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Smoked Brisket Recipe (Aaron Franklin Method)

Yields1 ServingPrep Time30 minsCook Time8 hrsTotal Time8 hrs 30 mins

If you have ever been to Austin, Texas and tried Franklin Barbecue, you know it's the best of the best. We've taken his method with some slight modifications to come up with this tried and true brisket recipe.

Low and slow with the perfect rub will make the Flaming Rooster Smoked Brisket melt in your mouth. If you need BBQ sauce to accompany this brisket, you've done something terribly wrong!

 Brisket Rub (see recipe)
 Brisket (8 - 15 Pounds)
 Oak Wood

Get a brisket the size you need, typically ranging from 8 - 15 pounds.  An easy rule of thumb is 3/4 pound per person for a full meal or 1/2 pound per person for a full day 'munching' event (such as Super Bowl, July 4th, etc.).

What grade of meat should you buy? The standard options are Choice, Select (or Upper Select as Aaron Franklin uses) and Prime brisket. The reality is, if you don't smoke a brisket properly, the grade of meat really doesn't matter since you will butcher all of them. I could Prime Brisket which you can get from Costco or your local grocery store, but Choice and Select will taste great too if you get the proper method down.

You can purchase a trimmed brisket to make life easier, just make sure there is enough fat (1/4 inch minimum). If you get a whole brisket that hasn't been trimmed, be sure to trim it up and leave at least a 1/4 inch fat on the top.


Prep the brisket using the Flaming Rooster Brisket Rub method (  Even if you aren't using that rub, you can use that method applying the rub of your choice. The Franklin Barbecue method is simply 1/2 Kosher Salt and 1/2 Ground Pepper.

Cover the brisket in cellophane and store in the refrigerator for 8 - 12 hours. If you don't have the time, 1 hour will do the trick as well (which is what most Texas barbecue restaurants do).


Remove the brisket from the refrigerator and start getting it to as close to room temperature as possible.

Heat the Ceramic Cooker or Smoker to 275 degrees.

As a rule of thumb, you will need to cook the brisket 45 minutes per pound at this temperature (example: a 12 pound brisket should take 9 hours).  Keep in mind, the thickness of the brisket has a lot to do with the duration of the smoke process.


Smoke the meat with your favorite wood.  Flaming Rooster recommends Oak. A combination of Mesquite and Hickory wood is another great option.

Having a good thermometer that has 2 probes (one for the grill temperature and the other for the meat temperature) is critical to grilling and smoking meat.

Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket and close the lid.


Smoke the meat until the thickest part of the brisket reaches a minimum of 185 degrees.  You will probably experience 'the stall' where your brisket gets stuck around 180 degrees.  Be patient!  After 185 degrees the fat of the brisket will melt, resulting in moist, tender and much better tasting brisket.

When the brisket gets to 185 degrees, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in BUTCHER PAPER. Do not substitute butcher paper with parchment paper - parchment paper contains wax.

Using the butcher paper, make sure the entire brisket is wrapped and then reinsert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket.


At this point, smoke no longer matters so don't worry if you are generating any smoke at this point.

Once the brisket reaches at least 204 degrees, remove it from the smoker. Why 204 instead of 185? At 185, the brisket is fully cooked, but the fat isn't fully melted, which renders great flavor throughout the brisket. Keeping it on to 204 degrees will melt that fat - be patient and keep it on that last 15 degrees!


Resting the brisket is a critical part to the process that is often overlooked. Why is resting the brisket so important? If you take it right off the smoker, that beef has been gradually increasing in temperature for 8+ hours. The temperature and juices need time to settle. During the resting process all the juices (especially from that rendered fat) are staying inside that brisket, which will amplify the flavor.

If you are serving it right after taking it off the smoker, put it on a baking pan and leave it uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, slice and serve - it will still be plenty hot!

If you have some time (an hour or more) before you need to serve it: Keep it wrapped in the butcher paper and put it in a cooler. It will stay piping hot for many hours. Once you are ready to serve it, take it out, unwrap it and let it rest uncovered for 15 minutes.