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Cooking with Fire

Cooking with Fire: Texas Style Brisket


Mention “Texas Barbecue” to anyone these days, and brisket will likely come to mind. Though it seems that Texas barbecue and brisket are synonymous, this wasn’t always the case.



Texans have been smoking and curing meat for hundreds of years, and a strong German and northern European ancestry meant that sausage was the star for many of them.


Along with their famous sausage, restaurants and smoke houses in Texas had been smoking beef shoulder and chest muscles in much the same way they smoke brisket now, but the cuts served were different from shop to shop, meaning patrons weren’t getting the same experience every time.


Until 1958, that it. That’s when the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications or IMPS standardized the modern boneless beef brisket, which meant that restaurants and local meat counters could finally order the same cut each time.


So it wasn’t until the early 1960s when brisket started to show up as a standalone menu item, which was separated into lean and fatty cuts. World famous barbecue joints like Kreuz Market and Blacks Barbecue added this cut to their menus, which began what I consider to be the modern age of Texas barbecue.


Fast forward to the last ten years and brisket has now become king of all Texas meats thanks to new restaurants like Franklin’s, La BBQ and Kerlin BBQ.


Head over toKMUW.org to listen to my co-host Chef Tom and I as we dive into the history of new Texas Brisket and give you a simple to replicate recipe that you can smoke at home on this weeks episode of Cooking with Fire.



Texas Style Brisket


  • 1 whole packer brisket
  • 8 oz kosher salt
  • 8 oz fresh ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your smoker to 225ºF.
  2. Trim the brisket’s fat cap down to 1/4”. Also trim any large chunks of hard fat from the edges of the brisket. Season all surfaces with the 50/50 mixture of salt and pepper. Rest the brisket until the rub looks wet, at least 10 minutes. 
  3. Transfer the brisket to the smoker. Smoke open until a dark bark is formed, about 7 hours. Remove from the smoker. Wrap in butcher paper and return to the smoker. Continue cooking until an instant read thermometer inserted into the meat meets very little resistance. It should almost feel like probing room temperature butter. Total cook time will vary, but a 17 lb brisket will likely take 12-13 hours from start to finish.
  4. Rest the brisket at least one half hour, wrapped in the paper, before slicing. Slice across the grain.