Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket

June 5, 2017

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket is more than a simple recipe, it’s a process for melt in your mouth smokey beef brisket. All you need is salt and pepper, smoke and time (and a good meat thermometer).

Smoked Texas Style Beef Brisket

I totally understand how intimidating it can be to smoke a huge, expensive brisket for the first time. That’s why I’ve tested and re-tested many different methods and recipes to help you achieve perfect results every time, using a relatively simple process. Once you try this juicy brisket, you’ll be itching for the next opportunity to smoke another one. BBQ (especially brisket) is something you have to learn by experiencing, so let’s jump in and give it our best go!

How to Smoke a Brisket- Texas Style:

FIRST STEP: Picking a proper brisket. I have a full write up about this HERE. Condensed version? Plan on purchasing a whole packer brisket with both the point and flat muscle included. The grade of your meat matters, prime beef will have more fat marbling which means more flavor and juiciness than a choice graded brisket. Buy about 1/2 pound (or more) of brisket per person you are serving. A 12-14 pound brisket will generously serve about 20-25 people (more if some of those people are kiddos).

SECOND STEP: Trimming your brisket. This step is so important for how the final product will turn out. Spend the 20-30 minutes you need to trim it properly. I have step by step instructions (and pictures) for trimming your brisket in this post: How To Trim a Brisket. Take a minute a read that, use it as a guide while you trim up your brisket and you’ll be set!

THIRD STEP: Seasoning your brisket. Texas style is simply coarse salt and coarse black pepper. My only addition (and this is personal preference, you can skip it if you’re a purist) is to add garlic powder as well. Doesn’t really change the flavor or take away from that amazing smoked beef, but adds a little extra layer of goodness. PRO TIP: Mix your salt, pepper, and garlic in an old spice shaker container and shake the spices out at about 2 feet above your brisket while seasoning. This will create a nice even layer of salt, pepper, and garlic across the entire surface of your brisket.

FOURTH STEP: Smoking your brisket! Use a nice hardwood in your smoker. I used oak as the base wood with a little bit of cherry mixed in. The goal here, whatever type of smoker you are using, is consistent heat and a steady flow of thin blue smoke. I wish I could tell you an exact time that smoking will take, but alas, that’s kind of the beauty of BBQ. It’s done when it is done. For the initial smoke phase, I plan about 8 hours at 225 degrees F for my 12-13 pound briskets to reach 165 degrees F. However, your brisket will enter a phase in between 145 degrees F and 165 degrees F where the liquid evaporating from the surface of the brisket will cool it while your grill is trying to cook it. This is called the stall, and the time frame is different during this phase for every brisket I’ve ever cooked. This is where a good internal thermometer comes in. For this cook, I used my Thermapen MK4. PRO TIP: many people argue fat side up or down on a brisket cook. Guess what? I did two briskets, one up and one down. There was no difference in final product. Place it on there however you prefer!

FIFTH STEP: Wrapping your brisket. This is one of the most crucial steps, in my opinion, to achieving that super juicy tender brisket with that killer dark caramelized bark. Opinions differ between using foil and peach butcher paper, but I am fully converted to the butcher paper after years of using foil. My briskets have never had a better smoke flavor and a more delicious bark. I’ll never go back to foil! You can pick up peach butcher paper at your restaurant supply store or on Amazon HERE. The brisket gets wrapped up like a present, folding edge over edge until it is fully sealed. Return the brisket to your smoker with the folded edges down and continue on at 225 degrees F until the internal temperature of your brisket reaches 202 degrees F at the thickest part (make sure your thermometer is in meat, not fat). This step varies in time, but can take anywhere from 5-8 hours. I usually plan an extra 2 hours for each of my brisket cooks because if it is done early, I can always set it in a cooler and hold it for a while during the next step, if it is done late my husband gets hangry.

SIXTH STEP: Resting your brisket. DO. NOT. SKIP. THIS. STEP. Resting your brisket allows so many of those hot and bubbly juices to settle down a little and redistribute to the meat. It also brings your brisket down to perfect slicing and serving temperature. Just leave it in the butcher paper and let it relax while everybody sets the table and pours some drinks.

LAST STEP: Slicing your brisket. Again, I have a full post about slicing your brisket HERE. It is so detailed, really. You want to slice your brisket against the grain for maximum tenderness, but remember, there are two overlapping muscles and two different grain directions. I split the point and flat sections and slice each individually against the grain before serving.

Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket

OK REALLY THE LAST STEP: Serving your brisket. In Texas joints when you order, you can request fatty or lean brisket. The fatty is the point and the lean is the flat. I like to tell my guests which slices are which so they can pick their favorite. The fatty is my personal preference, but I always grab a slice of the lean too because it has such an amazing smoke flavor! For an even more traditional experience, serve on a platter with more butcher paper, lots of pickles, white bread, and pickled jalapenos.

