Who doesn’t love the taste of smoked meat? Brisket is our all time favorite meat to smoke on the smoker and let me tell you, this recipe is amazing!! Just look at how this smoked brisket turned out! That smoke ring is perfect!
How I Started Smoking Brisket
My 2 brother-in-laws are always smoking some type of meat for the holidays. It’s either turkey, brisket, chicken or some other type of meat. I got to the point where I didn’t want to wait until a holiday to have smoked meat. So, I asked my hubby for a smoker and he got me one for Christmas last year. Now, all I had to do was figure out how to actually use it. That’s where my dad comes in.
Daddy grew up in the south and he was always smoking pork. He tells me stories about how he and his dad and brothers would stay up for 24 hours smoking a Boston Butt just hanging out, monitoring the temperature of the meat and telling all kinds of tales. When I got my smoker, I told my dad he needed to educate me on how to do this “smoking thing” the right way.
Video: How To Smoke Beef Brisket
Before we jump into the details on how to smoke a brisket, watch my video here for a quick overview.
Prepping Beef Brisket
Brisket is the toughest cut of meat from the cow, so how you prep the brisket both before, during, and after you smoke is so important. If you do it right, the brisket will turn out tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
- I typically buy a 10 pound brisket. Depending on where you buy the brisket, it can come with the fat already trimmed or with a lot of fat.
- Sometimes I ask the butcher to trim the fat off, but sometimes I opt to trim it off myself. If you’re trimming off the fat yourself, leave about a 1/4 of an inch of fat on your brisket. The slim fatty layer really helps add moisture and flavor to your brisket.
Smoked Brisket Rub
How to season smoked brisket is really important. There are many rub options available, but I love the mixture of a brown sugar rub with a hint of salt and spice. Here’s the ingredients I use for my brisket rub.
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- seasoning salt
- black pepper
- oregano leaves (dried)
- onion powder
Season the brisket with this rub for 12-24 hours before starting the smoking process. Place the brisket in a pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the refrigerator.
Prepping the Smoker – Best Tips
- Wood Chunks or Chips – I prefer to use wood chunks instead of wood chips because they produce more smoke and the meat turns out more flavorful. My favorite wood chunks to use for smoking a brisket are a combination of half hickory and half apple. Soak the wood chunks for at least an hour before smoking.
- Wrap – Once the chunks are done soaking, wrap the chunks in heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke little holes in the foil. By doing this, the wood chunks will last longer and they won’t crumble to ash halfway through the smoking process.
- Brisket Smoke Time – Estimate about an hour of smoking time per pound. A 10-pound brisket take about 9.5-10 hours to smoke.
- Water Tray – Wrap the water tray with heavy-duty aluminum foil and drop in about 3 Tablespoons of liquid smoke into your water. The liquid smoke helps provide that deep smoke taste.
- Temp for Smoked Brisket – Preheat the smoker to get it hot and smokey. From there, turn the heat down to 225 degrees fahrenheit.
How to Smoke Beef Brisket
- Sometimes, I opt to baste the brisket with a little bit of BBQ sauce before placing it on the smoker. This is optional. Smoking it in just the rub is just as delicious.
- When it’s time to put the brisket on the smoker, lay it fat side down. Go ahead and put the electric meat thermometer in the brisket so you can keep up with the internal temperature.
- Now sit back, relax, or multi-task because you need to let the brisket smoke low and slow. Monitor the smoker temperature gauge. Keep the smoker temperature between 225-250, never letting it get above 250 degrees fahrenheit.
Have you ever heard of the 165-degree stall when smoking a brisket? Well, if you haven’t experienced it, it’s frustrating. Brisket is not a cheap cut of meat to begin with and having it sit there at 165 degrees when you want it medium-well to well done is not a great thing. So I’m going to let you in on a little secret to get past this stall.
- When you get to the point where your meat has about 2 to 3 hours left to smoke, what you want to do is pull the brisket out of the smoker and double wrap it with heavy duty aluminum foil. This will help maintain the internal heat and help get past the stall. Wrap it tight. The tighter the better.
- Insert your meat thermometer back into the brisket and continue to smoke until your brisket reaches 180 to 185 degrees.
- Once your brisket reaches 180 to 185 degrees, pull it out of the smoker and leave it wrapped in the aluminum foil. Take the wrapped meat and wrap it again in a beach towel. Pull out a large empty cooler and place your wrapped brisket in the cooler to rest for about 1 to 2 hours. This process really helps make the brisket juicy and more tender.
- After about 2 hours, you are ready to cut into your brisket.
- Make sure you slice the brisket against the grain.
- If you want the brisket at more of a medium temperature, it will be done at 170 degrees.
Brisket Smoke Ring
Take a look at the smoke ring. This is what you want to see on your brisket. People believe that the smoke ring proves you have done a good job by properly smoking the meat in a “low and slow” manner. The goal is to get your smoke ring to be about a 1/4 of an inch thick.
More Smoker Recipes
If you’re looking for more smoker recipes, check out some of my other recipe creations. Some are smoker side dishes and some are meats. Here’s some must try favorites:
- Applewood Smoked Chicken
- Garlic and Herb Smoked Potatoes
- Smoked Cherry Tomatoes with Basil and Goat Cheese
- Smoker Baked Beans
- Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends
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- Place the brisket in a large Pyrex dish. Take each ingredient listed above (excluding the Brisket) and mix well in a bowl with a spoon.
- Once the rub ingredients are mixed well, start rubbing and pressing the rub into the brisket. You want to ensure you are pressing the rub into the meat with a little bit of force so the rub can start to seep into the meat. Cover the Pyrex dish with either aluminum foil or saran wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
- Soak the wood chunks for at least 1 hour before smoking. Wrap the wood chunks in aluminum foil. Once your wood chunks are wrapped, place them in the tray in the smoker.
- Prepare your water tray by wrapping the tray with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drop in about 3 Tablespoons of liquid smoke into the water tray.
- Turn on the smoker and pre-heat it to 225 degrees. When it’s time to put the brisket on the smoker, lay it fat side down.
- Place an electric meat thermometer in the brisket and close the smoker door.
- Let the brisket smoke low and slow, never letting the smoker temperature get above 250. The brisket should take about an hour per pound to smoke.
- For a well done brisket, let the brisket smoke until the internal temperature reached 180 degrees fahrenheit. If you want it more of a medium temperature, it will be done at 170 degrees.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in November 2015, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in May 2019.You will also find affiliate links on this page.
This recipe was featured on Foodista.