How to Smoke Brisket (time, weight, and type of grill)


There isn’t anything better than biting into a piece of expertly smoked brisket. But smoking a brisket can be a daunting task if you are relatively new to outdoor cooking. But no matter how big or what type, below are all the best tips for how long to smoke a brisket.

Smoke a brisket at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, fat side down for smokers where the heat comes from below. Smoke the brisket for approximately 1 hour per pound of meat. Begin to spritz the meat after 2 hours, and wrap the brisket in butcher paper when the internal temperature reaches 165–170°F.

It is done when the internal temperature reaches 208° F.

But that just skims the surface of the basics. Making a juicy brisket worthy of the competition involves various steps, from selecting the greatest possible cut of meat at the beginning to slicing it precisely after cooking. Beginning with high-quality beef is important if you want an excellent brisket.

Making great-tasting brisket requires a thorough understanding of the various beef grades, what to look for, and how to choose the ideal cut.

Looking for the best brisket (and beef, chicken, or pork) and unhappy with what your local store has?

Now thanks to FarmFoodsMarket, you can get 100% grass-fed steaks delivered right to your door.

Once you try it, you’ll be astounded at how much better the quality is! Imagine the taste of that grass-fed brisket fresh off your smoker!

Enjoy 10% off your first order with code WELCOME on FarmFoodsMarket.com!

No doubt you’ve seen FarmFoodsMarket raved about by Forbes and The Washington Post. Now it’s your turn!

Just chose the brisket that’s right for you, or their value pack combination boxes; beef, chicken, or the best of both. Flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed mean it will be farm fresh whenever you’re ready!

With every purchase, you support building a better food system for the animals, the planet, and us. Humanly raised and processed.

CLICK HERE to see the brisket and all their amazing offerings on their website.

Is it better to smoke brisket at 225 or 250?

250 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal cooking temperature for smoking brisket.

When creating a perfect brisket, you should always strive for a smoker temperature of 250 degrees as in this temperature, the meat will cook faster than it would at 225 degrees, but it will still have time to develop a soft texture. 250 degrees Fahrenheit is also the temperature at which the proteins in the flesh start to denature or lose their form, making it simpler to chew and digest.

Additionally, you can render fat at a great temperature of 250 degrees.

Once the fat cap has melted, you should cover the brisket’s surface in a luscious layer of seasoned fat. The fat still turns out at lower temperatures, but the texture is different.

However, there is also the opinion that slow cooking for a longer period at a low temperature of 225 degrees is wonderful and suitable for all kinds of meat.

This is the fundamental justification for using low heat, and those who do so are correct because it’s a tried-and-true technique that yields tender, flavorful meats.

There is no right or wrong method for cooking brisket; instead, it often comes down to personal preference. For example, some might want it to be finished sooner because they don’t have all day to wait around and may choose a higher temperature of 250 degrees.

Additionally, some prefer a slower cooking time for their brisket at 225 degrees for maximum tenderness.

How long does it take to smoke a brisket in a smoker?

2 lb Brisket 3 lb Brisket 5 lb Brisket 7 lb Brisket 10 lb Brisket 15 lb Brisket
Total Smoke Time 1 – 2 hours 2 – 3 hours 4 – 5 hours 6 – 7 hours 8 – 10 hours 12 – 15 hours

When cooking your brisket, the general rule of thumb is to estimate between 30-60 minutes per pound of the meat.

This means that a 12-pound brisket cooked at a smoker temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit will take between 10 and 12 hours. However, completing the entire procedure should take between 12 and 15 hours if you factor in time for trimming, injection, seasoning, and cooking.

The recommended cooking time for a small brisket, like a 3-pound brisket, can be between 2 and 4 hours.

However, it will cook more quickly if it is a point cut rather than a flat cut. Quite several chefs choose to cook from the pointed end as it contains an extra layer of fats which prevents it from becoming dry.

Again, the size and thickness of the meat, the type of smoker, and the shape of the tough brisket will affect how long it takes to smoke.

