How to Smoke a BBQ Brisket?   

Smoking BBQ brisket is one of the most common processes chefs follow in the barbeque world. The flavor smoking adds to the meat makes it mouth-watering and delicious, and it also enhances the texture of the brisket. However, smoking a brisket requires skills, experience, and patience, as it can take 4 to 6 hours of time if the brisket stalls.

Check out our article on the 9 best grills for smoking brisket to get that smokey taste we all know and love!

BBQ Brisket: What Is It?   

BBQ brisket

If you are not aware of what brisket is, it is one of the eight prime cuts of beef is the brisket. It is made up of two pectoral muscles that extend toward the spot till the fifth rib, starting under the chuck. Similar to the chuck and shank, the brisket is made up of regularly used muscles by a steer.   

Two overlapping muscles are separated by a layer of seam fat in the whole beef brisket. The pectoralis profundus, also known as the flat, is the leaner, more rectangular muscle, while the pectoralis superficialis, also known as the point, is the fatter, more bulbous muscle.   

Not only the brisket, professional pitmasters also smoke the ribs and pork. Know how to smoke the perfect ribs.  

How to Prepare the Brisket for smoking?   

Trim your brisket to remove the access fat and enhance the shape of the meat. Some briskets have more fat while some have less fat. So, you may or may not need to trim your brisket. It depends on your brisket cut.   

There is a substantial amount of fat in briskets. Some will render, while others won’t. Therefore, you must trim out the fat that won’t render from the brisket before seasoning. Have a top-notch boning or fillet knife on hand.   

Now collect the ingredients you need to smoke your brisket. Here are the ingredients you need to smoke a delicious mouth-watering smoked brisket recipe.    

Smoked Brisket Ingredients   

  • Beef brisket   
  • Black pepper   
  • Coarse salt   
  • Garlic powder   
  • Paprika   
  • Apple cider vinegar   
  • Wagyu tallow* (or olive oil or mustard)   

BBQ Brisket Smoking Tips And Steps   

BBQ brisket-tips and tricks

Now let us know how to smoke a brisket step by step for the right flavor and texture.    

  • As mentioned above, if your brisket has more fat, you should remove the access fat. If there is little fat, or if you want the fat in your brisket, you don’t need to trim it.    
  • Then sprinkle the brisket with some salt and put it on a cooling rack. It is easy to coat a chilled brisk than a hot one. Coat the brisket with olive oil, which will make the dry rub stick well.   
  • Then place the brisket in the refrigerator, but do not cover it. Refrigerate it overnight for 8 to 12 hours. Make sure you leave it uncovered in the refrigerator.    
  • Once it becomes chilled, you can take it out in the morning for preheating. You should know at what temp to smoke a brisket for best results. Preheat the pellet smoker to 225°F. Spread the tallow around the brisket and rub it well.   
  • Combine the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk all the ingredients well. Put the rub over the brisket and rub it to cover the entire outer surface of the brisket. Check how to make a dry rub for BBQ.   
  • Take a spray bottle and put some apple cider vinegar in it. Place it near the smoker so that you can use it when required.    
  • Also, have a thermometer to note the temperature of the brisket at various stages of cooking as we are going to cook according to the temperature instead of time.   

Smoke The BBQ Brisket  

Place the brisket in your smoker, with the tip closest to the seat of the fire, and close the lid. Let sit for the first three hours of cooking, maintaining a constant temperature of165°F and a clean, light smoke with a bluish tint. It is in these early stages that the foundation for the flavor of the chest is laid, so it is important to focus on the fire and the quality of the smoke coming out of the chimney. Spray the apple cider vinegar every hour on the brisket using the spray bottle.    

Flat side Up or Down: Keep the flat side of the brisket upside towards the hot part of the smoker. Doing so will insulate the delicate fat in the beef. The brisket is going to smoke in the smoker for a few hours, where it will receive both the bark and smoky flavor.  


Spray the apple cider vinegar once the bark forms. It will add more flavor to the beef. If you choose to spritz, make sure you do it while the brisket is in the smoker before wrapping.   

Your brisket will reach a stage called the stall after around six hours. It is a result of evaporative cooling; after the brisket reaches an internal temperature of about 165°F, the muscles will begin to contract, pushing moisture to the surface of the meat and causing the brisket to cool. Although 165°F is the official threshold for well-doneness in beef, the brisket’s meat would be far too tough to eat at this point.   

The stall  

The brisket will experience a phase known as “the stall” while it cooks. Anywhere between 160 and 175 °F may cause the stall. The fat liquefies as the heat from the smoker renders the pockets of fat. There is a cooling effect that occurs as the fat liquefies and interacts with the flesh, almost as when you perspire.   

So, don’t be frustrated if you see no rise in the temperature of meat for a few hours. During the stall, the fat will be rendered enough to create a balance, and the temperature will start rising again.  

Once the temperature reaches 165 °F, remove the brisket and wrap it tightly in an aluminum foil. Now place it back in the smoker and let it heat for another 4 to 5 hours or until the temperature reaches 205 °F.    

Cook with Temperature   

Please note here that we need to cook according to the temperature, not the time. Some kinds of beef will take a longer time, and that is why we need to focus on a temperature milestone instead of a fixed time.   

Raising the internal temperature beyond 180°F, at which point the meat’s stiff collagen will start to break down into gelatin, is the key to making it soft.   

If the brisket seems to be on fire, the crust is greasy, becomes dry and crispy in spots, or the fat is already starting to melt, you may need to reduce the heat. Discoloration with no fat can also be due to dark smoke. Make sure you use good quality wood so that you know well what your smoke will be like over the next few hours. If the brisket got a little lost in the beginning phase, you would still have time to correct its course. Check the best wood for smoking turkey

Cook at 275°F to 285°F for about three hours without interruption, then gradually lower the temperature for an additional hour as your cook nears completion. Keep in mind that even after you remove the brisket from the smoker, the residual heat will continue to cook it. Cook the brisket slowly at 225°F, and it will give you the most delicious and juiciest BBQ brisket.    

Wait for 30 minutes   

Make sure to give it time to rest after taking it out of the smoker—at least 30 minutes.   

The smoked brisket will maintain its warmth, and as it gently cools, the cells begin to draw the fluids back in. The fluids will not stay in the meat if you slice the brisket immediately after it has been removed from the oven. The abomination! Just like that, all of your labor was wasted since you couldn’t wait for it to finish!   

Slice Against The Grain, Serve And Enjoy  

Slicing the flat and point separately is the conventional way of slicing the brisket to allow your guests to enjoy the taste of both lean and fatty meat. However, in both cases, you need to slice against the grain of the meat, but in different ways.    

For best results, slice it against the grains of this brisket, especially the flat cut, as the tissues in it are in separate directions from the point. Use a long carving knife for slicing.   

  • Cut the brisket in half at the spot where the point ends. It will separate the flat from the point.   
  • Slice the flat into slices of pencil-thin size.    
  • Take the larger cut and slice it in half. Make more pencil-thin slices from both halves.    

When serving to crowds, expect some people to pick their own slices.    

Summing Up   

Smoking the brisket requires time and patience. The preparation, collection of ingredients, smoking, the stall, and waiting before serving all take time. Make sure you collect all the ingredients, clean and prepare the smoker, and have a spray bottle, thermometer, and aluminum foil before beginning to smoke the brisket. Smoking the BBQ brisket may take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. So, make sure you don’t have other important tasks during that time. However, the taste of the smoked brisket will be worth the time and effort you spend on its preparation.    

John Rinder
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