The Franklin Brisket Recipes

One of the more famous brisket cooks around today is Aaron Franklin. Chances are you have seen him on television or read about his restaurant where people stand in line for hours to try his brisket.

Aaron is pretty open with how he smokes briskets and has shared a nice collection of instructional videos.

Below are five Franklin brisket videos. The first three are part of a series while the last two stand on their own.

Aaron covers two ways of trimming, dry rubs, fire management and wrapping methodologies. Actually he covers a whole lot more than that but I figured you would pick that up by watching.

Enjoy the videos. I hope you pick up a few tricks.

Part One of Three: The Brisket

The “meat” of the first video is Aaron showing you how he trims and seasons a full packer brisket. Aaron is going to cook this Texas Style so the rub is pretty simple and he abuses the point since he wont be making burnt ends.

Part Two of Three: The Cook

Aaron starts smoking the brisket in a standard backyard offset smoker.He spends some time talking about how long you should expect a brisket to take as well as the importance of fire management and burning a clean fire.

He also goes into the benefits of spritzing over mopping as well as why you might want to wrap your brisket.

Part Three of Three: The Payoff

This video starts about six hours into the cook. Aaron talks some more about why you might want to wrap your brisket and then shows how he wraps using butcher paper.

Aaron talks about how to feel for doneness, rests the brisket and slices it up.

While the brisket is cooking Aaron shares a recipe for a pretty nice barbecue sauce even though he isn’t a fan of sauce on brisket. I have put the sauce recipe below the video.

The brisket barbecue sauce

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cups of ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup, please)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from half a lemon

Melt the butter in a stainless steel pan and then saute the onions until translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.

The Wrap Test

Here is a YouTube clip from a longer episode Aaron did where he compares wrapping a brisket in aluminum foil, wrapping a brisket in butcher paper and not wrapping the brisket at all.

This clip shows five minute of the final taste test results. If you want to watch the full 30 minute video from start to finish here is the link.

How to Trim a Competition Brisket

This is a 20 minute clip from a class Aaron taught for Texas A&M University’s Brisket Camp. The video shows how he would trim a brisket for a KCBS competition. The technique is pretty different than how he trims briskets for his restaurant.

Championship Rib Recipes By Five Barbecue Legends

These barbecue legends have so many World Championships under their belts it will make your head spin. Here is who you will be learning from along with a FEW of their World Championship credentials.

  • Myron Mixon: Three time Grand Champion at Memphis in May
  • Tuffy Stone: Two time Grand Champion at The Jack Daniels Invitational
  • Mike Mills: Three time Grand Champion at Memphis in May
  • Chris Lilly: Three time Grand Champion at Memphis in May
  • Melissa Cookston: Two time Grand Champion at Memphis in May

If you want to replicate any of these ribs at home do not get hung up over EXACT time and temperatures. The heat and air flow dynamics inside of these folk’s big smokers is nothing like what is happening inside most smokers used in everyone’s backyard.

Use this guide as a starting point but don’t be afraid to use some common sense and make adjustments for your particular smoker.

Let’s Get Started!

Myron Mixon Championship Baby Back Ribs
Myron smokes baby back ribs for Memphis in May competitions and switches over to St Louis spares for Kansas City Barbecue Society events.

For both types of contests Myron is simply cooking the type of ribs that the judges expect. The main difference between how Myron cooks spare ribs and baby back ribs is the temperature of his pit.

Baby back ribs get smoked at 250F while St Louis spares get smoked at 275F.

The St Louis spares get smoked at a higher temperature as they have a higher fat content than baby back ribs. The higher heat helps the fat render from the St Louis ribs.

Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs and trimming off any excess fat. Combine the following marinade ingredients:

  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 1cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 1-ounce packets dry ranch dressing mix

Place the ribs in an aluminum pan and cover with the marinade. Wrap the pan in aluminum foil and refrigerate for four hours.

After four hours remove the ribs from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel then season them with the dry rub. Combine the following ingredients:

Myron Mixon Rib Rub

  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Apply the rub to the top, back and sides of the ribs. Let the ribs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes as the rub works its way into the ribs.

As soon as the ribs have been coated with rub you need to make sure your smoker is at the right temperature; 250F for baby backs and 275F for spares.

