Step-by-Step Guide: How to Smoke Beef Brisket

by Pat
How to Smoke Beef Brisket

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There are three keys to a good brisket—temperature, time and technique. This is a guide on how to smoke beef brisket will walk you through the process step-by-step..

 A brisket is a large cut of beef that has a higher fat content than other cuts of beef. It’s commonly smoked, then sliced thin and served with a tangy barbecue sauce for a traditional and delicious meal. If you’re interested in getting your hands on a whole beef brisket, or if you’re looking for a fun and easy recipe for smoking your own brisket, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of smoking beef brisket, starting from step one and working my way up to step ten. This guide will help you understand how to smoke beef brisket, and it’s guaranteed to have you eating a delicious piece of meat as soon as you’re done reading.

Step 1: Preparing the Brisket:


-Take your whole beef brisket and place it in a large pot on the stove. Fill with water and tomato paste. Add salt to taste. Cook brisket until it starts to break down, about 2 hours, depending on how large you’ve purchased your beef from the store.

Drain all the excess water out of the pot and defat with paper towels until no more liquid comes away from it. Take this fat and begin to skim off some of it for later use as well as adding back into the boiling water later in step 3.

Move that fat into a bowl so you have less mess to clean up after in step 4!

Learn: Best Cuts of Meats to Smoke


-Once meat has broken down, remove from the pot. Place in a large bowl and rinse with cold water. This works as a defatting process as well, as well as rinsing off any salt that had been added during step 2.


-Let it cool until you can handle it and carve into small pieces of meat.


-Grate or chop into small pieces and place into freezer bags.

Note: Make sure to defat all the fat from the brisket before storing, as water and salt will be absorbed into it. This can affect the flavor or texture of your brisket, so it’s important that you defat first!

Best Wood to Use for Smoking Beef Brisket

My favorite wood to use for smoking brisket is hickory. This is an earthy, smoky flavor that produces a nutty or bacon-like flavor. Be careful, however, as it can add a bitterness to the meat if you overdo it.

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The other most popular option is Oak. It’s a milder, smokey flavor than hickory and is great for beginners. It’s a great flavor for those who like a more mellow, longer lasting taste.

Step 2: Smoking Brisket:


After you have prepped the brisket, it is now time to smoke it. Place the meat in your smoker, so that it is “air drying” while you’re prepping the smoker. This is an optional step, but if you are planning on cooking more than one brisket at a time and you don’t have a lot of space, this is an important step to avoid having to clean up afterwards!

-Very low smoke. For beef brisket, this means around 225°F. This will help prevent burning and promote a really tender piece of meat.

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-Cook for around 4 hours per pound. Remember that while the internal temperature is most important, it is also important to cook the outside of the meat first and then work your way in. If you cook it too quickly, your brisket won’t cook as evenly.

-Add water or wood to the smoker every hour or so to keep it at a consistent temperature.

Don’t have a smoker but still looking to make brisket, see how to make brisket on a charcoal grill


-If you notice that moisture is coming out of your smoker and soaking into your meat, open up vents for five minutes to let some of the heat escape.

Note About the Stall

The stall happens when the internal temperature of a brisket doesn’t increase much after being pit-cooked for 3 to 4 hours at 225°F. Don’t panic. Wait it out, or just wrap the brisket tightly in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and add 1/2 a cup of apple juice to the cavity. Bring the temperature back up to 225°F and cook for an additional hour or so.

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Step 3: Finishing the Brisket:


When you are finished smoking your brisket, it is time to move it into the oven to finish and get that bark that everyone loves. Be sure to pick up a handy thermometer, so that you can monitor the temperature inside your smoker! If you notice that the wood cores of your smoker are getting too hot while in use, just move them or add more water.

-Put your brisket in the smoker for about two hours at 250°F to help get a good bark.

-Don’t worry about cooking it too much here, as the meat should be done by this time!

To determine the ideal temperature of a properly smoked brisket, the ideal internal temperature is 195°F. However, the internal temp of the brisket can increase by 10 degrees even after it’s been removed from the grill. The last thing you want is to over cook your brisket, which will result in dry, chewy meat.

Wrapped or Unwrapped, Learn how to wrap brisket for the juiciest meat ever.

If you want to learn how to test for doneness with the “feel” method. This method simply means to place a small fork in the brisket, and if it twists easily in the meat, it is ready.

Step 4: Finishing the Sauce:

This step is optional, as I prefer to take my brisket out of the smoker and put it in a separate container, so that it can rest while I finish my side dishes and make my bbq sauce.

-Have an empty container that is large enough to fit your brisket into on hand. This will be your sauce container.

-Set in a pot with garlic, onion, about 1/4 of your beef fat, and about 1/4 cup of water or beef broth.

-Cook slowly for about 45 minutes, or until at a desired consistency.

-You can add whatever sauce you’d like to your brisket as well! This can be a combination of bbq sauce and your own recipe, or it can be just straight up bbq sauce. If you use bbq sauce, make sure that it is thick enough so that it won’t run all over the plate when you’re cutting into your brisket.

Easy Memphis Style Brisket BBQ Sauce Recipe:

-Mix together 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce (I prefer to use a nice hot habanero), 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke. Once mixed together, pour over your brisket in the container and place in the fridge.

-Place future ingredients in the fridge or freezer:

Note: Don’t be hesitant to add more seasoning! This will give you a better flavor, so experiment and play with different seasoning blends!

In conclusion, bbq is a time consuming process, and cooking brisket is even more so. However, the end result is worth it! Once you get used to smoking meat and learning the ins and outs of your smoker, this should be a breeze! Remember to have fun and experiment with different spices! If you’re not happy with your meal, simply scrap it to the dog bowl or throw it away. Being stressed while cooking will only ruin your recipe. Be patient, take care of yourself, and most of all…KNOW YOUR SMOKE!

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