Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich

Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich

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Dripping with goodness this tender juicy beef brisket on this smoked brisket French dip sandwich is slow-smoked for hours, served on grilled rolls with melted cheese and smoky au jus.

We cannot believe smoked beef brisket served as a French dip is not really a thing, but it is now!

Tender and juicy Slow-Cooker French Dip Sandwiches make for a wonderful meal. The beef is slow cooked for hours, served on a toasted hoagie rolls with melted cheese and a side of warm cooking broth (au jus) for dipping. They’re delicious and dripping with goodness!

What is a French Dip Sandwich?

Definition: “French dip” — a sandwich made of thinly sliced or shredded roast beef on a French roll, usually served with au jus, meaning “with (its own) juice”.

rubbed brisket ready for smoker

What is a Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich?

Typically some type of roast beef is used to make French dip sandwiches, but David and I had a leftover brisket point we needed to get out of the freezer. Back in the spring, we cut off the flat portion of the whole beef brisket to test our smoked pastrami recipe (hopefully posting the updated version soon).

The components of this smoked brisket French dip sandwich are:

  • Smoked Beef Brisket
  • Crusty Bread
  • Cheese
  • Au Jus
brisket diagram flat and point

Brisket Point vs Flat? 

Beef brisket is the chest muscle of the cow located near the front legs. This chest muscle gets a lot of use, which makes it tough but also very flavorful. The brisket is made of two muscles: the point and the flat. 

The point is also known as the “deckle” is the thicker portion of the brisket that marbled with lots of fat and connective tissue. This is the portion we used to make these French Dip sandwiches.

You could use either portion of a whole brisket to make these sandwiches. If you’re feeding an army you could smoke the whole brisket and make lots of French dip sandwiches. It just depends on what you have and who you are feeding.

ingredients for smoked brisket French dip sandwich au jus

How To Make A Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich 

Ingredients:

For the Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich:

  • smoked brisket
  • 6 hoagie rolls
  • cheese of choice, (we used sliced gouda)
  • smoky au jus

For the Smoked Brisket:

  • 5-pound beef brisket, point or flat
  • mustard, for applying brisket rub
  • ¼ cup beef rub, (recipe to follow)

For the Smoky Au Jus:

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  •  6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cans beef broth, (divided)
  • 12-ounce beer
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcheshire sauce

The Beef Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Equipment and Supplies Needed To Make Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwichs:

beef rubbed brisket point

Prep the Brisket For Smoking

Start with a brisket (flat or point) within the 5-pound range. Rinse it under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.

The brisket point can be very fatty. This fat will not render and break down. It also acts as a barrier and will not allow the beef rub or smoke to penetrate into the meat. Trim as much of the excess fat off the brisket that you can.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the beef rub; stir with a whisk to mix and remove any clumps.

Apply a light coating of yellow mustard all over the entire brisket. The mustard doesn’t affect the taste of the finished product, but rather it helps the rub to adhere to the meat better. Apply the beef spice rub, coating the brisket on all sides.

David putting rubbed brisket in fridge for smoked brisket french dip sandwich

Place the rubbed brisket on a wire rack over a lined sheet pan. Place the pan with the brisket inside the refrigerator uncovered and let it cure for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight. 

Smoking the roast right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat. The rub also forms a very nice crust.

Learn more about rubs and get more spice rub recipes HERE!

coals inside charcoal chimney

Fire Up the Grill or Smoker

Preheat the charcoal grill or smoker to between 225 to 250 degrees F. For this cook, David opted to use his Weber Performer kettle grill, set up for indirect heat. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)

When the coals are ready, throw a chunk of cherry wood onto the coals, place the grate on the grill, and cover with the lid so that it comes up to temperature.

Smoking the Brisket

Meanwhile, add the carrots, onions, celery (mirepoix), garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the cast iron pan. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. 

When the grill or smoker is ready, carefully place the cast iron skillet on the cooler side. Pour the beef broth around the brisket into the pan, being careful NOT to pour it on the meat. The pan should hold the entire can, if not add the broth until it comes up about 1-inch on the side of the pan.  Since there is no drip pan of broth and vegetables underneath the meat will help stabilize the temperature.

brisket in cast iron pan on grill

Insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the brisket (if using a probe thermometer) and cover with the lid and smoke the brisket. Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents, coals, and wood to regulate the temperature. You will need to add fresh coals and wood chunks almost every hour for at least the first 4 hours. 

Whenever you open the lid, use clean tongs to toss around the vegetables as best as you can with the brisket on top.

smoked brisket in cast iron pan with vegetables

Low and Slow

It’s more important to monitor the temperature of the brisket versus the amount of time. Check the temperature of the grill or smoker every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.

Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, and you really shouldn’t trust the one on top of your grill. You should definitely purchase a digital BBQ thermometer. David uses a Thermoworks Smoke™ thermometer. This thermometer has 2 channels, one for the meat and one for the smoker, with remote control. Having the remote control saved him a lot of worrying about the smoker temperature. We highly recommend getting one. You can read more about this thermometer here and get the link to purchase one HERE.