4.69 from 35 votes
Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket
Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 hrs
Total Time
16 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Barbecue
Servings: 18 people
  • 1 12-14 pound whole packer brisket
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  1. Store your brisket in the refrigerator until you are ready to start trimming. Cold briskets are much easier to work with. Flip your brisket over so the point end is underneath. Remove any silver skin or excess fat from the flat muscle. Trim down the large crescent moon shaped fat section until it is a smooth transition between the point and the flat. Trim and excessive or loose meat and fat from the point. Square the edges and ends of the flat. Flip the brisket over and trim the top fat cap to about 1/4 of an inch thickness across the surface of the brisket.
  2. In a mixing bowl or empty spice container, mix the salt, pepper, and garlic. Share over the brisket to evenly distribute the spices on all sides.
  3. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using indirect heat and hardwood smoke. Place the brisket on the smoker with the point end facing your main heat source. This is a thicker part of the brisket and it can handle the additional heat. Close the lid and smoke until and internal thermometer reads 165 degrees F (usually takes around 8 hours).
  4. On a large work surface, roll out a big piece of butcher paper (or foil) and center your brisket in the middle. Wrap the brisket by folding edge over edge, creating a leak proof seal all the way around. Return the wrapped brisket to the smoker, seam side down so the weight from the brisket crimps the edges of the paper wrap down tight.
  5. Close the lid on the smoker and, maintaining 225 degrees F, continue cooking until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 202 degrees F in the thickest part of the meat (takes anywhere from 5-8 hours).
  6. Remove the brisket to a large cutting board and allow to rest for 1 hour before slicing. Slice both the point and the flat against the grain with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

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204 thoughts on “Texas Style Smoked Beef Brisket

  1. I’ve been wanting to try doing a brisket, but haven’t been brave enough! Your detailed step by step directions were so helpful! Definitely want to try doing one soon! Thanks for sharing!

  2. First off thank you for all the details of doing a brisket right.

    I’m used to my Texas brisket being served with a warm (heated) bbq sauce, something that’s deep and rich in color and taste, with a little hint of spicy.

    Obviously excellent brisket which it looks like you have mastered here doesn’t need sauce. Personally for me its Texas style. When I was growing up in Hattiesburg, MS in 1974 there was a place called Lowry’s BBQ on Hardy St next to Camper Park. They had a large warmer sauce tray in the middle that had a dark rich finishing sauce you could put on as much as you wanted.


    right side of paper there’s their old add. Well they had the BEST brisket bbq sauce I’ve ever had. I’ve searched high and low for their recipe. I’ve tried many a different recipes in the ktichen, coming close but not exactly to Lowry’s recipe.

    1. Hey Brad! There are definitely lots of good sauces out there- I’ve found one of the best things that most Texas joints do is reserve some of the brisket drippings and mix them into the sauce.

    2. I like to take a big bottle of ketchup and chopped up yellow onion and saute until onion is translucent…then out in some brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, chopp3d poblanos pepper, and diced pieces of the following dried fruit (peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots) as well as one full cinnamon stick (crushed) and heat on low for an hour.

      The flavor with the added fruit and cinnamon is amazing

      1. I am happy to see that pellet grills are used by an experienced competitor. I’ve read that the pellets can’t deliver the same intensity and flavor smoke ring as conventional smokers with wood chips/logs. Thus, I am reluctant to buy one (as a novice). Is there a particular pellet brand you use to deliver the flavor?

        1. Hey Josh- I do absolutely love my pellet grill, but most people will struggle to get the full depth of smoke flavor you get from cooking on an offset. I personally prefer the slightly lighter smoke from a pellet smoker, but I still have beautiful smoke rings, great bark, and get rave reviews with my flavors so I don’t stress about it too much. If you find you’re wanting more smoke, some people supplement with an additional pellet tube (Available on amazon) inside the grill. I use Camp Chef competition blend pellets most frequently.

        2. My first smoker I bought was an offset. It was a slightly cheaper one from Home Depot. Spent a little extra on food-safe high temp grill gasket to seal the edges and after a few practice smokes, I’ve got people telling me I make the best ribs and brisket they’ve ever had. My buddy who is a long time user of an offset bought an electric pellet smoker. It’s good, but there’s just something about the flavor from an open flame.

          1. I have the Brinkmann fire hydrant-R2D2 looking smoker. I did a small (5 pound perhaps) test brisket for 4 July and it disappeared. And my rub of choice has always been Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I use a mixture of Kingsford charcoal (I prefer applewood and or hickory) and hickory wood chunks. I draped some beef plate ribs around the little brisket and smoked them for 6 hours while the brisket went overnight. I wrapped it in parchment paper and put in fridge til almost suppertime. I put it back on smoker for about an hour before we ate, just enough to heat through and kiss with smoke. The refrigeration made all the difference in the world, with the briaket and both beef and pork ribs…the collagen converted to gelatin and as we used to say in the mountains made it larrapin’ good.

  3. this sounds delicious, but I don’t have a smoker grill only a charcoal grill. Can I still us it to cook a brisket?

    1. Hey Paula! It can be hard to maintain these low temperatures for that long on a charcoal grill. I would recommend setting your grill up for indirect cooking (charcoal on one side, meat on the other) and using large wood chunks for smoke. I would try and keep my grill temp around 275 degrees, which will mean shorter cook times. Keep an eye on the internal temperature of your brisket during the process and you should be good to go!

      1. I cheat! I marinate my meat and then wrap in foil and put in oven for about 3 hours at 275. I then let it rest until it firms up and then put on smoker with chunks of hickory or pecan and bring temp to 225-240 and cook in foil for about 4 hours rotating ends occasionally. I then remove foil and baste it with sauce, honey, brown sugar and a little liquid smoke for about an hour , rest and then slice! Perfect everytime!

      2. Last week I tried a new method for me. I lined the charchol up like a snake around the outside edge of my Weber grill. I left about 6 inches between the start of the circle and the end. I then placed the soaked wood chips on top of the charcoal. Then I started one end of the snake. As the charcoal worked its way around it provided me with a good strong 250-300 degree heat for over 8 hours. The 4 Turkey breasts came out far better than expected. Very smoky and plenty of heat/time to get a “GOOD JOB HONEY” kiss from my sweetheart. I found this technick on a facebook posting

    2. Don’t forget to put a water pan underneath the meat, next to the coals. Fill up at least half way. The water adds moisture to the inside and keeps the temp down. I have been doing briskets and ribs on my grill for years. You do have to pay close attention to the coals and will have to add wood every couple of hours. If you have a thermometer with two sensors you are in good shape. 1 monitors the temp inside the meat. The other the temp inside your grill.

  4. Separate the point & flat a couple hours before you plan to serve.
    Put the flat back in FCT, and slice that point into 1″x1″ cubes into an aluminum pan.
    Drizzle some of the juices from your brisket drip pan over the cubes & lightly baste with some sweet/spicy bbq sauce – not too much now.
    Put these back on the heat uncovered for half an hour-45min just to firm em up a bit/caramelize the sauce.
    Poke each one with a Texas flag tooth pick & serve an awesome burnt ends appetizer while you slice the flat.

  5. The only problem I have is I have a Treagar smoker and on smoke sitting it may get up to 187 there is no way you can set it on 225, so I will have to add a few hours to mine.

    1. Holly- I would use the “smoke” setting for the first three hours and then turn the heat up to medium to finish cooking. It may actually shorten the total cook time, so you won’t be spending 2 days cooking your brisket. Most of the smoke penetration happens in the first 3 hours anyways, so it would still be amazing!

      1. I’m trying this tonight, I also have a traeger smoker but my brisket is a touch lighter (and leaner looking with zero fat cap on one side) so have left it on the smoke setting at 185-190 – It’s been there for a total of 12 hours thus far, wrapped it after 10 hours with the butcher paper.
        Hoping it’s a hit tonight!

    2. I just cooked my first brisket on my new Traeger, it is dry….I mopped it and used meat thermometer. Good flavor, but dry! Any pointers???

      1. sometimes it is the meat, not having enough fat will make it dry. There was a guy in the meat dept that would pick up a brisket and hold it in the middle if it hung down on the edges he put it back if it held it’s level it had enough fat that is cold to make a moist BBQ. he was right too!

  6. I have butcher paper but I’m pretty sure it’s white. What’s the reasoning behind “peach” butcher paper and could I just use what I have? Thanks!

    1. Hey Annie- white butcher paper is totally fine! Just make sure it isn’t waxed on one side. The only difference is that white paper is typically bleached, and more expensive. The peach paper tends to cost a little less.

      1. By “waxed on one side”, do you mean shiny? I can’t find any butcher paper that isn’t shiny on one side, but it doesn’t appear to be wax.

        1. Yes, the shiny stuff is almost always a wax coating. There is some that is smoother on one side that’s not waxed. Just read the box or item description if you’re shopping online- it will tell you if it’s waxed or not.

  7. What do you change for cooking times if all I can get is the flat? I have an 8lb choice flat and a green mountain grill wood pellet smoker. Suggestions?

    1. Hey Chad- I usually try to plan about an hour per pound at 225 degrees F. If it’s done early, you can wrap it in towels and let it rest in a cooler. It will stay hot for several hours that way.

      1. Perfect, thanks! We got all the stuff to follow the rest of the recipe to a tee. This is my first brisket. Wish me luck!

  8. I want to make this recipe so ad but I don’t have a smoker or grill. Would it be terrible if I tried it in the oven?

    1. Hey Cheryl- this recipe was specifically written for a smoker. You technically could use the oven, but the brisket would be missing a lot of flavor from the smoke. There are some amazing oven brisket recipes out there that may yield you better results than trying to adapt this one.

      1. I have a marvelous recipe for oven brisket (including the sauce ) that my daughter has used for a long time.
        Young and old in our family love it. My email address is bbbwilkrson@ att.net. I will be happy to share it with
        Cheryl if she will contact me. Bobbie Wilkerson

  9. I pretty much cook my briskets the same way. My questions:

    Do you smoke fat side up or down? Once wrapped, up or down?

    1. I found it doesn’t really matter if the day is up or down because my smoker is consistently indirect. If you have heat coming from underneath, it can be good to do fat side down and protect the flat a little.

  10. Trying this for the 4th of July. Is 6 tablespoons of rub enough for a 12 to 14 pound brisket? When I cooked on the Memphis in May circuit, we used considerably more on a similar weight pork shoulder.

  11. This recipe looks incredible. Is this typically a two day process? If yes, does the brisket go in the refrigerator between the first unwrapped smoke and then the wrapped smoke? If yes, does the 5-8 hours (wrapped smoke time) take this into account? We are super excited to try this for the 4th.

    1. Hi Jen- the brisket doesn’t get refrigerated at all during the cooking process. It get removed from the smoker just long enough to wrap, and then goes straight back onto the smoker. I hope that helps!

  12. Do you leave the your temp. probe in the point or flat when looking for the butcher wrap temp and finished temp? If it is the flat, how do you know the point is done? If it is the point, how do you prevent the flat from drying out? Do you recommend finishing in the oven to save pellet fuel after wrapping?

    1. Hey Brandon. Probe is in the point. I don’t worry about the flat drying out when I use prime brisket. The wrapping process also helps preserve a lot of moisture. I just continue on the smoker, especially when using paper because I feel the smoke still influences the bark. You can transfer to the oven if you are using foil and you want to though.

  13. I have a 30″ Masterbuilt electric smoker. Have you tried this recipe in one of these? Should I keep constant smoke on it? Looks and sounds delicious!

  14. When choosing your brisket, you should always, if possible, purchase a left-handed brisket and not a right-handed brisket. Why? A left-handed brisket is more tender. Most steers, cows and bulls, when laying down, rest on their left side. When they get up, they push with their right, front leg, thus exercising the right front leg more than the left front and adding a little more muscle to the right brisket. How do you know how to choose a left handed brisket? Well, ask some old Texas Brisket smokers like me. We might tell you the secret.

    1. Doug,
      Exactly how do you tell the difference between a left and a right. This makes since to me, but how do you tell? I have always been the Brisket king in my family, but tonight I have two that I am going to wrap for the very first time. I have always put them on , untrimmed and unwrapped, and my whole family will not even eat a a BBQ restaurant because mine are always better. I saw this on Facebook and thought it could be an improvement on my recipe. It just looked so good, I had to try it. As good as mine were I always felt like they had too much bark.

  15. I am planning on buying an Expert grill charcoal water smoker from Walmart. Will that be big enough to hold that big of a brisket. I am wanting to try it out. Any help would be grateful

    1. Hey Bobby- I’ve had several people report success fitting them on 22 inch kettle grills. I don’t have the exact specifications for your smoker, but it looks like about the same grill space.

  16. My smoker is too small for a whole brisket. Can I cut it in two and put one above the other. Probably thicken piece closer to the heat source.

    1. High smoke if you are on a Camp Chef! The temp on mine usually hovers between 220 and 230. As long as you have a good meat thermometer and are fine cooking to internal temperature, you will have an awesome brisket!

    1. Hi Tina! This recipe is specifically designed for a smoker. You could technically follow the same time and temperature guidelines, and just cook it on a baking sheet, but I worry it would dry out. I would do a search for an oven brisket recipe that is better suited. Thanks!

        1. It can, but not without a lot of effort. You’ll need to set up your grill for two zone cooking, use a smoke box or other container for wood chips, then keep them refilled every 45 minutes or so while also monitoring temperatures. This really is best on a designated smoker.

