Home Cover Story 4 Rivers Smokehouse Smoked Brisket Recipe

4 Rivers Smokehouse Smoked Brisket Recipe

Try your hand at smoking brisket just like John Rivers and his team does at 4Rivers Smokehouse.

4 Rivers Smokehouse Smoked Brisket Recipe

Serves 20 or more

1 whole brisket, from 10 to 15 pounds, untrimmed with full fat cap
1 cup 4R Brisket Rub
All-Purpose BBQ Sauce
Sliced dill pickles
Onions, sliced thin
White bread

4R Brisket Rub
Makes 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar

Make rub
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in airtight container. Will keep indefinitely.

Prepare brisket
Apply rub liberally on brisket, making sure to cover all sides and crevices. Refrigerate uncovered at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Remove brisket from refrigerator at least 1 hour before smoking, letting it come to room temperature.

Prepare smoker
Soak hickory chips or chunks for 1 hour before smoking. Soaking will allow the wood to smolder and smoke for longer periods of time versus catching on fire and quickly burning up.

Light charcoal and allow to burn to a white ash

Place soaked wood on top of hot coals and adjust smoker vents to settle the temperature in a range between 200˚ and 225˚F

Smoke brisket
Place brisket, fat side up, indirectly over the smoking wood. Close the lid and get comfortable. Depending on the size of your brisket, smoking will take from 12 to 18 hours. A general rule of thumb is 75 minutes for every pound of brisket.

Keep an eye on your coals and wood, replenishing both as needed, but opening the lid of the smoker as little as possible.

After 8 to 10 hours, check the internal temperature of the brisket using a meat thermometer inserted into the brisket at its thickest point. Continue checking every 30 to 60 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 190˚to 192˚F

Remove brisket from smoker. Using multiple layers to prevent dripping, wrap brisket in plastic wrap and place in a small, empty cooler. Cover with a folded towel (or two), close the cooler lid and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours before carving. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat.

Slice brisket
When ready to serve, remove brisket from cooler and place in a baking sheet or sheet pan with a rim. Carefully cut open the plastic wrap, allowing the juices to spill out into the pan.

Place the whole brisket on a cutting board and, starting at the thinnest part of the flat, begin to slice the brisket against the grain, working toward the thicker side (the point). Trim the fat cap off as necessary or to your preference.

As you work your way up the brisket, you’ll begin to notice a seam of fat forming in the middle of the brisket. This is the connective tissue that holds the two pieces of meat together. Once it becomes distinct and runs the entire width of the brisket, you need to separate the two cuts.

Using a long knife and cutting the full width of the brisket, slice directly into the seam of fat along the contours of the meat until the two pieces are separated.

Remove the point (the piece), flip it over and, using the back of your knife, scrape the excess fat from the meat. Repeat on the bottom piece.

Rotate the point 90 degrees so the grains of both pieces are running in the same direction. Flip both pieces over so the bark is facing up and continue carving as needed.

Serve with white bread, pickles, onions and sauce.


Lyndsay Fogarty Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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