Smoked Brisket with Citrus Marinade

I had some other recipes lined up to post, but I didn’t expect as much of an overwhelming response when I posted this photo online the other day.  Therefore I made it my priority to get it posted for you as soon as possible.  I was shooting for yesterday but life sometimes has a way of throwing bumps in the road.  No biggie there, smile, throw some positivity into the world and move forward.  I know some of you have been around my site since day one or have read my about me and know that I have been an active duty United States Marine for 11 years.  I had every intention of doing my 20 years and retiring but like I said earlier, life throws some bumps.  Well back in 2005 I sustained some pretty serious injuries to my legs and various other things over the years.  My legs have been slowly diminishing since my initial 4 surgeries and I am no longer able to complete my job like I used to.  I have been started on a Medical Board to determine if I am fit for continued active service and on my doctor’s recommendation I am not.  My life has been about the Marine Corps since I was 17 years old and now I am preparing to venture on a new journey in the near future.  My goals and priorities have shifted to taking care of myself and looking towards the future.  The next few months are going to be stressful and slightly nerving but I know it is nothing that I can not make it through.  I will still be on here (my website) everyday providing the best recipes I can and I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you that continues to support me.

Smoked Brisket

So enough of my life changing sob story and on to the most amazing meat I have ever tasted.  This was the first time I decided to marinade a brisket before smoking it, just to see what it would do.  Well to sum up what it did, I will never make a brisket again unless it is in this exact marinade recipe.  Yes it was THAT good.  I know some of you don’t have smokers which is ok, that is why I put oven instructions as well.  If you do have a grill though, do some google research on how to use your gas or charcoal grill as a smoker because you are really missing out.  I mean look up two inches at the juices flowing in that picture……Worth every hour I just let it sit and smoke.  I hope lots of you enjoy this recipe now and in the future, and please come back and leave me a comment with your thoughts.

4.6 from 14 reviews
Marinated Brisket
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You need to prepare to make this far in advance, you need 90 minutes per pound of your brisket to smoke at 225
Serves: 10
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 4 limes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. Wash your brisket under cold water and pat dry with paper towels
  2. Combine all of your marinade ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir well
  3. Place your brisket in a large resealable ziploc bag or container you can get as much air out as possible. I use 2 gallon ziplocs
  4. Pour your marinade over your brisket, remove as much air as possible, seal the bag and refrigerate for 24 hours
  5. An hour before you plan to start smoking, remove it from the refrigerator, remove it from the marinade and pat dry
  6. Mix your rub ingredients together in a small bowl and generously rub your brisket with as much rub as desired. Ensure before you rub the fat side you score it like a checkerboard to ensure your rub gets to the meat
  7. Preheat your smoker and keep the temperature as close to 225 degrees as possible
  8. Once your smoker is preheated, place your brisket fat side up on the smoker and close the lid. DO NOT OPEN IT FOR ANOTHER 6 hours at least. Everytime you open the lid you add 60 minutes to your cook time and there is no need since we marinated it to stay moist.
  9. I recommend using a meat thermometer that gets left in and you do not open your lid until you take the brisket off when it reaches 185 degrees fahrenheit
  10. Once your brisket is complete, slice against the grain and serve
  1. Follow steps 1-6 above but instead preheat your oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Once your brisket is ready, place it in a large roasting pan, fat side up and cover with aluminum foil
  3. Place in your oven and cook for 1 hour per pound or until a thermometer reaches 185 degrees

 ****Disclosure: If you purchase any of the products linked in this post or products through the links on the right side of my page, I receive a small percentage from the respected affiliate programs****



  1. Thanks for your service to our country. We can’t thank our servicemen and women, and their families, enough for the service you provide. Just bought a big old brisket yesterday and I was searching for something different to try. Will be trying this tonight. But won’t be cooking it until Thursday. Is that too long for the marinade?

  2. Thanks for your service, sorry about what happened. If you don’t like the flavor you get from the Lime/Lemon combination, you can use fresh squeezed oranges/tangerines. I have used a citrus marinade many times over the years, and it has always worked out for me. Thanks for putting up a good recipe :-)

  3. I served this — using a much larger brisket and increasing the marinade and rub to match — to a large group last month. These were folks who know food, and they LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Said it was the best brisket they’d ever eaten. I’m doing it again this weekend — for fifty! Thanks, George! I, too, had never marinated my brisket and thought they were pretty darned good. And they were, but this is BETTER. BTW, it won’t let me give more than three stars, but this is FIVE STARS!

  4. I’m going to be attempting this recipe tomorrow. In the ingredients it says to use an 8 pound brisket (fat cap on), but someone asked in the comments and you replied 4 pounds.

    Which is the correct weight for the meat?

      1. Amazing recipe! Ok , I tasted the marinate, not my best moment, but it gave me an idea whether to add certain ingredients. Love your book used tons of recipes, my family loves to eat and appreciates good,legally healthy food.

  5. This was seriously amazing! I need to work on my smoking techniques but that was no fault of the recipe. The flavor was awesome. I will definitely try this one again!

