How to Smoke Brisket

How to Smoke Brisket
how to smoke a brisket

Smoked Brisket

Carson Morby
There are a lot of ways to cook a brisket, but my all time favorite way is to smoke it. This recipe will show you the steps for smoking your first brisket, or improving your brisket game.


  • 1 Full Packer Brisket- About 14-16 Lbs
  • 1/4 Cup Your Favorite Beef Dry Rub


  • Trim the excess fat off of the brisket. My general preference is to take the fat cap down to about 1/8 of an inch. Round the thinest part of the flat off ever so slightly. The super thin meat will overcook compared to the rest of the brisket.
  • Apply a generous layer of your favorite beef dry rub over the entire brisket. Make sure to get the sides too, not just the top and bottom. Get outta here with those mustard and oil binders. The seasoning shouldn't have any problem adhering to the meat without them.
  • Preheat your smoker to 225-300 degrees F. If you are using a pellet grill, I recommend closer to 225 F. If you are using charcoal or an offset smoker, 275-300 works well as long as the heat source isn't too close to the meat to char it.
  • Smoke the brisket until it reaches about 170 degrees internal temperature. Check to see if the rub is adhered enough to the meat. As long as it's adhered to the meat, it's time to wrap it.
  • I like foil. It's cheaper than butcher paper, and easier to use. I recommend the heavier duty, wide foil from the big box stores. Wrap tightly in foil with about 1/4 cup of beef broth.
  • Let the wrapped brisket smoke until the meat is around 202-205 degrees F internal temperature. Start probing the flat of the brisket. That's the thin part. If it isn't probing tender like butter, let it keep going. Lower grade beef tends to take a couple extra degrees.
  • When the flat is probing tender, remove the brisket from the smoker. Keep the brisket in the foil, and let it rest for 30 mins to an hour. Remove from the foil and slice AGAINST THE GRAIN. The grain changes directions when you get from the flat to the point, so make sure you change your slicing direction to keep cutting against the grain. Enjoy!

How to smoke brisket

The recipe above covers just about everything, but I’ll leave my best tips for smoking the best brisket down here. Here’s my suggestions for the things that work for me:

1- You don’t need to use a binder. Most rubs will adhere to the meat just fine. If you spritz the brisket with apple juice or a liquid that has a bit of sugar or vinegar, you will develop of great bark without needing a mustard or oil binder.

2- It doesn’t have to take all night, and all day. Hot and fast brisket can be just as great, and just as smoky. Just because you smoked it all day, doesn’t mean your brisket will be superior. Most of my briskets only take 8-10 hours at 275-300 degrees. This works better on offset or charcoal cookers. Pellet grills do much better with brisket around 225 degrees.

3- Wood types don’t matter too much. Most pellet types are going to have a similar effect. I’ve never noticed a huge difference. Hickory, apple, cherry, oak, alder, peach and more work just fine with brisket. Use what is available to you.

4- Your first brisket doesn’t have to suck. Gone are the days of the rumor that your first few briskets will be terrible. Keep things simple, and cook the meat to temperature and tenderness, and you will have great results.

5- But hey, don’t be afraid if it does suck. Sometimes a cook doesn’t go too well. Maybe your first brisket doesn’t go too well. Oh well. Just keep practicing. It’s a cut that takes patience. Just roll with it, and let the meat cook. Enjoy the journey, and don’t give up.

6- You’re allowed to use more than just salt and pepper. I love Texas, and I love Texas style brisket, but you’re allowed to use what you enjoy. I love paprika. I love garlic. I love onion. I love herbs. I love depth of flavor. Find flavors that you love and cook with them. Beef doesn’t just have to be salt and pepper. And if you use more than salt and pepper, it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook. You are fully capable, and your smoked brisket will turn out great!