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12-hr Beef Brisket

Posted by Jim Guldin on 24th Apr 2014

I believe I got this recipe from the Epicurious web site, but I've modified it somewhat over the past five years.


  • 1 beef brisket, with the layer of fat retained on the top


  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil


  • 1 bottle of beer--German or a good small batch works best (no sippin'--it needs the whole bottle. They sell 'em 6 at a time, enjoy the other 5.)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce (I use Bullseye Original, doesn't get much better'n that)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/8 cup Sweet Fire bread and butter pickles and jalapeno peppers. You'll have to dice them yourself into tiny bits mo more than 1/8" max size1 (mail order them from any number of places in Texas, I get mine at the gas station at the NE corner of the intersection of Hwy 21 and Loop Hwy 304 in Crockett Texas, but you can find them online at web sites such as the Hudson Bend Trading Post)
  • 1 new cheap paintbrush


  • A good amount of hickory, say, 12 pieces 2' in diameter and 6" long, soaked in water. Pick some up from your or a neighbor's tree after the most recent storm; most residential neighborhoods in the South have a bunch of 'em. Or, use branches knocked out of the pecan tree in your backyard--it's in the hickory family and smokes great. Or, save those busted ax or maul handles and cut 'em into 6" long pieces.)
  • About 100 charcoal briquets
  • A disposable aluminum 10" x 14" tray, holding about an inch of water


  1. Make the rub.

    Mix all the ingredients for the rub. Reserve 2 tbsp for the mop. Rub the remainder all over the brisket 6 hrs before cooking.
  2. Make the mop.

    Mix all ingredients for the mop, and add the 2 tbsp of rub mix. Cook over low heat until just starting to simmer. Put into a Mason jar, and keep the brush handy. (Mop can be prepared a day in advance.)
  3. Light the fire.

    The only way this recipe works is on a PK Grill, because only a PK grill can maintain a sufficiently low heat, yet hot enough to cause hickory to smoke, or a long enough period of time.

    1. Orient the PK grill with the hinge on the lid on the left.Build the fire next to the left wall of the grill, and put the tray of water on the right side of the lower grate.Orient the upper grate so that it opens above the fire, and thus convenient for adding coals during the cooking.
    2. Soak the hickory in a bucket of water.
    3. Start the fire with 10 charcoal briquets, and the lid open.When the coals are ash-colored, close all the vents about halfway to 2/3rds closed. Add the first piece of hickory.
  4. Add the brisket.

    1. Put the rubbed brisket fat side up on the upper grate.Close the lid.
    2. After 30 minutes, and every 30 minutes thereafter for between 10-12 hours, check the brisket and the fire.Add 6-8 briquets to the fire and a new chunk of hickory as needed (no more, a low continuous fire with a constantly smoking piece of hickory on it is the goal.)
    3. Mop the brisket every time the PK Grill is opened. Dip the brush into the jar of the mop, and swab liberally.
  5. Starting at about 8 hours of cooking, cut a snibble from the tail of the brisket, and sample done-ness. Keep smoking and mopping the brisket until it's just where you want it. That'll be about 12 hours along, the mop mostly used up; the last few moppings will start to pick up and apply the bread and butter pickle bits, which add the last flavor to the last hour of the brisket.
  6. After 12 hours or desired degree of doneness - take the brisket off the PK, carry into the kitchen. Let rest for about 15 minutes, then slice.Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce!