How to Cook Brisket on A Charcoal Grill?

20 minutes read

Cooking brisket on a charcoal grill is a popular method that results in tender and flavorful meat. Here's how to do it:

  1. Prepare the Brisket: Start by trimming the excess fat from the brisket, leaving a thin layer on top for flavor. Rinse the meat under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Season the Brisket: Generously season the brisket with your desired rub or seasoning mix. You can use a pre-made one or create your own blend using a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and other spices.
  3. Start the Charcoal Grill: Place a chimney starter full of charcoal on the bottom grate of your grill. Light charcoal using newspaper or firelighters at the bottom. Let the charcoal burn until the top coals are glowing with a white-ash appearance.
  4. Set Up for Indirect Heat: Once the coals are ready, bank them to one side of the grill. Place an aluminum drip pan filled with water on the opposite side to catch drippings and maintain moisture.
  5. Preheat the Grill: Place the cooking grate on top of the grill and let it preheat for about 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. This will help prevent the brisket from sticking and promote even cooking.
  6. Cooking the Brisket: Place the seasoned brisket on the cooking grate, directly above the drip pan. Position the meat with the fatty side up. Close the lid and adjust the vents to maintain a consistent temperature between 225-250°F (107-121°C).
  7. Monitoring the Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. The target temperature should be around 195-205°F (90-96°C) for optimal tenderness.
  8. Maintaining the Heat: Regularly check the grill's temperature and adjust the vents as needed to maintain the desired range. Add a handful of charcoal every hour or as required to keep the fire going.
  9. Cooking Time: Brisket usually takes 1.5-2 hours per pound. However, cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the meat, as well as the desired tenderness.
  10. Resting Period: Once the brisket reaches the target temperature, remove it from the grill and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
  11. Slicing and Serving: Use a sharp knife to slice the brisket against the grain in thin slices. Serve it with your favorite barbecue sauce, pickles, and sides like coleslaw or cornbread.


Cooking brisket on a charcoal grill requires patience and attention to detail, but the delicious results are worth the effort. Enjoy your grilled brisket!

Best Charcoal Grills of May 2024

1
Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker with Cover, 811 Square Inches, Black, Outdoor Camping

Rating is 5 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker with Cover, 811 Square Inches, Black, Outdoor Camping

  • 811 Square Inches: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Tasty Smoke Flavors: The offset smoker is firmly attached to grill to ensure good circulation of heat and smoke. Easy to open side door to add charcoal and remove ashes; air vent stokes fire instantly.
  • Adjustable Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check and monitor the cooking temperature and you can cook with great confidence.
  • Grill Cover Included: Made of heavy-duty fabric, the cover protects your grill from elements and withstands the harshest weather.
  • Ample Space: Front and side tables offer workspace for seasonings and grilling tools. The bottom shelf provides extra storage space and holds up to only 20 lb. accessories when they are evenly distributed.
2
Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

  • Stay true to the modern version of the kettle that started it all—the Original Kettle, invented by Weber’s founder, and loved around the world. Its ultra-durable, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, while the damperseasily adjust for precise temperature control. With a One-Touch cleaning system for easy cleanup after a long day of grilling, the Original Kettle will always be the grill built for everyone
  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle-free ash cleanup.Removable, aluminum ash catcher
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl Retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • 3D interactive assembly instructions for this product are available through the free BILT app.
3
Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black

  • CHARCOAL GRILL - Barrel style BBQ Grill with heavy duty steel construction and powder coating finish, the perfect grilling solution for small decks, backyards, and patios
  • LARGE COOKING AREA - 250 square inch total cooking area delivers exceptional taste and charcoal flavor
  • BARBECUE GRILL FEATURES - Thick Cast Iron Cooking Grates, Bottom Storage Rack, Heavy-Duty Steel Construction, Side Air Vent, Stay Cool Wood Handle, Wheels for Easy Mobility, and Side Shelf Workstation with Barbecue Tool Storage Hooks
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE & CLEAN - Assembles easily and quickly cleans up after use with the Easy Dump Ash Pan
4
Royal Gourmet CC1830 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

  • 627 Smoking Space: 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates with 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack offer enough space to cook.
  • Heat Control: Close the side air vent completely that cuts off the oxygen flow to help extinguish coals and adjust the smoke stack for extra heat control.
  • Adjustable Fire Grates: 2-level height-adjustable fire pan ensures more controlled cooking and holds up to 6 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check heat fluctuations for confident grilling.
5
Royal Gourmet CD1824M 24-Inch Charcoal Grill, BBQ Smoker with Handle and Folding Table, Perfect for Outdoor Patio, Garden and Backyard Grilling, Black, Medium

