Our smoked brisket recipe is slow smoked and with some time and patience, it’s the most tender and best brisket ever.
There’s so many ways to cook beef brisket, but our favorite is making the smoked brisket recipe because it’s loaded with amazing flavor. It’s not a quick smoked brisket recipe, but it’s totally worth every bite if you have a free day to nurture it to perfection. There is nothing simpler to make than smoked brisket. You’ll need a nice chunk of brisket, salt & pepper, lump charcoal or smoking chips/chunks, and time.
How to Cook Smoked Brisket?
The key is to cook it slow and low for hours in a deliciously smokey BBQ. We have photos below to show the process.
- Set up your BBQ or smoker for indirect grilling (coals on one side/food cooking on another)
- Put a drip pan under the spot where your meat is going to cook, and if using smoking chips/chunks-soak them in water for an hour or so.
- Light up the smoker, place your meat in there, and then relaxingly spend your day maintaining the temperature of the smoker and amount of smoke (we’ll usually check it about about once an hour for 8-12 hours). Brisket is an ornery, tough cut of meat, so you can’t rush the process. It will take time to break down the brisket to tenderness without going dry. Also the grade of beef will significantly effect the end result. The better the grade of beef, usually the better the marbling and as a result, the more juicy and tender the final smoked brisket will be.
Indirect Heat for Smoked Brisket Recipe
For smoking, you cook using indirect heat, (the meat isn’t being cooked directly over the coals (or gas) but instead is being cooked off to the side and the heat is coming from the opposite side or in the side firebox chamber.) The temp in the smoker or grill’s chamber where the meat is should be in the 225-275ºF (110-135°C) range the whole time cooking. The BBQ’s lid will be closed most all of the time, trapping in the heat and smoke and slowly cooking the meat like it would in an oven, only better. You should have a decent amount of smoke over half the time you are cooking the meat.
To generate the smoke there are two main ways, use a mesquite or hickory lump charcoal, or use smoker chips or chunks of wood that are recommended for smoking meats with regular charcoal briquettes or with a gas grill. Don’t overdue the smokiness or else it will dominate the flavor, but it you have just enough, it will be amazing. With a little bit of tweaking, you can smoke meats in nearly any grill, even a basic Webber grill, however a good BBQ or smoker will make things a bit easier.
A good smoker is usually built with a heavier duty metal which will help maintain a consistent temperature, has a dedicated place to burn the coals that isn’t directly by the meat as it cooks (such as a side fire box) and they will hold in the smoke better so it gets a chance to penetrate the meat. Enjoy this smoked brisket recipe!
Watch Video of Delicious Smoked Brisket Recipe:
We love lump charcoal (lit with a chimney) for smoking this smoked brisket recipe
For this smoked brisket recipe: Start with a pile of charcoal, and then place the lit coals on the far side from where you’ll be cooking so it can slowly burn it’s way back to the meat.
It looks like a meteorite, but there is tender, juiciness underneath that crust.
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Favorite BBQs & Tools for Making Smoked Brisket:
Some tools, grills, and smokers make BBQ and grilling all the more enjoyable.
Avoid BBQ Tool Sets. We’ve yet to find a set where we love everything in it. Either the spatula or the tongs or the brush is wonky. Or there is stuff in there I never need. Do yourself a favor and just buy what you need a la carte. For grilling tongs, these bad boys are awesome.
Have a grilling or BBQ question, you’ll most likely find an answer here. The most comprehensive grilling & BBQ book we’ve ever found, by far. He breaks down the science and myths, the tools, solid recipes, perfecting techniques, what’s BBQ competition tricks aren’t worth the extra time at home, and much more. You will be grill & BBQ enlightened.
Grilling should never be confined to the daylight. Love this BBQ light. Good brightness, solid magnets plus clamp option. We’ve gone through 1/2 dozen different grilling lights before falling in love with this one. Be ready to grill all night long.
Love this offset smoker. Solid construction. Isn’t perfect, but with a couple easy modifications it will smoke as well as the $1k + smokers. Can use the main chamber also as a regular charcoal grill. Love using it as a regular grill using lump charcoal or briquettes. Huge cooking surface.
One of the best for the money. Solid gas grill! Nothing like the quick convenience of a good gas grill.
Flame Boss Wifi Temperature Control –
A gadget geeks smoking dream. Control your grill and smoker’s temp. from your phone. Adjusts air flow, determines meat temperature. Gadget awesomeness!
The perfect way to light lump charcoal or briquettes.
If you are using regular briquettes or gas to cook your BBQ, then you’ll want to add some smoking chips to amp up the flavor. These guys have a great selection of different woods for different flavor profiles. Here’s also a link describing what flavor different woods will produce.
Burns hotter and longer. Give a great smoke flavor without needing to add wood chips. Our preferred fuel for smoking meats.
We definitely prefer to use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Lump charcoal alone will provide a nice smokey flavor, however briquettes, even competition smoking briquettes seem a little flat on the smoke flavor. If using briquettes we highly recommend to also use smoking wood chips. Either harvest your own from fruit or other good smoking wood (ie. apple or stone fruit trimmings, hickory, pecan wood) or buy smoking chips. Use your favorite sauce at the end of smoking the brisket. Here's a great write up on the principles behind a good smoked brisket.
- 5-6 pounds Brisket (you can cook a whole brisket-usually @12lbs. if you like, it will just take quite a bit longer to cook)
- Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, to taste (be generous)
- fresh cracked Black Pepper , to taste (be generous)
- your favorite BBQ sauce , optional
Rinse and dry the brisket with paper towels. Trim off most of the fat cap, leaving the fat cap a just a bit more than 1/4-inch (7-8mm) thick. Generously season with salt and pepper.
- Light charcoal (a chimney is our favorite method). If using a side smoker box, place the lit charcoal next to the side vent door (furthest from the grill), then stack the unlit charcoal going towards the grill (not on top of the already lit charcoal). Start with the vents open just a little bit.
- Place the brisket in the smoker and close door. After about 15 minutes, check the smokers temperature. You'll want to keep the temperature between 225°F-275°F. Adjust the vents as needed (less air to cool the temperature, more to increase the heat).
- While smoking occasionally adjust the vents to keep the cooking temperature between 225°F-275°F. Add more charcoal or briquettes is needed. If using briquettes *see head note, two or three times during the smoking, add a handful of wood cuttings or chips on top of the lit charcoal. (Don't do this too much or else the meat will be overly smoky. Once every hour to hour and half is usually perfect).
Smoke for 8-12 hours, depending on the size of the brisket and average temperature you maintained while smoking. Remove from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 195°F - 205°F in the thickest part.
After smoking, let the brisket rest, preferably for about an hour. (Some will rest in a cooler or cambro to give an even more tender finish).
Slice the brisket only right before serving, as it will dry out fairly quickly. Serve with your favorite sauce.