Perfectly Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Smoking your first beef brisket can be pretty intimidating. This is especially true if you’ve never smoked a 15-18 pound piece of beef before! However, just because a smoked beef brisket seems complicated to make doesn’t mean that you should delay the idea of cooking this delicious dish.

So, to help you cook a melt-in-the-mouth smoked beef brisket with ease, we have curated a step-by-step recipe for you. In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to create a perfect mouth-watering and tender smoked brisket every single time.

Moreover, we’ll teach you how to trim, season, and wrap your brisket. Besides, there are guidelines on the proper smoking procedures, including the correct temperature required to cook a smoked beef brisket.

Besides, once your brisket is ready, you can serve it with Smoked Asparagus or Smoked Sweet Potatoes to complete your meal. So, dig in to learn another classic dish to woo your guest at the upcoming barbecue party.

How to Make Smoked Brisket

Regardless of your location and cooking skills, this texas style brisket will give you a taste of authentic flavors without visiting any restaurant.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 hours
  • Resting Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 16 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Temperature: 225 degrees F
  • Serving: 18 people

Required Tools

  • Bowl
  • Smoker
  • Foil
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife


  • One whole packer brisket of 12 to 14 pounds
  • 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of optional garlic powder

Cooking Instructions

  1. Take your brisket out of the fridge and remove the packaging.
  2. Place your brisket on a large cutting board, and using a sharp knife, trim as much of the fat and silver skin off the top of your brisket. Next, remove the fat cap (if there is one) and slowly trim away any excess fat.
  3. Flip your brisket over and trim the bottom side of your brisket until there’s 1/4 inch of fat left on the bottom. Also, make sure to trim off any flaps of fat or meat.
  4. Once done, take a separate bowl and mix kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Spice rub this seasoning on the brisket to distribute all the spices evenly.
  6. Use hardwood smoke to preheat the smoker. The temperature should reach 225 degrees F.
  7. Place the point end side of the brisket over the smoker’s main heat point.
  8. Cover the smoker with a lid until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  9. After almost 8 hours, spread a piece of large foil and place the smoked brisket in the center.
  10. Wrap the brisket with the foil and seal it properly.
  11. Now put the wrapped brisket back on the smoker, this time with the seam side over the heat.
  12. Close the smoker’s lid again so that the temperature maintains at 225 degrees F.
  13. Keep cooking until the meat’s thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 202 degrees F.
  14. Once it is ready, place brisket on a cutting board.
  15. Let it rest for at least an hour before you bring your knife to create slices.
  16. Slice against the grain and serve the texas style brisket right away.

BBQ Tip: While seasoning, shake the spices at least 2 feet above the brisket. This tip will help create an even distribution of salt, pepper, and garlic over the meat. Then you won’t have to put in an extra effort.

Detailed Cooking Instructions

Take the Brisket Out of the Refrigerator

Once you have purchased the brisket, make sure to store it in a refrigerator for some time. So, when you are ready to cook it, it is cold enough to trim easily.

Put the Meat on a Cutting Board and Trim

Keep the brisket on a cutting board and start with removing excess fat and silver skin. Moreover, trim the sizeable moon-like fat section. Do it properly until you experience a rapid transition from flat to the point.

Moreover, remove excess fat from the meat’s point section as well. Then after this step, square the flat’s ends and edges. Once done, trim the brisket’s fat cap at the top and reduce its thickness.

Prepare the Seasoning

Mix salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl to get a quick and full-of-flavor seasoning. Sprinkle the seasoning on the brisket way before putting it on the smoker.

Preheat the Smoker

You can use both hardwood smoke and indirect heat to preheat the smoker. Regardless of your choice, please make sure the smoker’s temperature is 225 degrees F when placing the brisket on it.

Place the Brisker On the Smoker

While placing the brisket, make sure that its point end faces the prime heat source. Since this part is quite thick, it can easily bear additional heat.

Now cover the smoker with the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Take the Brisket Out and Wrap

Once done, place the brisket on a foil sheet and start wrapping. Fold one edge over the other and create a seal. You can also use peach butcher paper, but foil helps push smoke in a better way. Moreover, most BBQ joints use foil as it helps to maintain moisture within the meat.

Put the Brisket Back and Let it Cook!

Place the wrapped brisket in the smoker and cook until the internal temperature of the meat doesn’t reach 202 degrees F. If you do not want to cook low and slow, smoke at 275 degrees F and reduce the cooking time. However, while doing so, keep checking the internal temperature as you would not like to consume undercooked meat for lunch or dinner.

