Over the Fire BBQ Brisket


  • Brisket Selection:  Look for a whole packer brisket in the 14-16 lb range.  We highly recommend Costco Prime Grade if you can find it.  Choice is fine as well but prime grade will give you a little bit more wiggle room to really impress your friends and family.   DO NOT BUY A FLAT
  • Light your fire and set the smoker at 275 degrees.  This will be about a 10-12 hour cook approximately 
  • Mix a blend of 50/50 pickle juice and mustard to use as a binder for the rub and use your hands to leave a thin coating on the brisket just before seasoning.  
  • Season the brisket evenly on all sides with Over the Fire Brisket/Steak Rub finishing with the portion of the brisket that will be facing up on the smoker last (this is for appearance). 
  • We recommend cooking fat side up if you have an upper rack in your smoker.  If you don’t have an upper rack cook the brisket fat side down to protect it a bit from the heat of your fire.  
  • Let the brisket sit on the counter seasoned for 15-30 minutes to allow the seasoning to setup.
  • You are ready to get to COOKING.  Put your brisket on and plan on leaving it alone for the 1st 2 hours.  After 2 hours you can begin to spritz the brisket.  We recommend a mixture consisting of 50% Water 30% Apple Cider Vinegar and 20% Worcestershire Sauce. 
  • Allow brisket to cook until it reaches 165 or higher (We recommend anywhere from 165-185).  
  • Wrap the brisket using two pieces of the 18 inch unwaxed butcher paper.  You will want 2 pieces of butcher paper cut to a 24” length.  Overlap one piece of the paper 50% over the other layer of butcher paper.  Place the brisket about 1/3 of the length of the paper closest to you right in the center.  You are shooting for one full rotation leaving the brisket wrapped with the fat side up on your smoker.
  • If you don’t have an upper rack you will finish the brisket fat side down.
  • Allow the brisket to continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 203-205 degrees in the CENTER of the FLAT portion of your brisket.  You are judging this completely by feel.  Your thermometer should slide into the brisket with ease.  Almost like you are sticking it into a warm stick of butter.  
  • Pull the brisket off of your cooker and place it in on a cookie sheet allowing it to stop cooking.  We would recommend doing this for 30-45 minutes.  If you have the tallow pour 1/2 a cup over the brisket while it is still wrapped in butcher paper during the rest.  
  • Once you have gone this far place the brisket in a cooler covered in old towels or your oven on warm (145 degrees) if possible.  You can allow your brisket to rest for 4-5 hours easily without issue and this is what we would recommend.  1 hour rest at a minimum and if that is all the time you have leave it out of any sort of holding device for that entire time. 
  • Remove the brisket from your butcher paper and slice the flat against the grain.  You will need to rotate the brisket approximately 90 degrees once you hit the brisket point to slice that portion against the grain.    
  • You are ready to eat.  Hopefully you are sharing this with some friends and family enjoying some time together.  If you are I highly recommend you watch each person take that FIRST bite and once it hits them you simply say to them “Now that doesn’t suck!!!”  - Cheers

Keys to success: 

  • Consistent temperature control.  We recommend 250-275 degrees.  
  • Wait to wrap until after “the stall” 165 degrees minimum!
  • Pull the brisket from the smoker when PROBE TENDER (203-205 degrees). We have seen briskets take up to 210 degrees for this to happen.
  • REST.  Minimum rest of 1 hour.  3-5 hours recommended.  In a warmer you can easily push 10-12 hours.  
  • Family and Friends along with your drink of choice. 


The Cheating Method: 

  • Before you go to bed the evening before you want to have your brisket ready set your smoker at 225 degrees and place the brisket fat side up in your smoker.  
  • Go to Sleep
  • When you wake up in the morning take a look at your brisket and check the internal temperature.  If it is not at 165 or higher spritz the brisket and turn the smoker up to 275 degrees. 
  • If the brisket is above 165 (the stall) you are ready to wrap and turn the smoker to 275 degrees following the instructions below.  
  • Follow all instructions above.  
  • This cook process tends to run around 12-15 hours.   

Critical Tools:

  • 6 inch boning knife - the sharper the better
  • 12 inch serrated slicing knife
  • Spray Bottle
  • Over the Fire Brisket Rub
  • Butcher Paper
  • Tallow
  • Pellet Tube if you desire heavier smoke
  • Elevated cooking rack for those cooking on a pellet smoker or kamado cooker (Primo/Green Egg)
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