Smoked Brisket 

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Most traditionalists prefer the "Low and Slow" method of smoking a Brisket. However there are others who find the "Hot and Fast" method to be very appealing.

The only difference between “Hot & Fast” and “Low & Slow” is pit temperature and the length of the cook. In the H&F cook, you will definately need to use a water pan, although you will be refilling it constantly since you will be cooking at about 300℉ and water boils at 212℉.

Being the traditionalist that I am, I much prefer Low & Slow.  So here is how to do a nice Low  and Slow Brisket.

What You’ll Need

  • Beef Brisket
  • Disposable Roasting Pan
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Seasoning Rub
  • Grill or Smoker
  • Charcoal ** (preferably Lump)
  • Smoking Wood - Pecan, Hickory etc

How It’s Done

  • Preheat your smoker to 225℉  with INDIRECT heating. If your using a water pan fill it with water. If possible place a drip pan directly below where the meat will go to catch all the drippings. This makes cleanup much easier. 

  • If your smoking an untrimmed Packer trim off as much of the fat on top as you can along with any “silver skin” there may be.  Then trim the bottom "Fat Cap" leaving no more then  ¼" to ½” of fat (the fat is what helps keep the meat moist and adds flavor during cooking). If on the other hand you are smoking a “Flat” there will probably be very little trimming needed. You should also keep in mind that the cooking times for a “Flat” will be less then a whole packer since the Flat is not as thick as  the point.  

  • Liberally rub the entire brisket with your choice of rub and place on your cooking grate.  

  • When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165F place the meat in a disposable aluminum pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. If you don’t have room for a pan then wrap the meat in heavy duty aluminum foil and place it back on the grate.   At this point you can continue cooking on your smoker or place the pan in an oven set at 240℉. By doing this you accomplish two things. First, you are able to collect the juices of the meat which you will defat later and use when you cut the meat. Second, you will avoid drying out the thinner “Flat” section while allowing the point to come to temp.  

  • When the internal temperature reaches 200F, insert a probe into the meat. If the meat is ready, it will slide in as if going into hot butter. If it does not, continue cooking and recheck every 10 minutes until it does. 

  • Once the meat is done, drain off and reserve the juices, wrap the meat back up in foil and place it in an oven which has been warmed and turned OFF.  If no oven is available simply cover the foiled meat with a towel and place in an insulated chest (an empty ice chest works fine). Allow to rest for at least 1 hour.

  • Strain the juices into a bowl or other container and refrigerate. After a while the fat rises to the surface and solidifies. Once this happens simply pop the fat layer off with a spoon and discard. Heat the remaining juices, which are now in gelatin form, for a few seconds. This can then be poured over the meat once it has been sliced adding back moisture and delicious natural beef flavoring. 

The average cook time (whole average sized packer) will be approximately 10 hours... with a rest time of at least 1 hour.

From start to finish.....about 11 hours.


  • Indirect heating - is very important for a brisket. Most smokers are equipped for just that. If you are having to use a charcoal grill, simply pile all your coals on one side (Hot zone) and place the meat on the other side (Cool Zone). If you have to use a gas grill you will probably only have room for a Point or Flat. Turn on the burners on one side (Hot Zone) and place the meat on the other side (Cool Zone).

  • TEMPERATURE - is very important. NEVER trust the thermometer which came with your cooker unless you have checked it for accuracy. Otherwise use an alternate temperature probe to check the cooking chamber temperature. 

  • AuJu - These are the wonderful juices you save from the meat while cooking. Once de-fatted these juices help keep the sliced meat from drying out quickly and add back some of that beautiful beef flavor. 

  • Timing - It’s almost impossible to predict an exact time when the meat is ready. Although you can get in the Ball Park allow yourself plenty of time. 

  • Practice, Practice, Practice - Getting the perfect brisket is difficult. It takes time, patience and practice. Don’t give up. Ask questions from those that know…and when you do expect a dozen different answers, none of which may be wrong. 

  • Cook Now - Eat Later - Have time to cook on the weekend, but the gathering is mid-week. No problem. I use this trick all the time. Cook your meat, allow to rest for about an hour, then slice up as you normally would. Keeping the slices together, place them into a ziploc baggie along with a little AuJu, remove as much air as possible and seal. Although ziploc baggies will work, a vacuum sealer is much better since it removes all the air and forces some of the AuJu back into the meat. To reheat: if it is vacuum sealed in a good vacuum bag i usually place it directly on center rack of 185℉ oven till it is heated through. If it is in a standard ziplock bag, transfer the meat into a pan, add additional AuJu if you have it, then cover with foil and heat in a 200℉ oven.

  • Fuel - The type of fuel you use often depends on the type of cooker you have. If you have an offset stick burner you will use logs and possibly some charcoal. If you have a Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM)… charcoal with wood chunks. I have a verticle insulated rig and use primarily charcoal (Kingsford blue bag) and wood chunks. Use a gas cheater or a chimney to start your charcoal. NEVER…I repeat NEVER use lighter fluid.  Also…don’t soak your wood (chips, chunks...or logs)  it does no good. The water usually doesn’t penetrate the wood and if it does it is only a fraction of an inch (1/64” )