This Smoked Beef Brisket is full of juicy, savory goodness. Smoked for hours to get that perfect tenderness and rich flavor, this recipe will show you exactly how to make the best brisket.
If you love smoked meats, you also need to try my fall-off-the bone smoked ribs!
Table Of Contents
- Smoked Beef Brisket recipe details
- If you love smoky meat…
- Ingredients for Smoked Beef Brisket
- How to make Smoked Beef Brisket
- How do you trim beef brisket?
- How long does it take to smoke a whole brisket?
- How do you know when it’s done?
- How long does the brisket need to rest?
- Variations for Smoked Beef Brisket
- What to serve with Smoked Beef Brisket
- How to Store and Reheat it
- More savory recipes to try!
- Full Recipe Instructions
Smoked Beef Brisket recipe details
- Taste– Although its only seasoned with salt and pepper, the hickory pellets give the brisket so much incredibly smoky flavor.
- Texture– It has a delicious top bark and on the inside is moist and tender. It’s melt-in-your-mouth good.
- Ease– With just a few simple seasonings and ingredients, this recipe is quite simple to make. The only challenging part might be trimming the fat.
- Time– A good brisket takes time and patience. The low heat and long smoke time are what make the brisket so tender. This process can take up to 10 hours.
If you love smoky meat…
Whether you’re using a smoker or just love summer grilling, these smoky favorites are worth a try!
Ingredients for Smoked Beef Brisket
- 10-14 lb. beef brisket
- Black and white rub (salt & pepper)
- Hickory pellets for the smoker
- BBQ sauce for serving
How to make Smoked Beef Brisket
- Trim the brisket. Using a sharp knife, remove the hard pieces of fat from the beef brisket. The fat cap should have a layer of fat about 1/4-inch thick (and no more than 1/2-inch thick), to allow the smoke and seasoning to absorb into the meat. On the meat side, remove any membrane or larger pieces of fat. Trim small thin corners of meat as well, to avoid them burning, and give your brisket and overall even shape.
- Season it. Add a generous layer of the seasoning of your choice (I prefer coarse salt and pepper) to the top, bottom, and sides of your beef brisket, enough that it can penetrate the entire piece of meat. Then let the brisket sit for about 30 minutes before putting it on the smoker, so the seasonings will adhere.
- Smoke the beef brisket. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. I use a Traeger pellet smoker along with hickory pellets. Once the smoker is at temp, put the beef brisket on with the fat cap up (or down, since everyone has a preference, but I find them both delicious). The thickest part of the brisket should be at the hottest part of the smoker, so know where the hot spots are on your smoker. Allow it to smoke for about 4-6 hours, depending on its size. Check if it’s done using an instant-read thermometer to see if the internal temperature is between 160 and 170°F.
- Wrap it up. Now take the brisket off and wrap it in either butcher paper or heavy-duty foil. Then place it back on the smoker, fat cap up, for another 2-4 hours. To know when it’s done, you’ll need the internal temperature to be between 200-210°F. You’ll know when it’s soft and tender when you probe it and it feels like the meat thermometer is sinking into softened butter.
- Let it rest. Place the smoked beef brisket in a warm place where it won’t lose heat, such as an insulated cooler, and let it rest for at least an hour. I recommend waiting several house before slicing it, if possible.
- Slice up the meat. First, cut the brisket in half, separating the flat from the point. Slice 1/4-inch thick slices against the grain. Then turn the brisket point 90 degrees and slice it in half again, against the grain. Serve and enjoy!
How do you trim beef brisket?
Here’s what you need to do: Use a sharp knife to remove hard pieces of fat off of the brisket. On the fat cap, you want to make sure that your fat layer is about a quarter-inch thick. You don’t want it more than a half-inch thick because your seasoning and smoke won’t go through that much fat. On your meat side, you want to remove any membrane or larger pieces of fat. It is okay to remove some meat to give your brisket an overall even shape. Remove any small thin corners of meat because they will be get burnt. Here is an excellent and detailed video on how to properly trim your beef brisket.
How long does it take to smoke a whole brisket?
The length of time varies based on the size of your brisket and the temperature of your smoker. But the general rule of thumb is between 30 and 60 minutes per pound. But the best way to tell if it’s done is by internal temperature and the bend test.
How do you know when it’s done?
Typically, the smoked beef brisket is done when the internal temperature is between 200-210°F. But every brisket will get there at a slightly different temperature, so you can also check by using your meat thermometer and probing the meat to make sure it feels like it is going into softened butter. That is when you know your fat has rendered out and your beef brisket is done.
Another good way to know if your brisket was cooked perfectly is if it passes the bend test. Do this by placing a thin slice of brisket over the thin edge of a knife. If the two ends bend without breaking, it’s cooked perfectly.
How long does the brisket need to rest?
Your smoked beef brisket should rest for at least an hour, but I recommend several hours if it’s possible. This step is very important because it allows all the hot juices to resettle and distribute within the meat. Cutting the brisket too soon will let those juices leak out and it won’t be as juicy and tender. Keep it in a cooler while it’s resting, as the insulation will allow it to hold its heat better.
