Smoky Masala Brisket

Smoky Masala Brisket

Smoky Masala Brisket excerpted from Curry Guy BBQ: 100 Curry Classics to Cook Over Fire or on your Barbecue by Dan Toombs. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

Curry Guy BBQ: 100 Curry Classics to Cook Over Fire or on your Barbecue by Dan Toombs

In this new book, the Curry Guy, Dan Toombs, brings you his best-ever recipes for cooking outdoors and on a barbecue.

With simplicity in mind, most of the 100 recipes can be cooked on a kettle-style barbecue – you’ll be amazed at how much can be cooked this way, no matter what the weather! Curry-house dishes and flavours work exceptionally well for grilling and live-fire cooking.

Alongside familiar meals like kebabs and skewers, naans and tandoori chicken, Dan has developed original recipes for popular street food, as well as the most popular one-pot curries that can be cooked over the fire. In addition to the recipes, there is clear information about types of barbecue, cooking techniques, fuel types, how to light your barbecue and even the basics of using a tandoor oven.

It’s the ultimate crossover—Curry Guy meets BBQ!

Curry Guy BBQ: 100 Curry Classics to Cook Over Fire or on your Barbecue is available at and

Smoky Masala Brisket

SERVES 10–12

I’ve cooked more briskets over the years than I could possibly count. There is a big debate as to which cooking method gets the best result. Some people slow-cook theirs uncovered for the whole cook; this achieves a brilliant flavour that is hard to beat. Others wrap their brisket halfway through the cook in butcher’s paper or foil. Using foil achieves a juicier brisket than unwrapped brisket but still gets a respectable bark on the outside. Smoking brisket comes with a lean ‘flat’ end and a ‘point’ end. Ask your butcher for the ‘point’ with the fat trimmed to a 5mm (1/4in) thickness – it’s by far the juicier cut.


3 tbsp all-purpose rub (see below), or just salt and pepper

70ml (¼ cup) melted ghee

2.5kg (5½ lb) smoking brisket (not rolled!)

½ batch of my all-purpose BBQ sauce (see page 166), optional

Set up your barbecue for indirect heat cooking (see page 9) and whisk together the spice rub and the ghee. Using a small, sharp knife, make incisions all over the brisket and then coat it with the spice mixture.

Once your coals are good and hot, move them all over to one side of your barbecue and place a drip pan on the side with no coals (this isn’t necessary if you have a ceramic barbecue). Put the cooking grate on top and then place the spice-coated brisket on the grate over the drip pan, fat side up. Put the lid on your barbecue and aim for a cooking temperature of 110°C (225°F). Check this often, as the cooking temperature is important! If the temperature is too high, close the vent holes slightly. If it’s not hot enough, open the vents up a little.

Once you have the barbecue burning at a steady 110°C (225°F) or thereabouts, check the temperature every 45 minutes to 1 hour. Start a few briquettes burning in a chimney starter or similar so that they are ready. You will need them. If the temperature cools down to 100°C (210°F), add a couple of hot briquettes to the coals in the barbecue, close the lid and open the vent holes a bit. Adjust the vents and repeat this process as required.

After the brisket has been smoking for 3–4 hours at this temperature, you will have achieved a super smoky and delicious brisket. You’re not done yet though! Wrap the brisket loosely in foil, being sure to press the foil together so that no steam can escape, and continue cooking for another 3–4 hours at 120°C (250°F), or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 82°C (180°F). Remember, this is barbecue so cooking times can and probably will vary. It could take you a couple more hours of cooking so please don’t rush this.

As with most barbecued meats, brisket will benefit from resting before slicing. I place mine in an ice chest and cover it with towels before replacing the lid and let it sit there for about an hour or two.

Once ready, transfer the meat in the foil to a board. Open it up and pour the cooking juices from the foil into a pan; keep warm. Slice the meat thinly against the grain and place on a serving dish. Drizzle with the cooking juices and serve. I recommend serving with dipping bowls of my all-purpose BBQ sauce.


All-Purpose Rub

Makes 170G (1½ CUPS)

I have been making this all-purpose rub for as long as I can remember. It is good on so many things. Coat pork ribs with it, roast chicken, a rib of beef… this rub works on pretty much everything but is best used for barbecuing rather than direct grilling.


4 tbsp paprika
4 tbsp salt
4 tbsp light brown sugar or grated jaggery
4 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp dried onion powder
2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar and mix well. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place until ready to use – as long as you are using fresh spices, it will keep for up to 3 months.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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