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Basic Brisket Smoke

slider n copa

Fire Starter
Joined Jul 12, 2013
We like a 12-14 # (6kg) brisket. You want a good layer of fat on top. Don't score it. You don't want one that has too much fat marbled into the point cut. The best to pick one is to try to wiggle the brisket in the middle of the point cut ( thick end), Oh did I mention that you want a whole brisket? At ant rate, the ones that wiggle most easily will have the leaner points. If you get one w/ too much fat marbled into the point, the point will be too fatty to serve sliced.

We also believe in searing the brisket (totally black) before smoking in order to achieve caramelization. I posted a poll and started a thread on this subject. As I recall it was most controversial, and most who responded said they'd never tried it. We have, and as a result, we never do it any other way.

Now, I'm not sayin' that you hafta try it that way, but for our $.02 worth, it's one of the most important steps toward the perfect brisket.


Joined Apr 20, 2016
So, the big question remains.....for an electric smoker, what temp to set the smoker for brisket to get it to the 170 tempa and foil wrap until it gets to 190?  Sorry for being so ignorant but didn't do too well on my first 6 pounder.....a little dry.  Thanks!  Am trying again in the morning......


Joined Dec 27, 2013
I am putting 35# of brisket on my wsm,what is the minimum time I should plan for?


Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 1, 2009
Have a bunch of buddies in from out of town tonight so we are having a poker game and I am surprising them all with an some good eats! These babies are on the smoker as we speak...

This is my 5th brisket ever and probably my 20th Boston butt. The Brisket is rubbed down with a SPOG mixture at 1 part each and the Pork with a typical rub of brown sugar, paprika, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper. Normally I smoke with applewood directly from my mom's orchard but I am currently out so I am playing with using some oak I have kicking around.

Generally I run between 225* and 250*, take the meat up to 165* then wrap and finished up to a minimum of 195* depending on texture (toothpick test rules!). Wrap a few towels around and toss in a cooler for another 2 or 3 hours and slice and serve.

I haven't had a bad one yet, but even if the worst happens and they don't turn out, the boys will probably be half cut anyways and I will still look like a hero! Haha! I will post of the final product later...
For those of you that wrap (Foil or Butcher paper) and then do the poke test once you get over 185 or so.....

Question: Do you poke through the Foil in multiple locations, or do you open the wrap every time?

Any concerns with the holes leaking juices in your cooler when resting, or do you add another layer?


Planning to do 2 14# packers tomorrow and want to be ready.

slider n copa

Fire Starter
Joined Jul 12, 2013
I don't understand the concept of searing before you smoke it, searing would seal the surface and would seem to prevent the smoke from getting in. Just a thought

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 6, 2011
Never heard of searing a brisket before smoking it ???

Joined May 11, 2016
Greetings everyone,

Trying my first Brisket this weekend and decided to start small with a 6lb Corned Brisket.

I have a OK Joe Highland and plan to follow the initial instructions that Dutch posted (thank you by the way).

What is a good smoking temp to get it to 170 before wrapping it in foil (around 250 or so)?

I read through the first page of posts to make sure that I wasn't asking a basic question (didn't get through the other 15 pages of responses).

I have a question about prepping the Brisket...

I saw in another post about trimming the fat, and then doing an olive oil salt and black pepper covering, then wrapping in plastic-wrap over night.

I was planning to do a dry-rub and marinade (balsamic based hot-sauce) overnight (or day and a half).

Is there a wrong way to have this sit overnight (or two)?
I'm just worried that I will do something to negate the process.

Any help is appreciated.


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Joined May 19, 2015
I just did my first brisket a few days back, and with all the great info I've learned from this forum, I thought I'd post up a few notes - might be helpful to someone.   (Sorry if this should go somewhere else, I thought this would be a good place).  Here are the specifics:

Brisket was 12# from Costco, a "full" cut, graded Choice.   

About 6 hours before smoking, I trimmed most of the fat layer off (leaving 1/4 inch or so minimum, a little more here and there) and seasoned liberally with Kosher salt, onion powder, a bit of garlic powder, some Hungarian paprika, rough ground black pepper, and a little cayenne.

I have an MES 30 with mailbox, so to fit the brisket in I cut it in half, leaving one relatively thin piece and one thicker piece with the cap on it.

Preheated MES to 225 and put the meat in, with a 13x9 pan below filled with 16oz Diet Coke and a bit of water; AMPS maze with pecan pellets in the mailbox.

I started this about 5PM, checked again about 8:30, and then let her run through the night, set to turn off at 5:30 AM.

Next morning, at 5:30, the MES had just shut down, in theory, but was showing 207 chamber temp.  So maybe I miscalculated the time and it turned off a bit earlier than I planned, given the 207 chamber temp.   On the plus side, the AMPS was burned through - 100% consumption of all that pecan, so that looked good.  I have learned that in my setup at least, filling the AMPS maze up to the top of the mesh, especially at the ends where the maze turns direction, is critical to getting it to burn all the way through without messing with it.

