Slow-cooked smoky Texan beef brisket with easy slaw

This thick joint of beef is smoked and slow-cooked over wood chips in a lidded barbecue until it’s so tender and delectable even my vegetarian friend Jane couldn’t resist a morsel or two! Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

  • 8 hrs cooking
  • 24 hrs marinating
  • Serves 10
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Spice rub
  • 1/4 cup cup smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard*
Slow-cooked smoky Texan beef brisket
  • 2 kilogram whole beef brisket or topside
  • (any large piece of beef will work, but it must be more than 8cm thick)
  • 2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cup worcestershire sauce*
  • 3/4 cup good-quality barbecue sauce*
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon dijon mustard*
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon tsp hot sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon dark honey
Easy slaw
  • 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise*
  • 1/3 cup water
  • squeeze lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/3 red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1/3 white cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 large carrots, grated or julienned


Slow-cooked smoky Texan beef brisket with easy slaw
  • 1
    The day before, mix together all the spice-rub ingredients except the mustard. Rub the spice mix all over the beef, then smear it all over with the mustard. Place beef in a dish, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    The next day remove beef from the fridge and bring to room temperature while you make the marinade and prepare the barbecue. Soak 300g smoking chips in water for at least 1 hour (we used Samba beef and lamb smoking chips bought at the supermarket).
  • 3
    Put all marinade ingredients in a jug and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • 4
    Set and light the barbecue about 30 minutes before cooking; I use kindling topped with charcoal briquettes. When the charcoal begins to ash over and looks white hot, add some soaked wood chips.
  • 5
    Drain beef and place fat-side up on the grill (I move the charcoals to one side so the beef isn’t taking direct heat). Lower the hood and smoke for 3-4 hours. Try to maintain an even cooking temperature, adding charcoals and chips every hour or less as necessary; at the same time, brush the top of the beef with a little marinade. Try not to lift the lid at any other time.
  • 6
    After 3-4 hours of smoking, place beef in an aluminium roasting pan. Pour the marinade over the beef. Tightly cover beef and pan with foil and return to barbecue (hood down) for 2-2½ hours (or cook in the oven at 160°C fanbake).
  • 7
    Cooking this way involves many variables, including how many times you open the lid or if you have managed to maintain an even temperature. The best way to test if your beef is ready is to use a meat thermometer; it is done when the internal temperature reaches 75°C. The meat should be fall-apart tender. Remove beef from the barbecue or oven and rest for 20 minutes before serving. Reserve some of the marinade/cooking juices.
  • 8
    To make the slaw, mix together the mayonnaise, water and lemon juice in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl, pour the dressing on top and toss thoroughly to coat.
  • 9
    Place hot-smoked beef on a platter and warm reserved marinade/cooking juices for a sauce. Serve beef with a jug of sauce, hot crusty rolls and plenty of slaw.


Start this recipe the day before and be prepared to nurture it through the day. * Check label if eating gluten free.