Some pitmasters will claim that a 10-pound brisket can be prepared in as little as 10 hours, while others claim that it took them 20 hours to complete the smoking process. In any case, those who wait are rewarded.

Give yourself ample time to prepare a wonderful, tender brisket without rushing. Check the texture and cook it to a tender, not simply edible, consistency. To verify the internal temperature of the meat, you must also use a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 208 degrees, it is ready.

How do you keep a brisket moist while smoking?

Using a water pan can help keep brisket mosit during the smoking process. Pulling the smoker out is wonderful if you have a family gathering, a large BBQ, or a special event that calls for a slab of mouthwatering meat.

However, if you’re thinking of making brisket, you need to cook it correctly. Because dry meat at a BBQ is the worst, you must learn how to keep a brisket moist.

The easiest approach to keep moisture in the food is to keep a water drip pan in the smoker. Then, after the first two to three hours, begin spritzing the brisket every half-hour to an hour with water, apple juice, spicy sauce, or apple cider vinegar. This keeps it wet and prevents burning.

You can also add spices and bacon to the meats to keep them moist.

By adding more fat to the mix by wrapping your brisket in bacon, you’ll be able to baste it more easily while it cooks. While spices are usually a necessary component of any meal, in this instance, their purpose goes beyond flavor.

Create a crispy, moisture-sealing crust on your brisket using onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

After your brisket has finished cooking and removed from the smoker, give it an hour or so to rest at room temperature. The liquids in your brisket won’t have a chance to redistribute if you start cutting immediately away, which could result in an uneven or dry bite.

Finding the best smoker to buy might be very intimidating if you’re a newbie seeking the best options at a reasonable price.

However, do not worry, as you may visit my most recent article for a list of some of the best smokers available at a fair price. In the article, I examined 15 of the best smokers you can consider without breaking the bank. This will help make a buying decision straightforward for you.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Should I spritz brisket while smoking?

Yes, you could, and I do. Spritzing your brisket can help you maintain your meat’s moist and tender consistency.

By moistening the surface of the meat, spritzing can assist in transforming parts of the outside that would otherwise develop jerky-like bark into chewable meat candy. Additionally, you can improve or expand the flavor characteristics in your bark depending on what you decide to include in your spray bottle.

There will be very little moisture in the dry air of the chamber after three or four hours of smoking.

Therefore, spraying the brisket will help the surface of the beef retain its ability to draw smoke since the smoker’s dampness encourages the smoke to adhere to the meat and enhance the finished product’s flavor.

I spritz it with plain organic apple cider vinegar. But apple juice also works well, or a combination of the two. You can also dilute either one with water.

When should I wrap my brisket?

Wrap a brisket when your meat reaches an internal temperature of 165–170°F.

This is because that is the temperature where your meat might decide to stall. While it is not compulsory, this practice can go a long way toward a seamless cooking process, but you should do it cautiously.

When cooking a tough cut of meat such as brisket at low temperatures, the internal temperature rises quickly at first. But as the meat cooks, the moisture inside the meat starts to escape and evaporate in the center.

The moisture will eventually stop trying to evaporate, and the temperature of the meat will stop rising, leading to a stall that can extend for hours.

Wrapping your brisket with butcher paper or aluminum foil is a fast method to achieve a higher internal temperature, prevent stalling and cook more rapidly.

That being said, I prefer butcher paper over foil.

It enables you to bypass the time when the internal temp reaches stops rising and beat the stall. It is also a good way to keep your meat moist and soft, as it allows for a longer cooking time that dissolves the fat and collagen without running the risk of the meat drying up.

Having the right grill or smoker is crucial for a fun time, whether hosting a family dinner or bringing guests over for a party.

However, deciding which to buy can be challenging given the wide range of available possibilities if you still need to get one or purchase one.

Don’t panic. You may read my most recent article to learn more about the distinction between a grill and a smoker. In the article, I did a good job of explaining the differences between a grill and a smoker and the several types sold. Selecting the one that best meets your demands is made possible by grasping this.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Should I flip brisket when smoking?