  17. It looks like a 14-19 hour process.
    To eat it at 5, I’d have to start around 1AM.
    Any suggestions? Can we do a portion a day before?

    1. Hey Brent- I wouldn’t recommend splitting up the cooking process, but what you can easily do is start before you go to bed at around 10 pm. Your brisket will finish well before it’s time to eat, but what I do is wrap the brisket in foil and then place it in an insulated cooler with a towel on top. This will allow your brisket to rest, but will also hold the brisket at serving temperature until you’re ready to eat. I’ve held briskets this way for over 6 hours and they come out tender and slice perfectly every time.

  18. Using a Traeger Texas (of course) edition, will I start it on smoke for 3 hours, then increase my heat to 225 for the duration of cooking or should I just set it to 225 initially? The smoke temp varies between 180-200 I think.

    1. I usually just set it at 225 and let it ride the whole time. If you do want to go with the smoke setting at the beginning, plan on tacking on a little extra time at the end to make up for the lower temps at the beginning.

  19. Hey Grill!

    I never cooked a Brisket before in the smoker due to the fear of a tough old piece of boot leather that I was going to serve. Well, after getting up early and following your instructions, I now have my favorite (and my family’s favorite) smoked meat. My brisket turned out amazing and fork tender. We have a neighborhood BBQ coming up and I’m bringing the Brisket. I’ve practiced a couple of times and have it down to a science for my smoker. Thanks again for the great instructions and confidence.

    1. Morning James! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving such a kind comment. I’m thrilled the brisket worked for you and wish you many more brisket successes in your future. Have a great weekend!

  20. I don’t have a smoker, is it possible that you can do this recipe in the oven? I live in a complex that I can’t have a grill outside.

    1. Hey Chris, this recipe is really designed for the smoker specifically. You can technically follow the same time and temperature guidelines in the recipe, but the results will be pretty different.

  21. Got a smoker back in July and followed your directions step by step and came out awesome!! Today I am smoking my 2nd follow this again and it is looking and smelling great. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Shirley, this recipe is really designed for the smoker specifically. You can technically follow the same time and temperature guidelines in the recipe, but the results will be pretty different.

  22. I’ve made quite a few briskets over the years.. This one took the cake. Amazing. Thank you for all the insight, it was super! the only thing i deviated from was the seasoning, I used obies briaket rub. Thank you again!!

  23. I will be trying the recipe (three whole briskets) this coming weekend…and have an important question…after completely smoked and allowed to rest I want to wrap (tight in commercial kitchen clear wrap) two of the briskets for eating later (1-4 days at different parties). What is the BEST way to bring the brisket up to an eating temperature after removing from the refrigerator so I don’t dry it out? The clear wrap is good to 350F so if I am warming to (130 or 140F??) degrees I can do it slowly?

  24. We are looking forward to brisket. You say we should purchase a whole brisket. We really want a brisket that would serve only 4-6 people. We do not want a lot leftover. Is it ok to purchase a 5-6 lb. flat to smoke on my Kamado Joe?

  25. I’m planning to use this recipe for Thanksgiving;
    I would like to eat dinner at 5p; How would you schedule your timings? By my count I’d have to start this around 11p night before and factor in a 2-3 hour window for resting…
    Thanks for a fantastically detailed post and recipe.

      1. If you have to add wood chips during the first 6 hours how are you able to put it on at 10 pm and go to sleep?

    1. I’ve done both and honestly haven’t noticed a huge difference in flavor or texture either way. I do prefer the bark I get when I season the brisket right before smoking though.

  26. I plan on smoking a brisket tomorrow and have done a handful over the past few years. I have never wrapped them in the butcher paper after 8 hours. I like a good smoky taste. Does it continue to get the smoke flavor after it is wrapped?

    1. Hey Sean- I use butcher paper specifically because I feel like it still allows a little more smoke to penetrate the paper than if you were using foil. I also think wrapping helps retain more moisture in the brisket.

  27. can i use a small cut (approx 3 lbs) to “practice” ? I know you have an awesome dunk recipe for smaller cuts, but would like to try the traditional smoke recipe

  28. YOU. ROCK. Great recipe and awesome advice! I’m doing a full packer brisket on my pellet grill for our Superbowl party but am going with hickory for my wood. Just love your recipe and will be rolling with this for sure. Quick question for you…I saw some recipes calling for injecting the brisket with beef broth and/or spritzing with apple juice during the initial smoking period. Do you think either of those makes much of a difference? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Greg! I don’t inject or spritz, but both are options. I think the more frequently you start smoking briskets, the more you can experiment and try new things to see what you like the most. I’m always so happy with the simple smoked version here that I don’t stress too much about the extra stuff.

