The Brisket Primer

Getting started for the first time with brisket can be a little daunting. But with the right prep and instructions, crafting the perfect brisket is not as challenging as you might think.

Getting Started

The most important thing when grilling is consistency. You want to have the most control possible over the temperature of your grill. Which is why the type of grill and the fuel you use are so important. You will find many different recommendations online – it may take some tinkering to find the method that works best for you.

Here are some basic recommendations for your initial foray into brisket:

1. Grill:  Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Grill ($129.99)

An excellent grill for an excellent price. You could go for a more luxurious model but this grill will get the job done just fine.

2. Coals: KamadoJoe KJCHAR KJ-CHARBOX Hardwood Extra Large Lump Charcoal ($29.99)

Lump charcoal is essentially wood burned into coal with no additives. Professional grill masters use hardwood for smoking, however, lump charcoal is a good alternative because it is easier for the non- pros to control the heat. Tip: While the price may look high, lump charcoal burns hotter so you need less and thus will be cheaper in the long run.

3. Meat: Brisket of your choice weighing 10-12 pounds.


Trim the brisket of it’s fat but remember to leave about a quarter of an inch of fat left to keep the brisket moist on the grill.

This is where you can get creative. Look up a variety of recipes and see which you would like to try. For something simple and classic, you can go with:

½ cup of kosher salt

½ cup of black ground pepper

Distribute evenly and let sit on the meat for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator to allow the flavor to sink into the meat.

While the meat is in the refrigerator start working on heating the grill.

The goal for the grill is for everything to be stabilized at a low temperature, about 225°. You need enough fuel to keep it at this temperature for the 6-8 hours you are grilling . Depending on your grill and choice of fuel the amount you will need will differ.


The old form of grilling, smoking is cooking meat over low heat for several hours. Instead of directly searing the meat over flame, you will be creating a hot layer of smoke that will cook the meat. Once you have your allotted coals sectioned into a ring around the outer layer of the grill (ring of fire) you should start filling up your water pan. If your grill does not have a water pan you can insert your own. Find a piece of cookware that can be left in 200+ temperatures and fill it with about 4 liters of water.

Once the grill has reached the temp of 225 you can put your meat into the grill. Watch the temperature of your meat closely. You can do this is several different ways, but the most importantly do not open your grill repetitively. This will fluctuate the temperature and create an inferior product.

Leave it alone for 6-8 hours and you are ready for meat that’s falling off the bone.

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