Tender and Juicy Texas-Style Barbeque Brisket on a Gas Grill

Posted on April 2nd, 2008 in Recipes by EngineerBoy
Texas Barbeque BBQ Brisket, click for larger version

Fork tender and juicy…yum!

I have a low-end little gas grill (Sunbeam Grillmaster 660) that we use for our weekend barbequing.  I used to be strictly a charcoal kind of guy, but I’ve been won over by the convenience and predictable heating of a gas barbeque grill.  There are some Texans who claim that *real* brisket can only be made over coals and/or wood, but I beg to differ.  I’ve been eating barbequed brisket my whole life, starting when we moved to a small Texas town in the 60’s, where my uncles would make brisket (along with ribs, chicken, and homemade venison sausage) for family gatherings.  Since then I’ve eaten brisket from just about every kind of barbeque joint and backyard cook you could think of.  And the brisket described here, cooked over a gas grill, ranks right up there with the best of ’em.

The brisket pictured here will give you an idea of what yours should look like.  Note the tray of charred wood chips on the left.  Also, only the left side of the grill is on, and the right side (under the meat) is off.  Also remember that the brisket cooks with the cover closed.  Click the picture for a larger version that shows more detail.

The Keys to Good Brisket

  • Good meat – get a big chunk of uncooked, unflavored brisket, 10+lbs with a nice fatty side, just a big old slab of meat in a vacuum sealed heavy plastic package.  Do NOT use any of the pre-flavored, pre-smoked briskets for this recipe, and do NOT trim the fat off.
  • Patience – prep time can extend overnight, cooking time is 6+ hours, resting time is nearly an hour and none of the steps can be rushed.
  • Restraint – very little seasoning is needed, and the meat must cook virtually undisturbed (no forking, flipping, meat-thermometer-stabs, or manhandling – just gentle slow cooking and smoking).
  • Non-violence – up until the time you’re ready to slice and serve the brisket, the meat should not be punctured or pierced in any way.  No forks, thermometers, unskilled tong use, flavor injections, slicing, scoring, tenderizing, etc.
  • Practice – it will probably take a few iterations for you to get the hang of the nuances of your grill, tools, and preferences.

Tools and Such

  • Gas grill with independent left and right side burner controls (only one side will be lit)
  • Big roasting pan or foil pan, large enough to hold the brisket and tough enough to withstand grill heat
  • Lots of aluminum foil (the extra-wide kind is better)
  • Aromatic wood chips (mesquite, pecan, hickory all work good) plus small foil pan or metal tray to hold them
  • Big, flat metal spatula to turn brisket while seasoning and move it without piercing the meat


  • 1 beef brisket (10+ pounds), with a layer of fat at least 1/4 inch thick, preferably 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground comino (cumin)

Remove brisket from packaging, rinse with cold water and pat dry.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Sprinkle half the dry ingredients over one side of the brisket, then rub it into the meat by hand to spread evenly, including the sides and edges.  Gently flip the brisket over and use the rest of the dry rub on the other side the same way.  If you have the time, wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours to cure in the rub – overnight is better (curing is optional, it will still be flavorful if you cook immediately).

Light only one side of the gas grill and set it to low heat.  Soak wood chips (mesquite, hickory, or pecan) in water for 30 minutes, then drain and place in small foil pan (or other heat-tolerant metal container) and set on the grill directly over the side that is lit.

Place the brisket FAT SIDE UP in a large foil pan, or large roasting pan lined with two layers of foil, and place it on the grill on the side away from the direct flame heat. If you use a foil pan it’s still a good idea to line it with two layers of foil to ensure you don’t get any punctures, rips, or creases that the drippings can leak out of.  Make sure the thicker side of the brisket is closer to the flames than the thinner side, that way it will cook more evenly.   DO NOT cover the brisket with foil at any time during the grilling process.  Now, close the grill and leave it alone for 2 hours (DO NOT OPEN GRILL DURING THIS TIME).  After two hours, use a turkey baster to baste the brisket with the juices that accumulate in the roasting pan.  Baste every 45 minutes or so after that.  After three hours of total cooking time replace the wood chips with a freshly soaked batch.  Let the brisket cook with the grill closed (except when basting) for a total of 6 hours from the time you put it on the grill.  Remember, the brisket should not be lifted, turned, or punctured/pierced during the cooking process.