    2. The best reviews I’ve ever seen and the best meat I’ve ever tasted has come from the tried and true combo of quality meat, a thick layer of salt/pepper, and some dedicated smoking time. With those three things, you don’t need any of the extras because you’re not trying to cover any lack luster flavors. Sort of like how a good steak won’t need steak sauce because the flavor and tenderness can stand on it’s own.
      The owner of one of the best BBQ places in TX says that he keeps a spray bottle of vinegar on hand, to spritz any super dry spots that come up. But otherwise, I’ve never heard of anyone injecting a brisket.

    1. Absolutely! Store it in a freezer zip top bag, and press all of the air out. To reheat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the bag of frozen brisket (make sure it is tightly sealed) and turn off the heat. It should reheat in 10 to 15 minutes.

  29. This sounds like a great way to smoke brisket. I am a fairly novice but enthusiastic smoker and want to smoke a brisket for my wife, a Texan for her birthday. The question i have is best way to approach this given the ~15 hour prep time. Ideally people would eat around 5 PM. Working back, i could start at 2 AM but am reluctant to leave my smoker unattended (one for fear of fire, but really because i have not perfected maintaining a perfect 225 degrees in our Egg without checking at least hourly).

    I see two discussions about reheating. So, I could smoke on the day before the party and then reheat. To be clear, the process would be: remove from smoker, let cool to room temperature, place in heat resistant plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then, take out of refrigerator and reheat to ~140 – should the oven be at 200 to get there? Suggestions for oven temperature?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Cord-

      When I’m doing a brisket, I typically just plan on getting up several times during the night to check on my temperatures and fire. It’s not ideal, but that’s part of the love that goes into it. haha. If you wanted to smoke in advance and reheat, I recommend letting your brisket rest for an hour or two before wrapping the whole thing tightly in foil and then refrigerating. Reheat whole in the foil with the oven at 275. I’ve found it takes about an hour or two to get it up to serving temperature.

      1. Hey Grill

        A success! On our large green egg, time to cook was all a little quicker than your timeline. Cooked a ~14 lb brisket to 165 degrees in about 6 hours and to 202 degrees in an additional 4.5 hours (in peach butcher paper). Our stall seemed to happen a bit later. I also found it quite hard to keep the smoker at exactly 225 degrees, temperatures fluctuated between 210 and 240; I need to get better at that.

        And the reheat was spot on – much of the bark was still crispy and the meat tender and juicy.

        Thanks again.

        1. I’m glad to read this comment about time difference as it is spot on with my times. This one the first try so I was worried about the timeline. Got done earlier than expected so just gonna let it sit in the cooler until it’s time to eat

          1. We have had to do the same thing and let it rest wrapped up in a cooler for a couple hours, it will still be great. Every cut of meat cooks differently as well sometimes!

  30. Hi Susie,

    I know you have been asked this a billion times but I just want to make sure I don’t screw this up. lol

    I’m cooking for about 40 people for my dad-in-laws 80th birthday. It’s going to be a long weekend celebration. So I’m going to smoke a brisket and pork butt. I want to smoke everything ahead of time and freeze it in vacuum bags.

    Now the question is, should I leave the brisket/pork whole or sliced/shredded before vacuum sealing. Also what’s the best way to reheat. I’ve read boiling water in bags or put into a roaster covered in the oven with beef/apple juice added until IT of 140 oven set at 275 degrees.

    So not sure what the best way of doing it is.

    Any and all advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


    1. Hey Sue- Sounds like an amazing birthday party! I always try to recommend freezing the whole cuts in one piece. It will take longer to reheat, but the overall flavor and juiciness will be so much better if you can keep it whole. My favorite way to reheat is to keep it on the vacuum sealed pouches and submerge in boiling water. The roaster oven is fine if that’s what you need to do for convenience sake, but the absolute best way is the hot water technique.

      1. Thanks Susie. I’ll definitely try the boiling water method. I’ll keep you posted on how it all went. Thanks again 😊

  31. Hey Susie,

    I’ve used quite a few of your recipes, (thanks btw), and I’m going to give this Texas brisket a shot this weekend. I have a 12lb brisket and I’ll be smoking on a Traeger. We’d like to have dinner on the table Sunday, (tomorrow), by 6pm.

    I’m planning to use the “smoke” selection on the traeger for 3-4 hours, then 225 the rest of the way, using your methods. With that said, if I start at 2am tonight, will that give me enough time for the cook and 1 hour to rest? Should I rest it more than 1 hour before slicing and serving?



    1. Hey Jason- I typically start my briskets at midnight. That way, if they are done early they can rest in the cooler for an extra hour or two and be perfectly fine instead of pushing it and having a brisket stall out or take to long and we eat late. Good luck!