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CD1824M 24-Inch Charcoal Grill, BBQ Smoker with Handle and Folding Table, Perfect for Outdoor Patio, Garden and Backyard Grilling, Black, Medium

  • Spacious Cooking Area: 384 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates and 106 sq. in. stainless steel warming rack provide a total of 490 sq. in. cooking space respectively, serving up to 10 people.
  • Height-adjustable Charcoal Pan: The crank handle controls the distance between the charcoal pan and food for fine-tuning temperature and regulating heat. The charcoal pan holds charcoal up to 4.5 lb. for each use.
  • Convenient Access Door: Front charcoal access door with heat-resistant spring handle provides more convenience for adding charcoal and controls heat loss to a minimum during cooking.
  • Built-in Thermometer Gauge: The lid-mounted thermometer indicates the temperature changes precisely in real-time.
  • Air Flow: Two adjustable air vents control air circulation to enhance sufficient burning of charcoal for efficient smoking.
6
Royal Gourmet Barrel Charcoal Grill with Front Storage Basket, Backyard BBQ Party and Outdoor Cooking Grill on Clearance Prime with Wheels, Black, CC1830T

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

Royal Gourmet Barrel Charcoal Grill with Front Storage Basket, Backyard BBQ Party and Outdoor Cooking Grill on Clearance Prime with Wheels, Black, CC1830T

  • Additional Cooking Options: The charcoal grill can meet your versatile cooking demands by slow smoking or grilling ribs, veggies, lobster tails, or other preferred ingredients.
  • Ample Cooking Area: To accommodate 23 hamburgers at once, there are 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates and a 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack as a secondary heating area.
  • Impressive Storage: Store seasonings in the front basket, hang some cooking utensils on the integrated hooks, place plates and other food on the side tables, and meanwhile put your charcoal on the bottom storage shelf.
  • Adjustable Charcoal Pan: Easily control the distance between food and fire with the lifting handle to regulate cooking temperature, which also saves fuel in the meantime.
  • Heat Control: Customize your desired temperature by twisting the air damper and smoke stack, thus getting the best cooking results.
7
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer. Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
  • One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling
8
Royal Gourmet CC1830S 30" BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker | 811 Square Inch cooking surface, Outdoor for Camping | Black

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830S 30" BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker | 811 Square Inch cooking surface, Outdoor for Camping | Black

  • 811 Square Inches: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Tasty Smoke Flavors: The offset smoker is firmly attached to grill to ensure good circulation of heat and smoke. Easy to open side door to add charcoal and remove ashes; air vent stokes fire instantly.
  • Adjustable Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lbs. of coal.
  • Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check and monitor the cooking temperature and you can cook with great confidence.
9
Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D X-Large Premium Dual Chamber Charcoal Grill

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D X-Large Premium Dual Chamber Charcoal Grill

  • Removable firebox divider for single or dual cooking zone
  • Primary cooking area is 576 square inches
  • Secondary cooking area is 240 square inches
10
Royal Gourmet CC1830W 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

Rating is 4.1 out of 5

Royal Gourmet CC1830W 30 Barrel Charcoal Grill with Side Table, 627 Square Inches, Outdoor Backyard, Patio and Parties, Black

  • Spacious Cooking Area: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated steel wire warming rack, and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
  • Offset Smoker: Use the side fire box to get tasty and authentic smoky flavors in the main chamber. Smoking, grilling, or searing all will be your choices.
  • Adjustable Charcoal Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan ensures better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lb. of coal.


How often should I flip or rotate the brisket while grilling?

When grilling a brisket, it is best to minimize the number of times you flip or rotate it to ensure even cooking and prevent the meat from drying out. It is generally recommended to flip or rotate the brisket only once during the cooking process. This should be done about halfway through the estimated cooking time, which is usually around 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the brisket and the cooking temperature. It is important to note that every grill and brisket can vary, so it's always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to determine the optimal cooking time and ensure the brisket reaches the desired internal temperature.


How do I create a two-zone fire on a charcoal grill for cooking brisket?

