Low and Slow Brisket on the Bone

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Brisket is the essence of real BBQ. Pit masters will toil for hours to smoke the perfect brisket and people will queue for hours on end to sample it at places like Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. 

It’s reported to be one of the most difficult cuts of meat to get right, probably because you’re taking a cut that can be so tough if not cooked properly. 

I’ve eaten badly cooked brisket and it can have the texture of shoe leather if not given time. However it doesn’t have to be difficult, just give yourself plenty of time. 

As with most low and slow cooks you’re bringing a piece of meat up to a temperature where all the tough connecting tissue will be broken down, moisturising your meat and turning it from a tough cut into something that is soft and succulent. To get there though takes patience, especially when you go through the stall, a temperature at which the outer layers of the meat are drying out forming a ‘bark’. I’ve had a 3Kg piece of meat in the stall for 7 hours so make sure you read up on it and know not to touch your temperature controls. 


  • 3Kg of bone in brisket (two ribs)
  • 50g Maldon Salt
  • 50g Black Pepper (coarsely crushed)
  • 5 or 6 large chunks of Oak or Hickory for smoke.


  1. Mix your salt and black pepper to make your rub. 
  2. Rub your brisket with your rub, covering every side. 
  3. Setup your Big Green Egg for an indirect cook, adding hickory or oak smoking chunks to the charcoal, with the temperature set to 110C. 
  4. Place your meat onto the stainless grid. I use a drip pan and V rack as I like to collect the drippings for use in other recipes.
  5. Insert as temperature probe and run the wire out over your plate setter leg.
  6. Leave your meat to cook. This will probably take close to 20 hours (yes twenty). You’re aiming for an internal temperature of over 88C (92C is ideal). When it’s cooked you should easily be able to push a knife into the meat.
  7. Take it off the EGG and rest your meat for an hour wrapped in foil, it needs to relax. 


Start your brisket 24 hours before you want to eat it. If it is ready ahead of time wrap it in foil, put it into a cool box, cover it with towels and shut the lid. This will keep it piping hot for hours. 

Lots of people fry their thermometer probes because they subject them to direct heat by not running them out over a plate setter leg. Even when your grill is running at 110C there will be bits of your BBQ hot enough to melt the probes. Look after them and they will last for years. 

When you look at brisket in books and on the web it tends to be American cut, off the bone, with two muscles. British butchers cut it differently hence this recipe is for brisket on the bone. You’re still getting the same muscles but with the added flavour you get from cooking meat on the bone.

© Nic Williams 2014