Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (2023)

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (1)

Brisket is the pinnacle of meat smoking and the best cut of meat to master in your pit. Brisket is also the hardest cut of meat to smoke because it's such a big, tough piece of meat that it takes all day and half the night to cook. There's nothing worse than smoking brisket for 12 hours, just to dry it out. There are a few things you can do to ensure your brisket is always juicy and tender.

An amazing and best knife for...

An amazing and best knife for chest trimming in 2021

1. Keep the temperature between 225°F and 250°F

Brisket is a large, tough cut of meat and should be smoked low and slow at 107°C (225°F). The temperature control will make or break your brisket, but whether you're using a pellet grill, electric or gas smoker, maintaining your desired temperature is easy. Keeping the temperature at the required 225°F can be a challenge when smoking brisket in a charcoal smoker.

If you're just starting out, don't try smoking a brisket until you've mastered temperature control in your pit. Once you get to know your smoker and control temperature fluctuations, only then should you smoke a brisket. Work your way up to a chest by smoking a pork ass. Pork butts are a great introduction to big meats because they're hard to spoil.

ventilation control.Learning to control your smoker is the first rule of meat smoking. Temperature control is easy whether you're smoking on a pellet grill or an electric smoker, but charcoal smokers can be difficult to control at a consistent temperature. Learn how to control your vents so you can keep the temperature in a safe range. Also, keep the smoker out of the wind and don't keep opening the smoker's lid. These mistakes will cause the temperature to fluctuate and spoil the breast.

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (2)

Low and slow.Brisket is a tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue, so it should be cooked low and slow. If the smoker's temperature is too high, the heat will draw moisture out of the brisket and it will dry out. Learn to keep the smoker temperature in the 220°F range and keep it there until the meat's internal temperature reads 203°F on the meat thermometer.

meat thermometers. No matter what type of smoker you are using, a good thermometer will be your best friend.NOtrust the built-in thermometer that comes with your smoker because it can be very inaccurate. If you don't believe me, make onecalibration test.

Get a good dual-probe thermometer that lets you monitor the ambient temperature of the cooking chamber with the first probe and track the internal temperature of the meat with the second probe. A thermometer is by far your most important tool. Without one, it's all guesswork.See my thermometer guide here.

2. Spray or rub the chest

Adding moisture to the brisket by lining, rubbing or watering is an important practice when smoking brisket. Applying moisture to the breast will do several things:

  • This will make the breast more tender by slowing down the cooking process.
  • Helps produce a better smoke ring.
  • The extra liquid will attract more smoke.
  • help with gold
  • It may help to caramelize the crust.
  • Prevent meat from drying out

You can rub/spray the breast with apple cider vinegar, apple juice, bone broth, beer or plain water. Apply the liquid using a spray bottle or miniature mop and bucket. Do not rub or spray for the first 3-4 hours of cooking. During the first phase, let the brisket absorb the smoke and develop a hard crust. If you heat it up too soon, the friction will wash the breast and leave spots on the scab. After a few hours, start dipping the meat every hour or so until the brisket reaches the tripe stage. Spray under and on the sides where the brisket is in danger of charring or drying out. For more information on how to water your chest, check out these articles:Water the chest while smokingyHow to water the chest.

(Video) How To Make Smoked Brisket Made Easy for Beginners

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (3)

3. Buy the right chest

Buying the right breast is probably the most important step that is often overlooked. You could do everything right, but if you buy a skinny breast, it will be dry. Learn to choose a good brisket and always buy the best meat you can. There are three main types of beef in the United States:

  • Select USDA
  • USDA's choice
  • USDA first

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (4)

marmoreado. A decent amount of marbling is key to the most tender, juicy brisket. The more marbled, the better. Marbling is the fatty streaks found in meat. When cooked over a low, slow heat, the marbling melts and mixes with the meat, making it tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The more marbled, the more expensive. Wagyu, USDA Prime and USDA Choice have varying levels of marbling, while USDA Select has little or no marbling. You can smoke a Select grade brisket, but you have to do every trick in the book to get good results. For more information, see these articles:

marbling on the chest

Which chest should I buy? Prime, Select or Prime

Wagyu: the best brisket in the world

anatomy yes mom. Before visiting your butcher, it's also worth understanding a little about the anatomy of the breast. Breasts have two parts; a plane and a point. The whole brisket is the most sought-after brisket for smoking, but can be purchased flat or pointed separately. Spot is easier to cook and contains more fat, which means it's less likely to dry out. The plane is more difficult to fly because it has little fat and is thin, oddly shaped muscle. Some pitmasters remove the site and apartment and cook them separately. If you want to know how to cook a flat brisket, check out this article:How to smoke a flat chest.

the fat capIt is also important to choose a breast with the right amount of fat. Avoid thick breasts because most of them need to be trimmed, so you will be wasting your money. You need a little fat, otherwise the breast will be dry and less tasty. Most pitmasters recommend leaving 1/4 inch of grease on top.