Remove from the grill, cover the brisket with foil tightly sealed to the pan, and let the brisket sit for 45-60 minutes, during which time it will re-absorb a lot of the juices and also undergo tenderization.  This resting period is very important for juicy, tender brisket.

At this point, if you have been patient and the BBQ Gods are smiling, you will be ready to enjoy delicious, flavorful, fork-tender, juicy Texas-style brisket.  Make sure to cut across the grain of the meat when you slice it, not with it – this one mistake can ruin an otherwise perfect brisket.  It’s easier to spot the grain before you cook and get an idea of which way the striations run, and you want to slice perpendicular to the grain.

Traditional accompaniments include potato salad, pickles, onion slices, and white bread.  If you want BBQ sauce, try for something sweet and not-too-vinegary, like this:

Texas BBQ Sauce Recipe
16 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs onion powder
1 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs brisket drippings (if you have them)
1 tbs coarse black pepper
1 tbs Paprika
1 tbs salt
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp chili powder

  • Combine all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan on the stove
  • Slowly simmer for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Adjust water and/or simmer time to get desired thickness
  • Serve warm on the side or over the meat, but do *not* use as a baste for the brisket while it’s cooking

Optionally, the onion powder and garlic powder can be substituted with fresh, use 1/2 an onion and 2-3 garlic pods, pureed.  If you choose fresh onion/garlic, I recommend preparing it the day before, chilling it overnight, then reheating the next day – this takes the edge off the fresh garlic and onion and leads to a smoother taste.  Also, since you probably won’t have drippings the day before making the brisket, you can substitute in a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke.


132 Responses to 'Tender and Juicy Texas-Style Barbeque Brisket on a Gas Grill'

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  1. Kimberly said,

    on July 4th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I have never cooked a brisket on the grill before but I am using this recipe and method today. The brisket I have is right at 15 lbs so its been on the grill since 6am. Its smelling delicious about now and I really hope it goes over well with the family later! Happy 4th everyone!

  2. Kimberly said,

    on July 4th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Just wanted to let you know, considering the day I had, the brisket came out ok. Had to cut my planned cook time by a couple hours for an impromptu trip to the emergency room for the hubby, so didnt get the tenderness I wanted. Still it was very tasty and I know if cooked long enough it will be perfect!

  3. Shannon said,

    on July 5th, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Before yesterday I was a brisket virgin!!! I used your recipe and method and I cannot tell you how happy I am with the outcome! It was tender, juicy, and flavorful, as you promised. My guests all went back for seconds, some thirds.

    I followed your recipe to the T. I chose a nice 10.71 lb brisket. My prep time started the night before with the dry rub around 9 pm. I made sure the brisket was completely covered and wrapped it tightly with Saran Wrap. I did not remove the brisket from the fridge until noon the following day, right before I placed it in the grill. I used Stubb’s wood chips because I love their BBQ and it had a unique blend of Hickory, Oak, and Applewood chips. It smelled delicious as it began to smoke. I kept my grill on low, and I had a consistent temp of 220 to 225 degrees. My wood chips were ash by the 4th hour, so I replaced and the new chips began to smoke within 15-20 min. I basted every 45 min, and set my timer on my IPhone for that time. I set it for the 1st 2 hours, as well. I did not open that lid until my timer went off, and I needed to baste or exchange wood chips. At exactly hour 6, the brisket was nice and brown and that is the 1st time I inserted a thermometer, and it read 165. I turned off the flame, grabbed my foil and covered the meat. When I uncovered brisket, most of the juices had absorbed and it was ready to cut. Tip: Ensure you have a LONG, surated, and sharp knife. I had a sharp, surated knife but wished it was slightly longer because I think the brisket would have been easier to cut. Also, remember the brisket was cooked fatty side up. The best, tenderest, meat is on the bottom. That meat looked like it had been bought directly from a great BBQ restaurant. In my opinion, I would flip the brisket and then cut, but I’m not experienced with trimming fat. I just know the tastiest meat was on the bottom. AMAZING!!

    I am thrilled about how well this recipe was written. It was so easy and I will definetely be using it again. Thank you for helping me be a hit at dinner.

  4. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 6th, 2013 at 5:24 pm


    Thanks for posting back your results, and sorry about the emergency room trip, hope your husband was okay!


  5. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 6th, 2013 at 5:24 pm


    Glad to hear about your brisket success, thanks for posting back your results!