  6. I adjusted the recipe for a 2.5 lb brisket, but it came out too sour for our taste and not tender (used the oven method). I think I’ll save the lemons for the Corona. ;)

  7. Hi, I had one question since I’m making the brisket for the first time and the brisket as well!I just wanted to know if the peppercorns are put in the marinade as whole or you crushed them before you put them in the marinade?? Please need help!!

  8. I can’t wait to try this recipe! One question though, on the oven directions it says to preheat oven to 275, but at the top of the recipe it says 225. Which one is right?

  9. Okay so I did the marinade and that brisket soaked in it for 24 hours, then I prepared the smoker with apple wood chips which I soaked in water for 30 minutes because that is what the directions said…but when I tried to get the directions for the rub..the site was down :D so I became creative and just threw stuff at the brisket (yes I threw stuff at it) and hoped for the best! It was amazing!!! The marinade was amazing..citrusy and the meat was tender! Thank you!

  10. I looove the way elements from several different recipes joined to create this one! Very creative and the sandwich looks delicious. Made this today, it was truly awesome, thank you for sharing your recipe. I had featured U in the post of Top 7 Mother’s Favorite Grilled Beef on AllFreshRecipes. Except ur refreshing Eats!

  11. Trying this out for the first time today. I can’t wait to try it out. What kind of wood chips did you use in your smoker?

  12. George,

    I left Texas 20 years ago (where I lived for 23 years) and have been searching for a good brisket recipe, since you can’t get good Texas brisket in Chicago ( in my opinion). I’ve tried many recipes over the years without great results, until this one. Fantastic!!

    I was going to make it on Memorial Day, but other things came up, so finally got around to it yesterday. Delicious flavor and tender. Of course mine was only about 3lbs (from US Wellness Meats) and I had to do it in the oven because my smoker is still on my wish list. But I imagine it would come out even more awesome and yummy in the smoker. Thank you so much for ending my quest. Keep up the great work, i really enjoy your blog and recipes. (I never write comments, so this had to be really good for me to do so) :)

  13. Thank you for your service to your country. Best wishes with your new chapter and have faith that all will be well. Take care.

  14. George,

    I’m so exited to have recently discovered you! Thank you for all you do! Your recipes are amazing!
    I’m wondering if you think I could follow this exact recipe and just throw everything in the crock pot?


  15. Thanks for the recipe, this was my first time making brisket and I used your oven method, so easy and yummy!

  16. George,

    First, my and my families sincere thanks and gratitude for your service. My words are not able to express how heartfelt this thanks is, and how very humbled we are by your actions. Thank you.

    Regarding the roast; Since I do not have a smoker, I am going to do the oven method, but I fear I wont get the crust on the outside.

    Have you tried it in the oven, and if so, how can I enusre that the crust happens?

    Thank you,

  17. I made this brisket a week or so ago, and while I liked it, it was a little too spicy for my family’s taste. I don’t know if it’s the paprika or the cumin, but what other kind of rub might I use next time to give good flavor but not so much kick?!


  18. This looks amazing!! I don’t have a grill or smoker but visiting my parents in 2 weeks and they have a smoker and they want to be introduced to the paleo way, I will definitely be giving this a go when I’m visiting!!!
    And of course, Thank you for your service! I’m active duty myself and can relate to nasty injuries. Push forward as you have an amazing future a head of you!

  19. George-
    We made this for Christmas. It was good. We did it in the oven, but my sister didn’t have a proper roasting pan, so it sat in its juices. so- texture was different from what you wrote about, but still great. Flavor was amazing. Looking forward to making another one!! Thank you

  20. We made this for a belated Christmas dinner. It was delish! I took leftovers to work, and people were following me, sniffing the air. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try it again!

  21. I am a relative newcomer to your blog, but I am a huge fan already. I made this brisket for my family’s Christmas dinner, and it was a huge hit! Sooo amazing! Thank you for the oven instructions, as I don’t own a smoker (sad story, I know). Happy holidays, and thank you again for making ours a bit yummier!

  22. Cannot wait to try this, George. See I got it right this time. I finally have holiday break going on for me now, so I get to have plenty of time to make some recipe and try some of yours. So very very excited! I’m thinking a good 24 hour marinade will do me good. And I’m sorry to learn that you have injuries in your legs. Do you know how long the recovery might be? I bet you’ll be back to normal in no time. I have to get surgery on my elbow soon I think. Doctor said something about how a former fracture caused the bone to grow slightly over the nerve so now I cant feel anything in half of my left hand and its becoming more difficult for me to use two of my fingers (pinky and ring) in my left hand so that should be fun to fix. But not really. Anyways, keep on rocking George!

      1. Oh my god. I’m so sorry George. I cannot imagine how difficult that must be. You’re so inspiring, and you still have an incredible future so you should look forward to that. I know you have the perseverance to still be able to work around that. And please whatever you do, don’t let it get you down because you have so much force in your path and future. You can do it all no matter what.

  23. George, you are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for your service to our country. I firmly believe the Universe has something planned for you and I, for one, am excited to see where your journey takes you! Semper Fi, Marine!

  24. Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice all those years! You have such an awesome attitude and it can be very exciting exploring the new opportunties to come! I hope everything works out well for you and that your health issues improve.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe too! It looks so good and I can’t wait to try it while the kids are on break!

