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Cheat’s Texas brisket with coleslaw and barbecue sauce

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for cheat’s Texas brisket with coleslaw and barbecue sauce.

By Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 9 hrs cooking plus soaking, curing
  • Serves 10
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Cheat’s Texas brisket with coleslaw and barbecue sauce
This shorthand way of making Texas brisket avoids spending 12 hours cooking over coals: the cooking process starts in the oven, then moves to the smoker to finish off. You'll need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
Smoking tips
When smoking inside, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated, with the extractor fan on high and any windows open, to avoid triggering smoke alarms.
A well-sealed vessel is essential for smoking. Use two baking trays of exactly the same size, and seal the join with long strips of foil, crimping the edges tightly.
If you are using regular baking trays to smoke, line the base and sides of each one with several layers of foil. This will make them easier to clean and minimise tainting.
Alternatively, disposable aluminium trays are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Opt for the sturdier ones for ease of handling.
Be precise with your timing, including the amount of time you stand the smoking vessel before you uncover it. Any greater length of time could result in an acrid, unpleasant flavour. We suggest taking the trays outside when uncovering them.
Make sure your woodchips are dry and dense to begin with. Each variety imparts a different flavour, so try experimenting with different ones to find your favourite.
The recipes we've produced here all use a hot-smoking method, where a direct heat source is used. The other method used by some manufacturers of smoked products is cold smoking, where the smoke is created in a chamber separate from the product to be smoked. In this case, the lower the temperature while smoking for a longer period of time, the more smoke flavour will be imparted.
Kettle-style barbecues (such as those made by Weber) are excellent for smoking as you can use them outside and they have a small compact chamber. If you're using any other type of barbecue, check the manufacturer's instructions before building a fire base.


  • 1 tbsp ground chilli
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 kg piece beef brisket with a thick layer of fat
  • 360 gm mesquite or hickory woodchips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, drained (about 6 cups)
  • To serve: soft white rolls and coleslaw
Barbecue sauce
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 60 ml vegetable oil (¼ cup)
  • 250 ml tomato sauce (1 cup)
  • 80 gm brown sugar, or to taste
  • 80 ml cider vinegar, or to taste (1/3 cup)
  • 60 ml Worcestershire sauce (¼ cup)
  • 60 ml lemon juice (¼ cup)
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp hot American mustard


  • 1
    Combine spices and sugar with 1 tbsp sea salt flakes in a bowl, season generously with freshly ground black pepper, then rub well into brisket. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to cure (6 hours-overnight).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 150C. Place brisket, fat-side up, on an oiled wire rack in a large roasting pan. Add 500ml water to pan, cover tightly with foil and roast for 5 hours. Transfer brisket to a clean roasting pan, fat-side up.
  • 3
    Preheat a coal-bedded barbecue to low heat and set up for indirect grilling (see note). Place pan with brisket in centre. Add one-quarter of woodchips, half on each side of barbecue, cover and smoke, basting meat occasionally with pan juices, until brisket is tender enough to shred with your fingers (3-4 hours; add more coals and woodchips to barbecue every hour).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for barbecue sauce, process onion, chilli and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion mixture and sauté until very tender (8-10 minutes), add remaining ingredients and 250ml water and simmer until thick and well flavoured (12-15 minutes). Season generously and adjust vinegar and sugar to taste, then transfer to sterile bottles. Makes 600ml. Sauce will keep refrigerated for 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • 5
    Coarsely shred brisket and serve warm with soft rolls, coleslaw and barbecue sauce.


Note Indirect grilling is cooking away from the heat, using the top rack. It's important to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding woodchips. Refer to your barbecue manual for instructions.
Drink Suggestion: The biggest, blackest red wine you can get your hands on. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • undefined: Emma Knowles & Lisa Featherby