Yes, you can. Many (but not all) serious smokers concur that flipping a brisket while smoking is vital to achieving a consistent cook and the greatest brisket at the end of cooking. Brisket preparation and consumption require a lot of love; therefore, it’s important to get it correctly.

The meat’s exposure to heat is evened out when you flip the entire brisket.

However, any smoker has unequal airflow, and if the brisket is left in one spot the entire time, some of it will dry up from the unevenness of the airflow. Therefore, at least once during the cooking process, you should flip and rotate the brisket.

You may achieve the best of both worlds by basting and turning the brisket every two hours.

The surface of the meat that is turned away from the high heat will have an opportunity to rest and reabsorb some moisture, which is an added benefit. In addition, the brisket will receive basting from the melting fat cap for half the duration of cooking, preventing one side from drying out.

Additionally, if brisket is not carefully tended to, the radiant heat from inexpensive or poorly constructed smokers will quickly dry it out and frequently sear it.

While most contemporary smokers use a convection system to provide good circulation around the brisket, flipping the whole packer brisket is a great way to maintain a constant temperature above and below the meat if your smoker needs a decent convection system.

When smoking a brisket, is it fat side up or down?

It depends on the heat source.

Whole briskets have two distinct sides, one with a heavy fat cap and the other with mostly raw meat occasionally with a few tiny fat shreds. It is always advised to direct the fat cap toward the primary heat source for the best-tasting brisket.

This will imply a fat cap down on a pellet smoker.

However, on a well-insulated offset smoker, or an electric smoker, the heat will primarily come from above, so you should cook fat side up in such a situation.

Cooking with the fat side down is recommended in most cookers where the heat is applied from below the meat for various reasons.

A good amount of fat acts as an insulator. Therefore, when your meat cooks, the fat that doesn’t melt away shields it from the strong heat of the fire. This prevents the drying out of your tender meat.

Because the fat is towards the bottom, it won’t wash the seasoning away as it melts, so it keeps all the flavors you added. Additionally, the smoke formed when the fat makes contact with the hot coals can enhance the flavor of your meat.

With the fat side up, you will constantly wash your rub away by rendering fat, preventing the formation of a good bark. However, the bark will be able to form evenly and give your brisket its distinctive appearance if you cook it with the fat side down.

How to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill

You now have a few things to remember when smoking brisket on a pellet grill.

First, if you’re smoking a brisket for the first time, don’t be intimidated by the size of the cut; if you follow the appropriate procedures and easy recipes, it may be straightforward.

Your brisket may need to be trimmed first.

Only the thick fat, the silver skin, and the loose flaps that will undoubtedly burn should be removed. That’s all you have to do. After that, season with salt, black pepper, and some Cow Cover. Since the meat can handle it, be generous.

You can then preheat the cooker by raising the temperature to 250°F (121°C) and maintaining it there. Afterward, you can put a foil pan beneath the grill grates to collect the grease. Because there is excess fat in a brisket, this will greatly simplify cleanup. And that’s it; the toughest portion is now behind you, and your beef brisket is already certain to turn out well.

Put the brisket on the smoker after your temperatures remain stable.

Peeking every ten minutes is not viable because you want this to be a painless procedure. Instead, you should only check on the brisket after 1.5 to 2 hours after it has been placed on the grill. Check to ensure the temperature is not lowering while cooking, add fuel if necessary, see how the bark is forming, and then replace the lid.

If you’ve had a Traeger wood pellet grill for a while or are the proud owner of one, you know that igniting these grills may be a little challenging.

You should read my most recent article if you are in a similar scenario and are unsure whether you have been approaching it correctly.

Here, I’ve covered how to use Traeger wood pellet grills and whether you can use them as grills or smokers. The post also covered how to preheat a Traeger grill, which you might also need to know how to do.

How to smoke a brisket on a propane grill

Smoking brisket on a propane grill is also a simple operation.

Start by ordering your brisket in advance if you prefer something other than briskets sold at the grocery store. You should place the brisket on a rimmed baking sheet an hour before lighting the grill. Season the meat with a small bowl of salt and pepper, and give the meat an hour to rest at room temperature.

