How To Smoke A Brisket

Are you ready to elevate your barbecue game and impress your friends and family with mouthwatering smoked brisket? Smoking a brisket might seem intimidating at first, but with the right guidance and a little patience, you can achieve tender, flavorful results that will have everyone coming back for more.

Want an appetizer while you are waiting for the brisket? Throw in some Smoked Cream Cheese, it's ready in about an hour!

If you happen to have leftover brisket, you'll want to make these Texas Twinkies! They are jalapenos packed with cream cheese and brisket. Then wrapped in bacon! Whether you smoke them or grill them, they are equally delicious!


Important Tips and Tricks For Making the Perfect Smoked Brisket

  1. Selecting the Brisket: Start with a high-quality brisket. Look for one with good marbling, which indicates flavor and tenderness. Aim for a brisket that weighs around 10-14 pounds, as larger ones can be more challenging to cook evenly.
  2. Preparation: Before you start smoking, trim excess fat from the brisket, leaving about ¼ inch of fat on the surface to keep it moist during cooking. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels to help the seasoning adhere better.
  3. Seasoning: Keep it simple with the seasoning. A classic combination of salt and pepper, often referred to as "Texas-style," is all you need to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. Apply the seasoning generously on all sides of the brisket, ensuring it is evenly coated.
  4. Preheat the Smoker: Preheat your smoker to a temperature of around 225-250°F (107-121°C). Use hardwood chips or chunks, such as oak, hickory, or mesquite, to infuse the brisket with delicious smoky flavor.
  5. Smoking: Once the smoker is at the desired temperature, place the brisket on the grate with the fat side down. This allows the fat to render slowly, basting the meat as it cooks. Close the lid and let the brisket smoke undisturbed for several hours.
  6. Maintain Temperature and Moisture: Throughout the smoking process, it's essential to monitor the temperature of the smoker and the internal temperature of the brisket using a meat thermometer. Aim to maintain a consistent temperature, and if necessary, add more wood chips to keep the smoke flowing.
  7. The Stall: Don't be alarmed if the internal temperature of the brisket stalls around 160-170°F (71-77°C). This is known as "the stall," and it's a natural part of the cooking process as the collagen in the meat begins to break down. Be patient and resist the urge to increase the temperature.
  8. Wrapping: When the brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 165°F (74°C), consider wrapping it in butcher paper or aluminum foil. This helps retain moisture and accelerates the cooking process, ultimately resulting in a more tender brisket.
  9. Resting: Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F (90-96°C) and is probe-tender (meaning a meat probe slides in easily), remove it from the smoker and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier end product.
  10. Slicing and Serving: After resting, slice the brisket against the grain into thin slices. Serve it with your favorite barbecue sauce or alongside classic sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread.

How to Store

Properly storing your brisket is essential to maintain its freshness and flavor. After smoking, allow the brisket to cool to room temperature before storing it. Once cooled, wrap the brisket tightly in aluminum foil or butcher paper to prevent air exposure and moisture loss.

Alternatively, you can place the brisket in an airtight container. Store the brisket in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the brisket. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Frozen brisket can last for several months without sacrificing quality.

When ready to enjoy, thaw the brisket in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it gently in the oven or on the grill. Proper storage ensures that your smoked brisket stays delicious and enjoyable for longer periods.

 Ingredients Needed For Smoked Brisket

  • 1 12 lb packer brisket
  • kosher salt
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

How to Smoke a Brisket

Trim off as much fat as you can off the brisket. Place paper towels on a 11×13 baking sheet.

Liberally season all sides of the brisket with kosher salt. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours before smoking.

Once the brisket has dried out and removed from the fridge, liberally season the packer with garlic salt and black pepper on all sides. I like to season the brisket so that you don't see any meat.

Let rest and come to room temperature for about an hour.

While the brisket is resting, preheat your smoker to 250°. You can use any wood that you want, I like the Jack Daniels option.

Place your brisket fat side down in your smoker. Ensure the smoker has air flow. You may need to add wood chips every hour, so be sure to keep an eye on that. If you can keep the door closed during this process, that is best as it doesn't allow the smoke to escape.

Smoke your brisket for 30-60 minutes per pound. It typically takes about 12 hours when I smoke a brisket.

Once your brisket has reached 190-210° internal temperature, it is time to remove. Place the brisket in aluminum foil and let rest for at least an hour. I typically will wrap the brisket and place it in a cooler for at least an hour, I try to do two hours!

When slicing the brisket slice it against the grain and enjoy!


Q: Can I smoke a frozen brisket?

A: It is not recommended to smoke a frozen brisket as it can result in uneven cooking and may pose a food safety risk.

Q: Can I smoke a brisket on a gas grill?

A: Yes, you can! While traditional smoking is done on charcoal or wood-burning smokers, you can still achieve delicious results by using a gas grill. Just make sure to use wood chips for added flavor and follow the same smoking process as you would on a traditional smoker.

Q: How do I know when my brisket is done?

A: The best way to determine if your brisket is done is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the brisket should reach between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for the most tender and juicy results.

Q: Can I slice my brisket against the grain before storing it?

A: It is recommended to store your brisket in larger chunks or slices, as slicing it too thin can result in dry and tough meat when reheated. You can always slice the brisket against the grain right before serving.

Q: Can I use leftover smoked brisket for other dishes?

A: Absolutely! Leftover smoked brisket is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes such as tacos, sandwiches, chili, or even on top of pizzas. Get creative and enjoy your delicious smoked brisket in different ways.

Back to blog