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Smoked Brisket Done Right

Posted in : Beef, Dinner, Main Dishes, Smoking on by : guyfoodguru

smoked brisket

Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Imagine yourself biting into a piece of beef that literally dissolves in your mouth, this is brisket. Few things are more rewarding than taking on smoking a brisket for 12-14 hours or more. Slightly smoky aroma and taste, with hints of a wonderfully flavorful rub that’s been absorbed throughout the meat. Although this is something only a few brave souls attempt, it’s really pretty easy. Let’s learn how.

Buying a Brisket

There are times to skimp, there are times to save, but when you’re buying a brisket you want quality.  Here, I’m using 2 whole packers, or entire briskets, that weigh in at about 11 lbs each.

On the day you’re going to smoke, wake up as early as you can, remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow to come closer to room temperature, at least an hour without refrigeration is best.

Trim the Fat

One side of the brisket will be covered in a layer of fat.  Some of this fat will render, and you want this, but most likely the fat cap will be too thick and will have to be trimmed. Trim excess fat with a knife leaving about a 1/4 inch or so.

smoked brisket 2


Excess fat trimmed. Leave about 1/4″

Inject with beef broth

Using a meat injector, I slowly inject about 8-10oz of low sodium beef broth deep into the brisket. Inject slowly and allow the broth to spread.


Apply Rub

Using the rub I made beforehand, Beef Rub Recipe, I evenly but lightly coat the brisket.  You can apply the rub directly to the meat or you can first apply a coating of mustard. Here I used a light coating of vegetable oil and then sprinkled on the rub.  You can work the rub into the meat if you wish or, just let it sit while the smoker is coming up to temperature.

6 smoked brisket

Place the brisket in 225 degrees smoker with the fat side facing up.

smoked brisketsmoked brisket

Place internal meat thermometer in brisket and monitor both smoker and meat temperatures

For all other kinds of cooking you’ll be looking at the temperature of the meat. For smoking, we watch the temperature of the meat but also keep a close eye on the temperature of the smoker.  I wouldn’t trust the gauge that’s on your smoker and instead I use a dual remote bbq/smoker and meat thermometer like this.  I can carry it around with me while keeping a close eye on the cooking and meat temperatures.


You can buy yours HERE

 Applying Smoke

Add wood chips to create smoke every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours.  Use the wood of your choice. Some favorites include Mesquite, which can be overpowering so be sure not to over smoke.  The same is true for Hickory.  I used Apple wood chips to smoke this brisket.  Apple and Cherry both are a mild/sweet wood and can be used for just about everything you smoke.

smoked brisket


Notice after a few hours of smoking the darkness of the outside of the meat?  That’s called the bark.  If you were to look directly under that top surface you would see a layer of pink, that’s called the smoke ring.  This is where all of the flavor of the smoking rests.  And the outside black/darkness, that is not burnt..  that and the smoke ring is where all the flavor is.   When I finish cooking a smoked pork butt they come out looking like black meteorites but there is no burnt meat at all.  Trust your internal temperature probe.

smoked brisket

When brisket temperature reaches about 150 degree, remove from smoker, double wrap in aluminum foil then place back in smoker.  You can leave it in the smoker unwrapped until it comes to full temperature but this is a nice shortcut.

smoked brisket

Monitor temperature until it reaches between 200 and 205.

Remove from smoker and place the meat, still wrapped in aluminum foil in multiple bath towels for insulation.

Place insulated meat in a cooler, pack any air spaces with towels or blankets and keep the lid closed for at least 2-3 hours.

This step is important and will redistribute the juices so they don’t run when you slice the meat

After 2-3 hours the internal temperature of the meat will still be about 155-165, plenty hot enough to serve.


When slicing, determine the grain of the meat and slice against it at a slight angle.  This is the side of the brisket. Notice how the I can pull on the meat and it comes off in long strands?  Cut across these strands and the meat will melt in your mouth.  If you cut along these strands then they’ll still be there in your meat and you’ll have to chew more.

You can see here that I cut this part of the brisket into a section about 4-5″ wide.  This makes perfect sandwich sized slices.


Place sliced meat on a fresh bun and add bbq sauce or the condiment of your choice. Enjoy!


This is an adapted version of a recipe found on AmazingRibs.com