Smoked Beef Brisket – A slightly sweet, smoky version

I love a good BBQ.  It’s rare that I use a dry rub when we BBQ at our house, especially since my daughter makes excellent marinades.  However, when it comes to brisket, I prefer using a dry rub.

I like to experiment with different spice combinations when coming up with recipes for dry rubs.  This one contains an unusual combination of espresso powder, brown sugar and cumin, among other things.  The sweetness of the sugar goes really well with the smokiness of the espresso and cumin.

I also save some of the dry rub mixture to make a mop sauce to baste the brisket as it smokes.  All that’s needed to make the mop sauce is to mix a bottle of your favorite beer (ale works well with this recipe) with about 1/2 cup of the dry rub mixture.  Don’t worry–the alcohol cooks out by the time the brisket is done.

I own a smoker/grill, which is what I used to smoke my brisket.  You don’t need a smoker to make this, however.  You can bake this long and slow in your oven.  The result will still be finger-licking-good.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Smoked Brisket



  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • A nicely marbled brisket, about 7-8 pounds, with a nice layer of fat on one side
  • 1 bottle beer (I used a 12-ounce bottle of Alaskan ale)


1.  In a small measuring cup, mix together the brown sugar, cumin, espresso powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.


2.  Save 1/2 cup of the dry rub to make the mop sauce.  Spread the rest of the rub evenly over both sides of the brisket.


3.  Mix the beer with the remaining 1/2 cup of the dry rub mixture.  Set this aside.

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4.  If you own a smoker, place the brisket on the grill, fat-side facing up.  Smoke the brisket for one hour, then turn the temperature to 225 degrees to cook for the remaining time.  You’ll smoke/cook the brisket for a total of 6 hours.  Generously baste the brisket once every hour.


5.  Mid-way through the cooking time, after about 3 hours or so, flip the brisket over so that the fat is on the bottom.  Continue basting every hour; stop basting one hour prior to the brisket being done.


6.  When the brisket is done (after it’s been smoking/cooking for about 6 hours), remove it from the grill or oven.  Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil and let the brisket rest for 30 minutes.


7.  After 30 minutes of resting, unwrap the brisket.


8.  Thinly slice the brisket, ensuring you cut across the grain of the meat.


Serve and ENJOY!


Our mini-poodle is waiting patiently for his share! 🙂


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  1. Joyce says:

    You say to reduce smoker temperature to 225 after an hour. What is the initial temperature before reducing to 225? Want to know in case I use my smoker or oven.

    • Hi Joyce,

      I actually do not state to REDUCE the temperature to 225, but to start with smoking the brisket (my smoker has a “smoke” setting, which is approximately 150-180 degrees) then to turn the temperature TO 225 degrees.

  2. Pam says:

    How would you do in the oven as you mentioned??

    • To get that smoked flavor, you can soak wood chips (make sure they are soaked really well, about 3-5 hours), then place them in the bottom of a roasting pan with a small amount of water. Place a rack on top of the wood chips then the meat on the rack. Wrap heavy duty aluminum foil around the pan to create a tent (this “tent” will keep the smoke around the meat). Bake it at the temperature specified, and baste every so often, as recommended in my recipe. The only difference is you would cook this in the oven, vice a smoker/grill.

  3. Terry Finnegan says:

    How do you think this recipe would work with pork tenderloin instead of beef brisket?

  4. Joan Umphrey says:

    Espresso powder. Is that the espresso coffee? I want to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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