  6. Shawn C. said,

    on July 14th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Would you have any suggestions on using an infra-red grill? It’s pretty much all indirect heat. I would assume as long as you can keep it @ 225, all should be good. Correct?

  7. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 15th, 2013 at 8:33 pm


    That would be my advice…set it at 225 and give it a go, and make sure to have a meat thermometer handy the first couple of times so that you can judge internal temp.

    If you make one, you’re invited to come back and post your results so that future visitors can benefit from your experience.

    Good luck!


  8. Jimmy G. said,

    on July 21st, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I have a Stok Island grill. The problem that I had on my first 2 attempts is that with the 2 round burners, there is very little indirect heat. I turned the inside as low as it would go and barely cracked open the propane tank to further regulate the temperature.

    The grill maintained 225, but I had to watch carefully, as the West Texas wind blew out the flames on multiple occasions. With a 10.8 lb brisket, the cooking time was reduced to just over 4 hours. It came out tender, but one could not determine that it was cooked on the grill. The smoke was not detectable.

    On the next attempt, I will try not soaking the wood chips for quite so long. Again, the heat was not enough to create enough smoke to infuse the meat. It had just started to char when the internal temp required removal from the grill.

    Somewhat regretting the purchase of the island grill, though with some adjustments I should be able to improve the outcome.

    Just a couple of tips for those of us that thought the round gas grill was appealing.

  9. Melissa said,

    on July 22nd, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I have a Weber Genesis grill that has front, middle and back burners. Where should I place the tray of wood chips and the tray of brisket since I can’t do it side by side? The front burner seems to be the one that gets the hottest. I’m looking forward to making this for a family party this weekend.

  10. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 23rd, 2013 at 6:56 pm


    I found some folks talking about indirect cooking with that type of burner layout here:


    I’ll echo that the smoker box of wood chips should sit on the flavor bar over a lit burner. If I had to guess I’d say put the front burner on low with the wood chips on the flavor bar above it, push the meat as far to the back as you can and try to arrange it so the thicker part of the brisket is closer to the lit burner.

    You may also want to prop the lid partially open. I’ve done that before using a ball of foil place to prop it open by about an inch. Keep in mind that the first time on a new grill is going to be somewhat experimental, so if you have the luxury of time it might be worth trying a ‘test’ brisket beforehand just so you’ve had at least one run at it before you have a houseful/patio-ful of folks.

    Come back and let us know how it goes!


  11. Melissa said,

    on July 29th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Hi Scott – I made the brisket yesterday. OH MY GAWWWD! It was delicious! Everyone raved how good it was. The teeny bit of leftovers are mine, ALL MINE! Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe and all the VERY important instructions. I can’t wait to make it again.

  12. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 29th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Melissa, that’s great! I’m curious, how did you configure the burners and/or the wood smoke box?

  13. Melissa said,

    on July 31st, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Hi Scott – I placed the tray of brisket on the back of the grill with the center and rear burners turned off. The tray of wood chips sat on the front of the grill with the front burner on. I was able to keep the temp at 225 degrees for the most part, but next time I will place the tray of wood chips on the flavor bars as they didn’t produce a good amount of smoke. The brisket kicked butt and I am patting myself on the shoulder since I’m a newbie at this. Couldn’t have done it without your recipe, though!

  14. art mann said,

    on August 4th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I used this recipe today and it was great. Everything was just as you said. I put my meat on at 0900 am and was done about 3:30 pm. I let it sit for an hour. Then ate, couldnt slice because the meat fell apart. IT was good though. THanks I will do this again.

  15. Patrick said,

    on September 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I first tried your recipe/method in May… having NEVER tried to barbeque a brisket before, I was nervous. It was FANTASTIC! Today… it is Labor Day and I am 1/2 hour from pulling my next brisket masterpiece from the grill. Thank you!

  16. Purple72 said,

    on September 6th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    This recipe looks great. I am Using a charbroil infrared grill 4 burner. I have a 13.74 pound brisket. I am hosting a surprise party for my mom(she is 65) and do not want to screw this up. Do you suggest using the two outside burners? Or do it left v right? Also, looking at 8.5 cook time. Any pointers?

  17. Purple72 said,

    on September 6th, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I had to cut the meat in half to fit into foil trays. How will that affect cook time?

  18. EngineerBoy said,

    on September 6th, 2013 at 9:16 pm


    With four burners I would do left versus right, so the two left ones are on and the meat is over the right burners that are off.

