Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Real Texas Barbecue

Real Texas Barbecue
Henry Polmer for NPR /

After seven years of experimenting in Texas, my husband became our home pitmaster. He rules a large Weber kettle and would prefer to use all mesquite wood. For expediency, though, he often uses a mixture of wood and charcoal briquettes. Don't worry if the meat looks black on the outside. It will be delicious.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

10- to 12-pound boneless whole beef brisket, untrimmed*

Salt and pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper the whole brisket and rub with Worcestershire sauce. Turn fat side up, make cuts all over the top with a sharp knife and insert slivers of garlic.

Soak four handfuls of mesquite (pecan or hickory are fine) wood chunks or chips.

Place 30 charcoal briquettes on each side of the grill and light. When the coals are white-hot, lay a handful of soaked wood chips on each side and place the meat, fat side up, in the middle of the rack above the fire. No flame should touch the meat. The coals should remain on the sides of the grill only. Cover the grill.

After an hour, add 7 briquettes per side. An hour later, add 5 more to each side. Add a handful of soaked wood each time you add briquettes.

Leave another 4 hours to slow-cook.

Remove the meat from the grill, trim the fat completely and cut against the grain with a sharp knife.

*You may have to order this from a butcher since most briskets are trimmed of fat. A trimmed brisket will be tough and overcooked. You need the fat. It's also important to use a whole brisket. Two smaller ones will cook too fast.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit