Saturday, May 21, 2022

Perfect Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket is a seriously simple but flavor-packed, mouthwatering dish to make for family and friends. With 2 simple spices and some patience, you’ll be enjoying tender, juicy slices of smoked beef!

titled image of smoked brisket

Beef brisket is one large (and expensive!) cut of meat, so it can be intimidating to cook one if you’ve never done it before. Not to worry! Smoking brisket is actually very simple. Just give yourself plenty of time — this recipe is the definition of low and slow.

Simple doesn’t mean flavorless though, as this recipe for smoked beef brisket can attest! Use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as a dry rub before infusing the meat with an incredible smoky flavor.

overhead: smoked beef brisket recipe ingredients on cutting board

Smoked Brisket

Brisket is delicious on sandwiches and nachos, and the fattier point cut is perfect for making the most mouthwatering burnt ends you will ever taste!!

Slice up your perfectly smoked brisket flat and serve it with pickled veggies and plenty of BBQ sauce for dipping. Creamy coleslaw, scrumptious Hawaiian macaroni salad, and spicy mac and cheese are great sides to serve with it!

trimming fat from uncooked beef

Ingredients Needed for Smoked Beef Brisket

  • Brisket - I recommend getting one with the point still attached for this recipe. Brisket is a sub-primal cut, meaning it comes from the section of the cow near the front legs.

    The flat is leaner and sits against the ribs of the cow, while the point is from the lower part and contains more connective tissue.

  • Salt and pepper - This is all the seasoning you need! Spread it evenly over the meat and let it sit for about 30 minutes before smoking. For a little extra flavor, you can’t go wrong with some garlic powder too.

making smoked brisket recipe in pellet grill

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

Oak, mesquite, and hickory are the most traditional woods used for smoking beef brisket. Fruitwoods, such as apple or maple, are also popular if you’re looking for a milder smoky flavor.

I like to use a blend of black oak, hickory, elm, and mesquite to get just the right balance of earthiness and nuttiness into the meat. It can also be used for smoking a variety of other meats and even vegetables, which means it’s the only type you need to have on hand.

smoking whole beef brisket on traeger pellet grill

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Trim the beef correctly.
    It’s important to remove any hard fat pieces entirely, then trim the rest of the fat to an even ¼-inch thickness. This will be easier to do if you allow the meat to warm on the counter for about an hour first.

  • Expose the point.
    A full brisket is composed of the flat and the point, and the latter can be used to make tender burnt ends. If you plan on removing it for that purpose, be sure to remove the thick fat between the flat and point before smoking.

  • Remember to rest the beef!
    Keep the meat wrapped in butcher paper and transfer it to a sheet pan. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. The longer it rests, the juicier the meat will be.

  • Seasoning and smoking time for brisket can vary.
    Use this recipe as a guide. The actual amount of seasoning you’ll need and the total time for smoking brisket depends on its size. Smoked beef brisket is done when the internal temperature reaches 195°F before resting.

smoking brisket in pink butcher paper

Storing and Reheating Smoked Brisket Flat

Leftover brisket can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Save any juices left in the pan after it has been sliced — these are great for keeping the beef moist when reheating!

To reheat smoked brisket, place it on a rimmed baking sheet and let it come to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour leftover juices or some beef broth over the meat and cover the pan with a double layer of foil. Then, cook - For brisket slices, 20 minutes at 325°F, or if it’s unsliced, about an hour.

Equipment Needed

  • Smoker - Wood pellet varieties allow extra flavor to be infused into whatever you’re smoking.

  • Wood chips - I love this blend and use it for just about everything.

  • Sheet Pan - You’ll need one to rest the meat both before and after it has been smoked.

  • Butcher Paper - Use this to wrap the smoked brisket during the final stages of cooking.

  • Digital Meat Thermometer - I can’t live without mine! It takes the guesswork out of cooking meat to the perfect temperature.

  • Quality kitchen knives and a large wooden cutting board make prepping a breeze and are well worth the investment.

smoked brisket flat unwrapped on butcher paper

Smoked Brisket FAQ

How long do you smoke a brisket at 225?

It typically takes between 12 to 14 hours to smoke a 10 pound brisket at 225°F. That essentially comes out to about an hour per pound exposed, plus another 2 hours or so after it’s been wrapped in butcher paper.

Because there are so many factors to consider, it’s best to use a digital meat thermometer for accurate results. Whatever you do, don’t try to increase the temperature to speed up the cook time! Low and slow is what you need for deliciously tender and juicy meat.

At what temp is smoked brisket flat done?

The internal temperature of a smoked brisket flat should reach 190-195°F when you pull it off to rest. That temp will continue to rise (up to another 10 degrees) as the meat sits, so be careful not to overcook it!

Why is my smoked brisket not tender?

Contrary to steak and poultry, tough brisket is often the result of undercooking instead of overcooking. That, paired with too high of a temperature, will not allow enough time for all of the connective tissue to break down.

That, paired with too high of a temperature, will not allow enough time for all of the connective tissue to break down. Also, you need to wrap the meat as soon as it reaches an internal temp of 165°F. This locks in the moisture, which would otherwise evaporate the longer it cooks.

Finally, let your meat rest! All those juices need time to redistribute and absorb back into the beef before you start slicing.

slicing perfectly smoked beef brisket


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Smoked Baked Beans

Smoked Mac and Cheese

traeger smoked brisket slices, close up

Yield: 10 - 1 serving equals: 1/2 pound smoked brisket (about 1 pound pre-cook weight)
Author: Donna Elick
slices of smoked brisket flat

Perfect Smoked Brisket

Perfectly smoked brisket, seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper, practically melts in your mouth and will leave you begging for more!

Prep Time: 1 Hour 30 Min  Cook Time: 12 Hours  Total Time: 13 Hours 30 Min


  • 10 pound beef brisket, with the point attached
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper


  1. Remove the brisket from it’s packaging and allow to come to room temperature, about an hour. Pat dry with paper towels and allow to rest on a cutting board or sheet pan.
  2. Trim the fat from the brisket until it is about 1/4 inch in thickness and even across the brisket. Trim the hard fat pieces completely off.
  3. To expose the point for making burnt ends later, remove the large piece of hard fat between the flat and the point as best as possible while still leaving 1/4 inch on the point.
  4. Once the meat has come to room temperature, season liberally with salt and pepper. Use a mixture of fine and course salt and pepper for the best coverage. Pat the seasoning onto the brisket. Allow it to rest again for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the smoker to 225F.
  6. Place the brisket in the smoker completely exposed for about an hour per pound or until an internal thermometer reaches 165F in the thickest part of the flat.
  7. Remove and wrap with butcher paper tightly.
  8. Return to smoker for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 195F. Poke right through the butcher paper with instant read thermometer.
  9. Remove from the smoker and place on the sheet pan to rest for 30 minutes to 4 hours, wrapped.
  10. Slice completely and serve or remove the point to save for burnt ends and cut the flat to serve.
  1. The amount of seasoning and cook time will depend on the size of the brisket. Use this recipe as a general guideline.

titled pinterest collage: smoking brisket

Originally published May 2022

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  1. I don’t have a grill, how can I cook this in a crockpot?

    1. I do mine in oven 350 tented for 2 hours and 1 hour with bbq brushed on top


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