BUT - despite 12 hours of smoking at 225, a quick check showed IT about 150-155 on both pieces.  How could this be?  Well, I guess because brisket is brisket and it does what it wants.

So I pulled them out, put them on a baking sheet in the oven at 225, and let them go another 4-5 hours until they hit 190+ for the IT.  A fair amount of additional fat rendered out, and they ended up very flexible, so I knew they were done.   Interestingly, there did not seem to be a plateau at the 160-170  range; instead, the temp rise was fairly steady from ~150 up to 190+.   So  I wondered if they HAD passed the plateau during the overnight smoke, and then cooled back down due to some screwup on my part in setting the MES timer.   But its hard for me to believe I was that far off....

Anyway, we wrapped them in foil and a towel, into the cooler to rest for 3-4 hours, then out they came.   Nice dark crust, and very easy to slice up.  The thick end with the cap had not gotten quite as high IT when I pulled it and in the thick piece you could see a little of the gray collagen still in place, and could feel the difference when slicing/chunking it up.  The thinner areas pulled apart just about perfectly.

We poured the fat/juices from the 9x13 pan, let the fat solidify and removed that, then heated up the juices in a saucepan with some ketchup, water, a little brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, and maybe something else but I forget - it was just a quick freehand approach to a finishing sauce, and it turned out really nicely.

Results:  really tasty brisket with a nice (not too heavy or powerful) sauce, I'll definitely be doing these again. 

I think the key lessons learned, for me, are:

1.  Brisket varies, temps vary, etc., and checking IT and cooking to the desired value (I used 190-195 just because I like the tender, pullable form more so than the firmer sliced style) is the ONLY reliable way to know when you are done.   Leave yourself plenty of extra time for cooking in case you need it, the foil/towel/cooler method lets you keep the cooked brisket for quite a while before slicing and serving.

2.  Next time around I would probably try separating the cap before smoking,  to get more consistent thickness, although you'd need to pull the cap off sooner (I think) because at least on this brisket the cap was pretty thin.

3.  Make uses of those pan drippings, the finishing sauce was simple and tasty, and not too greasy because we let the fat separate out first.

4.   I think that other than TIME to get to temp, brisket is pretty forgiving and you could do just about anything as far as seasoning and it will still taste great.

Anyway, those are just my impressions from the first go around, hopefully they will be helpful to others just as this forum has been for me.

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Joined Jul 6, 2012
I read this entire string at least 3 times as I was smoking my first brisket last week. Thought I would add to it by posting my own recent experience. 

I smoked a 12.9# full packer in my ME40. Though I just recently learned what a "Packer" is, I purchased it from Cash & Carry. As I'm still a beginner smoker, and this was my first brisket, I wanted to make it as simple as possible, so I used Jeff's No Fuss Method; no fat trimming, no flipping, no foil. Although I did have to cut off a few inches of the flat portion to get it fit nicely in my smoker, so it was likely just less than 12#. I used simply yellow mustard and Jeff's rub. I was concerned that I put on too much rub ... is that even possible?

~3pm, I put the brisket on the smoker and lit the AMZPS to give it all evening smoke, and headed out to a post Thanksgiving Party.

~8pm, I returned home to a brisket that was 176 degrees, which was a bit higher than I was expecting. Perhaps I read the temp incorrectly with my insta-read thermo. I did not know at this point if it already hit a plateau, or was in the middle of a plateau. Perhaps I should not have left it alone so long as it was my first attempt. I also noticed that the AMZPS had gone out and had barely smoked at all. I had a similar issue a few days prior when doing a Turkey, but in the mean time had purchased a nice big butane lighter, so it was definitely going when I left it. I lit the heck out of the AMZPS, both ends this time, and shut it up. 

~Midnight, checked on the meats again and it was still about 176. I decided this was the plateau and to not FREAK OUT! Once again the AMZPS has gone out with almost no smoke, so I consulted the internet. Sure enough AMZPS's sometimes have issues in ME smokers as they do not get enough oxygen. So I lit the heck out of it again, opened the flu on the top and pulled out the wood chip insertion plug thing at the bottom to try and get more oxygen. Then I went to bed, of course I didn't seep much as all I could think about was the meats. 

~3:30am, about 12 hours in, I checked again and it was 186, successfully over the plateau! One side of the AMZPS had gone out, but the other had burned up one full length, so at least I finally go some smoke going. I refilled it, relit it, and on a whim place it directly under the heating element, near where the oxygen was coming in. 

~6:30am, about 15.5 hours in, it was 195 - 200 degrees, with the flat bit being a bit higher temp than the point. I decided to leave it in just a bit longer for the timing to work with regard to holding it. I noticed that the AMZPS was turned to complete ash ... however I think it might be because I put it directly under the heating element; probably will not do that again. 

~7:30am, took it out at a 200-210 range, wrapped it, and put it in a cooler with towels. 