Myron likes to use peach wood for ribs.

Myron does not place the ribs directly onto the grate of the smoker. Myron places the ribs, bone side down, in an aluminum foil pan and places the pan in the smoker.

Myron cooks EVERYT HING in pans. I think this is a trick he uses to keep his smoker clean.

Myron lets the ribs smoke uncovered in the pan for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes he starts spraying the ribs with the following:

Myron Mixon Rib Spritz

  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid imitation butter

The ribs get spritzed at the 30 minute mark and every 15 minutes thereafter until the ribs have been smoked for two hours.

After the ribs have smoked for two hours remove the pan from the smoker.

Pour one cup of apple juice into the pan and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place the foil covered pan back on the smoker for one hour.

While the ribs are cooking in the foil you will have time to prepare the sauce for the ribs. This is what Myron calls his Hog Glaze.

Start by making a vinegar sauce. Combine the following ingredients and warm (but don’t boil) until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Myron Mixon Basic Vinegar Sauce

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup sugar

To finish making the Hog Glaze take two cups of the vinegar sauce and combine it with two 18 ounce jars of apple jelly and two cups of light corn syrup.

After the ribs have cooked in the foil for one hour remove them from the smoker and transfer them to a clean aluminum pan.

Brush both sides of the ribs with the Hog Glaze and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the covered pan back on the smoker for 30 minutes while the sauce sets.

Myron says he shuts off the heat to the smoker in this last step. He uses some big smokers so even when it shuts it down there will still be plenty of residual heat left over to cook the ribs some more.

After the sauce sets and the ribs are at the tenderness he wants Myron pulls them from the pit and sends them to the judges!

Myron has given bits and pieces of this technique in multiple locations. Here are the sources I used for Myron’s rib recipe:

  • Good Morning America
  • Epicurious
  • BBQ Brethren
  • Fox News

Mike Mills Championship Baby Back Ribs

Mike cooks his ribs at 210 to 225 degrees and uses Royal Oak lump charcoal with apple wood for smoke. Over the course of six hours Mike uses about four cups of apple wood.

Mike cooks baby back ribs that have had the membrane removed. When you are shopping for the ribs make sure the rack weighs more than two pounds. Smaller ribs dry out too easily.

Mike dusts his ribs with his dry rub and likes to let them sit overnight.

The Rib Rub (Magic Dust)

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne

The ribs get added to the smoker bone side down and are cooked for six to seven hours until he gets the desired tenderness.

Mike sprays the ribs with apple juice about every thirty minutes while they are cooking. At no point do the ribs get wrapped in aluminum foil.

Mike mentions that several times during the cooking process the ribs will “open up” and start to
sweat. When the ribs are sweating they can take up extra flavor so that is the time to hit them with a little more Magic Dust.

About 10 minutes before the ribs are ready to come off the pit he bastes them with his barbecue sauce.

Mike Mills BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup Hunt’s ketchup
  • 2/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice  or cider
  • 1/4 cup apple  cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup bacon bits, ground in a spice grinder
  • 1/3 cup peeled and grated apple
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 2 teaspoons grated green bell pepper

Combine the ketchup, rice vinegar, apple juice or cider, cider vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, garlic powder, white pepper, cayenne, and bacon bits in a large saucepan. Bring  to a boil  over medium-high heat. Stir in the apple, onion, and bell pepper.

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes or until it thickens slightly. This summary comes from Mike’s appearance on Good Morning America.

The recipe and technique also appear in his great book, Peace, Love, & Barbecue. If you are serious about barbecue then Mike’s book needs to be in your house.

A word of caution. There is a product on Amazon that is being marketed as Mike Mills’ Magic  Dust. Based on the reviews  and the  product label  I do not believe  the product is  the actual recipe  given above.

Tuffy Stone Championship St Louis Ribs

Tuffy uses the 3-2-1 method (3 hours in smoke, 2 hours in foil, 1 hour setting the glaze) for ribs. This recipe is designed for KCBS contests and uses  St Louis  style spare ribs.  The dry rub, sauce and technique were published in the June/July 2011 issue of Saveur magazine.

Tuffy brushes his ribs with a light coating of oil, applies the dry rub and lets them sit for an hour.