Variations for Smoked Beef Brisket
- Create more bark. Using something acidic on the beef brisket before smoking it, such as yellow mustard or apple cider vinegar, helps break down the meat’s surface and creates a beautiful bark. It also helps your seasonings to adhere. Try it and see if you like it.
- Add sauce. I love beef brisket slathered in my homemade barbecue sauce. But whatever sauce or gravy you like, brush it on or serve it in a bowl for dipping.
- Temperature. Some prefer smoking low and slow, and others like the temperature a little higher so the meat cooks faster. Play with it and see which you like better.
What to serve with Smoked Beef Brisket
Everything tastes good with Smoked Beef Brisket! Serve this smoky dish up with some corn on the cob, Jalapeno Artichoke Dip, Moist Buttermilk Cornbread, baked beans, Wild Brown Rice, or Crispy Air Fryer French Fries. Lay out some pickles, BBQ sauce, and gravy. Other favorites are creamed spinach, coleslaw, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Scalloped Potatoes, and Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts. This brisket is perfect with any side dish and sauce.
How to Store and Reheat it
Store this Smoked Beef Brisket wrapped in foil and in an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat, let the brisket come to room temperature, then pour some of its leftover juices on top (or spritz some apple juice or beef broth if you didn’t save any juices). Cover it tightly with foil and heat it in a 200-250°F oven or smoker until warm.
More savory recipes to try!
- Barbecue Pork Ribs
- Easy Homemade Barbecue Meatballs
- Ribeye Steak Recipe
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- Juicy Air Fryer Pork Chops (VIDEO)
Full Recipe Instructions
Smoked Beef Brisekt
- 10-14 lb beef brisket
- Black and white rub (salt & pepper)
- Hickory pellets for the smoker
- BBQ sauce for serving
- Trim the brisket– Use a sharp knife to remove hard pieces of fat off of the brisket. On the fat cap, you want to make sure that your fat layer is about a quarter-inch thick. You don’t want it more than a half-inch thick. Your seasoning and smoke won’t go through that much fat. On your meat side, you want to remove any membrane or larger pieces of fat. It is okay to remove some meat to give your brisket an overall even shape. If you have a small thin corner of meat, you will want to remove that because it will be get burnt. Here is an excellent and detailed video on how to properly trim your beef brisket.
- Season your brisket– Now you want to add a generous layer of your choice of seasoning. I prefer coarse salt and coarse pepper. But you can use whatever seasoning you prefer. You want to season the top, bottom, and sides. This will help give you a nice bark to your beef brisket. You want a generous layer because this is a large piece of meat and you want all that flavor to get inside the meat. Let the beef brisket sit for about 30 minutes before putting it on the smoker. This will let the seasoning adhere to the meat. It doesn’t need to marinate for very long.
- Smoking the beef brisket– Preheat the smoker to 225°F. I use a Traeger pellet smoker along with hickory pellets. Once your smoker is preheated put the beef brisket on with the fat cap up. Everyone has their opinion when it comes to placing your brisket with the fat cap up or down. I have tried it both ways and they are both delicious. Knowing your individual smoker and its hot spot is also important. You want the thickest part of your brisket to be at the hottest part of the smoker. This first step can take about 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size of your brisket. You want the internal temperature of your brisket to be between 160 and 170°F. Be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to constantly check the temperature of the brisket. Now it is time to take your brisket off and wrap it in either butcher paper or heavy-duty foil. Then place the beef brisket back on the smoker with the fat cap up. This step can take from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your brisket size. Knowing when your brisket is done is key for delicious and tender beef brisket. You want the internal temperature to be between 200-210°F. However, you are trying to get the beef brisket soft and tender, and every brisket will get there at a slightly different temperature. Using your meat thermometer probe your meat and make sure it feels like it is going into softened butter. That is when you know you’re fat is rendered out and your beef brisket is complete.
- Let it rest! Make sure to let the beef brisket sit for at least one hour. I recommend letting it sit for several hours before seeing or cutting it. You want to place the brisket in a warm place where it won’t lose any heat. Most people place it in a cooler for this step since they are insulated. Coolers are not only great for keeping food cold, but also keeping food warm as well.
- Now slice up your meat. Cut your brisket in half. This will helps separate the flat from the point. Slice your brisket against the grain. In 1/4 inch slices. Then turn your brisket point 90 degrees and slice in half again. Slice the brisket point against the grain. TIP: a good way to know if your brisket was cooked perfectly is if it passes the bend test. Do this by placing a thin slice of brisket over the thin edge of a knife. If the two ends bend without breaking, it’s cooked perfectly.
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Would like recipe for cooking brisket in oven. Thank you.
Hi Rebecca, I don’t have an oven-baked brisket recipe on my website, but I will have to add it to my idea list 🙂
My smoked beef brisket turned out perfectly! Thank you for giving so many helpful hints and advice. It really helped me with the process and to make sure it came out just right. I will be trying more of your recipes. Thank you
I am so glad that you loved this smoked beef brisket recipe! It makes me so happy that you found my tips helpful!