by BBQ experts you do not need a smoker to get a tender brisket. A smoker is traditional but please don’t deprive yourself of good BBQ if you do not own one. If you have a charcoal grill, charcoal, wood chips, time, good music, and a beer or two you are set.

So, light your grill, grab a lawn chair and be prepared to have one of the best tasting Texas briskets you’ve ever had come off a grill in just a few simple steps and 10 or so hours.

Smoked Texas Brisket on the Grill serves 12
the layman’s version

dry rub

  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 Tablespoons paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard powder
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoons cumin


  • 10 – 12 pound whole brisket*
  • 1 large bag charcoal
  • 2 cups mesquite wood chips
  • 1/4 cup beer


  • charcoal grill (I use a Weber)
  • chimney starter
  • newspaper or fire starter
  • lighter
  • foil
  • tongs
  • grill thermometer
  • meat thermometer
  • lawn chair, music, refreshments, and a couple of good friends

*A quality brisket is key. USDA Choice or better and I always recommend grass fed.


8pm the night before – With a sharp knife, trim any excess fat off of the brisket making sure to leave about an 1/8 of an inch on the top of the brisket. In a bowl, combine all of the dry rub spices. Evenly rub the dry rub on the entire brisket. Place on a baking sheet or plate and cover well with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Get up sleepy head. It’s time to light the grill.

6am day of. Remove the brisket from the refrigerator and place on a counter. Soak the wood chips in water for 20 minutes while the coals are getting hot.

When the chips are ready, create a foil packet by placing the wood chips in the middle of a large piece of foil, place another sheet of foil on top, and then fold up the edges. With a knife, cut 1 inch slits in the top. *This replaces a smoke box. If you have a smoke box use it.

6:30-7am. Place a few sheets of newspaper or a fire starter underneath a chimney and place the chimney on the bottom grate of the grill. Using a chimney is a great way to start a grill without using lots of lighter fluid. Place 90-100 pieces of charcoal briquettes in a chimney on top of the newspaper. With a match or lighter, light the newspaper.

Let the fire burn 10 to 15 minutes until flames reach the top of the chimney and the coals just start to turn white around the edges. This photo is what happens when you step away from the fire for to long and the coals begin to overstay their welcome so to speak. By the time I took this photo the coals had started to die out.

This is what happens when you listen to someone you knew you shouldn’t. Learn from my mistake.

7-7:30am. Once the coals have just started to turn gray around the edges, carefully pour the charcoal on one side of the grill only (not in the middle and not all around, just one side). This is called indirect grilling and it will keep the coals hotter longer than if they were spread out on the perimeter of the grill. Place the foil packet vent side up next to the coals in the center of the grill.

It’s Go Time.

7:30-8am. Place the top grill grate back on the grill. Next, lay the brisket fat side up on top of the grill grate on the opposite side of the coals. The temperature of the grill should be around 225 degrees.

Place the lid on the grill and open the vent holes halfway.

Pull up a chair. It’s going to be awhile.

After the brisket has been smoking away for an hour, open the lid and check on it. It should still be hot and smoky and around 225 degrees. If not and you feel the fire is cooling off, add 5 more charcoal briquet’s, blow on the fire to get it going, and then close the lid. If your coals are gray and no longer are glowing add around 10 more briquet’s and blow on the coals to get the fire going again. You can also add a few wood chips straight on the coals to help regain temperature. Close the lid. Repeat this every hour.

The Stall and the Texas Crutch

1-2pm. After the brisket has been smoking away for 4 or so hours you have two options. First is to leave the brisket on the grill for the next 6 hours while constantly maintaining the temperature. This will end one of two ways: it will be awesome and you can brag with the rest of them or it will be the toughest piece of meat you will ever eat. Each brisket is different even when cooked on a smoker. What happens is when the meat hits around 150 degrees it hits a stall caused by evaporating cooling. In a sense the brisket is “sweating” thus cooling the meat and preventing the core temperature to rise and lose moisture. You can wait it out, let it remain on the grill for another 6 hours, and hope for the best.

The second option and my preferred method is called a Texas Crutch. The Texas Crutch is a method used by the inexperienced to the grill masters to achieve the most consistent brisket in the shortest time. If you are a BBQ purist this might not be for you but you’re probably not hitting up the grill either because most likely you have a smoker that is more expensive than my kitchen.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. After 4 to 5 hours on the grill when the brisket reaches 150-170 degrees, remove the brisket to a foil lined baking pan or baking sheet. Pour 1/4 cup of beer on the bottom and tightly/double wrap in foil. Bake for 4 more hours. Using the Texas Crutch will loose that crisp bark/crust but the flavor and moisture is out of this world.

Come and Get It.

6pm. After the brisket has been in the oven for 4 more hours, insert a meat thermometer into the center. If it has reached 200 – 205 degrees it is done. Remove it from the oven and allow to rest covered for 20 minutes before slicing. Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices across the grain of the meat. Serve immediately.

Seriously, words can not describe how tender, moist, and heavenly this brisket is. I always thought I have to wait to go to the ranch to get homemade smoked brisket but now that I know I can use my charcoal grill guess what we are having every weekend this summer. Not only did I feed my family but the entire neighborhood and the Direct Energy salesman who all agreed to it’s awesomeness.

Where’s the sauce?

Now, Texans don’t usually eat sauce with their BBQ because frankly we’re so good at it that you don’t need it. hehehe. But if you must…

One of my favorite “Texas” style BBQ sauces is from Texas Chef, Dean Fearing. It’s simple and delicious. Dean Fearing’s Texas BBQ Sauce

Smoking a brisket on a grill is not as complicated as it might look. And honestly I have to tell you it’s the most fun and rewarding meal I’ve ever made for my friends, neighbors, and strangers that happened upon my house that day. Cheers.



  • stan

    YES! Thank you!!!! I have a Weber and heard you can do this but I never thought it was possible. Going to try it this weekend

  • kelli

    OMG that looks just like the brisket my granddad used to make. DROOL

  • harper s

    That looks awesome! I made the crostata last night in the last post and it was heaven. heaven!

  • Leigh

    Hahahahaha! Blue 42!

  • Bonnie K

    That looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!! That came from a Weber?

  • Greg The BBQ Man

    Seriously girl! I thought you were kiding. I am impressed. That looks like one hell of a brisket. I owe you a beer!

    What did I tell you about that crutch? Next time try searing it off before serving. Helps retain that bark.

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      Yes you do owe me a beer! Tried searing it but the whole brisket fell apart. Any suggestions?

  • Nancy r

    Love your blog! Just found it on Pinterest! Looking forward to it!

  • Bells


  • Julia {The Roasted Root}

    I love this post! I’m a suuuuper big meat eater and so is my bf and his family. I love learning new methods/techniques/recipes for grilling. Thanks for the tips and tricks…definitely would love to go to one of your bbqs ;)

  • Tickled Red

    Lovin this brisket girl!! Definitely giving it a try when I get home :D

  • Kevin M - Rockin'BBQ

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. Found your blog when you posted the bacon egg with carmalized onions and apples. Made it and it rocked!

    This is a great way to turn your grill into a smoker.

  • Minnie(@thelady8home)

    Summers and grilling both go together for me too. And I am glad I came over to have a look here. I am surely going to give this a try.

  • lucy smith

    Did this this past weekend and it was freaking AWESOME! I had trouble keeping the temperature at 225° Was constantly adding charcoal every hour and I also added wood chips. Had fun doing it and it was really really really good!

  • marcy

    great idea! mmm bbq

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