Tuffy’s Rib Rub:

  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 onion powder
  • 1 garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper

The ribs go into the cooker bone side down at a temperature between 225 and 275 with some apple wood providing the smoke.

About every thirty minutes the ribs get  spritzed  with  apple  juice  while  they  cook for  three  hours. After three hours the ribs are removed from the grill, placed on foil and coated with butter, honey and sugar.

The ribs are wrapped up and put back on the smoker, bone  side down, for  another  two hours. After two hours the ribs are removed from the foil and cooked directly on the grate. The ribs are allowed to cook for another 30 minutes and then are brushed with Tuffy’s rib sauce.

Tuffy’s Rib Sauce

  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 onion powder
  • 1 garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 cayenne
  • 1⁄2 ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup apple juice
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⁄4 cup light brown sugar

After about another thirty minutes the glaze has set and the ribs are done.

One of Tuffy’s tips to folks starting out is that most rookies tend to over  smoke their  meat.  I  know that this described my initial attempts at ribs. If you  are just starting  out you might  want to cut back  on your wood a little.

Chris Lilly Championship Baby Back Ribs

This is a Memphis in May technique using baby back ribs. The description below was taken from a Food Network show, “ Southern Foods: Memphis in May” Episode CL 9699. The episode is a little bizarre in that they have him cooking ribs in  an oven  but the technique  would be identical  in  a smoker.

Chris gives his ribs a heavy coating of dry rub front and back. Here is his dry rub recipe.

The Rib Rub:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/3 cup garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons onion salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

The ribs are cooked bone side down at 250 degrees for a little over two hours.

At what Chris calls the “second stage” the ribs are placed  in  foil,  meat side  down,  with  ½ cup of apple juice and ½ cup of grape juice. The ribs are tightly foiled and cooked meat side  down  for one hour.

By cooking meat side down Chris is letting the meat braise directly in the sweet liquid.

After the ribs have braised with the fruit juices they are removed from the foil and given a second coating of dry rub.

In this “third stage” the dry rub consists of three parts of the original dry rub combined with one part brown sugar. The ribs get a medium  coat of  the new dry rub on the meat  side and  are cooked bone side down for another thirty minutes.

In the “fourth stage” the ribs are glazed with a mix of 3 parts Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce and one part honey.

The temperature of the cooker is raised to a little over 300 degrees to help the glaze set.  After about thirty minutes the ribs are done.

I don’t have a recipe for the Big Bob Gibson Championship Red Sauce but it is available on Amazon.

Melissa Cookston Championship Baby Back Ribs

After Melissa takes the membrane off the back of the ribs she applies the first layer of seasoning. Melissa adds about a tablespoon of ULTIMATE rub followed  by a tablespoon  of yellow  mustard. She uses the mustard to spread the rub out and help it adhere to the ribs. She does this for both the front and back of the ribs.

Melissa Cookston BASIC Rub:

  • 1 cup turbinado sugar, ground
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

Melissa  Cookston ULTIMATE   Rub:

  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 5 cups Basic BBQ Rub
  • ¼ cup light chili powder
  • ¼ cup granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne

Melissa likes to wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and let them sit in  the  refrigerator  overnight.  The next day, before the ribs go on the smoker, Melissa applies a second round of dry rub and mustard.

Melissa smokes the ribs with apple and cherry wood for two hours at 225F.

After two hours she takes the ribs out of the smoker and adjusts the temperature of her pit  to 250F. When the ribs are out of the smoker  she applies  a THIRD  application  of  mustard and  dry rub. She then adds honey and turbinado sugar to the top of the ribs and puts them, meat side UP, in  aluminum  foil.

Melissa adds about a quarter cup of purple grape juice into  the bottom  of the foil  and loosely  wraps the ribs. She makes sure the ribs are not tightly wrapped because she wants  steam  to be  able  to escape.

The foiled ribs go back onto the smoker at 250F for another two hours.

After two hours Melissa removes the ribs from the foil, applies her barbecue sauce and puts  them back on the smoker for another 15 minutes to let the sauce set.

Melissa Cookston Barbecue Sauce

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup finely diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup Basic BBQ Rub (see above) or Ultimate BBQ Rub (see above)

Melissa’s technique was provided at several different sources as follows:

  • Serious eats
  • OC Barbecue
  • Fox News