Amazingly Tender Smoked Brisket

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Amazingly Tender Smoked Brisket

If I had a dollar for every person who has told me they are intimidated by brisket then I would be quite well off and while I do have to admit that brisket is definitely something that requires some knowledge, skill, and a little practice to get the hang of, don’t let it intimidate you into not trying it.

As everyone knows, there are no rules when it comes to barbecue and smoking meat. There are many methods that folks use to end up with the results that they like.

I have mostly smoked briskets at around 225-240 degrees and even done them on high heat a few times to get them done fast but over the last few weeks, I have received a few emails implying that the best way to cook brisket is to turn down the heat to around 200 degrees and to use foil to end up with a tender juicy brisket that would make a Texan proud.

I did not follow the prescribed method without making a few changes but I did slow things way down, used an injection to add a lot of juice to the equation and I allowed it to rest for a full 2 hours.

This 16 lb brisket literally fell apart and was very moist and juicy. It was so tender that I wasn’t even able to make burnt ends out of the point!

Only follow this method to the letter if you are tired of tough, not-all-that-good, brisket!

Jeff’s Rub and Sauce – Can You Say Wow!

Many of you have my very own rub recipe and sauce recipe and I highly recommend that you use them every single time you smoke meat and especially on smoked brisket but if you don’t have them, then do yourself a huge favor and get them today. They will add a massive amount of flavor to anything you cook and will boost your cooking to a level of success that is unmatched by anything else!

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Amazingly Tender Smoked Brisket

Notice: The box below with ORANGE TEXT is in every newsletter that I have put out over the last few months and tells you all of the important settings and recommendations for the recipe.

It contains all of the cook times and temperatures as well as the wood recommendation and is simply there for your convenience.

 Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 22 hours 30 minutes | Smoker Temp: 200 F | Meat Finish Temp: 200 | Recommended Wood: Oak

What You’ll Need

Inject the Brisket

I don’t inject every brisket that I cook but I figure it can’t hurt anything and since we are aiming for the juiciest and most tender smoked brisket known to man, let’s just do it!

To make the injection marinade, I run some of my rub through a coffee grinder to “powder” it real fine. I then mix about 3 tablespoons of this ground rub with about 14 oz of beef broth.

I usually place the 3 tablespoons of ground rub into a pint jar then fill it the rest of the way with beef broth. Stir often while using to keep it mixed up.

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Place the brisket fat side down in a foil pan to catch the juice that runs off.


Fill the meat injector with the injection marinade and inject the marinade into the brisket about every 2 inches or so in a grid pattern.

Some people will tell you how many ounces to inject but my method is to inject in each spot until it squirts out then move to the next one. I do recommend that you wear an apron and perhaps a face mask as it can get messy.

Push the injector into the meat at an angle (45 degrees or so) and depress the plunger as you slowly pull the injector out.

If the plunger won’t push in then you have a clog and you’ll need to clear it before moving on. This should not be a problem if you grind the rub really fine.

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Season the Brisket Generously

When you are finished injecting the brisket it is time to season the outside of the brisket generously with my rub.

In times past, I have recommended placing rub on the top, bottom and sides of the brisket and even scoring the fat so the rub can get down to the meat but on this one, I will just season the top side (meat only side) since it will be sitting in juices and the rub would just wash off of the bottom and sides.

The top of the brisket will be wet from the injection marinade and so I don’t think it’s necessary to add mustard to help the rub to stick. Feel free to do this if you like but I chose to skip that step.


After about 10 minutes, the rub will start to get a wet look as it absorbs the juices on the outside of the brisket.


Get the Smoker Ready

I say this often but it bears repeating and especially for those who are new to the newsletter and smoking:

You can use ANY smoker for my smoking instructions whether it is electric, gas, charcoal or wood.

A smoker, in its’ most basic form, is simply a heat source with wood smoke. I use all kinds and I get very good results regardless of the heat source and so can you.

If someone ever tells you that you are not really smoking meat properly unless you are using a stick burner (an all wood smoker) then realize that you have just met a smoker snob and they will probably be of no use to you in your learning.

There will always be those who feel that it has to be their way or no way and this just simply isn’t true when it comes to smoking meat.

You can carry your kitchen oven out to the yard, place some wood chips over the heating element or the burner and you will have a smoker. Your spouse or house mates may not appreciate it but you get my point;-)

As long as you maintain a proper heat and there is wood smoke, you CAN smoke meat and make it taste really good!