      1. Susie,

        How long will my brisket be safe in a cooler before I start to jeopardize flavor, tenderness, etc? Would you recommend I still let it rest on the cutting board for an hour after it sits in a cooler for 2-3 potentially?
        Thanks again!


        1. Hey Jason- hopefully this reply isn’t too late for your brisket! I’ve left briskets in the cooler for 6 hours and they’ve stayed at safe serving temperature. If you’ve keeping it in the cooler resting, there is no need for an additional resting time on the cutting board.

          1. Hey Susie, I wish I could post a picture. The brisket turned out amazing! I ended up having to take it out of the cooler and put in the oven wrapped in foil to hold the temp over 170 but it turned out great. My timing ended up being 12 hour cook, 5 hour hold, 1 hour rest and then it was sliced and devoured!

  32. Hey
    So the brisket i bought was to big for my smoker. What is the best way i can cut it to make two peices and still retain the moisture and juices?

  33. Hi Sue- have enjoyed all the input, your way! FYI- I have a treager( midsize ). I cook full size ” packer”, start the cooking @ 400 for 45 min., drop back to smoke and let it climb back to 145( that’s the plateau temp.), wrapping at that point I go to medium, and finish at that temp., to 200 degrees! We take it to the picnic in a cooler; only thing I miss is the ” solid bark”, when you cooler it”! Love prime rib offa the smoker! Cakes/meatloaf/turkey! Thanks for sharing your expertise ! J.c.

  34. SO glad I found your recipe!! We have an electric smoker, and I’ve done a small brisket once before, had great flavour but way too dry. Since then I’ve been nervous to try it again. Does it matter how big of a fat cap the brisket has? I usually buy local grass fed & finished beef, which is what the brisket was that I smoked before, we just love the flavour and health benefits from grass fed versus grain fed beef. I know grass fed beef is leaner, so maybe it does not have a high enough fat content to use it for smoking? Would love your thoughts!

    1. Stephanie, you totally nailed it! Grass fed beef is absolutely amazing for a lot of things, but due to the lower fat content, it can easily dry out during a long smoke. Some ways to combat that is by wrapping in foil with about 1/2 cup of beef stock instead of the butcher paper at 165. This will give you a more braised brisket with less of a bark, but should help a lot with moisture retention.

  35. So I have a cookshack elite (the smaller one with 2 shelves) and the thermostat probe (the old style that will not set the smoker to hold) The last brisket I made was pretty dry but I did not wrap it. I kept sraying it with some apple juice concoction. Any specific ideas for my type of smoker? I have a nice supply of Applewood & Hickory on hand.

    1. I would definitely try wrapping the brisket, that wrap really helps with moisture retention. Also be aware that the grade of meat you use will change the end result, prime beef will be more moist than choice or select.

  36. Originally I found this site just looking for something out of the norm. I’ve smoked a good hand full of briskets, trying something different every time. Your step by step would have helped me a ton a few years ago when I started lol. Great simple, tasty recipe. Essentially my go to recipe mimics yours, only difference is I buy neck bones from the butcher and make my own beef stock and inject the brisket with that. I also spray it down with the stock every hour if I’m awake. I’m in the middle of building a new smoker so I’m def going to give the rest of this site a look for new things I can roll out of it.

    1. It’s really not great at holding in liquid. If you want to wrap with additional beef broth, I recommend foil. You may have a softer bark, but you’ll keep that beef broth in the foil.

  37. I notice in your picture where you wrapped the brisket in peach paper, it looked like you still had the fat cap down and the folds of the paper underneath. Are you not losing all those good juices out the bottom?

  38. Hi Sue, Looking forward to smoking a brisket on a Cabela’s pellet grill this weekend.. I have really enjoyed reading all the comments and suggestions. I have not done a brisket yet, and was wondering if I should use a water pan while this is being done? Thx for a great site!

  39. I have 6, 12-13 pounders on the pit right now. This adds to my total of 30 in the last 21 days. It’s become more than a habit. My greatest complement I keep getting is the smoke flavor is great, not overwhelming. Don’t ever forget your smoke is the main seasoning in your brisket, keep it clean!

  40. Omg made this yesterday for this weekend and it looked beautiful!!!! Can’t wait for all to dig in!! A GREATFUL veteran.

  41. If I use a charcoal smoker with wood will I have to replace the charcoal part way through the cooking time or will the charcoal keep hot for that many hours? My brisket is between 8-9 pounds. Thanks! I have company coming for Memorial Day and just want this to be perfect.