  25. George,
    As the daughter of a serviceman (Naval officer), the sister of an ex-Marine, and the widow of a Viet vet, I can tell you that life continues and can be good after being in the military. In important ways you will always be a Marine. Thank you for your work, both here on the site and on the job

  26. Hi George – so sorry to hear you’re up for a medical discharge. Like you said in your post – 1 door closes, 3 doors open – I’m sure there are fantastic things in your future. Caveman eating can only help you get and stay as healthy as your injuries will allow. Going to go buy your e-book now!

    Love and best wishes from far away New Zealand

  27. I’m a great believer that everything happens for a reason. Try not to stress too much, and see where life takes you. Remember: ‘Just when the caterpillar thought his world was over, he turned into a butterfly’. x

  28. Oh, George, I’ll be praying for you. I remember when my sweetie left active duty, with 3 kids and 2600 miles from a new home and job. Ya we were scared spit less, but it turned out well. I have every confidence you will do better than good.Thank you for stand guard over us. Oh and keep these recipes coming so that we can all say “we knew you when” Merry Christmas from Tehachapi

      1. We are your neighbor to the north. Actually, Tehachapi is in Kern County. We are in a valley in the mountains between the Mojave Desert ( Edwards AFB) and Bakersfield, in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. We have 4 real seasons a year and are known, at least in our minds, for our apple orchards, Alpacas, ostrich farms and organic farming. If fact we may get snow this weekend. As we say “holy smokes it was 22 degrees last night!” It is remote here but quite with mountains surrounds us. The only criminals we have are the little Bambi’s who raid our gardens. We are a county of ranches and oil fields with Air Fore and Navy bases, oh and CC You’ll are welcome anytime.

  29. I am going to Whole Foods today, I saw brisket on sale at my location yesterday and thought, hmmm, what could I do with Brisket, well thanks to you I have a really yummy recipe!!!
    Thank you George and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year! Thank you for everything you have done!!

  30. Thank you so much for your service, and your sacrifice! You have earned a rest and I know great things are just around the corner for you. Keep on sharing your journey!!!

    Can’t wait to try a little Christmas brikset this weekend :)

  31. That looks absolutely incredible! I’m not usually a fan of smoked foods, but brisket is definitely an exception and is one I like to enjoy every now and again. I’m pretty sure I could eat this every day of my life and be completely content. Droool.

  32. George,
    This recipe sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing it with us! But more importantly, thanks for sharing your life with us. I have a close friend who’s husband is a Marine. I’m always amazed at the intensity and whole-heartedness the Corps puts into their service, their fellow Marines, their family and the country, and I’m sure leaving that behind is not something that’s going to be easy. Best wishes to you as you make the transition into this next chapter of your life :)


  33. I wish you the best George. I love your recipes (this one looks crazy good) and am so grateful that you post them for all of us to enjoy! Keep taking care of yourself and staying positive. I believe that good things can come from adversity. As MaryAnn said above, don’t lose sight of your awesomeness! Perfect sentiment! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and amazing 2013, surrounded by the love of your family and friends.

  34. George look into this stuff maybe it can help you, this guy is rough around the edges but he knowes what hes talking about and his products work we use this one for use and our yellow lab who was showing signs of a shoulder or elbow problem. My wife was very Skeptical about it and was living the the pain of Tendonitis one day she finally gave in and started taking them, no more pain.

  35. Hi George – I thank you for your service. I’m sure you have many transferable skills, and managing this site, publishing a cookbook, etc., all will add to your marketability when you enter the civilian work force. Make sure you take advantage of all of the employment training services offered to veterans (have to plug, since my husband works on these programs!)

  36. Thank you for you service! Everything happens for a reason. Your purpose has not really changed, as much as it has just shifted. You are still doing a great service of helping people obtain and maintain a healthy life.
    This recipe looks amazing! I will be trying this one.
    Thanks again for all you do. :)

  37. Not enough people have the balls to join the military anymore. So many people focus on the politics and forget that the military is not made of drones but men and women with families and stories of their own. Thank you for your service, thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing how the rest of your story unfolds!


    PS This brisket sounds fierce. I almost always make it the same way (bbq rub or ras el hanout) this sounds great!

  38. Thank you for this site, your positivity, and your heart to want to serve this country. I know that you will carry those with you wherever and whatever you do. Good luck to your future!

    I’m totally Googling how to make my grill a smoker. I cannot believe how delicious this looks!! It’s on my to do list.

  39. Your dedication to helping others and “paying it forward is amazing.” I am sure this change in life plans will result in an opportunity to continue to help others. Keep up the good work, you have done a lot for your country and for people everywhere.

  40. You’ve DONE great things! You DO great things! I will keep DOING great things :) I only know one thing for a fact in this life and it’s that it really is 100% about attitude! Just don’t lose site of your awesomeness :)

  41. I am so sorry to hear about your injuries. The most helpful thing I’ve heard in a heartbreaking/utterly disaappointing moment is that “sometimes good presents come in bad wrapping.”
    Take care of yourself & keep your chin up xo

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