How To: Smoking Beef Brisket

There are many different ways of how to cook beef brisket, but smoking beef brisket is one of the most popular methods within the barbecue and smoking community, especially in America. Mastering the skill of smoking beef brisket is less about following a specific recipe, and more about picking up techniques and developing them to suit each brisket cut.

While it may seem intimidating at first, smoking beef brisket is incredibly rewarding in the long run. This helpful guide from Tom Hixson of Smithfield will look at several different techniques for smoking beef brisket, aiming to help you achieve your tastiest brisket yet.

What Is Beef Brisket?

Beef brisket is a large cut of meat that’s taken from the lower back or chest, with one side covered in fat. This fat melts into the meat as it’s cooked, creating an abundance of extraordinary flavours and textures. This makes it ideal for smoking, as the process amplifies the taste of the brisket making it even more impressive.

Choosing The Right Brisket

Tom Hixson of Smithfield offers a wide range of beef brisket, including USDA brisket as well as a range that’s made especially for the BBQ. 

Wagyu brisket is one of the most popular and sought after breeds today, with its high level of marbling guaranteeing delectable flavours when cooked.

How Long To Smoke A Brisket

When smoking beef brisket, it should take around 90 minutes for every pound when the brisket is being cooked at 250°F. Depending on the size of the cut, this could take anywhere from 5 hours to 16, so every cut will have its own cooking time.

It’s important to make sure you have enough time to properly cook the brisket, so making sure you prepare and work out the time it’ll take well in advance.

Smoking Beef Brisket: The Process


After choosing your brisket, it’s important to spend time trimming it of fat. You should leave ¼ of the amount of fat on the fat side of the brisket, while cutting into and trimming off any major pockets of fat on the flat side.

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the amount of fat left on, but it’s recommended that the ¼ amount of fat is left to provide flavour as well as protection to the meat when smoking.


Seasoning is an incredibly important step in smoking beef brisket to help elevate the flavours of the beef, however, it’s important that you don’t lose the natural flavours provided by the beef.

We recommend mixing salt, pepper and garlic granules together in equal parts to create the perfect smoked beef brisket rub.


Whether you’re using an electric smoker, a gas smoker, a charcoal smoker or a smoker bbq grill, preheat it to 250°F. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand comfortably over the grill for more than 3 seconds. If you can, you need to add more charcoal. 

It doesn’t necessarily matter which way up you smoke the brisket, however, some say to smoke it with the fat side facing up. Despite this, it’s not likely to change the outcome.

Using a charcoal grill:

After the grill has reached 250°F, lay the brisket on the opposite side of the coals and put the lid on. Keep an eye on the temperature of the grill- it’s likely that you’ll have to add coals every 30-45 minutes.

Whatever type of smoker you’re using, make sure that it’s a consistent heat throughout.

Some like to spritz the meat with water during the smoking process, however, this is another part of smoking that is optional and dependent on personal preference.


You should wrap the brisket in either foil or butcher paper when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°F. It’s all comes down to personal preference when choosing what to wrap it in, but some claim that foil helps create more smokey flavours.

Return the brisket back to your smoker and continue to smoke until the internal temperature gets to 202°F at the thickest part of the meat.


Rest the brisket for at least 30 minutes to allow the hot juices and melted fat to distribute into the meat. This is an important part of smoking beef brisket that shouldn’t be skipped as it could make the brisket lose flavour.

Slice and serve!

So now you know how to smoke beef brisket, why not take a look at our other helpful guides and recipes for brisket, and browse our range of beef brisket today to get started!

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