Grill-Smoked Barbecue Brisket

Without a smoker, you can use wood chips and your grill to infuse a brisket with loads of flavor. In this recipe, the meat spends 2 hours on the grill then finishes in the oven, which better controls the cooking environment. Serve with soft bread and pickles. Read more about this recipe.

Grill-Smoked Barbecue Brisket
Photo: Eric Wolfinger
Active Time:
30 mins
Marinate Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
13 hrs



  • 1 ½ tablespoons dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 5-pound point brisket (see Tip)

  • 2 cups applewood or hickory chips (see Tip)

  • ½ cup apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


  • cup ketchup

  • ½ cup cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (see Tip)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. To prepare brisket: Combine mustard, chile powder, cumin, oregano, 2 teaspoons granulated garlic, ginger, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Trim all but 1/2-inch layer of fat from brisket. Place the brisket on a baking sheet and sprinkle all over with the spice mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  2. When ready to cook, place wood chips in a medium bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes. If using a gas grill, loosely wrap all the soaked wood chips in foil with an opening at the top, and place them beneath the grill grates directly over the heat source before preheating.

  3. Preheat half the grill on medium (or build a medium-heat fire on one side of a charcoal grill) and leave the other half unheated; preheat to 250°F. Combine apple juice and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a spray bottle. If using charcoal, drain the wood chips and add 1 cup to the charcoal.

  4. Place the brisket, fat-side up, on the grates over indirect heat for 2 hours, spraying with the juice mixture every 30 minutes to moisten. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup wood chips to the charcoal to keep the smoke going.

  5. Preheat oven to 250°F.

  6. Wrap the brisket in foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a fork meets no resistance when inserted and the internal temperature registers 195°F, 6 to 7 hours.

  7. Remove the brisket from the oven and unwrap foil. Turn broiler to high. Broil the brisket, fat-side up, until the top is crisp, about 5 minutes. (Watch carefully so it does not burn.) Let rest on the baking sheet, covered with foil, for 45 minutes to 1 hour before carving.

  8. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, granulated garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.

  9. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Thinly slice against the grain. Serve with the sauce.


Derived from the cow's pectoral muscle, brisket is a large cut of meat, weighing up to 20 pounds. But most supermarkets sell it in smaller pieces. You'll often find it portioned in one of two ways: the fattier point-cut stays moist during the smoking process.

Many grocery stores carry wood chips for smoking, but try a hardware store for a bigger assortment. They're simply small, dried pieces of wood. Chips from fruit trees, like cherry, apple and pear, impart a mild smoky flavor ideal for delicate fish and chicken, while hickory, maple, oak and pecan have a stronger flavor best suited for more fatty cuts of meat.

To make this recipe kosher, substitute tamari or soy sauce for the Worcestershire sauce.

To make ahead

Refrigerate sauce (Step 8) for up to 1 week.


Spray bottle

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

221 Calories
6g Fat
9g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Serving Size 3 oz. brisket & 1 Tbsp. sauce
Calories 221
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 31g 62%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 92mg 31%
Vitamin A 262IU 5%
Sodium 467mg 20%
Potassium 557mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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