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (5)

4. Salt the Chest

dry brine. Brining the brisket before smoking is a good way to help retain moisture during long cooking. Dry brining is the easiest and best way to brine a breast. Soaking the brisket in wet brine is not suitable as the meat will taste like corned beef. A dry brine is simply rubbing salt on the chest the day before smoking. The salt will penetrate the meat and retain moisture during the long cooking. Salt will also add flavor.

The best salt for brine brisket. Kosher salt is the best salt for brisket salting because it has large granules, anti-caking agents, and does not contain iodine. After brining the brisket, place the meat in a large zip-lock bag and refrigerate for 24 hours before smoking. The minimum time required to dry a breast in brine is 2 hours before smoking. For more information on brine, read:Should I Brine Chest?

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (6)

5. Inject into the breast

Injecting brisket is also a good way to get extra moisture inside the meat for long cooking. The brisket will lose a lot of moisture, so having more liquid in the meat will help replace moisture lost through evaporation. Competitive smokers inject brisket to add flavor and help make the brisket tender and juicy.

Brisket solutions and marinades. The best injection fluid is bone broth or a good brisket marinade. Meat injectors are user-friendly, inexpensive, and easy to buy on Amazon or in the barbecue section of your hardware store. It is best to inject the breast the day before to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat. For an in-depth look at breast injection, check out my article:Should I inject Brisket?

This breast injection marinadeit is the secret used in competitions and made by a world champion grill.

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (7)

6. Rest your chest

The resting or holding stage is one of the most important steps in the brisket smoking process. If you cut the meat immediately after removing the brisket from the smoker, all the meat juices will run out onto the board and the meat will be dry. Rest allows the meat to reabsorb its juices and makes the breast tender and juicy.

How long to rest the chest.A breast can be left undisturbed for up to 4 hours, but a minimum of 1 hour. As it sets, the meat will continue to cook and will still be hot after 4 hours.

Chest Resting On A Refrigerator.The most common way to rest a breast is to wrap it in aluminum foil in a towel and place it in a dry cooler for 1 to 4 hours. Keep the meat in its foil wrapper, otherwise the juices will spill out. For more information about rest/wait, see these articles:How long should I rest the Brisket?yChest resting on a cooler.

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (8)

7. Wrap the chest

Wrapping the brisket in foil or brown paper is an important step in the smoking process if you want juicy, tender meat. Wrapping the brisket in the second half of cooking will keep moisture from escaping and create steam inside the meat pack. Wrap the brisket when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 150°F to 170°F, which is typically 8-10 hours after cooking, depending on the size of the breast. If you wrap in the 150°F to 170°F range, the brisket should have developed a nice crust, be reddish in color, and have more than enough smoke.

(Video) Smoked Brisket Recipe - How to Smoke Brisket for Beginners

Paper or aluminum foil?You can use aluminum foil or brown paper to wrap the breast, but if this is your first attempt, keep it simple and use aluminum foil. Paper x aluminum foil is one of the most frequent questions at barbecue. If you're smoking your first brisket, it's okay to use heavy-duty aluminum foil. So, once you know what you're doing, give brown paper a try. Aaron Franklin popularized pink brown paper and his experiments show that it makes a better peel. Others say the differences are minimal. The only way to know is to try them yourself. If you're going to try brown paper, you'll need to buy a specific type. You cannot use any old brown paper because it may contain harmful chemicals. Amazon sells large rolls of the right kind of brown paperhere.For more information on how to wrap your chest, read my article:'With what shall I wrap my breast?

8. Cook the brisket to 203°F

The key to slow, slow cooking is to cook on temperature, not time. The magic number with brisket is an internal meat temperature of 203°F. Meat should reach an internal temperature of around 200°F to be tender and juicy. Technically the meat is considered cooked at 160°F internally, but the brisket is a tough cut of meat with lots of connective tissue and all the fat and gristle will not have melted and will be chewy if removed from the smoker at 160°F internally. . A brisket at 203°F will allow the connective tissue to melt and form the jelly-like texture that smoked brisket is famous for. Rest the breast for at least 1 hour before cutting, but ideally 4 hours.

