You guys I can’t wait for you to learn How to Smoke a Brisket. I’ve been a little obsessed with smoking briskets over the last two years. I can’t even begin to tell you how many briskets that I have smoked. So stay here and learn everything there is to know about smoking a brisket.
First thing, you don’t need a fancy smoker. We have a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker that we bought from Lowe’s. We also gifted one to a friend that we ride side by sides with because we love it so much! If you have a pellet smoker or a real deal one, you can use them all the same.
How long does it take to smoke a brisket?
You want to calculate between 30 and 60 minutes per pound when cooked at a temperature of 275°. For example, a 16-pound brisket cooked at 275 degrees Fahrenheit will take between 10 and 12 hours.
What kind of meat do I need to smoke a brisket?
When selecting a meat to smoke, you want to go with what is called a “packer brisket”. You always want to go a little bigger on the pounds because you will end up cutting off 2-3 pounds of fat.
You can find a packer at your local butcher shop. They can be a little pricey but you are often times supporting a local company. Our Kroger has been having a lot of sales so I try and keep my eye out for those as well. I’ll typically buy a packer on sale at Kroger and comes out to be about 14 pounds for under $50.
You want to preheat your smoker to 250° for at least an hour to get the smoke rolling. A brisket can only take on so much smoke flavor, around the first 4 hours is when it will get the smokey flavor from.
This step is key when it comes to smoking a brisket. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195-210° you want to remove the brisket from the smoker. Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil and allow it to rest for at least an hour. I typically either put it in a small cooler or in the oven if we aren’t taking it with us!
Do you put brisket in foil when smoking?
Okay….some people believe in wrapping brisket in foil to smoke, but, I never have. Here’s why….I feel like when you wrap any meat in the smoker, it’s not going to absorb all of the smoked flavor because it’s wrapped.
Do you put brisket fat side up or side down when smoking?
The answer is simple, the side your heat source is coming from. Often times the heat is coming from the bottom of the smoker, in this case you want to put the fat side down.
How do I slice a brisket?
When slicing a brisket, you want to slice AGAINST the grain of the meat. If you are new to slicing brisket look at the grain of the meat and slice the opposite way. This allows for tender brisket. Slicing with the grain is going to be a tougher chew.
What ingredients do I need for smoking a brisket?
These are such simple ingredients:
- Packer Brisket
- Kosher Salt
- Garlic Salt
- Black Pepper
How do I prepare a brisket before I put it in the smoker?
For me, I like to trim off as much fat as I can possibly get off the packer. Most folks who smoke for competitions will do this as well. However, backyard enthusiasts will leave fat on as it will feed more people. I simply don’t like the way the fat tastes and neither does anyone else in our family. I’d recommend trying to get as much fat off as you can.
Alright, this next step is VERY important. It’s one that you don’t want to skip. You want to liberally season all the sides of the brisket with kosher salt! When I prepare a brisket I’ll lay quite a few paper towels down on a 11×13 baking sheet. This will help to absorb any moisture and help to dry out the brisket.
Once I’ve seasoned all the sides of the brisket I will then place it in the refrigerator to dry out the meat for at least 12 hours. I try to go for 18 hours if I have the time.
Pat the brisket with a paper towel. The kosher salt draws out any moisture and the top should have moisture sitting on the top. Then simply put a generous amount of garlic salt and black pepper on all sides of the brisket. I like to season the packer so that I don’t see any of the meat. It does give the brisket a lot of flavor, so if you aren’t use to flavor you’ll want to do less, especially on the black pepper side.
Allow the brisket to come to room temperature before placing it in the smoker.
What is the brisket stall?
When you first smoke a brisket you may encounter the stall, I did. I got scared and in the end there was nothing to worry about! The stall can happen when the internal temperature reaches 160-175°. As the heat from the smoker renders the pockets of fat, the fat liquifies. As the fat liquifies it engages with the meat and cools. Once the fat renders the meat will begin to heat back up again.
Some folks will wrap their meat at this time to help get the temperature back up to around 180°, but it’s not necessary, I don’t do it.
How do I reheat brisket?
We often end up making recipes out of the leftover brisket. Things like Brisket Grilled Cheese (Jay LOVES that!), brisket tacos and brisket and gravy….these recipes are coming soon, so be sure to check back. I’ll also update this post with links to these recipes once we have them.
Anyhow, you want to be careful when reheating the brisket because it can dry out and will continue to cook. I will put the leftover brisket in aluminum foil in the oven at 250° for about 20 minutes. You can also heat up in a skillet or the microwave if you need it quicker.
Have leftover brisket? Try our Texas Twinkies recipe. We will be publishing Brisket Grilled Cheese, Brisket Tacos and Brisket and Gravy shortly! Be sure to Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive those recipes as they are published!
- 1 12 lb packer brisket
- kosher salt
- garlic salt
- black pepper
- 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.
- When slicing the brisket slice it against the grain and enjoy!