    With regards to cutting the brisket in half, it may reduce cook time a bit given the larger surface area, but hard to judge accurately. I’d suggest using a meat thermometer for this first attempt and checking the internal temp of the thickest part after 7-7.5 hours and see if it’s at 165F or above, at which point it should be done.

    Good luck and if you can please come back and post your results.


  19. EngineerBoy said,

    on September 6th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Art and Patrick, thanks for the feedback, glad it worked out!

  20. Ted said,

    on October 20th, 2013 at 1:19 am

    I tried this last week. It was my first time ever even buying brisket. I had a 14 lb vacuum-sealed prime piece from Costco. Sadly, I only have a tiny crappy propane grill, so I had to cut the brisket in half so it would fit (I used the leaner half). But I followed these instructions to the letter- put the rub on the night before, soaked the wood chips, let it sit and braised it on schedule, everything. And it turned out better than I would have expected it to if I had years of experience with brisket.


  21. Richard said,

    on December 13th, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Never cooked a brisket in my life. I have cooked this recipe three times now. The second time I thought I new something and strayed from the recipe, “EPIC FAILURE”. I have had nothing but compliments from this recipe, when I stuck to it. Thank you for your recipe. Got any for ribs on the gas grill?

  22. Jt said,

    on December 28th, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Did this today. Put it on grill @ 6:45 am. Kept thermometer reading holding @ 325( it was at top of lid). Pulled off at 2:30 with internal temp 170. Wrapped pan I. Foil and put in oven @300 until meat read 200. Took approx 2 hrs. Rested for 1hr 30 min. Pretty good for being cooked on a grill. Everybody that ate it loved it. Worked for not having a smoker, but I prefer the old fashioned. Definitely works when you only have a grill though. Thanks for tips and instructions.

  23. Chad said,

    on April 25th, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I have a 8.5 pounder I’m going to attempt this today, Wish me luck! I’m going to pull it out of the fridge and let it sit to room temp and start my grilling @ noon for some good food and beers later. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  24. Chad said,

    on April 26th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    We’ll it turned out less than perfect but it was still a hit. At 6 hrs I tested it and was 180 degrees. Next time at 250 degrees on a 8.5 pounds 5 hrs may be the max. Will try again.

  25. EngineerBoy said,

    on April 28th, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Chad, sorry things turned out less than perfect. When I changed grills it took me a couple of repetitions to get back in the groove – each grill is a bit different, and it can take time to zero in on the perfect combination. Good luck on your next one!

  26. DAck2568 said,

    on May 10th, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    did this today and I did not get any smoke from the chips. I followed the instruction and did not get a wonderful brisket mine was more like a corned beef.

  27. on June 15th, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    […] the internet for recipes. After about a half hour of seriously searching the internet, we found this recipe and went to work. Jeff purchased the hickory chips, I seasoned the meat, which sat overnight in the […]

  28. Erin said,

    on June 15th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Can you believe how many years this recipe has inspired people? I made this today for my Dad…it was WONDERFUL! Thanks for helping a novice make something so yummy. :)

  29. Rod said,

    on December 21st, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I found this recipe before Thanksgiving 2013, and used it for my first brisket. It was very cold that day (30’s), so I put the grill in the detached garage. I followed the instructions pretty closely. At the 3-5 hour window it seemed the meat was barely cooking, not as fast as I expected or needed. I up’d the gas flow barely to get my grill thermo to 225. At the 6 hour mark… Perfect! I probably didn’t need the adjustment. Let it rest as directed, longer works too. Be prepared for a juicy mess when you start slicing! Getting ready for another for Christmas 2014.

  30. on August 17th, 2015 at 11:11 am

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful blogs on the net.
    I’m going to recommend this site!

  31. Chaz said,

    on September 27th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I know that this is a years old post, but it has made me the king of the neighborhood!! Not only does my family love me when I make this but I also won a Father’s Day cook off with this process. I have rarely ever seen a recipe that was so detailed. You truly made it easy to prepare a brisket that is better than any of the restaurants here in Seattle. I’m sure that you can get better in Texas but everyone wants to eat at my house when they hear that I am making another brisket!! Thanks for posting this and thanks for keeping it up!!

  32. EngineerBoy said,

    on September 28th, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Thanks, Chaz, always glad to hear about brisket success!

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