9. Don't rely on the built-in thermometer

A decent meat thermometer will be your best friend when smoking brisket. Without a thermometer, you are operating in the dark. Monitoring the ambient temperature of the smoker and monitoring the internal temperature of the meat is key to smoking a tender, juicy brisket.

There are dozens of thermometers on the market, from the basic $50 dual-probe thermometers to the fancy 8-probe Wi-Fi thermometers that cost hundreds of dollars. It's important not to buy a cheap thermometer because they can give inaccurate readings, which defeats the purpose of using a thermometer.

ThermoWorks and ThermoPro are two well-known and trusted companies in the baking and barbecuing industry. To learn more about thermometers, check out some of my thermometer guides:The Beginner's Guide to Meat Thermometers,Best Meat Thermometers Under $50,The best thermometers for smoking meat

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (9)

10. Use Hickory, Oak, Mesquite ou Pecan

The best wood for brisket smoking is any of the woods that pair well with beef. Unlike other cuts of meat like chicken or fish, brisket is a tough cut, so it will handle any type of wood. The best woods for the chest are:

  • hard nut
  • carob
  • Carvalho
  • arco
  • also
  • Pacana

Hickory is the king of smoked woods, has a strong smoky flavor and goes well with brisket. Mesquite is a popular chest wood in Texas and Arizona, but mesquite can be too overbearing for most people. Oak is a safe choice for the chest, as are pecan, maple, or alder. The type of wood you use will depend on your smoker. If you have a charcoal smoker, wood chips work best and will need to be added to the fire every few hours. It will not be necessary to add firewood after the brisket is wrapped, as the meat will no longer smoke at this stage.

11. Develops a Crispy Crust

The crispy outer layer of the breast is formed by the sauce and theMaillardReaction that occurs during the uncovered phase of cooking. The key to a good brisket crust is knowing when to wrap the meat. If you wrap the breast too soon, the crust won't be firm enough to survive all the extra moisture when it's wrapped.

a bare breast. Wrapping is an important step in the brisket smoking process, but it softens the crust. The best way to get a firm chest is to smoke it unwrapped. This is the traditional way to smoke the brisket, but this method is a safe way to dry the meat. Try smoking a bare chest at some point, but for your first few tries, I recommend wrapping.

Return to grill once wrapped.A wrapped brisket will have a soggy crust, but if you put the brisket back on the grill for 10 minutes before slicing, the crust will dry out and become crispy again. That way you get a juicy breast and firm skin. A common way to deal with a softened crust is to cook the brisket uncovered until the meat's internal temperature reaches 150°F (which is typically 8 to 10 hours after cooking). At this stage, the breast should have a hard crust and is ready for wrapping. Continue cooking the wrapped brisket until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 203°F, then remove from the smoker. Let the meat rest for at least 1 hour. Then, just before carving the brisket, place the meat back on the grill for a few minutes until the crust dries out.

Friction forms the scab. The dressing plays an important role in scab formation, so it is important to use a binder for the dressing. Mustard is the best binder and you won't be able to taste it. Coat the meat with mustard and apply a generous amount of meat to the brisket. For a more in-depth look at breast scab, read my article:How to get a good peel on a breast.

12. Make your own dressing

There are dozens of brisket marinades on the market and even more homemade recipes online. Some people overcomplicate rubs, but a simple meat rub works well with brisket. I like to control the salt content, so I make my own sauce. Most pre-made sauces contain a lot of salt; therefore, if you plan to salt the brisket, monitor the salt carefully. Also, be careful with sugary meat marinades, as they can burn easily and leave the meat bitter and black. If you make a homemade sauce, use turbinado sugar because it can handle the heat.

homemade rub. Making your own rub is easy and can be as simple as kosher salt and black pepper (that's Aaron Franklin's brisket rub), but most brisket rub recipes are a combination of garlic powder, paprika , onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt, turbinado sugar and Montreal steak seasoning. Here is a great homemade sauce recipe:

standard barbecue

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (10)

I found this great rub recipe via How To BBQ Right. I use this recipe and modify it a bit depending on what I'm cooking. Made by the guys at Townsend Spice & Supply:

setup time10 minutes

Total time10 minutes


  • - ½ cup of paprika
  • - ½ Cup of Salt
  • - ½ Cup of Sugar
  • - ½ Cup of Granulated Garlic
  • - ¼ Cup of Granulated Onion
  • - ¼ Cup of Chile
  • - ¼ Cup of Cumin
  • - 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • - 2 tbsp dry mustard
  • - 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine all spices in a large bowl.
  2. Store friction in friction stirrers

