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Slicing firecracker brisket

Firecracker Brisket Recipe


Firecracker brisket, adapted from the recipe in Chiles and Smoke by Brad Prose.


  • 1 full packer brisket, 12–14 lbs
  • 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp whole mustard seed
  • 3 Tbsp gochugaru
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 23 Tbsp yellow mustard as binder (optional)


Ingredients for firecracker brisket


Prepare the smoker and the brisket

  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F (121°C). Use an air probe connected to your Signals to monitor the temp—set high- and low-temp alarms for 275 and 225°F respectively (135 and 107°C)—and, if using, connect your Billows BBQ control fan to it to maintain a proper temperature. 
  • Trim the brisket to your liking. Save the trimmings, especially the fat, in a tray to render. 

Make the rub

  • In a dry skillet, toast the black peppercorns, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds until they are toasty and very fragrant. Transfer them to a plate to cool.

Toasting spices in a skillet

  • Grind the toasted mixture with the mustard seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until medium-coarse.
  • Combine the resulting mixture with the gochugaru, salt, sugar, and garlic powder. 

The BBQ spice rub

Season the brisket

  • If your brisket doesn’t feel moist-tacky enough, rub it with yellow mustard. 

Applying mustard to the brisket as a binder

  • Liberally sprinkle the firecracker rub on the brisket, pressing to adhere. Be generous, but don’t force yourself to use it all. (It’s a good idea to add a little more later on, anyhow!)

Applying the rub to the brisket and binder

Smoke the brisket

  • Place the brisket in the smoker and insert two probes—one in the flat, and one in the point—and set the corresponding high-temp alarms on your Signals to 165°F (74°C).
  • Place the tray of brisket trimmings in the smoker as well, to render the fat from them. 

Seasoned brisket on the smoker with an air probe next to it and a probe in the flat

  • Let the brisket smoke for 3 hours, then spritz it with water or cider vinegar. 
  • Continue to smoke until the internal temperature of the flat reaches 165°F (74°C), about 5 hours. 
  • When the flat reaches temp, lay the brisket on two overlapping sheets of peach paper. 
  • Strain and then pour some of the rendered fat (about 1/2–3/4 C) onto the brisket. Apply a light dusting of more of the firecracker rub to the surface of the brisket. 

Pouring rendered fat onto the brisket

  • Wrap the brisket well in the peach paper, put it back in the smoker and re-insert the probes. Set the new high-temp alarms for 203°F (95°C). 

The wrapped brisket back on the smoker, probed, ready to keep cooking

  • Increase the smoker temp to 300°F (149°C), adjusting the pit-channel alarms accordingly. 
  • Smoke until the high-temp alarms sound at 203°F (95°C). 
  • Verify the internal temps with your Thermapen ONE. Check for both temperature and tenderness. 

Temping the brisket

  • Remove the brisket from the smoker and allow to rest in a warm environment for at least 1 hour. 
  • Unwrap the brisket, slice, and serve!

Sliced firecracker brisket