It's no secret that I love smoked brisket in all it's beefy, delicious goodness whether it's sliced, chopped, or made into burnt ends.. I love the stuff. It's a great game day food and in this recipe, I'm going to walk you through the process of preparing and cooking a brisket in the smoker so that it comes out a winner.

Be sure to use my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) on this one.. the bark that it creates is so worth it!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 240-250°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: ~200°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan, Cherry, Hickory (all great options alone or mixed)
What You’ll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

We are running a limited-time 25% off sale on the DOWNLOADABLE RECIPES. Click HERE to purchase the instantly downloadable recipes (formulas) for both of my rubs and barbecue sauce at an unbeatable discount. Somebody pinch me! Or better yet, just go get them 😉
Note: The coupon should be automatically applied OR use SM25 during checkout if necessary.
Prep and Season the Meaty Side

Place the brisket meaty side up (fat side down) on a cutting board or better yet, down into a large, deep foil pan to help contain the mess.

img_1229-250x167

Notice how you can see the strands of the meat and the direction that they run? This is called the grain but once we have rub on the meat, you won't be able to see this grain direction

For this reason, it's a good idea to mark this somehow so you'll know how to slice it later.

We always slice across the grain as this gives you the most tender bite.

I sometimes notch the meat but an even better idea is to simply run an extra long toothpick through it in the same direction that the slices need to be cut. This stays in throughout the cooking process.

img_1230-250x167

This side will be facing down in the smoker but let's season it up before we flip it over.

I sometimes use mustard, spicy mustard, olive oil, barbecue sauce, etc. to create a sticky surface on the meat so the rub will stick. Rub is no good to anyone if it just simply falls off when you flip it over or when you are placing it on the smoker grate. A sticky surface under the rub fixes this problem.

This time I decided to use molasses as it is very sticky, gives it great color when mixed with my original rub (purchase recipes here) and tastes great as well.

Pour on some molasses..

img_1240-250x167

Then use your hands or a cooking brush to spread it out all over this side of the brisket.

img_1241-250x167

Sprinkle 4-6 heaping tablespoons of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the brisket and use your hands to spread it out over the top and sides.

Let it sit for 5 minutes or so before flipping it over.

img_1245-250x167

Prep and Season the Fat Side

The fatty side of the brisket called the “fat cap” only needs to be about ¼ inch thick. You can trim it down to this thickness using a sharp knife if you want to.

img_1236-250x167

As you can imagine, the smoke and rub does not get through that layer of fat so you might wonder why we leave it on instead of just trimming it all off..

Well, during the cooking process, this fat will begin to melt and as it does, this super tasty juices will flow over the brisket and down the sides sort of self-basting.

One thing that I like to do and it has proven to be a great method is to cut a crosshatch pattern into the fat cap. Try not to cut into the meat but it's not the end of the world if it does happen.

img_1237-250x167

This allows the juices to get trapped a little down next to the meat helping to keep it more moist. It also gives the rub a place to hold on to so the melting fat cap doesn't just wash all of the rub away. I also believe this gives the smoke just a little bit of access to the meat that it wouldn't have on that side otherwise.

Now let's do the molasses thing to the fat cap..

img_1249-250x167

And pour another 4-6 tablespoons of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the fat cap and rub it in real good.

img_1251-250x167

The brisket is now in the correct configuration and is ready for the smoker and you can start dreaming about the delicious smoked brisket you'll soon be enjoying!

Smoke Time

Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at about 240°F if possible. Lower heat is ok if you must but, just know that this means it will take your brisket a little longer to get done.

If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up with water.

When the smoker is ready, place the brisket on the smoker grate fat side up and close the door or lid.

img_1270-250x167

I used a pecan/cherry mix but any good smoking wood will work great for smoked brisket.

For large, normal sized packer briskets, you can expect it to take about 5-6 hours to reach 155-160°F which is the point at which some folks wrap the brisket in foil or paper.

I love my orange ThermoPop and because it reads so fast (3-4 seconds), I can raise the lid, get a reading and close the lid in under 5 seconds. That's lightning speed in the world of instant read thermometers. If you don't have one, these are very affordable at $34. The fact that I can get them in 9 beautiful colors, it's splash-proof so I can wash it easily and the read-out rotates depending on how I want to hold it just sweetens the deal even more!

img_1277-250x167

You can also use a leave-in digital probe meat thermometer if you have one. Check out the “Smoke” by ThermoWorks.

Should you wrap the brisket once it reaches 155-160°F?

Wrapping a brisket helps it to get done faster, creates a more tender smoked brisket, and it helps to retain the moisture so it ends up a little more juicy. The bad side is that the bark can end up soggy instead of nice and crisp.

Wrapping in paper does help the bark to maintain most of it's crispness and seems to be what a lot of folks are using nowadays. I sometimes wrap in paper or foil but often I choose to leave it alone.