~12:30pm, It was in the cooler a bit longer than I would have preferred, but once home from Church I took it out of the cooler. I attempted to slice it but of course that did not work. Since I left all the fat on, and I put it in the cooler so long, it was like a thick layer of black jelly, and none of it would slice. So we pulled\shredded it. 

Overall it was AMAZING, and we ate our way through the Seattle Sounders win and the Seattle Seahawks loss. Also Jeff's BBQ sauce is fantastic. Will be a great canvas for me to experiment with and kick up the heat to notches unknown!


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Fire Starter
Joined Dec 7, 2016
Anyone think Worcester sauce to harsh for brisket injection? Or cut it with beef broth/stock?


Joined Dec 23, 2015
I just finished my first "brisket". It was actually just a 4lb flat I got from Costco. I figured I'd start there so I don't screw up an entire $50-60 brisket. Last night I rubbed it down with a pretty healthy amount of maple bacon bourbon rub my wife picked up at Cabelas. I decided to use a method I saw somewhere on here to cut the end off to identify the grain and how to slice it. I put it in a 230*-275* dual fuel Masterbuilt around 11:00am. I used a mix of cherry and hickory chunks. After reading all the different methods in this post I decided to foil it at 170*, and I pulled it at 205*. My original plan was to leave it in and do the poke test until it was ready. Well, I got ahead of my self and forgot about the poke test. So I pulled it at 205*/3:00pm, and covered it in a cooler. The small piece I cut off wouldn't "fit" in the cooler, so I sliced it up as a taste test. Here are a few pics of the before,

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And a pic of the smoke ring from the smaller one I just cut up. I'll post more when I pull it from the cooler and slice it up for dinner.

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Fire Starter
Joined Dec 7, 2016
I just did a brisket myself on a 22" weber kettle. Came out moist and good. Used hickory chunk. Crutched at 170, pulled it at 203, wrapped it put in a cooler. No smoke ring. I know it is just for looks.. Any reason why? Did have a water pan. Cooked at 230


Joined Dec 23, 2015
All sliced up. We're on a keto diet too, so zero carb, zero sugar cheddar biscuits and home made sauce. Not a fan of the sauce. I found the recipe on a keto page. Had a little too much vinegar for my taste. Next time I'm definitely make Jeff's rub and sauce.

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Even the dog got a slice chopped up and mixed in her kibble.
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Joined Dec 15, 2016
Hey All,

Newbie to smoking here and thought I would ask for some general suggestions for a brisket smoke.

I just finished building a UDS and did the  seasoning burn a couple days ago. I (somewhat stupidly) bought a 6lb, $50 brisket from Giant Eagle and want to smoke it this weekend. however, i DONT want to somehow ruin it. So here is what I am looking for help with.....

Looks like brisket takes forever to smoke properly, any suggestions on amount of lump wood to use in the charcoal basket?

Any suggestions on best practice for keeping a UDS at temp throughout such a long smoke?

Should I turn it throughout the smoke or just leave it alone?

Should I spray it with apple juice every once in a while during the smoke?

Any and all help, tips, lessons learned, past screw ups, or experiences are GREATLY appreciated.



Fire Starter
Joined Jan 1, 2017
Foil wrap is Called "the Texas crutch" most guys wrap in butcher paper in the south .... i still wrap in foil though , call me a wimp if you want 


Joined Aug 17, 2017
Any of you guys cooking over tuning plates? Last couple briskets I have cooked in my LSG horizontal offset, they cook pretty quick. Kept the temps at 250 for my last one, and cooked a 13# in about 8 hours or so. Never wrapped, was extremely moist. Positioned the brisket next to the water pan on my first grate. I am thinking of trying the next brisket on one of my top racks to see if I can avoid some radiant heat from the tuning plates.


Joined Jul 10, 2016
I posted this in answer to a question on how to smoke a brisket. Iceman (Gary) asked that I re-post the answer here and make it a *sticky*. As there are many variations to doing a brisket as there are doing butts and ribs, feel free to share your *secret* technique.

Smoke that brisket to 170 deg. Wrap in foil with a good splash of your spray/mop-back into the smoker until it reaches 190 deg. Wrap in several old towels and place into a blanket lined cooler for a couple of hours to rest and redistribute the juices then slice or pull and serve. Keep in mind that a piece of meat this size will hit a plateau and you'll think your thermo has gone south on you. DONOT adjust your heat, Just leave it alone-It's is during this time that the heat that has built up in the muscle mass begins to break down the connective tissue which in turn will make the brisket tender. Be patient with it and it will reward you a great meal.
I have never done a beef brisket. I purchased a pellet grill/smoker. Some recipes dictate that the brisket be placed using indirect heat. It would be impossible to do that in my smoker. Can I just turn down the heat and expect it to take 20 hours instead of 16 or is there another way to do this?I plan to do this on Friday of this week. Can you give me some help?

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