How Lockhart Smokehouse Smokes its Brisket

Categories: Barbecue

Lockhart Smokehouse
Damian Avila, pitmaster at Lockhart Smokehouse, smokes delicious meats and tells us how he does it.
In a new series we're calling Shigging, we'll be asking pitmasters to give us some specifics about how they smoke their meats.

If you're unfamiliar with the term "shigging," here's our definition: An attempt to steal secrets from a barbecue badass in order to make your own barbecue better. Some people try to sneakily shig. They creep up to the wood pile and try to figure out whether it's oak or mesquite. They lean over the pitmaster's shoulder as he sprinkles the rub. They offer the pitmaster a beer and then ask how many pounds his average brisket weighs. And much, much worse.

We won't be sneaky about our shigging -- we're going to be obnoxiously upfront and direct about it. And if you've ever been obnoxiously upfront and direct about trying to steal secrets from someone, you know that one or two of the answers they give you back are probably a little bit of a stretch from the truth.

Which is why, in our interviews, we have asked our pitmasters to answer honestly for every question -- except for one. So, every time we ask these questions, we'll get truthful answers for every question, plus one answer that's a lie. We won't tell you which one is a lie, you'll have to figure that out for yourselves.

This week, we're starting with Damian Avila, pitmaster and General Manager at Lockhart Smokehouse in Bishop Arts. And we're starting by asking everyone about the most holy of all smoked Texas meats: brisket.

Lockhart Smokehouse + Alice Laussade
Avila's answers to our questions were short and sweet. Just how we like 'em.

What's the name of your smoker?
Firehouse 44

What kind of smoker is it?

How old is Firehouse 44?
3 1/2 to 4 years

What kind of capacity does she have?
35 briskets (about 600 pounds)

At what temperature do you cook your briskets?

For how long do you cook them?
14 to 16 hours

Do you have a complicated rub, or do you keep it simple?
Mostly simple

What's in your rub?
Salt, Pepper, Shark Tears

For how long do you let your brisket rest?
45 minutes

What internal temperature do you shoot for?
We know it's done by the way it jiggles.

Do you use brown paper or foil wrap?
Wrapping ? I don't think so.

What kind of wood do you use when smoking your briskets?
Post Oak

What's your personal preference, lean or fatty?

What kind of smoker do you have at home?

If you were just smoking meats on the weekend at home for friends, where would you buy the goods?
Costco, Sams

Many thanks to Lockhart Smokehouse for putting up with our shigging this week. And this weekend, you've got a couple options: 1) Fire up your smoker and make your best attempt at a copy of Lockhart's delicious brisket by staying up 14-16 hours and cuddling your brisket while it cooks to a nice jiggle. 2) Sleep the sleep of the angels, then wake up late, put the car in Drive and head to Lockhart Smokehouse to enjoy Avila's handiwork.

Whatever you do this weekend, make sure "and then I ate too much brisket" is on the list.

Location Info

Lockhart Smokehouse

400 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

As a former Lockhart Smokehouse devotee, I can't eat there anymore.  I got tired of getting there at 11:01am and finding that they were out of burnt-ins or beef ribs.  I got tired of dropping $50 on meat only to find out that half of it was gristle/fat.  I got tired of complaining about poor meat quality only to hear that they were at the mercy of their meat supplier and got shitty cuts that week.

Now I go to Baby Bak Shack in the Cedars and get great BBQ, consistent quality and affordable food.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Is it a natural or implant jiggle when the brisket is done?


"try to figure out whether it's oak or mesquite"

Mesquite? Really?

ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I love Lockhart Dallas. Some delicious meats fo sho. I also love low n slow smoke for 12 14 hrs on our home smoker.


Weird thing is, ask any pitmaster they'll just tell you; because when "you" cook the brisket  you rush it, put it over direct heat, and put strange rubs on it. A pitmaster puts it on the smoke when he's leaving at night, then takes it off sometime in the morning. easy.

You THINK about the brisket all night, peak at it, and wonder if someone has stolen said brisket. Cookin' brisket is great, eating brisket from a great place and 'thowin'" down some green backs is even better-and easier!.

ps-No swearing Alice?  


Great stuff....keep em coming.

After sitting over night in the fridge, dry rubbed and wrapped tight....I start my brisket in the oven (4 to 6 hours); then finish it off in a home made smoker (4-6 hours) with wood mostly scavenged from neighbors.....bulk trash day is great for finding free Oak and Pecan wood !


@Mervis Pecan Lodge uses mesquite.  I prefer post oak or hickory but a little mesquite mixed in aint a bad thing. 


I thought they would swear.

P.S. Fuck you.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter


I do it just the opposite - 4-6 hrs on grill until it hits about 150, then I crutch it by wrapping it in foil, adding a little beef stock and then finishing it in the oven for another 4-hrs.

Temps are key - keep a probe in the meat on the smoker and keep a probe in the meat in the oven. Crutch it at 150 and pull it at 203 - 205 and let it rest for a good hour wrapped and in a cooler.

I've read that 203 is the "magic temp" for a good brisket. Oh, and start with a good piece of beef - garbage in - garbage out. Even slow cooking won't save a bad hunk.


@CitizenKane You should really try using Miller Lite boxes and old copies of the Greensheet.

Excellent bark.


@kyndbrah @Mervis Right, a little.

I doubt they smoke for 12-14 hours straight with just mesquite.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

I prefer paper city for this and when we move.

The gloss keeps the ink off your fingers.


@Nictacular @CitizenKane Nothing like sharing gourmet cooking tips!  Thanks Nictacular.....I can get the Greensheet for free !


@Mervis @kyndbrah per the BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn - "Justin Fourton named Pecan Lodge after a ranch that was in his family long ago, and he insists on using mesquite in his custom made mobile smoker"  


@kyndbrah @Mervis  Justin has stated before that he uses a mix of mesquite and oak.

I can tell they use less rub than they did before too... still tasty and perhaps less salty, but not *quite* as good IMO.


@AliceLaussade @Mervis @kyndbrah from that article we have this:

DV: Do you use only mesquite?

JF: We’ve moved to using a blend of mesquite and oak. The mesquite burns hot and quick so we layered in some oak to increase our burn time. There’s not an exact mix, but it’s a mesquite-heavy blend.

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