Whatever smoker you happen to have must be setup for smoking low and slow. In this set of brisket instructions, I recommend maintaining around 200 degrees and using oak wood if you have it. 

If you do not have oak and can’t find it, any good robust hardwood fit for smoking will work such as hickory, mesquite, pecan or even fruit woods like cherry or apple.

Also, if your smoker will not maintain a heat as low as 200 degrees then you will have to just cook it as low as you can. The recipe will work but it will probably get done faster than mine did.

Once your smoker is maintaining 200 degrees, you are ready to place the brisket in the smoker.

Smoke the Brisket

Place the brisket directly on the smoker grate with the fat side down.

Maintain 200 degrees F throughout and keep the smoke going for at least 6 hours if you are not using a stick burner.

If you have a water pan, use it.

If your smoker does not have a water pan, you can either not worry about it or you can place a metal pan of water next to the area where the heat enters the smoke chamber or on a lower grate over the heat.

Leave the brisket alone and keep the door/lid closed as much as possible during the cooking time so as to not lose any heat and further prolong the cooking time.

Once the brisket has cooked for about 6-8 hours, put about 1 cup of beef broth and a few tablespoons of my rub in a foil pan.


Place the brisket fat side down in the pan and cover it with foil to allow it to continue cooking while the steam inside the pan tenderizes it.

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If you have a digital probe meat thermometer, be sure to place it in the brisket just before you cover it with foil so you can know what’s going on in the pan temperature wise.

A Few Words on Thermometers

If you do not have a digital probe meat thermometer then you are really missing out on a tool that will change the way you cook. If you can swing it, get a remote version such as the Maverick ET-732 so you can carry the receiver with you around the yard and even into the house and you can do other equally important things and still know what is going on in the smoker.

The (2) thermometers that I use are the Maverick that I just mentioned and, of course, my handy dandy Thermapen which I have discovered I can’t live without.

2 great tools for the serious smokers!

Finishing Up the Brisket

The brisket is done and only done when it reaches 195-200 degrees. With large cuts like brisket, the “safe-to-eat” temperature is not the same as the finish temperature. It is safe to eat early on in the game but it will be as tough as shoe leather unless you let it reach that 195-200 degree mark in temperature.

We use 1.5 hours per pound to estimate how long it will take but that is as far as we go with time.

Once the cooking begins, it is all about the temperature.

Once the brisket reaches 195 degrees, poke it with a toothpick or other thin, sharp object of a similar size and it should have little to no resistance. If it does, let it cook another 30 minutes and check it again. Repeat if necessary.

Once it is finished cooking, it is time to let it rest and finish tenderizing.


Rest the Brisket in a Cooler

This is a very important step in my opinion. Take an empty ice chest and line the bottom with heavy duty foil.

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Place the smoked brisket into the cooler and and fold the foil down onto and around the brisket. Place another piece of foil over the top of the brisket to cover it.

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Place thick towels into the cooler to fill in any remaining space and close the lid.


Let the brisket rest in this configuration for about 2 hours.

Saving the Juice is Optional but Recommended

I like to save the juice, defat it and then use it to juice the meat back up when reheating the brisket but that is entirely up to you.

Pour the juices into a quart jar and notice how the fats float to the top.

Place the jar in the fridge and once the fat at the top goes solid, it can be scooped out and discarded leaving you with wonderfully tasty brisket juice.

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Slicing the Brisket

Once the smoked brisket is finished resting, carefully remove it from the cooler and place it on the cutting board or countertop. Be very careful or it may try to fall apart on you like mine did.


You will notice that part of the brisket is more flat and meatier (the flat) while the other side is much larger and contains more fat (the point).

I like to just start slicing the flat across the grain until I get about half way to the other side. The fattier side is usually made into burnt ends rather than slicing.

Cut the flat into thick slices across the grain using a very sharp knife. As you can see, this was so tender, slicing it was all but impossible and much of it fell apart and become pulled brisket rather than sliced brisket.



Serve the brisket with some of my warm barbecue sauce on the side and enjoy!!

I hope you have enjoyed these instructions on how to create an amazingly tender smoked brisket and I sincerely believe that if you will forget about the time and just follow these instructions to the letter, you will amaze yourself and your friends at how easy it is to turn out the best smoked brisket you have ever tasted.


My Rub is a Must for this Brisket

You and I both know that there are a lot of rub and sauce recipes out there and I recommend you try as many different ones as you can but I have a couple of recipes that I personally and painstakingly came up with over the course of about 6 years that I’d love for you to try.