Testing For Doneness

Smoke the brisket until a nice reddish-black “bark” (outside crust) forms. The internal temperature of the meat should be around 150 degrees F; about 4 hours. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness in other areas of the brisket that are not close to the probe.

tender juicy smoked beef brisket

Wrapping the Brisket 

Although the goal meat temperature for this brisket is between 205 to 210 degrees F, don’t over-smoke the au jus and vegetables in the pan. When the brisket has a good color, remove the cast iron pan from the smoker.

Carefully remove the brisket from the pan reserving the vegetables and all the pan drippings. Wrap the brisket as tightly as possible with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. 

Stoke Up The Heat

At this point, there is no need to continue to smoke the brisket with wood since it will not penetrate through the foil. With the meat covered, it also allows you to shorten the cooking time a bit by stoking up the heat!

Bring up the heat of the grill or smoker to between 275 and 300 degrees F and continue cooking the brisket.  Return the foil-wrapped brisket back to the grill or smoker.

The internal temperature of the brisket can rise up to 10 degrees once it is removed from the heat. Normally for brisket, an internal temperature of 190 degrees F is ideal for removing it from the heat because it will rise to an optimal 200 degrees F. However for a smoked brisket French Dip sandwich you want the meat to be as tender and juicy as possible and just about to fall apart. It will make the sandwich easier to bite into and chew.

Continue to smoke the meat until the internal temperature is between 205 to 210 degrees F.

Note: Time may vary depending on the cut of the brisket, how long it may stall and even the weather you’re smoking in.

pouring au jus through sieve

Make the Au Jus

Use a sieve and/or colander to strain the vegetables from the broth and pan drippings into a medium saucepan. Discard the vegetables. Pour in the beer Worcheshire sauce, and remaining can of beef broth. Bring the au jus to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Give the au jus a taste and season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste.

pouring beer in au jus

If the au jus is too smoky you can add more beer or beef broth if needed to dilute it.

Keep the smoky au ju warm until needed for serving.

David placing towel wrapped brisket in cooler

Holding

Holding helps tenderize by allowing some carryover cooking which helps melt tough connective tissue. The foil captures the natural au jus for use in a sauce, and holding allows the surface parts that have dried out during cooking to absorb some of the juices.

When the brisket reaches the goal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F, remove it from the grill or smoker. Wrap the foil-wrapped brisket in a towel and place it inside a cooler for about an hour before slicing.

sliced smoked brisket french dip sandwich

Build A Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich

Use a sharp knife to slice the brisket thinly, against the grain, about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick. For best results, slice only what you are serving. Reserve the juices from inside the foil to store any unused meat with the leftover juices.

toasting roll on grill

Place the hoagie roll on the hot grill and toast on both sides. Add the cheese and stack on the sliced brisket. Place the sandwich on the grill, cover with the lid, and warm the sandwich through; about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the French dip sandwich from the grill, slice dip into the smoky au jus, and enjoy!

CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE SMOKED BEEF BRISKET SANDWICHES:

dripping smoked brisket French Dip sandwich with mountain view

This smoked brisket French Dip sandwich exceeded our expectations. We were blown away by how good this sandwich is.

We’re excited to share our recipe so you can enjoy an awesome smoked sandwich too!

What To Serve With Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwiches

smoked brisket French dip sandwich
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Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich

Dripping with goodness the juicy beef brisket on this smoked brisket French dip sandwich is slow-smoked for hours, served with smoky au jus.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Barbecue, BBQ
Keyword beef, brisket, French Dip, sandwhich, smoked
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Holding 3 hours
Total Time 9 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 664kcal

Useful Equipment:

Ingredients

For the Sandwich

  • smoked brisket
  • cheese
  • 8 hoagie rolls
  • smoky au jus of choice (we used sliced gouda)

For the Smoked Brisket:

  • 5 pound beef brisket point or flat
  • yellow mustard for applying brisket rub
  • ¼ cup beef rub (recipe to follow)

For the Smoky Au Jus:

  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cans beef broth (divided)
  • 12 ounce beer
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

The Beef Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions

Prep the Brisket For Smoking

  • Start with a brisket (flat or point) within the 5-pound range. Rinse it under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels.
  • Trim as much of the excess fat off the brisket that you can.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the beef rub; stir with a whisk to mix and remove any clumps.
  • Apply a light coating of yellow mustard all over the entire brisket and apply the beef spice rub, coating the brisket on all sides.
  • Place the rubbed brisket on a wire rack over a lined sheet pan. Place the pan with the brisket inside the refrigerator uncovered and let it cure for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

Fire Up the Grill or Smoker

  • Preheat the charcoal grill or smoker to between 225 to 250 degrees F and set up for indirect heat. To maintain this low temperature, use only half as much charcoal as usual. (A half chimney-full.)
  • When the coals are ready, throw a chunk of cherry wood onto the coals, place the grate on the grill, and cover with the lid so that it comes up to temperature.

