10 Tips for Smoking The Perfect Brisket: How to Smoke a Brisket Like a Pro

Written by BBQ Grill Academy

Smoking a brisket can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools, tips and guidance, you can smoke a delicious, tender brisket that will have your friends and family begging for more. 

In this article, we will discuss 10 tips for smoking a perfect brisket. We will go over everything from choosing the right meat to preparing it for the smoker. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced BBQ enthusiast, read on for some valuable tips!

Here are ten tips for smoking a delicious brisket and eliminating the guesswork for best results

1. Choose the right cut of meat 

Quality meat is critical for good results, no matter what type of smoker grill you use. If you want to smoke a perfect brisket, you need to start by choosing the right cut of meat. A brisket that is at least ten pounds will yield good results and be thick enough to render well. Keep in mind that the size of the brisket will also affect the cooking time, so plan accordingly.

Another factor to consider when choosing a brisket is the fat content. You want to look for a brisket with a good amount of marbling, as this will help keep the meat moist during the cooking process and add flavor. 

However, you don't want too much fat, as it can also prevent smoke and heat from penetrating the meat. 

2. Trim the fat

Trimming excess fat off the brisket will help smoke and heat penetrate the meat but still have enough fat for flavor and keep the meat moist and juicy during the cook. You should aim to leave about ¼ inch of fat on the meat.

3. Spice up the brisket, but do not go overboard

Seasoning your brisket is an important step in the cooking process. You'll want to use a rub or marinade that is packed with flavor. This will help to enhance the taste of the final product.

However, keeping things simple often works best when it comes to briskets. You do not want to overpower the meat's flavor. In fact, many pitmasters use a simple one-to-one mix ratio of salt and pepper. This seasoning blend is very common in BBQ King states like Texas.

4. Prepare the smoker for a long cook

Before you start smoking your brisket, you need to make sure that your smoker is set up properly. The temperature of the smoker should be between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is recommended to smoke one pound of brisket for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If you choose to smoke the brisket at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the cooking time will be reduced to approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

Make sure you have plenty of fuel, as smoking a large brisket can take upwards of 12 hours. When running at a smoking temperature, a typical pellet smoker burns around a pound to a pound and a half of pellets. So, if you are going to cook for twelve hours, you will need at least twelve pounds of pellets in the hopper.

5. Now that your smoker is ready, it's time to smoke the brisket

Once your smoker is up to temperature, and you have your brisket prepared, it's time to start smoking.

The secret to making a delicious brisket is smoking at a consistent temperature, cooking with indirect heat, and, most importantly, monitoring the brisket's internal temperature to determine when to wrap it and when it is done. It is critical to know when to wrap the brisket.

Place the brisket on the opposite side of the smoker’s heat source to smoke it using indirect heat. To create two cooking zones on a charcoal grill, lay the charcoal on just one side of the grill, if you use a propane grill, be sure the burners underneath the brisket are turned off.
By using indirect heat, you can keep the meat from drying out or the thinner ends of the brisket from burning.

The most important part of making the best, most delicious, and most juicy brisket is to keep an eye on the temperature.

Use a wireless thermometer to keep an eye on the brisket’s internal temperature and avoid having to open the smoker door throughout the cooking process. When you open the smoker lid, you lose heat and the temperature in the cooking chamber drops. Remember that a constant cooking temperature is key to smoking an excellent brisket.

Another reason to utilize a "real" wireless thermometer is in the event of a flare-up. Flare-ups can occur regardless of the type of grill you use, and exposing the brisket to "dirty" smoke and direct flame can ruin its flavor, char the meat, and possibly burn it.

The MeatStick has no cables tied to it, so if there is a flare-up, you can quickly take the meat out of the smoker, put the fire out, and then place the meat back in the smoker.

6. Setup Your MeatStick For Success

Now that your smoker is ready, the fire is steady, you are ready to set up your MeatStick for a successful cook.

Insert the MeatStick into the brisket, making sure that the tip of the probe is in the center of the thickest part of the meat and the probe is all the way inside the meat.

Next, open up the app on your phone or tablet and create a new cook. You can choose one of the “beef” presets and edit the name of the cook and name it something cool; you will want to use this awesome preset later! You can choose one of the cooking presets on the MeatStick app or create your own.

After you have configured "the cook," you will want to use the alarm feature in the Meatstick app to eliminate the guesswork of when to wrap the brisket and when it is done. These are two critical intervals in the brisket's cooking process, and the MeatStick makes it easy to hit these targets every time. 

Simply tap on “Adjust Temp Alerts” to edit the default alarm settings. Set the "Early Warning" alarm to 160 and set the “Target Warning” alarm to 195. Briskets typically begin to stall at about 165 degrees F, so by setting the alarm to 160, you will get ahead of the stall.

At 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the brisket's collagen breaks down and renders, making the meat juicy and tender. At this temperature zone is also when, well, it is time to wrap the brisket.

7. Wrap It Up

Once the “Early warning” alarm goes off, it's time to wrap the brisket in butcher paper or foil.

If you use foil, use heavy-duty non-stick aluminum, and if you use butcher paper, be sure to fold the edges over a couple of times so that no juices can escape.

8. The Last Part of the Cook

Place the brisket back in the smoker, ensuring that it is on the opposite side of the heat source.

You want to continue cooking the brisket until your “Target” alarm goes off, signifying that it has reached 195 degrees Fahrenheit and is ready to be taken out of the smoker. While the brisket rests, the temperature will keep climbing to about 200 degrees. The MeatStick battery lasts up to 24 hours so it is ok to leave the stick in the brisket to keep an eye on its temperature.

9. Take It Out and Let It Rest

Place the brisket on a cutting board and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes before slicing into it.

Slicing it too early will cause all the juices to run out, making for dry, overcooked meat. Letting it rest allows the juices to redistribute back into the meat, making for a more tender, juicy brisket.

10. Now It's Time to Eat!

After letting the brisket rest, it is finally time to slice and serve it. Start by slicing against the meat's grain for more tender slices of brisket.

If you find that your slices are a little tough, try slicing them with the grain. Serve the brisket with your favorite barbecue sauce, some freshly made coleslaw, mac and cheese, and some baked beans. Yum! If you find that your slices are a little tough, try slicing them with the grain.

One last word

Smoking a brisket can be a daunting task, but if you follow these tips, you'll be able to smoke a perfect brisket like a pro. Using the technology offered by MeatStick is an easy way to get constant results every time. Make sure your smoker is set up correctly, and use the technology and automation of the MeatStick to accurately predict the stall, when to wrap the brisket and when it is done.Using the technology offered by MeatStick is an easy way to get consistent and repeatable results, every time.

The autonomous monitoring offered by The MeatStick eliminates guesswork and is key here. Having to constantly check the meat to see when it is ready to wrap, relying on an instant-read thermometer, means you may get lucky and get ahead of the stall, or you can be unlucky and warp the brisket too late. The same is true when it comes to knowing when it is time to remove the brisket from the smoker. Using wireless and smart thermometers is a smart strategy for getting consistent results every time.

The Perfect Life-saver for a Brisket! 

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