Texas Style Brisket with Coffee Rub

We’ll be honest; brisket is one of the most challenging cuts of meat to prepare. There are so many factors to consider that it can be daunting for a novice. After preparing several briskets with mixed results, we’ve found a recipe that consistently delivers top-notch results.

This Texas-style brisket recipe has been made and tested multiple times by friends, family, and neighbours. What you need is a butcher who can provide you with the right meat, a smoker that can maintain a stable temperature for several hours, a thermometer, a meat injection syringe, a spray bottle, and ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen or can easily find in any supermarket.

The result is an incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful brisket that you’ll proudly showcase and share at your next BBQ party. Read on, and we’ll provide you with all the tips you need for an amazing brisket. If you’re more experienced or not much of a reader, jump straight to the recipe using the link below.

Let’s start with the meat. This is a grain-fed whole-packer brisket. The key term here is grain-fed. This meat comes from cows that have been fattened on grains and corn during their last months. The meat from these cows is generally more tender and fattier than completely grass-fed cows.

You can recognize this meat by the thin white lines of soft fat running through the dark meat. This intramuscular fat is the first step to a great result.

We’ll trim the brisket, meaning we’ll cut away some of the fat on the outside, specifically the tough and thick fat layers. We’ll leave the soft fat that’s at most a few millimetres thick. We’ve found that this fat protects against the smoke’s direct heat and helps the meat cook more evenly.

To add extra moisture to the meat, we’ll inject the brisket. Since we’ll be smoking the brisket for somewhere between 10 and 12 hours, a lot of moisture will be pushed out of the meat. So, to keep as much moisture in the meat as possible, we’ll inject it.

We’re using a meat injection needle, a thick syringe with a large side hole in the needle. We’ve prepared a mixture of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and water. Water is essential, and the rest adds extra flavour.

We fill the syringe and then insert the needle deep into the meat without going through it. As we slowly withdraw the needle, we inject the liquid into the meat. You’ll quickly notice when the needle is about to exit the meat because the liquid will spray over the countertop, your pants, and your shirt.

That’s why we keep one hand over the needle and cover it as it emerges. It saves a lot of mess and swearing. Inject liquid into various spots until the brisket can’t take in any more. We also inject the brisket in an oven tray because, at some point, you’ll notice the liquid flowing out from all sides, indicating it’s full.

In the morning, when the brisket goes into the smoker, we’ll sprinkle it with a generous layer of the coffee dry rub. Texas is known for its BBQ, which traditionally relies on salt and pepper to season the meat. However, Texas is vast, and there has been experimentation with different flavours for years.

The base of this rub still consists of salt and black pepper, but we’ve found that adding other flavours and coffee powder only enhances the taste of the brisket. We don’t let the rub sit for hours because it will have plenty of time to meld with the meat’s surface while it’s in the smoker.

The authentic wood for smoking in Texas is mesquite, which imparts a strong smoky flavour but can become bitter if overused. This brisket will be in the smoker for about 4 hours before we wrap it, so we use hickory smoke pellets that are milder in smoke flavour.

Hickory’s flavour, in our opinion, is the most classic American smoky flavour. While it may not be specific to Texas, no one will complain when they taste the end result.

Before placing the brisket on the grates, we do a few things. First, we put a couple of aluminium drip pans under the grill. Otherwise, the brisket’s fat will drip into the kettle, creating a mess you’ll have to clean up. We also place a few chunks of smoking wood on the grates.

The chunks of wood will cause the brisket to bulge slightly and ensure that there is no pool of moisture on the surface. You want the dry rub to mix with the meat’s fat and the smoker’s smoke to create a bark, a dark brown flavorful crust on the outside of the brisket.

Those pools of liquid can prevent the bark from forming properly. We’re striving for a perfect result using these wood chunks.

After about 2 hours, the bark has formed. You can test this by rubbing a bit of the crust. If it’s firmly attached, it’s time to start spritzing the meat with water. We do this whenever the brisket’s surface dries out.

Moistening the outside of the brisket slows down the cooking process and prevents the crust from burning. It also helps the meat absorb more smoke, enhancing the smoky flavour.

You can experiment with other liquids besides water. For instance, you can create a mixture of water and apple juice, whiskey, or vinegar to give the bark a unique flavour.

When the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 65°C (149F), we wrap it. The meat releases the most moisture at this point, keeping the surface quite damp. While that’s not harmful, it can stall the temperature increase for a long time. This period is known as “the stall” and can last for hours.

Wrapping still allows moisture to continue coming out of the brisket, but it doesn’t lose heat because there’s no airflow around the meat. Think of it like putting on a jacket after exercising.

We insert the probe through the aluminium and into the meat. Then, we close the lid and set the smoker to 150°C (302F).

The brisket is ready when its internal temperature is somewhere between 95 and 99°C (203 to 210F). To check if it’s done, insert the thermometer probe or a skewer into the meat. If it goes in and out with minimal resistance, the brisket is ready to be removed from the smoker and allowed to rest.

After resting, we unwrapped the brisket and started slicing. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ll see a beautiful thick smoke ring and incredibly juicy meat.

The smoke ring is a chemical process we’d love to explain extensively on another page. The juicy meat comes from choosing the right cut of meat and injecting the brisket.

We’ve unpacked the brisket into an oven tray. On one hand, because there’s a lot of moisture coming out of the packaging, we don’t want that on the ground. On the other hand, because we want to preserve that moisture.

We pour the moisture into a canning jar and put it in the refrigerator. After a while, the fat from the moisture will float to the top, and you can skim it off. You can use that fat instead of butter for cooking. Try frying some potatoes in it, and you won’t believe the flavour.

We use the remaining moisture to reheat the brisket. We love barbecue, but a hefty brisket is quickly around 9 pounds, and we can’t eat all of that at once.

You do the so-called bend test to test how tender and juicy your brisket is. Cut a slice of brisket about half a centimetre thick and lay it over your finger. The idea is that the meat bends smoothly without breaking but can easily be pulled apart.

Of course, you can also test this by eating it, but it looks better on Instagram this way.

This is our Texas-style brisket with a dry coffee rub. We’ve sliced the thicker part and cubed the thinner part. You could also make burnt ends from these cubes by putting them back in the smoker with a thick layer of barbecue sauce. The sauce will caramelize, giving you very tasty meat treats.

Are you going to make this Texas Style brisket too? Let us know in the comments below. Or even better! Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you’ve made.


  • One whole packer grain-fed brisket

For injection

  • 100 ml beef stock
  • 25 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • 500 ml water

For the rub

  • 2 parts salt
  • 2 parts black pepper
  • 1 part garlic granules
  • 1 part coffee powder
  • 1 part onion granules
  • 1/2 part Chipotle powder


  1. Remove tough pieces of fat and any layer thicker than a few millimetres from the meat.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the injection liquid and inject it into the brisket. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Mix all ingredients for the dry rub and sprinkle an even layer over all sides of the meat.
  4. Prepare a barbecue for smoking with a kettle temperature of 120ºC (248F). Place the brisket on the grate and close the lid.
  5. After about an hour or two of smoking, check if the rub has adhered to the meat. From that moment on, spray the outside of the meat with water. Repeat this every 20 minutes or when the outside becomes dry again.
  6. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 65ºC (149ºF), spray it well one more time. Then, wrap it in a double layer of aluminium foil and place it back in the barbecue.
  7. Insert a thermometer into the meat and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 95 to 99ºC (203 to 210ºF) or until the meat is tender enough.
  8. Let it rest wrapped for at least half an hour before slicing it into beautiful slices.

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