Dish Out the Smoked Brisket

As soon as you are satisfied with the smoked brisket, dish it out on a board and let it rest for some time. We understand that everyone might be anxiously waiting for their food, but this step is imperative to let the meat absorb all the juices and seasoning so that it can melt in your mouth.

If you want to increase the resting time, do so. Wrap the brisket in a piece of towel and place it in an efficient insulated cooler.

Slice the Brisket and Serve

End this beef brisket recipe by slicing the meat with a sharp knife. Make sure to slice the point and the flat portions and serve as soon as it is done.

Most famous joints split the meat from the middle so that the flat and point overlap. They then change the direction of the point to 90 degrees to slice. Moreover, the experts finish the process by slicing the flat section in the opposite way.

BBQ Tip: If you are someone who usually uses a binder to bind all the spices on your brisket, use yellow mustard in this recipe. It helps to break acidity on meat’s surface and produce a fantastic bark. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of some common questions asked by learners like you. Please take a look as the answers below might help you improve your technique and reduce your efforts.

What is Brisket?

Beef brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the breast section of the cow beneath the first five ribs and behind the upper part of the front legs. It’s made up of two different muscles: the flat and the point.

The Brisket Flat

A brisket flat contains two muscles and is considered the leanest section of this meat. It can be cooked on a smoker or even on a plain tray.

The Brisket Point

Unlike the flat, a brisket point is the fattiest section of a brisket. It is also referred to as the deckle, and it is often given the first cut, which makes this part leaner.

Where to Buy and How to Choose the Right Brisket

You can buy a good brisket from both grocery stores or a local butcher. However, we would recommend you to visit the latter to get what you want.

Selecting the correct meat is vital to get the best results. So here are a few tips that you should follow when picking a brisket:

  • Always buy a whole packer brisket that should include the flat and point muscles.
  • Don’t forget to check the grade of the beef. We would recommend you to spend money on prime-grade meat only. It is because such meat has the fattest content, which can help get you a juicy brisket.
  • For every person on your guest list, at least purchase 1/2 pound of meat. An amount less than this may not be fulfilling enough.

How to Trim a Beef Brisket

Take your time to trim your brisket. An adequately trimmed brisket will look and taste much better than if you were to rush through this step.

  1. If your brisket was previously frozen, thaw it out in your fridge for 3-5 days before cook day. After that, the entire brisket should be fridge temperature right before you start preparing it.
  2. Remove your brisket from the packaging and discard the packaging and all the excess juices.
  3. Pat your brisket dry with a paper towel to ensure that it’s not slippery and won’t slide out of your hands when you start trimming it.
  4. Turn your brisket fat side down and start trimming the fat off the top of the brisket. Trim enough off the top so that the meat is exposed.
  5. Remove any meat or fat flaps from around the outside of the brisket. These will burn, and you don’t need them.
  6. Cut any browned meat that you might have. This section is often added while packaging your meat. Don’t be afraid to slice it off.
  7. Remove any ‘Silver Skin’ that is on the meat. Go slow and take your time with this; remove the silver skin and leave the most meat.
  8. Cutting your meat against the grain is the best way to cut your brisket. It allows you to serve slices of meat that will fall apart for your guests.
  9. This process makes it easy for your guests to pull apart their slices into smaller pieces. Moreover, it helps to make the meat less chewy.
  10. Flip the brisket over and trim the entire bottom side so that there’s only a ¼ of fat across the entire bottom of the brisket.
  11. Once you have followed all the steps, the meat is good to go.

How to Properly Season a Brisket

How much or how little you season your brisket is entirely up to you, but we do have some general guidelines that can help you decide.

If you were lucky enough to find a high-grade cut of meat (like Choice, AAA, or Wagyu), it’s a good idea to keep it simple. You want the natural flavors of the meat to come through more than the rub. Please season with kosher salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder.

However, if your brisket is a lower quality of meat, feel free to be a little more adventurous and generous with the kind and amount of rub you put on. You can buy ready-made rubs or create your own with salt, pepper, chili powder, coriander, and paprika.

If you’re going to create your rub, make sure to do it ahead of time and taste it. The last thing you want to do is be rushing to make the ‘perfect rub.’

The night before, you cook, trim your brisket and then apply the rub. Make sure to cover all sides of the meat and give it a generous seasoning. You want to enhance the meat’s flavor without overpowering it.

Then, pat (don’t spread) your seasoning into the meat to make sure it stays.

Put your brisket into a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware container and put it back in the fridge overnight. This time will allow your seasoning to set into the meat and start the tenderizing process.

