Perfect Smoked Brisket

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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.

Smoked Brisket

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

Brisket is delicious on sandwiches and nachos, and the fattier point cut is perfect for making mouthwatering burnt ends.

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.
smoking whole beef brisket on traeger 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.

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making smoked brisket recipe in 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.
  • Let the beef rest! 
    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.

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?

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

One thing that helps is, when the internal temp of brisket reaches 165°F, wrap it in butcher paper to hold the moisture inside. Also, let the meat rest after cooking so the juices have time to redistribute.

slicing perfectly smoked beef brisket

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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traeger smoked brisket slices, close up

Other Great Smoking Recipes


slices of smoked brisket flat

Perfect Smoked Brisket

Donna Elick
Smoked Brisket is a seriously simple but flavor-packed dish of mouthwatering, tender beef. With a little patience, smoking brisket is easy!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 1 hr 40 mins
Cook Time 12 hrs
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 14 hrs 10 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 10 (8 ounces each)

Ingredients
 

  • 10 pounds beef brisket, with the point attached
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, mix of large and regular grind is recommended
  • 1/4 cup black pepper, freshly cracked is recommended

Instructions
 

  • Remove the brisket from its packaging and use paper towels to pat it dry. Transfer to a cutting board.
  • Trim away some fat from the brisket, leaving an even layer ¼ inch in thickness across the brisket. Slice off and discard any hard fat pieces.
  • 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 ¼ inch soft fat on the point.
  • Allow meat to come to room temperature, about an hour. Once the meat has come to room temperature, season liberally with salt and pepper. Use a mixture of fine and coarse salt and pepper for the best coverage. Pat the seasoning evenly onto the brisket. Allow it to rest again for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  • Place the brisket directly on a rack in the smoker, and cook for about an hour per pound, or until the internal temperature at the thickest portion of the flat reaches 165°F.
  • Remove from smoker and wrap brisket tightly in butcher paper.
  • Continue smoking brisket for another 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F. *To take the internal temp of beef, poke the probe of your instant-read thermometer right through the butcher paper and into the meat.
  • Once proper internal temp is reached, remove meat from the smoker and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
    Leave the wrapping on and allow the beef to rest for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. The longer it rests, the juicier the meat will be!
  • Slice the entire smoked brisket and serve as desired, or remove the point to save for burnt ends and cut the flat portion in slices against the grain for serving.

Donna’s Notes

  • The amount of seasoning and cook time needed depends on the size of the brisket. Use this recipe as a general guideline.

Nutrition

Serving: 8 ounces | Calories: 577cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 76g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 225mg | Sodium: 5947mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 8mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
perfect-smoked-brisket-pin

Originally published May 2022.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Cooking meat is something I’m hesitant about, but after reading through this recipe and putting it into action it came out so good! It was very understandable.

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