Grill Smoked Brisket: Smoking a Brisket on Charcoal Grills

By: Snake River Farms

When we hear the word "brisket" around here, we instinctively start to break out the smoker. What if you don't have a smoker sitting on your back patio? BBQ and grilling guru Clint Cantwell shows how to cook up a mouth-watering brisket using a regular charcoal kettle grill. See how easy, and delicious, it is to create a barbecue classic without any special equipment.

This recipe calls for a Double R Ranch brisket, but this technique works for any type of brisket we sell. 


How to Cook a Brisket on Charcoal Grill

  • 1 Double R Ranch Beef Brisket (about 11-15 lbs.) Buy Now
  • ¼ cup Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground coffee
  • 2 tbsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup beef broth

How to Cook a Brisket on Charcoal Grill

Prepare kettle grill for smoking with indirect heat by stacking three layers of unlit charcoal briquets around the perimeter of the grill’s bottom rack, leaving the front 4-5 inches without charcoal to create a “c”.  Add 3-4 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the beginning of the “c” for the perfect touch of smoke without overwhelming the meat.
Place a disposable aluminum half pan in the center of the charcoal ring and fill with water to provide additional moisture and protect the brisket from heat while it smokes.
Heat 5-6 charcoal briquettes and place them at the beginning of the “c” (the end with the wood chunks) once they are completely ashed over.  Cover the grill, and allow it to heat to 225-250 degrees, adjusting the grill’s bottom vents as needed.
As the grill comes to temperature, trim all but ¼ inch of fat from the brisket flat (the larger, rectangular shaped side of the brisket), as well as any silverskin (a silvery colored connective tissue) that remains on the opposite side of the brisket.  Combine dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until well blended.  Coat the exterior of the brisket with a thin layer of yellow mustard (this will allow the dry rub seasoning to better adhere to the brisket) and season the brisket liberally with the coffee dry rub seasoning.
Place the seasoned brisket on the grill directly above the aluminum half pan.
Cover the grill and allow the brisket to smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (depending on the size of the brisket, this can take 10+ hours).  If needed, add additional unlit charcoal briquettes in a layered semi-circle beginning next to the remaining hot coals.
Remove the brisket from the grill, lay in on a double layer of aluminum foil, and lift the four edges of the foil to create a bowl.  Add the beef broth to the foil and completely enclose the brisket in the foil.  Return the wrapped brisket to the grill and allow it to continue cooking until it reaches 190 degrees (note: a remote thermometer is suggested for monitoring the internal temperatures of the meat while it cooks). Remove the brisket from the grill, slowly open the foil to allow the steam to escape, and allow the brisket to rest for 15-20 minutes before separating the brisket flat from the point (the thick, fatty section of meat that sits on one end of the whole brisket.  Trim any excess fat from the two brisket sections, and slice the brisket flat against the natural grain of the meat for maximum tenderness.  The fattier brisket point can then be sliced and served or it can be cubed, re-seasoned, and returned to the grill in a disposable aluminum pan for 20-30 minutes for burnt ends.