Smoking the Brisket

  • Meanwhile, add the carrots, onions, celery (mirepoix), garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the cast iron pan. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables.
  • When the grill or smoker is ready, carefully place the cast iron skillet on the cooler side. Pour the beef broth around the brisket into the pan, being careful NOT to pour it on the meat. The pan should hold the entire can, if not add the broth until it comes up about 1-inch on the side of the pan. Since there is no drip pan of broth and vegetables underneath the meat will help stabilize the temperature.
  • Insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the brisket (if using a probe thermometer) and cover with the lid and smoke the brisket. Bring the temperature up to 225 degrees F, using the vents, coals, and wood to regulate the temperature. You will need to add fresh coals and wood chunks almost every hour for at least the first 4 hours.
  • Whenever you open the lid, use clean tongs to toss around the vegetables as best as you can with the brisket on top.

Low and Slow

  • It’s more important to monitor the temperature of the brisket versus the amount of time. Check the temperature of the grill or smoker every hour, staying as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Resist the temptation to open the lid unless you need to add more charcoal or soaked wood chips to maintain temperature and smoke.

Testing For Doneness

  • Smoke the brisket until a nice reddish-black “bark” (outside crust) forms. The internal temperature of the meat should be around 150 degrees F; about 4 hours. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness in other areas of the brisket that are not close to the probe.

Wrapping the Brisket

  • Although the goal meat temperature for this brisket is between 205 to 210 degrees F, don’t over-smoke the au jus and vegetables in the pan. When the brisket has a good color, remove the cast iron pan from the smoker.
  • Carefully remove the brisket from the pan reserving the vegetables and all the pan drippings. Wrap the brisket as tightly as possible with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Stoke Up The Heat

  • At this point, there is no need to continue to smoke the brisket with wood since it will not penetrate through the foil. With the meat covered, it also allows you to shorten the cooking time a bit by stoking up the heat!
  • Bring up the heat of the grill or smoker to between 275 and 300 degrees F and continue cooking the brisket. Return the foil-wrapped brisket back to the grill or smoker.
  • The internal temperature of the brisket can rise up to 10 degrees once it is removed from the heat. Normally for brisket, an internal temperature of 190 degrees F is ideal for removing it from the heat because it will rise to an optimal 200 degrees F. However for a smoked brisket French Dip sandwich you want the meat to be as tender and juicy as possible and just about to fall apart. It will make the sandwich easier to bite into and chew.
    Continue to smoke the meat until the internal temperature is between 205 to 210 degrees F.

Make the Au Jus

  • Use a sieve and/or colander to strain the vegetables from the broth and pan drippings into a medium saucepan. Discard the vegetables. Pour in the beer Worcheshire sauce, and remaining can of beef broth. Bring the au jus to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Give the au jus a taste and season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste.
    If the au jus is too smoky you can add more beer or beef broth if needed to dilute it.
  • Keep the smoky au ju warm until needed for serving.

Holding

  • Holding helps tenderize by allowing some carryover cooking which helps melt tough connective tissue. The foil captures the natural au jus for use in a sauce, and holding allows the surface parts that have dried out during cooking to absorb some of the juices.
  • When the brisket reaches the goal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F, remove it from the grill or smoker. Wrap the foil-wrapped brisket in a towel and place it inside a cooler for about an hour before slicing.

Build A Smoked Brisket French Dip Sandwich

  • Use a sharp knife to slice the brisket thinly, against the grain, about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick. For best results, slice only what you are serving. Reserve the juices from inside the foil to store any unused meat with the leftover juices.
  • Place the hoagie roll on the hot grill and toast on both sides. Add the cheese and stack on the sliced brisket. Place the sandwich on the grill, cover with the lid, and warm the sandwich through; about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove the French dip sandwich from the grill, slice it, dip into the smoky au jus, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Rubbing The Brisket: Smoking the roast right away is ok, but sitting in the refrigerator for several hours allows the rub to penetrate the meat. The rub also forms a very nice crust.
Temperature Vs. Time: It’s more important to monitor the temperature of the brisket versus the amount of time. The time may vary depending on the cut of the brisket, how long it may stall and even the weather you’re smoking in.
Knowing the temp in your grill is crucial, and you really shouldn’t trust the one on top of your grill. You should definitely purchase a digital BBQ thermometer. David uses a  Smoke™ from Thermoworks. This thermometer has 2 channels, one for the meat and one for the smoker, with remote control. Having the remote control saved him a lot of worrying about the smoker temperature. We highly recommend getting one. You can read more about this thermometer here and get the link to purchase one HERE.

Nutrition

Calories: 664kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 1838mg | Potassium: 1155mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2793IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 17mg
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