Beef Brisket (smoked)

  • Notes:

I have always cooked very low and slow at 225 degrees.  I have tried higher temperatures like 275 but I think it dries out the meat.

I prefer to cook USDA Choice and not USDA Prime brisket.  Brisket meat is fatty already and Prime cuts end up with too much fat that must be cut away or rendered down.

When you measure the final temperature, don’t measure the thickest part of the brisket (the point).   There are two layers in the point and there is too much fat to get an accurate measurement.

Slide the thermometer in from the side into the thicker part of the flat of the brisket to measure temperature.

Timing – Total 24.5 hours:

  • Preparation – 30 minutes
  • Refrigeration – 12 hours
  • Cook Step 1 (Smoker) – 2 hours
  • Cook Step 2 (Smoker) – 2 hours
  • Cook Step 3 (Smoker) – 2 hours
  • Cook Step 4 (Smoker or Oven) – 4 hours
  • Cooling Step – 2 hours



  1. Unpack and wash the brisket
  2. Trim the fat cap to about 1/4″ thick
  3. Trim any hard pure-white fat including the dense layer of fat from between the meat layers
  4. Large chunks of hard white fat will not render, no matter how long you cook the brisket.
  5. Wash a 20.75″ x 12.81″ x 3.18″ disposable aluminum steam table pan.
  6. Place a cooling rack into the bottom of the steam pan to add rigidity and allow smoke to flow to the underside of the brisket
  7. Rub the brisket with vegetable oil or mustard to help seal it and make the rub stick.
  8. If you add too much seasoning to the brisket, you will mask the beefy flavor so you only want to add a thin layer of rub. Add the rub to the lean side of the brisket
  9. Add rub to the fat cap side of the brisket
  10. Refrigerate the brisket (uncovered) overnight.
  11. Heat the smoker to 225 degrees.
  12. Make sure the Brisket is fat-side down for the first two hours so smoke can penetrate the lean side.
  13. Place the brisket in the smoker and add smoke wood. Use mostly mild wood like apple or mulberry with a small amount of hickory. Hickory will bring out the bacon flavor in the brisket but it can add a bitter taste if overused.
  14. After 2 hours, flip the brisket to fat-side up and add more smoke wood.
  15. After 4 hours, add more smoke wood.
  16. After 6 hours or when the brisket reaches 160 – 165 degrees, remove the brisket and move it onto a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil. Pour any liquid from the steam pan onto the brisket and seal the foil tightly around the brisket
  17. Place the wrapped brisket back into the steam pan and move it back into the smoker or into an oven preheated to 225 degrees.
  18. Cook for approximately 4 more hours (sometimes it cooks much quicker) until a thermometer in the center of the thickest part reads 195 – 200 degrees. I prefer closer to 200. If a long toothpick or a meat probe penetrate the meat with very little effort, it is done.
  19. Remove the brisket from the heat and wrap it in towels and place it in a cooler or a cool oven to let it cool slowly for 2 more hours before slicing or refrigerating or freezing.
  20. Slice 1/4″ thick perpendicular to the grain of the meat. NOTE: The top cap grain does not run in the same direction as the bottom of the brisket
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