Is your brisket coming out too dry? Perhaps when you smoke it you aren’t getting the right flavor? Or maybe this is your first time smoking a brisket and you aren’t sure how long it should go in for?
Whatever your question might be, we have the answer for you!
When it comes to smoking briskets, we know how tricky it can be to get the right timings, especially if you are smoking your brisket at 250 degrees.
No matter how long you leave it in for, it never has the flavor you want. So how long should you be smoking a brisket at 250 degrees to get the best results?
It seems that no one has the answer for you and you find yourself scrolling and scrolling, without any clarity coming your way.
Well, no more! Today we have the answers that you need.
We will walk you through how long you should smoke your brisket at 250 degrees for best results and answer any other brisket-related questions you might have. Just stick with us to find out more!
How Long Should I Smoke A Brisket At 250?
Let’s dive straight into it! When smoking a brisket at 250 degrees, you should allow 1 to 1 and a half hours per pound. So, if you had a ten-pound brisket, it should be smoked and ready to go within 10 to 15 hours.
Now, we know that sounds like a long time, but trust us, this smoky flavor is worth it!
A good way to smoke a brisket at this temperature is to do it overnight, but you will want to check on the brisket after about seven or eight hours.
Just be sure that when you smoke a brisket overnight you don’t sleep through your alarm!
Is 250 Degrees The Best Temperature For Smoking A Brisket?
So is this longer smoking time worth it? Well, many pitmasters say 250 degrees is the ideal temperature to smoke a brisket.
The meat will cook quicker than it would at 225 degrees, but still have that tender texture that is achieved with a long and low smoke.
250 degrees is also the perfect temperature to render fat. The fat cap will melt and create a layer of seasoned fat that will coat the surface of the brisket.
Yes, it’s this temperature that helps the brisket have the texture that we all know and love!
Now, you can achieve this rendering at a lower temperature, but you won’t get that decadent texture that you get when smoking at 250 degrees.
What About Weight?
We touched briefly on the weight of a brisket earlier, but let’s look at it in a little more detail now.
When you are working with larger meat cuts like beef brisket, you will want to know the weight before you start cooking it.
You can work with an approximate weight if you can’t determine the exact weight and use this to judge how long to smoke the brisket for.
On average, a packer brisket weighs 12 to 14 pounds. It is worth noting that whole packer briskets are untrimmed when sold, so once you trim away the excess fat, the weight will be a little less than what is stated on the packet.
The flat, which tends to be easier to locate in stores, will weigh 6 to 10 pounds. Now, if you choose the flat, you will end up with roughly 5 to 7 pounds of raw beef!
If you trim your brisket, you will want to save roughly ¼ inch of the fat cap. This can then be added to the brisket to give you even more delicious flavor!
Once you weigh your brisket, you can use our rule of thumb from earlier to calculate how long to smoke the brisket at 250 degrees.
How Long To Smoke A Brisket At 250 Degrees?
So you’ve got your cut of brisket, you’ve worked out the weight, and now it is time to start smoking! As we mentioned earlier, a pound of brisket will take 1 to 1 and a half hours to cook.
So if you have a hefty ten-pounder, it will take between 10 and 15 hours to cook.
While your meat is smoking, you will want to check the smoker’s temperature. You can set it to 250 degrees all you want, but it won’t necessarily stay at that temperature.
If it’s colder outside or you don’t have enough fuel, then the temperature can drop below 250 degrees, meaning it will take even longer to smoke!
Maintaining Smoker Temperature
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to combat the temperature drops and even prevent them! The first is to place the smoker in a sheltered spot where the wind and changing temperatures can’t reach it.
If you use the smoker frequently in colder months, then you might want to purchase a cover for the smoker. We recommend getting one that is designed to fit your model.
Another option if your smoker has a hard time sticking to the set temperature is to consider purchasing a new one or upgrading your model.
If you find that your smoker regularly falls below the set temperature, there could be a fault, or the smoker might be one of poor quality.
You can speak to the manufacturer about this, but we have found it’s often far simpler to treat yourself to a replacement.
Checking The Internal Temperature
Now, it’s all well and good for us to give you a timeframe to follow, but you should consider this a guideline, rather than the absolute truth.
Every brisket is slightly different and will have a different weight and fat content, meaning they all cook at different paces.
There are so many factors that can influence a brisket’s cooking time that it would be impossible for us to give you a hard and fast rule to follow.
But, what we do recommend is using the internal temperature of the brisket to determine how long it needs.
After your brisket has been smoking for a few hours, you will want to turn your attention to the temperature of the brisket.
If your smoker has a built-in meat probe, this will be easy to do and you won’t need to fuss about with the smoker.
However, if you are without one, you will need to lift the lid to test the brisket. In these cases, don’t check on the brisket more than once an hour as you will risk letting all of the smoky heat out!
And that is only going to slow your brisket down.
For those that prefer to smoke their briskets overnight, you will want to select a large brisket that takes longer to cook.
This way, you can leave it overnight without needing to check on it. Select a 10 to 16 pound whole packer and you can leave it in your smoker for 7 to 8 hours without needing to check the temperature of the smoker or the brisket.
How Do I Know When The Brisket Is Done?
Brisket is considered to be done when its internal temperature is between 180 to 200 degrees. We think the meat is best when its internal temperature hits 210 degrees, so we remove it from the smoker when it hits 195 degrees.
We then leave our brisket to rest, where it will continue to cook slightly, allowing it to hit the desired temperature and texture.
Remove your brisket before it hits those high temperatures and leaves the meat to rest and continue to kick before you dig in!
Should I Wrap My Brisket?
There’s lots of talk that you should wrap your brisket in aluminum foil to speed up the cooking process. And while it can help, it is not always worth doing.
Once your brisket has an internal temperature of 150 degrees, it can maintain this temperature for a few hours.
This period is known as the stall and is pretty much unavoidable. It is quite annoying, especially for those working on a tight smoking schedule.
If your briskets temperature doesn’t increase, then remove it from the smoker and wrap it in foil for the remainder of its cooking. Here, we recommend a double layer of foil.
This ensures that no heat or moisture can escape from the brisket, allowing you to maintain the fantastic flavors and texture.
It’s also worth adding some apple juice, water, cider, or beer to help prevent the brisket from drying out.
The wrapped brisket should cook quicker now and reach the higher temperatures that you want. While it means your brisket will continue to cook, it will suffer the Texas crutch.
This is where trapped moisture will turn the bark soggy. You can avoid this if you remove the foil for the final hour before you take the brisket off the grill.
Now, if you don’t mind dealing with the Texas crutch, you can wait out the stall and your briskets temperature will rise on its own.
The best way to cook your brisket is to plan and allow plenty of time so that you don’t need to use the foil!
And there you have it, you can cook your brisket at 250 degrees and enjoy an incredible taste and texture. Just be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and you are good to go!