The Legendary Aaron Franklin Brisket Recipe

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The Legendary Aaron Franklin Brisket Recipe



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Barbecue enthusiasts around the world have a special place in their hearts for brisket, and when it comes to perfecting this culinary masterpiece, there’s no one quite like Aaron Franklin. Known for his legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, Aaron Franklin has become an icon in the world of barbecue, particularly for his mouthwatering brisket recipe. In this 2,000-word article, we’ll delve into the secrets behind Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe, exploring the ingredients, preparation, cooking techniques, and tips to help you create your own tender, smoky, and flavorful brisket at home.

The Foundation of Great BBQ: Quality Meat

Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe starts with one fundamental element: high-quality meat. The choice of brisket plays a pivotal role in the final outcome. Here are the key aspects to consider when selecting your brisket:

Cut: Choose a whole packer brisket, which consists of two parts – the point and the flat. This cut offers a balanced blend of lean meat and marbling for optimal flavor and tenderness.

Grade: Opt for a USDA Prime or Choice grade brisket. These grades ensure a good amount of intramuscular fat (marbling) that will keep the meat moist and flavorful during the long smoking process.

Size: A brisket typically weighs between 10 to 16 pounds. Consider the size based on the number of guests you plan to serve, as well as your smoker’s capacity.

Prepping the Brisket:

Before you can start smoking your brisket to perfection, proper preparation is key. Follow these steps to get your meat ready:

Trimming: Trim excess fat from the brisket, especially the thick fat cap. Aaron Franklin recommends leaving about a quarter-inch layer of fat to protect the meat during cooking.

Seasoning: The magic of Aaron Franklin’s brisket lies in his simple yet flavorful rub. Combine kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in a 50-50 ratio to create the rub. Liberally coat the brisket with the rub, ensuring an even distribution.

Resting: Let the seasoned brisket sit at room temperature for about an hour. This allows the meat to absorb the flavors of the rub and promotes more even cooking.

Smoking Techniques:

Aaron Franklin’s smoking technique is where the true artistry comes into play. Here are the essential steps to follow:

Choose the Wood: Opt for quality smoking wood like post oak, hickory, or mesquite. These woods impart distinct flavors that complement the brisket.

Fire Management: Maintain a consistent temperature in your smoker. Franklin suggests keeping the smoker between 250°F to 275°F (120°C to 135°C). Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Smoke Ring: Achieving the coveted smoke ring is a hallmark of a well-smoked brisket. This pinkish-red ring just beneath the surface is formed when nitrogen dioxide from the wood smoke interacts with the meat. It’s a sign of expert smoking.

Mop or Spritz: Some pitmasters like Aaron Franklin use a mop or spritz to keep the brisket moist during smoking. A mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce can be used for this purpose.

Wrapping: After a few hours of smoking and once the bark (crust) has developed, you can wrap the brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil to speed up the cooking process and preserve moisture.

The Waiting Game:

One of the most challenging aspects of Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe is the patience required. Brisket takes time, and you can’t rush perfection. On average, you can expect to smoke a brisket for about 1.5 hours per pound. For a 12-pound brisket, that’s around 18 hours. Here are some tips for the long wait:

Trust the Process: Maintain a steady temperature and resist the temptation to check on the brisket too frequently.

Resting: After removing the brisket from the smoker, let it rest for at least an hour. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and tender final product.

Slicing and Serving:

Finally, it’s time to savor the fruits of your labor. When it comes to slicing and serving, follow these guidelines:

Grain Direction: Always slice the brisket against the grain. This ensures that each bite is tender and easy to chew.

Moisture: Serve the brisket slices with a little of the cooking juices or a flavorful barbecue sauce to enhance the overall experience.

The Aaron Franklin brisket recipe is a testament to the art of barbecue. While mastering it may take time and practice, the journey is just as rewarding as the end result. With high-quality meat, a simple yet flavorful rub, proper smoking techniques, and a healthy dose of patience, you can create a brisket that rivals those served at Franklin Barbecue in Austin. So, fire up your smoker, follow these steps, and get ready to enjoy a slice of barbecue heaven in your own backyard.

Tips and Troubleshooting:

To help you on your journey to perfecting Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe, here are some additional tips and guidance:

Temperature Control: Invest in a good quality smoker that allows for precise temperature control. Consistency in temperature is crucial for achieving that tender and juicy brisket.

Experiment with Wood: While post oak is Aaron Franklin’s wood of choice, don’t be afraid to experiment with different woods to add unique flavor profiles to your brisket. Just ensure the wood you choose is suitable for smoking.

Fat Side Up or Down: There’s an ongoing debate about whether to place the fat side of the brisket up or down during smoking. Aaron Franklin recommends starting with the fat side down to protect the meat from direct heat, then flipping it halfway through the cooking process to ensure both sides are evenly smoked.

Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t flawless. Barbecue is an art, and like any art form, it takes practice. Each cook teaches you something new, so keep at it.

Resting Time: While resting, you can wrap the brisket in a clean towel and place it in an empty cooler to keep it warm. This method allows you to extend the resting period if needed.

Troubleshooting Common Issues:

Dry Brisket: If your brisket turns out dry, it may have been overcooked. Try lowering the cooking temperature slightly and monitor it more closely next time. Wrapping the brisket in foil or butcher paper sooner can also help retain moisture.

Tough Brisket: Tough brisket often results from undercooking. Make sure to cook it long enough to reach the desired tenderness. You can also extend the resting period to let the juices redistribute.

Inconsistent Bark: If the bark on your brisket is inconsistent, make sure the rub is evenly applied, and consider using a spray to moisten it periodically during the smoking process.

Not Enough Smoke Flavor: If you feel your brisket lacks smoky flavor, you can experiment with different wood types, or you can extend the smoking time before wrapping the brisket.

In the world of barbecue, Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe is legendary for a reason. It combines simplicity with an unwavering commitment to quality and technique. By following the steps outlined in this article, along with the tips and troubleshooting advice, you can embark on a delicious journey to recreate the magic of Franklin Barbecue in your own backyard.

Remember that barbecue is an art, and there’s always room for personalization and adaptation. As you hone your skills and gain experience, you’ll develop your own unique twist on Aaron Franklin’s brisket recipe, making it your signature dish that friends and family will eagerly gather around to enjoy. So, fire up that smoker, embrace the process, and savor every moment of your barbecue adventure. The pursuit of perfect brisket is not just about the end result; it’s about the journey and the memories you create along the way.


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