Smoked brisket: A history of America’s favorite barbecue

Smoked brisket is a beloved dish in the United States, but its origins can be traced back to Central and Eastern Europe. Ashkenazi Jews have been eating brisket for centuries, and they brought the tradition with them when they immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century.

Brisket is a tough cut of meat, so Jewish cooks developed a slow-smoking method to tenderize it. They would smoke the brisket over hardwood, such as oak or hickory, for many hours until it was fall-apart tender.

German and Czech immigrants also introduced the practice of smoking brisket to Texas in the late 19th century. The state’s warm climate and ample access to beef made it an ideal place to perfect the technique.


By the early 1900s, smoked brisket was a staple of Texas barbecue culture. Jewish delis all over the state featured brisket on their menus, and barbecue restaurants began to pop up across the state.

In 1959, Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas, became the first barbecue restaurant to offer brisket exclusively. This was a bold move, as brisket was still a relatively unknown dish at the time. However, Black’s Barbecue quickly became a success, and its brisket was soon famous all over the country.

In the following decades, smoked brisket became increasingly popular outside of Texas. It is now a staple of barbecue restaurants and competitions across the United States. Smoked brisket is also enjoyed at home, and many people have their own favorite recipes.

Why is smoked brisket so popular?

There are many reasons why smoked brisket is so popular. It is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of recipes. Smoked brisket is also a relatively affordable cut of meat, and it is easy to prepare at home.

One of the best things about smoked brisket is its rich flavor. The long smoking process imparts a smoky flavor to the meat that is simply irresistible. Smoked brisket is also very tender and juicy, making it a perfect dish for any occasion.

Smoked brisket can be enjoyed on its own, but it is also often served with barbecue sauce. There are many different types of barbecue sauce available, so everyone can find one that they enjoy. Smoked brisket can also be used in a variety of recipes, such as sandwiches, tacos, and nachos.

How to make smoked brisket at home

Making smoked brisket at home is relatively easy. You will need a smoker and a few simple ingredients, such as brisket, salt, pepper, and your favorite barbecue rub.

To make smoked brisket, start by trimming the excess fat from the meat. Then, season the brisket with salt, pepper, and your favorite barbecue rub.

Place the brisket in the smoker and cook it over low heat for 6-8 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the brisket is cooked, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips for making smoked brisket

Here are a few tips for making smoked brisket at home:

  • Use a good quality brisket. The better the quality of the meat, the better the brisket will taste.
  • Don’t overcook the brisket. It is better to undercook the brisket and let it rest than to overcook it and dry it out.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the brisket is cooked to the proper temperature.
  • Let the brisket rest before slicing and serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy brisket.


Smoked brisket is a delicious and versatile dish that is perfect for any occasion. With a little practice, you can make smoked brisket at home that is just as good as anything you will find at a restaurant.

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