That’s it! Your brisket is now seasoned and ready for the smoker in the morning!

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

This is the list of best wood used to smoke a delicious brisket:

  • Apple
  • Maple
  • Red Oak
  • Cherry
  • Hickory

How Long Do You Smoke a Brisket at 225?

On average, plan for between 30 to 60 minutes per pound of brisket. For example, a 12-13 pound brisket cooked at 225 degrees F will take 8 hours to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

However, if you follow our smoked brisket recipe above, a 16-pound brisket should take 18 hours to cook thoroughly. If you include prep time, the entire process of smoking a brisket could take 18-22 hours.

Do You Smoke Brisket Fat Side Up or Down?

If your heat source is at the bottom, you should cook the brisket with the fat side down. However, if you own an offset cooker with a horizontal body and heat source at the top, cook the brisket with the fat side up.

Can You Put BBQ Sauce On a Smoked Brisket?

Yes, you can. You can add bbq sauce on chopped or sliced brisket and increase the overall flavor of the dish. Moreover, the sauce also increases moisture and prevents the brisket from getting too hard or dry.

How Can You Keep Your Brisket Moist While it is Cooking?

To make your brisket tender and moist while it smokes, take a spray bottle and fill it with some amount of apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Then, spray the solution on the brisket while preventing the heat from escaping.

You can spray the apple cider vinegar solution after every few minutes. This procedure will break down tough meat portions and may also help to reduce the overall cooking time.

What Is the Blue Smoke that Comes Out While Cooking a Brisket?

You may see thin blue smoke coming out of your food while you cook your brisket. Thin blue smoke is the resultant product of clean-burnt wood. It is filled with lots of flavors and is the sign of perfect temperature.

How Can you Use Brown Sugar When Smoking a Brisket?

You can add brown sugar to the seasoning and rub it over your brisket before it goes on a smoker. This additional ingredient will add a little sweetness to your dish and help enhance the smokey flavor.

Is It Safe to Place a Thermometer in the Brisket While it Smokes?

Yes, you can always put leave-in thermometers in the brisket while it smokes and cooks. These instruments keep track of the temperature and prevent the meat from being over-burnt.

Moreover, if you have thick brisket to smoke, get a leave-in dial thermometer instead. This tool can quickly probe within the meat and measure temperature through even the thickest layers.

How to Use Wood Chips Efficiently While You Smoke Your Brisket?

Here’s how you should utilize the best wood chips for the ultimate smoking process:

  • First, choose the wood chip flavors that you love.
  • Once done, fill the smoker box with the chosen chips
  • Turn on the fire and place the box over the grill.
  • Let the chips start to smoke.
  • As they do, place the brisket and start cooking.

Can You Use Lump Charcoal Over Briquettes to Smoke the Brisket?

Yes, you can. If you love the rich smokey flavor, we recommend you choose lump charcoal over briquettes every time. The latter may produce flat results for many. However, if you prefer briquette, try wood chips only.

How Many Calories Does the Smoked Brisket Recipe Have?

This unique smoked brisket dish has total calories of 282kcal. The recipe is rich in protein but also has a good amount of saturated fat.

Moreover, it has 775mg of sodium, 19mg of potassium, and just 4mg of calcium.

What Are the Best Meals to Make with Leftover Brisket?

Here is the list of some excellent meals you can prepare after a leftover brisket:

  • Brisket Smoked Mac and Cheese- This is super easy to make and is a perfect treat for cold winter afternoons.
  • Brisket Bacon Cheddar Soup- The soup is so delicious that you will love to try it every time.
  • Brisket Bacon Pizza- Who doesn’t love pizza? We all do, and the one smoked brisket toppings are worth a try.

Best Beer or Wine to Go with Smoked Brisket

Red wine – Merlot or Cab Sav

Beer – Porter, Stout, or Amber Ale

BBQ Tip: If you want to make your smoked brisket dish tempting, serve it with white bread, pickled onions, and a side sauce. You can also present it on a wooden platter covered with butcher paper.

Conclusion-Know the Basics and Get Cooking!

You don’t have to be an expert in smoking the perfect brisket. However, without a solid smoked brisket recipe to follow (like the one above), it’s really easy to get it wrong and end up with a brisket that’s charred or ruined. That’s why most people get easily terrified by smoking this massive piece of meat!

Knowing the basics of preparation, temperatures, timing, and fuel type can make all the difference and give you the confidence to get it right the first time. So get ready with your tools and ingredients and try this recipe to become a smoked brisket expert.