Smoked Brisket Recipe

Smoked Brisket

Smoked brisket is a fantastic addition to any backyard barbecue. It is the cut of meat that is found in the lower chest of a cow.  Brisket contains a lot of connective tissue and as a result it has to be smoked long and slow to tenderize it appropriately. When smoking it, the time depends on the weight and temperature. 

There are many guides out there with different temperatures to use, but ideally, you should smoke it for 1 hour and 10 minutes per pound at 225 ºF.

Brisket Shopping

Buying the right kind of brisket seems simple enough, yet there are a few important key facts you need to take into consideration.

For many meats it’s preferred to stay away from fats, but this is absolutely necessary to have in this case. You want to buy a brisket that is red in color, has marbling throughout, and has fat on the point and flat. This is important as when you smoke the meat, fat will render and provide a more tender brisket. You should figure about a 1/2 lb to 3/4 lb of brisket per person when trying to decide how much you need to smoke. Keep in mind the bigger the brisket, the longer it will take to cook.

Prepping the Meat

Fat Carving

Nothing is worse than taking a bite of brisket that has more fat than meat. To prevent this, we want to carve off excess fat and a good rule of thumb is to leave no more than 1/4 inch, however, it could be a little more or less depending on your temperature.

A good tip when trimming off the fat is to either do this while the brisket is semi-frozen or if you have a fresh brisket, set it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and then carve. This will make things much easier.

Meat Thickness

Once you finish carving the fat from the brisket you need to inspect the meat and ensure that the thickness is proportional. Often times you will have to cut some meat off that is excessively small as this will over cook and burn. A brisket that has a proportional thickness throughout will cook more evenly.

Room Temperature

Before cooking any beef, it is good practice to allow it to come to room temperature. This will prevent the outside of the brisket from cooking to quickly compared to the inside and result in over-cooking the exterior.


More is not always better. Many recipes out there call for multiple ingredients for brisket rub, but kosher salt and cracked black pepper are my go-to condiments. Coating both sides liberally will ensure great flavor in your brisket.

General Smoked Brisket Recipe

  • Brisket with a weight of 12-14 pounds
  • vinegar, apple juice, and a spray bottle.

For the rub you will need:

  • 1/3 cup of coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of kosher salt

To prepare the brisket you:

  • Set the smoker to pre-heat at 225° F for 15 minutes with the smoker door shut
  • Mix the ingredients for the rub and season the brisket completely.
  • After it has pre-heated you want to put it down on the smoker grate with the fat side down.
  • Grab the spray bottle, apple juice, and vinegar and mix a 50-50 ratio of both solutions. Spray a liberal coat on your brisket every hour and apply additional rub as necessary.
  • Smoke it for 2 hours fat side up and then 2 hours fat side down or until you get an internal temperature of 160° F.
  • Take it out of the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil twice, making a packet. Before you seal it, pour apple juice or red cider vinegar into the open end and then seal. This will allow the meat to further breakdown and tenderize.
  • Put it back into the smoker for three more hours. You want an internal temperature of 205° F.
  • Lay it on a serving platter, unwrap it, and let it rest for fifteen minutes. Resting will allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat.

Texas Smoked Brisket

When you are making a Texas smoked brisket the prep work starts the night before you are going to smoke it.  You want to make sure that you remove any fatty layers first.  Score the meat, which means making cuts in the top of the brisket so the rub can penetrate the meat before it even goes in the smoker.

After putting on the dry rub, you need to cover it and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.  This will allow all the spices in the rub to get into the brisket.  When you are ready to put it in the smoker, it needs to come back to room temperature before you do.  By doing this you are decreasing the shock of something cold being put into something hot.

Smoking this brisket is done in two steps.  The first step is smoking it low and slowly followed by glazing it in a container in the smoker.  Use a combination of 1:1 of apple and hickory wood chips to give your brisket the most flavor.  For this recipe, use a four-pound brisket.

The dry rub ingredients include:

  • 1 tablespoon each of packed light brown sugar and smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons each of fresh ground pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt.

For the glaze use 2 tablespoons each of apple juice and packed light brown sugar.

Make sure that you have pre-heated your smoker to 225° F for at least fifteen minutes before you put the brisket in the smoker.  Let it smoke for five hours.  The internal temperature needs to be 170° F.  When you have that internal temperature take it out of the smoke and place it in a baking dish. 

Drizzle the glaze over the top of the brisket and cover the dish with aluminum foil before you put it back into the smoker. Let it cook for another two hours, reaching for an internal temperature of 190° F.  Take it out and let it rest for thirty minutes covered.  Cut against the grain when slicing.

Easy Smoked Brisket

This easy recipe will give you brisket that is juicy and crunchy with a smoky flavor.  The best woods to use for smoking the brisket are cherry, mesquite, hickory, or pecan.  For this recipe, use a fifteen-pound brisket

The baste ingredients include:

  • ¼ cup each of beef stock and apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of beer, any type you prefer
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter

The rub ingredients include:

  • 2 tablespoons each of onion powder, paprika, kosher salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and coarse ground black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Preparing the brisket

  • Pre-heat the smoker for fifteen minutes at 225° F.
  • Mix the rub and cover the brisket with it.
  • Let it sit for five minutes to give the rub time to adhere to the brisket
  • Put it fat side down on the grate
  • Cook it for three to four hours until you get an internal temperature of 160° F
  • Remove it from the smoker and wrap it in the aluminum foil twice.
  • Add the baste mixture and seal tightly
  • Return it to the smoker for three more hours, until you reach the internal temperature of 205° F
  • Move it to a serving plate, unwrap, and let rest 20 minutes.

In Conclusion

These are just three of the many amazing smoked brisket recipes that you can find.  All will give the brisket a smoky taste that will be sure to please your palate.  The most time-consuming part is smoking the brisket but you do not have to stay around the smoker the entire time.  You just need to make sure that the water tray and wood chip tray are kept full. 

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