After that, set up your barbecue for indirect cooking and smoking. Place a pan made of aluminum on the hot side of the grill and fill it with juice, beer, or water. Include your preferred wood chips. Set the grill at between 225 and 250 degrees.

Over the grill area where the burner is off or set to a very low setting, place the brisket. Maintain the cooking temperature while keeping the lid closed. Be aware that grilling the brisket will take several hours, depending on the size of the brisket and other elements.

To check on the brisket’s progress, slide an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Keep an eye on your wood chips and the liquid in your roasting pan as you grill, and replace them as necessary.

When the brisket’s internal temperature reaches around 200 degrees, remove it from the pan. Before serving, a pro tip is to let the brisket rest for a few hours until its internal temperature falls by around 40 to 50 degrees.

The perfect barbecued meat is smoked brisket. However, selecting the ideal brisket based on grade, fat, and other factors is essential to cook a tender and flavorful beef brisket.

You should check out my most recent article if you’re planning to produce the perfect smoked brisket soon and want to know how to make the best choice.

Here, I went over how to choose a good brisket and the finest brisket cut to look out for. You may also need to know what an excellent brisket looks like; the article also addressed that.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How to smoke a brisket on a charcoal grill

To smoke your brisket on a charcoal grill, start by stacking your charcoals to prepare your grill for indirect heat smoking.

To provide more moisture and shield the brisket from heat while it smokes, put a disposable aluminum half-pan in the center of the charcoal ring and fill it with water. Adjust the bottom vents of the grill as necessary and let it heat to 225–250 degrees while keeping it covered.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.

After applying the seasoning to the meat, place it over the aluminum half-pan on the grill. Leave the grill covered while it smokes until the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If necessary, add more unlit charcoal briquettes in a stacked semicircle, starting next to the remaining hot coals.

Remove the brisket from the grill, place it on two layers of foil, and then pull its four edges to form a bowl. Wrap the brisket entirely in foil, then add the beef broth to the foil. The brisket should be placed back on the grill and allowed to cook there until it reaches 200 degrees.

After taking the brisket from the grill, it’s important to slowly open the foil to let the steam out and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting it into flat and pointy pieces.

The fattier brisket tip can then be cut into slices and served or cubed, seasoned, and placed back on the grill for 20 to 30 minutes to create burnt ends.

Final Thoughts

Using the appropriate recipe card and basic cooking techniques, you can learn how to smoke the best brisket, like the best pitmasters.

Before your smoker heats up, you should start making important preparations for the best results, such as choosing the right grade of meat, properly cutting it, and keeping temperatures consistent.

Remember, for the best brisket with crusty bark and a pink smoke ring, you must cook them for a long time with low heat. Your brisket will be less tender and juicy if you cook it in a slow cooker at a lower temperature.

The time required to cook a brisket fully depends on the outdoor temperature. Therefore, ensure you periodically check your smoker’s temperature so you can adjust it. Cold weather, in particular, may cause the temperature to fluctuate.

Looking for the best brisket (and beef, chicken, or pork) and unhappy with what your local store has?

Now thanks to FarmFoodsMarket, you can get 100% grass-fed steaks delivered right to your door.

Once you try it, you’ll be astounded at how much better the quality is! Imagine the taste of that grass-fed brisket fresh off your smoker!

Enjoy 10% off your first order with code WELCOME on FarmFoodsMarket.com!

No doubt you’ve seen FarmFoodsMarket raved about by Forbes and The Washington Post. Now it’s your turn!

Just chose the brisket that’s right for you, or their value pack combination boxes; beef, chicken, or the best of both. Flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed mean it will be farm fresh whenever you’re ready!

With every purchase, you support building a better food system for the animals, the planet, and us. Humanly raised and processed.

CLICK HERE to see the brisket and all their amazing offerings on their website.


Photo by Hayden Walker from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-person-slicing-barbecue-beef-brisket-9397270/

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with 3 daughters, practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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