(Video) Brisket Masterclass for Beginners | How to trim, season, and smoke brisket like a Pro

13. Buy a championship massage

pre-made frictions. If you want to buy a massage I would recommendKiller Hogs TX Brisket Rubmade by barbecue legend Malcolm Reed. If not, here is a list of some of the most popular massages out there:

14. Get a good smoke ring

The pink ring around the outer layer of the brisket is a sign that it has been smoked low and slow. The development of smoke rings is a result of chemical reactions on the surface of the meat caused by the smoke. The smoke ring does not add flavor to the meat, it is merely emblematic.

The best way to get a nice smoke ring on your chest is to use a charcoal smoker. The fuel source plays a role, as does the temperature and humidity of the smoker. Keep the smoker at a constant temperature and rub/batter the meat every hour. Use a pot of water in the smoker to increase the humidity, which will help create a smoke ring. If a smoke ring is important to you, avoid using acidic marinades in your brisket as this will affect the smoke ring formation. Another important thing to remember is to cut the upper chest fat. If there is too much fat on the outer layer of meat, chemical reactions cannot take place. For more information on smoke rings, read my article:How to get the best smoke ring

15. Use a folder

An important step is to apply a binder to the brisket before adding the sauce. A binder, also known as a slather, will help you avoid an uneven scab by helping the chafing adhere to the chest. A binder can be anything that helps the rub stick to the meat and form a crust. Mustard is the most common binder, but you can use oil. I wrote a detailed article about chest binders and you can read it here:Breast paste: should I bread it?

16. Use the right smoker

Not every smoker can smoke brisket because he's a big piece of meat and a marathon cook. The brisket should be cooked in a smoker that can maintain a constant temperature and retain heat. Cheap smokers have thin metal, so they struggle to keep heat trapped inside. Also, cheap smokers don't seal well, so they leak a lot and cause big temperature fluctuations. You can modify cheap smokers by sealing leaks and adding more insulation, but if you have the option, buy a better smoker.

pellet stovesthey are the easiest to smoke and give a fantastic flavor to the meat. Electric smokers are just as easy to use as a conventional oven, but the brisket will not taste as good as other smokers.

electric smokersThey have their critics, but electric ones are one of the easiest ways to smoke a brisket. Charcoal and wood smokers make breasts more smoky and delicious, but electric smokers allow you to smoke meat on days when you wouldn't normally smoke meat. If your electric doesn't give you a good enough rind, finish the brisket on a high heat in the oven. Also, if you want more smoke, insert a smoke tube into the smoker for more smoke flavor.

(Video) How to Smoke a Brisket! | Chuds BBQ

charcoal smokersadd a distinct flavor to the meat, however, these smokers must be well controlled to maintain consistent temperatures. Charcoal smokers like Kamado Joe/Big Green Egg, Ugly Drum Smokers, and Weber Smokey Mountain are the best charcoal smokers for brisket smoking. Weber kettles can smoke brisket, but it takes a little more work. Offset smokers (stick burners) are the purest form of smoked meat and will produce the best brisket; however, they are by far the hardest to deal with. For more information, see ourMeat Smoker's Guide.

Brisket for Beginners: 20 Tips for Smoking the Perfect Brisket | meat smoking headquarters (11)

17. Learn to handle the job

Stall is an annoying thing all pitmasters have to deal with when smoking large chunks of meat. Stall is when the meat begins to sweat and cool, which stops it from cooking for several hours. If you keep track of the core temperature of the chest, it will continuously rise to around 150°F and then stop. Meat can be stuck at 150°F for a few hours before reaching the finish line at an internal temperature of 203°F.

The best way to push the pole is to wrap the breast in foil or brown paper. The wrap will cut the cooking time by an hour or two and make the brisket very juicy. Many people panic when meat stops, but it's a normal part of the smoking process. You need to plan the stable and allow plenty of time for the meat to reach the desired temperature.

18. Marinate the breast for more flavor

Marinating is a great way to add extra flavor to meat. You can look up brisket marinade recipes or use what professionals use in competitions. These marinades are pre-made and ready to pump into your chest. These marinades not only add flavor, but also tenderize the meat.the breast injectionwon first prize at the World Food Championship as it is widely used among competition smokers. The other popular brisket marinade isFabulous B.

