Food, Home & Lifestyle

Smoke: Brisket Part I

Aaron Franklin

Lesson time 20:13 min

Phase one of our brisket smoke involves building a fire, applying slather and rub, and cooking the meat undisturbed. Learn Aaron’s technique for seasoning evenly and developing clean flavors in the critical first hours of your cook.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Prepping the Fire · Developing Clean Flavors · Beginning the Cook


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So now that the brisket's trimmed up, I think it's a really great time to start talking about rubs and seasonings and all that stuff. I do have some feelings on this stuff. A lot of times, people talk about these, you know, all these seasonings and rubs or whatever they're putting on brisket. And they're like, oh, it's got garlic and onion and paprika and all kinds of stuff and just a dash of this and one granule of that. For me, I really like to keep it super duper simple-- kosher salt and 16 mesh black pepper. You spent a lot of time working with a fire. You want those flavors to come through. You spent a lot of time and money trimming down this piece of meat, buying a nice brisket. And I want to taste the beef. I don't want to have anything that gets in between, you know, the wood, the smoke, the beefiness of the brisket. So just salt, plain pepper. I usually just start off with kosher salt that has a good granule size, nothing too heavy, something kind of come about like that, and then what they call 16 mesh black pepper, could also be called cafe grind if you go to a big restaurant supply store and maybe if you're at the grocery store. And what 16 mesh really means is that it will fit through 1/16 of an inch mesh screen. And that could be like a window screen even. 16 mesh grain size matches up really well with kosher salt. So when they're in a shaker, and you're moving stuff around, you're keeping it moving, you're shaking it all over the place, it helps with the pepper to not rise to the top quite so much. It also helps it spread a little bit more evenly. So this shape is really, really good because it's got these dimples. So I can let it pivot like this. So as I'm actually shaking the seasoning on the brisket, I can kind of keep it loose in my hand. It's kind of like if you were a jazz drummer. You've got like a good wrist feel. You got some sticks, you know, kind of doing that number. So the shaker really does help a lot. So I'm going to make a rub. First thing I'm going to do is half and half by volume. So right there is looking pretty good. And that leaves just enough room at the top of the shaker to actually shake this up a little bit. And this is way more seasoning than I need for one brisket. Under normal circumstances, this would be enough for about six briskets. So right about there. Put the lid on, and then kind of a cool technique is that I'm going to start to swirl this, but I'm going to let it pivot in my fingers like this a little bit. And I'm going to watch it swirl. So I want to have this motion. You want it to be super duper even. And I've tried putting salt on briskets separate of pepper. And it's never worked out right. This is-- really, this is what we do at the restaurant every day. This is how I season everything. If I travel somewhere to cook barbecue, I take a shaker. Sounds really silly, but I do. Let it settle. Flip it around a little bit. And that's a pretty darn even...

About the Instructor

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Aaron Franklin

Aaron Franklin teaches you how to fire up flavor-packed Central Texas barbecue, including his famous brisket and more mouth-watering smoked meat.

Explore the Class
Sign Up