To create a two-zone fire on a charcoal grill for cooking brisket, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the charcoal: Fill a charcoal chimney with briquettes or lump charcoal. The amount varies depending on the size of your grill and the length of the cooking time needed for the brisket.
  2. Light the charcoal: Place a few sheets of crumpled newspaper or fire starters in the bottom of the charcoal chimney and light them. Let the charcoal burn until it develops a layer of ash on top, usually around 15-20 minutes.
  3. Arrange the charcoal: Once the charcoal is ready, carefully pour it onto one side of the grill only. Create a pile, sloping up towards one side to create a high heat zone and a low heat zone.
  4. Add a water pan: Place a large disposable aluminum pan or a metal pan filled with water directly on the charcoal grate, on the side opposite to the hot coals. This will help maintain a moist cooking environment and also act as a heat sink to stabilize temperature.
  5. Preheat the grill: Place the cooking grate on top of the grill and close the lid. Allow the grill to preheat for about 10-15 minutes, until the temperature reaches the desired range for brisket cooking (between 225-250°F or 107-121°C).
  6. Adjust the vents: Adjust the bottom and top vents of the grill to regulate airflow and control the temperature. For a two-zone fire, keep the vents on the side with the charcoal partially closed to maintain a lower temperature, while keeping the vents on the side without charcoal open for better airflow.
  7. Place the brisket: Carefully place the seasoned brisket on the cooking grate, directly over the water pan and the cooler side of the grill. This will allow the brisket to cook slowly through indirect heat.
  8. Monitor the temperature: Use a reliable meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the brisket. The sweet spot is often around 195-205°F (91-96°C) for a tender and juicy brisket. Remember to insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.
  9. Adjust the charcoal as needed: Depending on the duration of the cooking process, you may need to add additional lit charcoal to the hot zone. This can help maintain the desired temperature throughout the cooking time.
  10. Maintain the fire: Keep an eye on the grill, adjusting and replenishing charcoal as necessary. Also, ensure that the water pan remains filled with water to create a moist cooking environment.


With this two-zone fire setup, you can achieve the ideal conditions for slow-cooking a brisket, where the direct heat sears the meat initially, then the indirect heat gently cooks it over a longer period, resulting in a tender and flavorful final product.


What is the difference between direct and indirect grilling methods for brisket?

The main difference between direct and indirect grilling methods for brisket lies in the cooking technique and heat source.

  1. Direct Grilling: Direct grilling involves placing the brisket directly above the heat source, usually charcoal or gas burners. This method provides high and direct heat, which quickly sears the exterior of the meat, creating a crust or char. However, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. Direct grilling is suitable for smaller cuts of brisket or when a quick cooking method is desired.
  2. Indirect Grilling: Indirect grilling, also known as slow or low-and-slow cooking, involves placing the brisket away from the heat source, allowing it to cook slowly over a longer period. This method utilizes indirect heat, usually achieved by placing charcoal or burners on one side of the grill and the meat on the opposite side. The heat circulates around the brisket, cooking it evenly and slowly, resulting in tender and juicy meat. Indirect grilling is ideal for larger cuts of brisket that require longer cooking times to break down the tough connective tissues and render the fat properly.


Overall, direct grilling is faster but may not yield as tender results, while indirect grilling requires more time but produces a more tender and flavorful brisket. The choice between the two methods depends on personal preferences, available time, and desired outcome.


Should I baste the brisket with a sauce while it's cooking on the charcoal grill?

Basting a brisket with sauce while it's cooking on a charcoal grill is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to baste the brisket to enhance its flavor and add moisture, while others prefer not to baste and let the natural flavors of the meat shine through. If you choose to baste, it is recommended to do so in the later stages of cooking to avoid burnt or charred sauce. Ultimately, the decision depends on your desired taste and cooking style.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Telegram Whatsapp Pocket

Related Posts:

To keep a charcoal grill going for hours, it is important to properly manage the charcoal, airflow, and heat. Here are some tips:Start with the right amount of charcoal: Depending on the size of your grill and cooking needs, start by arranging a double layer o...
Cooking on a charcoal grill is a popular and time-honored method of outdoor cooking. It is favored by many grill enthusiasts for the smoky flavor it imparts to the food. While using a charcoal grill can seem intimidating at first, with a little practice and kn...
When it comes to cooking chicken on a charcoal grill, the process can be quite simple if you follow a few key steps. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:Prepare the charcoal grill: Start by setting up your charcoal grill for indirect grilling. This...
Cleaning a charcoal grill before cooking is essential to remove any residual food particles, grease, and debris that may have accumulated during previous grilling sessions. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean a charcoal grill:Allow the grill to coo...
To cook chicken breast on a charcoal grill, follow these steps:Prepare the grill: Set up your charcoal grill for direct cooking by arranging the charcoal on one side of the grill. Place a chimney starter filled with charcoal on the bottom grate and light it. A...
To cook chicken on a charcoal grill, follow these steps:Prepare the grill: Start by cleaning the grill grates thoroughly and then preheat the charcoal grill. Open the bottom dampers to allow air to flow and ignite the charcoal. Let the coals burn until they ar...