YIELDS: 6 Servings PREP TIME: 30 mins COOK TIME: 10 hrs TOTAL TIME: 10 hrs 30 mins

This recipe has three steps to make an awesome Brisket Mac & Cheese served in Mini Pumpkin Bowls or “Jack-o’-Lanterns”!


8 lbs Swift Meats brisket

Brisket Injection
3 cups apple cider
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt

Brisket Rub
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 ½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
¾ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Baked Mini Pumpkin Serving Bowls
6 mini pumpkins such as Sugar Pumpkins, Baby Bear, Munchkin or Gold Nugget
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Creamy Smoked Mac & Cheese (w/ a Pumpkin Twist)
14 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other pasta)
6 tbsp butter, divided
½ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 tbsp pumpkin pureé
¾ cup water or broth (as needed)
Grated aged gouda for garnish

Small bowl 
Large baking dish 
Large pot 
Cutting board 


  1. Combine all dry rub ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Remove any excess fat from the flat side of the brisket and also remove fat to expose the point side. Place the brisket in a large baking dish.
  3. Combine the injection ingredients in a large measuring cup. Inject the brisket with the mixture, reserving about 1 cup for later. Generously sprinkle the meat on both sides with the rub. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat smoker (or oven) to 230°F. Remove the brisket from the baking dish and place it, fat side up, directly onto the grates of the smoker. Smoke until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached (approximately 8-10 hours.)
  5. Remove the brisket, double wrap with foil, and pour the reserved liquid in the bottom of the foil before closing up. Put the brisket back onto the smoker at the same temperature.
  6. When the brisket reaches 203°F (approximately 2-4 more hours), remove from the smoker, leaving it wrapped in the foil. Place the brisket into a small cooler and let rest for at least 1-2 hours.
  7. Cut the flat end point and remove to allow for easy slicing. Slice against the grain and serve with the Mac & Cheese in Mini Pumpkins!
  8. While the brisket smokes, make your mini pumpkin serving bowls. Preheat the oven (or second smoker) to 400°F. If needed, cut a very thin slice from the bases of the pumpkins so they sit flat. Set on a rimmed baking sheet, rub with a little oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.
  9. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, toss with a bit of oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
  10. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for a couple of minutes, being careful not to burn or brown the butter, garlic or onion.
  11. Add the flour and salt and continue sautéing while whisking for another minute or two. Very slowly whisk the milk into the flour mixture. Don’t stop whisking or it will clump. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and has thickened just slightly.
  12. Fold in the cheese with a wooden spoon or spatula until melted. Once melted and creamy, remove from heat.
  13. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir in a splash of extra water or broth if the sauce is a bit too thick.
  14. Optional: To obtain a smoky flavor, pour the Mac & Cheese in a baking dish and place it in the smoker at 325°F for about 20 minutes.
  15. Let the pumpkins cool. Cut off lids about 2 inches wide. Carefully scrape out seeds with a small spoon, keeping walls and bases intact. If you accidentally get a hole in the pumpkin, just line it with a piece of foil.
  16. Remove from the smoker (if smoking). Add your brisket (reserve a bit for garnish) and mix together by hand.
  17. Spoon into the mini pumpkin bowls and garnish with the reserved brisket. Add grated aged gouda cheese on top, if desired.