Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket & Margaritas – Go Big or Go Home!

13 Oct

Texas Style Smoked Barbecue Beef Brisket Recipe
Recipe by

Long holiday weekends are perfect for catching up on yard work and then spoiling yourself with smoked Texas style beef brisket (isn’t that what everyone does???). The boys down south know a thing or two about smoking beef and when they say “go big or go home” (as one Texas friend I know likes to boast), the translation is we’re gonna smoke a 10 pound beast of meat and declare – “don’t Mess with Texas!In a not so Texas fashion, I used a 3-1/2 pound brisket because I felt that smoking beef for 9-10 hours was about as long as I could manage (clearly I wouldn’t last very long in Dallas). Today I’m sharing my smoked beef brisket and margarita recipe, providing a Tex-Mex flavor down, around, and just over the border because here at Paggi Pazzo, we’re always looking for a brand new fiesta in the making. Smoking Texas Style Beef Brisket Recipe from Paggi Pazzo

To get a good brisket, it’s important to see a butcher and have the beef cut specifically to your liking (I went to my local super market). Now, you can get the real big-@ss Texas sized briskets that are 7+ pounds but those can take 15-18 hours to smoke so I chose to grab something half that size because….well, at some point I was going to want to eat it – right?!?!? Like with ribs, I try to create a spicy rub of paprika and chili powder that I off-set with a sweet “mop” dressing consisting of apple vinegar cider, Budweiser, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. I also throw in some dried rosemary and onion powder for my rub/mop to give it a little something extra, so feel free to do the same and experiment with your own.

I like to start real early in the morning and get my firebox going with 3 chimney starters filled with lump hardwood charcoal and prior to, I soak hickory wood chunks with mesquite wood chips overnight for the smoking (and don’t get all bush league on me by using lighter fluid to start your fire! Olive oil and a paper towel will do). Try to maintain a temperature of 200-250 degrees and to do so, you’ll likely need to add both wood chunks and hardwood charcoal throughout the process and continue to mop your brisket every 45 minutes to an hour (also add a pan of water under the grates to help provide moisture during the smoking process). Many experts talk about the brisket “stalling” after about 5-6 hours, where the meat temperature does not increase and I wasn’t convinced of this but true to form, it did happen. To combat the stalling, I placed and wrapped the brisket in aluminum foil so the beef soaks in it’s own juices and tenderizes. By hour 8, the beef temperature had increased and had become even more tender (and that’s how we like it at Paggi Pazzo; keep it tender and keep it classy!). I also added some BBQ sauce in a small foil pan to slow cook with the brisket for the final hour (I don’t make my own because I’m a poser! But feel free to use your favorite BBQ sauce or showoff and make your own). After 9 hours I move the beef off the grill/smoker and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing and if you have left overs, you can make smoked beef brisket sandwiches, which is what I did with some sauteed onions and peppers.Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe from Paggi Pazzo

To go along with the smoked beef brisket, I made Mexico’s signature cocktail – the Matador! Just kidding, I don’t even know if that’s a drink – plus I think it’s Spanish, right? Anyway, I made a Margarita of course. My buddies Pete, Rob and myself are always in search for the “perfect” margarita and we’ve all tried to create them ourselves. My rendition includes the Cuervo Tradicional tequila which is great for margaritas and a much better quality than the other Cuervo products so spend a little extra and taste the difference. Don Julio is the Numero Uno tequila most Mexicans I’ve spoken with swear by, but if you have a really nice expensive bottle of tequila chances are it’s better suited for sipping like a Cognac than adding to a lime mix cocktail. I mean, you’re not gonna take a Chateau Loudenne Médoc and make Sangria out of it, are you?….Are You? SERIOUSLY???? Give me that bottle…. I also try not to use too much mix because they’re usually so over-sweetened and very fattening but the Williams & Sonoma mix is low in sugar content and offers a nice mild taste. So there you have it, Texas style smoked beef brisket with an ice cold margarita – “Remember the Alamo!” (but don’t forget the tequila).

Margarita Recipe from Paggi Pazzo, Viva Mexico!

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 9 hours

Total time: 10 hours

Yield: 12 servings


  • 1 (3-4 pound) Beef Brisket
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 12 ounces Budweiser beer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces bbq sauce

Cooking Directions

  1. Prepare rub by adding paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, sugar, brown sugar, garlic powder, and rosemary into bowl and mix
  2. Add rub to beef brisket on both sides and add a little olive oil over rub. Wrap and place in refrigerator overnight
  3. Prepare mop dressing by adding beer, water, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and onion powder and stir. Let cool in refrigerator overnight
  4. Soak hickory wood chunks and mesquite wood chips overnight, then drain before use.
  5. Prepare smoker/grill with 3 chimney starters full of hardwood lump charcoal and when turned grey, place in smoker-box with 2 hickory wood chunks and a handful of mesquite wood chips. As brisket smokes, continue to add more wood chunks and charcoal when necessary to maintain 200-225 degree temperature.
  6. Lay brisket fat side up, and close grill and smoker-box for 1 hour, then add mop dressing over brisket (continue to do so every 45 minutes to an hour).
  7. After 6 hours, place brisket fat side down into aluminum foil and wrap (this will help the meat cook throughout and tenderize).
  8. After 8 hours, add BBQ sauce into small aluminum tray and allow to heat
  9. After 8 1/2 to 9 hours, check brisket to see if internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, if so, take brisket out of grill/smoker and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing.
  10. Slice beef brisket across the grain and serve with a spoonful of BBQ sauce

Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

4.5 out of 5
stars based on 18 ratings

Margarita Recipe
By Paggi Pazzo
Prep time: 5 min
Total time: 5 min
Yield: 1 serving


2 limes
1 shot Cuervo Tradicional Tequila or Don Julio Tequila
1/2 shot Cointreau
1/2 shot Triple Sec
1 shot Williams & Sonoma margarita mix
handful of ice
1 cocktail shaker

Cooking Directions

1. Cut thin slice of lime and cut in half then put aside
2. Slice rest of limes in half and squeeze into shaker
3. Add shot of tequila, 1/2 shot of Cointreau, 1/2 shot of Triple Sec, and 1 shot of Williams & Sonoma mix into shaker
4. Shake for 1 minute
5. Add ice to margarita glass and then and shaker mix
6. Add thin lime pieces previously cut and serve

Click here for full Beef Brisket Recipe, Perfect Margarita Recipe and other Paggi Pazzo recipes.

4 Responses to “Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket & Margaritas – Go Big or Go Home!”

  1. kahlua cocktail October 30, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Hey! I’m at function surfing about your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I adore reading by way of your blog and appear forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

    • Paggi Pazzo November 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      Thank you Kahlua Cocktail (great name!)!!!
      Feel free to share some cocktail recipes if you got any 🙂

  2. tinacretella October 15, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    I was lucky enough to be at this dinner…and it was delicious! As was the grilled corn and all the goodies served with the brisket. Molto bene!
    I can’t wait for the next meal I get invited to : )

    • Paggi Pazzo October 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      So happy you enjoyed it! Looking forward to doing it again.

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