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Cow Lick Slow Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

By Mike Kerslake

During the early days of Dizzy Pig, Mike Kerslake wrote this primer on smoking a beef brisket. Since then, we’ve adopted a different technique that has won our team numerous awards in the brisket category. We’ve shared our technique in a detailed recipe.

Want to see our new technique for Beef Brisket? Check out our Recipe!

Dizzy Pig Pitmaster Chris Capell’s Beef Brisket Recipe

If pulled pork is the easiest of the barbecue mainstays to conquer, then brisket would probably get the nod from most BBQ cooks as being most difficult to consistently cook to perfection. The reason may lie in the actual cut of beef. The brisket is cut from the chest muscle of the cow, a heavily used, and therefore, tough, cut of meat.



Print Recipe
  • 1 10-15 lb. packer brisket (whole brisket with point and flat)
  • Dizzy Pig® Cow Lick Steak Rub
  • Turbinado Sugar



  1. Probably the most common packaging method for brisket used for barbecue is the packer-trimmed, cryovac-encased whole brisket. Weighing usually between 8 and 16 lbs, this packer-trimmed brisket will encompass both the ‘flat’ portion as well as ‘point’ (also called ‘nose’ or ‘deckle end’, depending on regional labeling).
  2. The flat portion is what you have seen commonly used for corned beef/pastrami and is quite lean. The point portion rests atop the flat at one end (on the right in our photo below) and is fattier, but somewhat more moist because of that fat. If you’ve heard the phrase burnt ends, it refers to this point being cooked to the point of crumbling into these ‘burnt ends’.
  3. To prepare a brisket from the packer-trimmed state, I take the fat cap down to a consistent 1/8-1/4 inch thickness across the top surface of the brisket. I also make note of the way that the grain is running through the meat, as you will want to cut the finished brisket across the grain for nice, thin, tender slices. To aid in keeping the cutting path in mind, I make a notch in the raw meat (see back left corner) which will tell me where first cross-grain cut should be initiated.
  4. Once the brisket is trimmed, my cutting point notched, the smoker almost up to temp, it’s time to apply some rub and get this chunk-o-chest over some coals! For top-shelf brisket, we have found that our Cow Lick Steak Rub, when mixed 50/50 with turbinado (coarse brown) sugar and applied to brisket generously, makes for a deep dark crust that holds in the juices. This is the blend that helped the Dizzy Pig Barbecue Team finished 7th in the brisket category (out of 32 teams) in their very first competition!
  5. Let sit until rub becomes moist and adheres to meat.
  6. To get some flavor into the brisket, I’m using some of my still-in-development Brisket Brew BBQ Sauce on the finished brisket, and some Jack Daniel barrel chips that will give a nice ‘Tennessee sippin’ whiskey’ aroma to the cook. A key with brisket is to not overwhelm it with smoke, so I will apply these lightly at the onset of the cook only.


  1. The brisket goes onto the smoker, fat down. The smoker in this case is a large Big Green Egg, at a cooking level temperature of about 230-250°F. I’ve set some firebricks flat on the main grill to act as a heat barrier (creating the “indirect cooking method”), and a dry drip pan rests on the bricks. Two firebricks on their edge allow for a rack to be elevated over the bricks/drip pan. The smoke from the Jack Daniel chips will create about an hour or two’s worth of smoke, sufficient to give the finished product a nice level of smoke flavor.
  2. Cook 10-15 hours until brisket is tender to the poke, usually with a 190-195°F internal temperature in the flat. This 8 lb brisket is up to 187°F internal after about 14 hours, and it is passing the ‘tenderness test’; insertion of a fork into the brisket and giving a slight twist. If the meat gives easily without much resistance, then you are there!
  3. Remove point (deckle end) by slicing through the fat layer underneath the flat. The point can go back on the cooker for further cooking to the point of breaking down into ‘burnt ends’.
  4. While that is happening, the separated flat has been double-wrapped in heavy-duty foil, covered with a towel and let to rest in a small, warm ice chest for 1-3 hours. This method will keep a brisket warm for quite some time while you prepare the remainder of your meal. You can add a liquid such as beef broth or apple juice if you fear the meat will dry out while sitting in the cooler.
  5. Remove point from smoker once a bulk of the fat is rendered. It’s been said that Texas brisket comes out of the cooker looking like a meteorite on the outside. If that’s the case, we’ve done this one in Texas tradition! Despite the deep dark crust, the inside is moist and tender.
  6. Cube point and slice the flat following the ‘against the grain’ slicing method. Several thick slices from the flat portion make for a great sandwich. A big dollop of Brisket Brew BBQ Sauce complements the beefy flavor. Well worth the effort to tackle this particularly challenging cut of meat.