I sell these recipes to help cover the cost of producing the newsletter, to provide hosting for the website, the research and development of new recipes, the service charges for automating the newsletter to more than 200k subscribers, and everything else that we do here to promote the learning of how to smoke meat.

You will find that my rub recipe and sauce recipe are extremely uniquebetter than anything you ever tasted and if your tastebuds don’t go incredibly nuts over them, I’ll buy them back.

I am very confident that you’ll love them and you’ll not only end up with a couple of wonderful recipes, you’ll feel really good that you helped to support what we do here at in teaching the wonderful art of smoking meat.

Almost every review that I get at the online store is 5 stars and if that don’t make you want to see what all the fuss is about then I don’t know what will.

Here’s one of those reviews that just came in recently from Charlene:

“Tried the rub on Pork Country Style Ribs and it was a raving success. I received so many compliments it was embarrassing. Definitely will be using it again and again”

And here’s an excellent review from Jeremy:

“Smoked pork butt, ribs and chicken, delicious rub, sauce is over the top!”

I receive raving reviews just like these every single day via email and many more are posted at the online store for you to read.

Give the recipes a shot, support the website and impress your friends and family with the amazing flavor of these recipes. I will owe you a debt of gratitude for allowing me to continue do what I love to do.

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About Jeff Phillips

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!


  1. Hi Jeff,

    I have smoked a few briskets and had successes and failures. I want more successes! Your recipe this morning looks great and I am going to try it soon. A couple of questions. I noticed you said to cook fat side down. Is that a standard rule? I have always cooked them fat side up, and frankly a couple of time I thought the brisket tasted a little greasy. But intuition tells me to allow the juice form the fat to flow down. Another question. On a large brisket like a 15-16 pounder, How long do you actually use smoke? This recipe would require smoking overnight. Does using smoke for a few hours and having a water pan in my electric smoker mean I can sleep all night? Thanks

    • I usually do fat side up as well but in trying to stay somewhat true to the method, I went fat side down on this one. You will find folks on both sides of the aisle on that issue.

      I like to add smoke for 6 to 8 hours if possible so you could start early enough to get your smoke time in then it can cook all alone for a while while you catch some winks. You may want to check it every few hours at least to top off the water depending on how long it takes for the water to get used up in your smoker.

  2. jeff chan says:

    I've always cooked the brisket (and pretty much every other cut of meat with a fat cap) with the fat side up.  However, in this recipe, you've got the fat side down.  Why the change?  Thanks.


    • I am always looking to learn something new and perhaps improve my methods so I’ll try anything and see if it works. This very slow method of cooking a brisket was recommended to me as well as cooking it fat side down.

      I am not sure that it makes a big difference and I certainly could not tell that it helped or hurt the juiciness or flavor of the brisket but it does keep the rubbed side of the meat up out of the juices so that it is not disturbed.

      • Dave Gilley says:

        I like the idea of keeping the rub out of the juices, leaving it to possilby be better assorbed into the meat.  Certainly worth a try.

  3. Richard Hyman says:

    Could you cold smoke the brisket first?  Also are all your temperatures in Farenheit?




    • You can definitely cold smoke the brisket if you prefer but I also recommend smoking it as it cooks if possible. I do understand that some folks are limited by their equipment, time, etc. so you just have to do the best you can.

      Yes, All of my temperatures are in Farenheit.

  4. Alex Zielinski says:

    Do you have any recommendations on brands of injectors?

    Love your newsletters.



  5. Dennnis D says:

    Jeff, I tried smoking a briskett for the first time last weekend.  I used your instructions for a fast smoke.  It worked great.  My family loves briskett, and have declared this is the new standard for them! 



  6. just put my rub on my brisket. I will be starting @ 6am tomarrow. wish me luck.

    Happy smoking

  7. THIS WORKS!  I have been a backyard BBQ guy for 20+ years and never really figured out how to make that perfect Brisket. Odd thing is I bought a new smoker last week and everything said to start easy (pork butt etc.) But family wanted a Brisket. So I dug in. Seasoned the new grill last week. Actually had a quick trip to Texas mid week and came across someone with a PILE of mesquite and oak. Loaded up and came back dreaming of trying this process, with hesitation I might add. I tried to follow to the letter but……with a new grill….nver know how to regulate temp. DID NOT MATTER! I started at 6pm Friday…slept 2 hrs at a time on the couch and found the  new grill shot up and down (Peaked at 350 and dropped to 170 at times). Thougnth I ruined the Brisket. As it turned out, I don't thing the tempurature control matters near as much. I ran good constant smoke, except when temp spikes, and adjusted as needed. End of story, the process in this article is excellent, but no need to stress over spikes in heat (get some smoking sleep). I feel the process of covering the meat and letting it continue in a shallow pool of juice is the key, then sitting in the cooler is really all that needs te most attention. Low and slow works! No question. Best Brisket ever!  REALLY!



