Barbecued Beef Brisket on the Charcoal Grill

For me, a barbecue is always the official celebration for the unofficial end-of-summer. This year was no exception. I roasted a 5-1/2 pound brisket for 6 hours over a slow fire, giving the collagen in this tough cut of meat time dissolve. I left of fat-cap on, which slowly basted the beef during the entire 6 hours. The result was moist, tender and flavorful; made even better with a homemade Texas BBQ sauce.

Six hours roasting makes this brisket irresistible.

The recipe is here. Brine the brisket for 2 hours in salt water solution. Soak 3 chunks of wood in water. Light 65 charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter until covered with a fine gray ash. Pour 50 unlit briquettes on one side of grill, pour lit charcoals on-top of the unlit ones, so all the coals are steeply sloping on one side of the grill. Top the pile with the soaked wood chunks. Put the brisket on the grill as far away from the heat as possible, loosely tent and roast for 3 hours without lifting the lid. Add 15 more unlit charcoals to the pile, flip and rotate the meat and let roast another 3 hours, sans tent, until internal temperature of the meat reaches 195-degrees.

I made this easy home-made Texas BBQ sauce in only 1 hour.

The holiday crowd unanimously gave this 5-stars. “Tender” and “Delicious” were the most common adjectives.


  1. I had to wake up early to start dinner. 9AM on a holiday. Actually, I couldn’t get out of bed until 9:30.
  2. The cooking time was quicker than published. My brisket was 5-1/2 pounds, so was pleased that it cooked in just under 6 hours. The maximum time listed in the recipe might have meant eating as late as 7:30 PM on this first school night.

Rating: 5 stars.
Cost: $18. (including BBQ sauce)
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 9:30 AM.  Ready:  6 PM.


5 Responses to Barbecued Beef Brisket on the Charcoal Grill

  1. Kelly says:

    Oh wow. This sounds so good. Definitely going to have to make this one. I have an electric smoker that I might try with it.

  2. I’ve never heard of an electric smoker before. I assume the smoke still comes from wood, right?

    The grill temperature starts at 400-degrees, then 6 hours later is down only to 325-degrees.

    • Kelly says:

      Well, maybe it wouldn’t work on the electric one. Mine keeps it at around 275-300 degrees. There are lava rocks and a heating element in the bottom. You set soaked wood chunks around the element. Above that is a pan that holds water and above that is the rack that holds the meat. Just plug it in and go. Makes a great smoked turkey breast.
      I think the one I have is a red Brinkman. I’ll have to check. It’s a pretty painless way to smoke.

  3. Doug DeFrees says:

    Here’s my description of making it using a gas grill as well as a Test Kitchen recipe for an amazing summer berry pie.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Do you not put any rub on this brisket?

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