19. Clear Calendar - Chest Needs Time

Depending on the size, a breast can take anywhere from 10 to 18 hours to cook, or even longer. Note that this does not include the rest period, which can last up to 4 hours. Smoking breast is a marathon and you have to manage your time well. Some people wake up at all hours to take care of their chest, but that means leaving the smoker alone while you sleep (which carries some risks). Many people breastfeed until they are frustrated and then go to bed.

breast sizeTemperatureTime to cookIncluding Rest
12 pounds225°F18 hours19 hours
18 pounds250°F18 hours19 hours
12 pounds unwrapped225°F19 hours20 hours
18 pounds unwrapped250°F19 hours20 hours
16 pounds275°F10 – 12 hours11-13 hours
16 pounds unwrapped275°F11-13 hours12-14 hours

Brisket wrapping occurs when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150°F, which typically occurs 8-10 hours after smoking. The first part of cooking is essential for crust development and smoke absorption. This first stage of cooking requires adding firewood to the smoker and scrubbing/watering it every hour so the meat doesn't dry out.

Once the meat is wrapped, the steam will keep the meat moist, so no rubbing is necessary. Things slow down in the second half of the cook and not much happens. The brisket will arrive at the stall after surpassing the meat's internal temperature of 150°F, making it a good time to go to bed. However, I do not recommend leaving a smoker unattended, as there is always a risk that the fat will catch fire.

Total breast cooking timestart timestart sprayingbreast wrapfinish in the ovenCompletion Time (203°F)Hold time in dry cooler (1-4 hours)
12 hours18:0021:0012 a. m.12 a. m.06:00.Entre 7h e 10h
15 hours17:0020:0023:0023:008 am.Entre 9h - 12h
18 hours14:0017:0020:0020:008 am.Enter from 9am to 12pm

20. Fat side up or down? You decide

Always place the fat side of the breast facing the heat source. The fat will protect the meat from the heat and keep it from drying out. So if the heat is under the grill, put the brisket fat lid down. Also, if the heat is coming from the side, place the tip of the breast towards the heat and the thinner flat part away from the heat.

My favorite chest tools

Thank you for checking this article. Hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools that I use when I smoke quit that you might find useful. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to buy any of these products I will earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends just starting out.

meat injector: Injecting meat is a great way to take your barbecue to the next level and help you make a competition brisket. An injector is the only way to get flavor and moisture into the middle of the meat. The Beast Injector is a sturdy and affordable stainless steel injector. Check the latest price on Amazonhbefore.

breast marinade: The best injection solution on the market is Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection. This marinade is used in competitions and is made by World Champion Barbecue grill master Dave Bouska. You can find the marinade on Amazon.hbefore.

wrapping paper: Wrapping the brisket in brown paper became a huge barbecue trend thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping the chest in paper will give it a good bark. You cannot use just any old paper though, it has to be unwaxed food grade paper. You can find it on Amazonhere.

rubbed chest: These days I make my own dressing when possible, but I always have some pre-made dressings for when I'm running low. Barbecue guru Malcom Reed produceskiller pigs,one of the best brisket spices I've encountered over the years. Another big problem isluxury edgeCreated by brisket master and world barbecue champion Harry Soo.

meat thermometer:There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For about $50 I have a high quality meat thermometer with two probes and I can track my smoker temperature with one probe and my meat with the other probe. Hetermopro tp20It's an Amazon bestseller because it's the easiest thermometer to operate, it's durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.

Instant Read Thermometer:Arguably the second most important tool you'll need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the later stages of cooking, when the meat needs regular checking in several areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can, but at a fraction of the cost. You can see the TP19 on Amazonhere.

Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller:When you're ready to get serious, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cooking sessions on your smartphone, and connect to a blower. automatic. that will turn your charcoal smoker into a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard websitehere.


1. Ultimate Guide to Smoking Meat on a Pellet Grill
(Pro Home Cooks)
2. How To Make A Brisket On A Big Green Egg - Ace Hardware
(Ace Hardware)
3. How To Smoke Brisket on the Dyna-Glo Offset Smoker
(Everett BBQ)
4. How To Separate A Brisket
(Smokin' Joe's Pit BBQ)
(Fatty's Feasts)
6. Backyard Brisket Trimming Guide! | Backyard Test Kitchen
(Hey Grill Hey)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated: 02/09/2023

Views: 5428

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.