    • Lorenzo, there are some rub, sauce and marinade recipes in the book as well a my very own version of a Cuban mojo, but the recipes for the rub and sauce that I sell on the website and in the newsletter are not included in that mix. We have opted to keep them separate and sell them as stand-alone items.

      Let me know if you have further questions about this.

  9. I have always failed at brisket.  I had a 4 pound one and tried to follow your method faithfully, with a few deviations.  Start at 5:00 am after applying rub night before. Seven hours smoke at 200+/-  Wrap and heat six hours in kitchen oven at 205-215.   Cook to 201. Rest in towels and insulated bag 1.5 hours.  Cut and serve with sauce on side.  It was breathtakingly awesome and oh so tender. (but not fall aparty)  I took an experimental risk and wrapped entirely in plastic wrap in lieu of foil because of the low temp and my stinginess.  Plastic wrap worked great.  Thanks for leading me to the promised land.

  10. Ty Bramble says:


     I tried this, and hands down the best Brisket ever. I use a Traeger Texas with a Smoke Daddy cold smoke generator. Smoked it for 8 hours at about 170 to 180 and then 225 for about 6 hours. So moist and everyone in the family loved the flavor. Thanks alot for the newsletters i use them all the time.

  11. I have an 8 pound brisket that I am defrosting … how would you adjust your cooking times for that size?  I see your times are for a 16 pound brisket.  Thanks

  12. What are your thoughts on trimming a brisket before it is smoked? My husband and I will be trying this method and possibly your sauce and rub recipe!

  13. Jeff:

    Party of 12 this last weekend… 10lb brisket…followed your directions to the letter…. It was according to everybody…the best darn brisket they ever had… No leftovers….bam….that says it all…Thank You….

  14. I just bought your rub and sauce recipe!!  Im gonna try them out on a brisket.  Which method do yu recommend using to smoke the brisket?  The burnt end method or the one with keeping the smoker at 200?  I do want to have burnt ends to snack on at the end?  Wish me luck!

  15. I smoked mine for 4 hours at 230 degrees.  Then finished it in the oven wrapped in foil at 220 degrees until meat hit 195 degrees.  Used your cooler idea for resting meat.  It wast was superb.

  16. Just did my first brisket today and followed this method.  Awesome!   Super tender, juicy and very flavorful.  Thanks for the great recipe!


  17. hasoun miriaze says:

    Dont mean to sound disrespecting to a fellow smoker but that brisket looks extremely overdone. You should be able to cut it about a pencils thickness without it falling apart. You shouldnt be teaching people bad habits right from the start!

  18. I have a 7 pound one how long should I smoke it for before I put it in the pan with the beef stock ?

  19. Soak wood chips or use dry?

  20. I used this method on new years day and it was great. 22 in weber SM 200 for 16 hours. I use an iq110 which really helps keep tje temp stable. Stubbs briquettes mixed with royal oak lump charcoal. Best brisket yet. 

  21. I have an offset smoker that I generally use charcoal and hunks of wood. Regarding your brisket above, how would I maintain 200 degrees for 22 hours? That seems like a lot of attention to maintain that heat for so long. Also, would it not be done in 8-10 hours?

  22. I use this method on my xlarge green egg and it is wonderful. Wife bought me the temp controller with the meat thermometer and its so easy I feel like I’m cheating. Light fire, program 200 degrees for cooker and 194 for meat then go to sleep. Cooking for 18 women bikers staying in our Port Cottages in PSJ next weekend!

  23. Michael Kelly says:

    hasoun miriaze,
    Everyone likes their brisket different. As you may say he’s wrong, we may say your wrong. Perhaps, your mother didn’t teach you of you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything. Happy Smoking!

  24. Phillip Kenney says:

    Recipe sounds excellent. Two questions, if I cook a n 8lb brisket what would the cooking times be, for smoking and then covered in the pan? Recent price around here for brisket is $5.57 a lb. I’d need a mortgage for a 16 pounder.
    Second since the last part of the cooking is done in a covered pan couldn’t it be done in an oven \?

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