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Barbecue Science with Stuart's Smokehouse & Seafood
BBQ science

Barbecue Science with Stuart's Smokehouse & Seafood

We all know the old adage, “timing is everything.” If you ask Stuart Brugh, proprietor of Stuart's Smokehouse & Seafood, it was definitely about timing… and location when he bought his property bordering the Greenbrier River over a decade ago. Located on the Highland Trail, several miles in either direction of Ronceverte and Alderson, you’ll find his roadside respite marked by an inventive use of corrugated pipe and a retired canoe -- now repurposed into a massive, 15-foot hot-dog-on-a-bun.

It was that first summer in business that his well-laid plans took a right turn. His idea for a riverside camp quickly became a convenient stop for hungry kayakers, tubers, fishermen and those just passing through. In just 3 months, he sold 8,000 hot dogs! Of course, hot dogs were a good business, but he knew he was on the cusp of a real opportunity. “I thought I was setting up a place to camp, but I guess my customers thought I should be in the restaurant business,” Stuart smiled.

Within a few years, “Stuart’s Smokehouse” was established and well on its way to holding its own. Looking for new ways to expand, it was then that our proprietor headed to Missouri and “back to school” to learn the finer techniques of smoking meats. “Barbecue science,” they call it.

Today Stuart’s reputation for mouth-watering smoked brisket spans across Southern West Virginia. You can request it by the pound, stacked on a bun, sandwich-style, or decked out with baked beans, farm-fresh corn and a buttery roll.

Man reaching into over

Timing is everything.

Stop in during the warmer months, and the decks are open to enjoy the riverside view and regularly scheduled live music. So next time you’re in the area, take exit 161 from I-64. Head south on Route 12, then east on Route 63. You can’t miss the giant “dawg.”

BBQ thermometer.

SMOKING BRISKET – Tender and Juicy

Descending on Stuart one very rainy day in December, we were pleased with his willingness to fire up the smoker and share his finely-honed “barbecue science” with us. “Really, the key is using the right charcoal and maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process. If it’s colder outside, that just means you need a bigger fire inside. From there, you can get pretty creative.”

Ready to further your “king of the grill” skills?

INGREDIENTS (10-14 servings)

Brisket – 5-7 pounds

Rub - not willing to divulge the exact measurements, Stuart’s rub consists of cumin, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder. If experimenting just isn’t in your wheel house, don’t despair. There are a plethora of flavorful recipes online or ready-mades that can be purchased.

Marinade – again, there are several nice marinades you can buy off the shelf. Stuart’s marinade includes soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lime juice and garlic salt. A key ingredient, the fresh lime helps breakdown and tenderize the meat.


  1. Trim most of the fat off the brisket.

  2. Using the rub of your choice, massage into the brisket. Once complete, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

  3. To prepare the charcoal, use a chimney and torch to get it lit. It’s ready when the charcoal is grey in color, and the temperature of the smoker is 225 degrees. NOTE: Plan to maintain this temperature for the entire cooking time. (TIP: Use only Kingsford charcoal in your smoker, and do not use any lighter fluid or self-start charcoal. Lump charcoal leaves a flaky residue in the smoker.)

  4. Add hickory logs or any other kind of wood you like on top of the charcoal. Keep the oxygen down so the wood does not flame, just smokes.

  5. Unwrap the brisket, and place in smoker.

  6. Smoke the brisket for 6 hours.

  7. Remove the brisket and place in aluminum foil. Coat with brown sugar and about ¾ cup of marinade.

  8. Seal the foil by folding. Place back in smoker at 225 degrees for another 6-7 hours.

  9. Remove the brisket from the smoker and let cool for 1 hour.

  10. Slice thinly against the grain and serve!

BBQ being cooked over open flame.
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