You can purchase the USDA approved natural brown paper in 18-inch or 30-inch width and it works great for this purpose.

There is also a pink/peach colored paper that some like to use.

This is completely your decision to make so if you haven't tried wrapping, you probably should so you can make a good decision on whether to wrap or not wrap on future briskets.

If you do decide to wrap, just simply wrap it in foil or paper making sure it is tightly closed. Double wrapping is not a bad idea to ensure it won't leak. Place it back in the smoker as quickly as possible in the same configuration as before.

Continue cooking the brisket until it reaches about 190°F at which point I start checking it for tenderness using the butter test.

The butter test means that when a brisket is perfectly done, pushing a sharp probe or skewer into it should feel like it's going into soft, room temperature butter.

I put a half-stick of butter on the counter for a couple of hours to soften so I could compare the feel..

I then slid a wooden skewer into the top of the stick of butter before probing the center of the brisket flat. You can do this at home to get a feel for what a done brisket feels like.

img_1296-250x167

It should go into the smoked brisket with very little resistance when it is done.

Usually this ends up being about 200°F but it's a great way to learn how to tell when brisket has reached it's sweet spot.

Once the brisket hits this “sweet spot” I recommend removing it from the heat right away.

Rest in a Dry Cooler

Before serving the smoked brisket, it needs to be rested for 1.5 to 2 hours in a dry, empty cooler wrapped in a layer of foil during which time, the juices will redistribute throughout the meat and it will end up being more juicy and tender than it would if you skipped this step.

Place the brisket on a long piece of heavy duty foil..

img_1299-250x167

Wrap the foil completely around the brisket..

img_1302-250x167

Place the brisket down in the cooler..

img_1303-250x167

I like to place pillows, towels, etc. on top of the brisket to insulate it while it rests.

Slice and Serve

Once the brisket is rested, it can be removed from the foil wrapping and sliced up for serving.

Beautiful mahogany color and juices puddling on top..

img_1307-250x167

(don't forget to remove the toothpick)

img_1308-250x167

First cut.. and beautiful smoke ring.

img_1311-250x167img_1313-250x167img_1318-250x167img_1325-250x167

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

We are running a limited-time 25% off sale on the DOWNLOADABLE RECIPES. Click HERE to purchase the instantly downloadable recipes (formulas) for both of my rubs and barbecue sauce at an unbeatable discount. Somebody pinch me! Or better yet, just go get them 😉
Note: The coupon should be automatically applied OR use SM25 during checkout if necessary.
Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff!  -Susan T.

Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point!  -Charles W.

Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!  -Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!  -Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.  -Darwyn B.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, “Can the recipes really be that good?”

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter

Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Order Jeff's Rub Recipe n' Sauce Recipe
I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.
Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 900 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Thin Blue Foods Store | AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon


Printable Recipe

Smoked Brisket for Game Day
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
16 hrs
 
There's nothing better on game day than smoked brisket and in this recipe, I'll show you how to prep and cook it from start to finish and end up with a winner.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 8 -10
Author: Jeff Phillips
What You'll Need
  • Whole packer brisket slightly trimmed is ok
  • Molasses
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Extra long toothpick
Instructions
  1. Place brisket fat cap down inside of a large foil pan.
  2. Coat the top of the brisket with molasses then sprinkle 4-6 TBS of Jeff's original rub onto the top and sides of the brisket.
  3. Give the rub a couple of minutes to stick then flip the brisket over to fat cap up.
  4. Use a sharp knife to score the fat cap down to the meat using a crosshatch pattern with about 1-inch intervals.
  5. Coat the scored fat cap of the brisket with molasses then pour 4-6 TBS of Jeff's original rub and rub it in. The idea is for the molasses and rub to get down into the score marks in the fat cap.
  6. The brisket is now ready to cook in the smoker.
  7. Set up your smoker for cooking at about 240-250°F with indirect heat using a mix of pecan and cherry wood for smoke or whatever smoking wood you have available.
  8. Let the brisket smoke cook for about 5 hours or until it reaches 160°F in the thickest part of the flat area.
  9. At this point you can wrap the brisket with foil or USDA approved natural brown (or pink) paper and continue the cooking process in the smoker.
  10. The brisket is done when it reaches about 200°F. You can test the brisket for perfect tenderness by inserting a probe or skewer into the flat area. It should have very little resistance and feel like it's going into room temperature butter.
  11. Once done, remove the brisket from the heat.
  12. It should be wrapped in foil at this point and allowed to rest for 1.5 to 2 hours in a empty, dry cooler.
  13. After resting, remove the brisket from the foil and slice across the grain into ¼ inch pieces.
  14. Enjoy!
DON’T MISS OUT!
Subscribe To Newsletter
Be the first to get latest recipes straight to your email inbox.
+ Free 37-page ebook on Smoking Meat Basics
Subscribe
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.