    1. Hey Myra- Chuck is spot on! You may need to add additional pieces of charcoal during the cooking process. I try to add them in hot (using a charcoal chimney, if you’ve got one) instead of just throwing cold coals on there. It will help a lot with keeping your temperatures consistent.

    I’ve been wanting to smoke a brisket for a while now, but finally decided to take the plunge and do one for the Memorial Day weekend. Following your excellent series from selecting, trimming, smoking & slicing, I began my smoke about 2:00 AM Sunday in my vertical propane smoker. About 15 hours later we were rewarded with the most tender, flavorful, moist brisket I have ever had. It was so tender it was actually hard to slice with the point literally just falling apart liked pulled pork. Wow!
    Bark was not quite as well-developed or even as I might have wished, but after wrapping in the pink butcher paper I might have ended up with the fat side up instead of down. At any rate, complimented by a couple racks of ribs and trays of smoked veggies, no one went hungry and we still have enough for a couple more meals.
    Now I just wish I could figure out how to automatically replenish the wood chips without having to stay up all night. 🙂

  43. I don’t have a smoker but would like to try this onybgas grill with wood pellets. Do I need to use indirect heat or would this even work? Any suggestions would be great.

    1. Hey Shawn-technically it could work. You would need indirect heat. Most people use a metal wood chip box over the flame to produce smoke and they need to be refilled about every 45-60 minutes so it needs a little babysitting. And an extra can of propane handy just in case.

    1. I’m not a pro at canning, but you can definitely freeze! If you’ve got a big enough vacuum sealer, you can freeze the brisket whole. If not, I like to rest and then slice into meal sized portions and freeze in gallon zip top freezer bags. Make sure to press out as much air as possible.

  44. I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. Will that Work with this recipe? You make references to placing parts of the brisket closer to the heat source…which is why I ask. Since the Smokey Mountain has the heat coming from the bottom.

    1. Hey Steve! With the heat on the bottom, you’re good to put the point at either side. It won’t matter. If you’re worried about the heat from the bottom being too direct, you can flip the brisket and put it on fat side down to protect the flat a little from the heat.

  45. I’ve never used peach butcher paper, used foil, but after reading your article I ordered a roll from Amazon. Looking forward to smoking another brisket this time in paper, in about 10 days. Thanks for the article. Rans

  46. I am really looking forward to smoking brisket after watching thia but my only concern is the timing. If I want a 7 PM dinner that means I have to put it in the smoker in the middle of the night? And I’d have to get up every few hours to check it and add wood chips…

    Am I over thinking this or missing something?

    1. Unfortunately, that’s how it goes with brisket. It is a low and slow overnight process that requires a bit of dedication. I can say it is totally worth it!

  47. Texas brisket is a little lower and slower than listed. We’ve always done it at about 200° for 16-18 hours,can’t rush perfection!😋 tastes crazy flavorful and is as tender as you can get!!

  48. Hi…Thanks for the recipe. After resting and slicing, what technique do you use to keep your brisket warm at serving temp over a period of time at a BBQ party? I don’t like cold brisket!

  49. When brisket is wrapped in butcher paper, do you insert the temperature probe through the paper or wrap around the entire probe? Not sure if puncturing the paper is advisable.

  50. Thanks for such thorough step-by-step directions. I do have one question: Do I need to continue adding smoke once the brisket is wrapped in butcher paper, or is it just the heat for that final seven hours?

  51. Love your site. You make it very easy for a novice “smoker” do understand. However, that being said, I attempted the Texas Brisket and it was a total fail! It had a nice “bark” and smoky flavor but it was horribly overdone. I cooked it using the temperature guidelines. I live in Denver and altitude always plays a factor in cooking – do you think it may have ruined my brisket? I followed your instructions to the T! If a medium cooked steak usually has an internal temp of 160-165, why would I want my brisket to get up to 202? Maybe I’m confused as to what “internal temp” means. I have an electric smoker and have no way of adjusting the heat so cooking using the internal temp probe is vital. Any ideas?

    1. Hey Jaye, I’m in Utah where cooking at high altitude is a factor as well, but I haven’t noticed it make a difference in this specific recipe. I am wondering if your smoker might have been running a little high. Brisket is a different cut than a steak, you don’t want to cook it like a steak, it needs the low and slow to break it down. I always use a probe thermometer, not the one attached to my smoker, to measure the temperature of the thickest part of the brisket. It’s hard to say what went wrong without being there, sorry. Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment and review.

      1. Well there’s a great bit of information… Wait until the internal temp (IT) reaches 165 F and THEN wrap it… Just doing my first brisket for my wife and I (little one only 4lbs) on a Traeger Jr 20 – smoked for 4 hrs (temp 155 to 180 F), IT is 115 F.
        Just cranked up the temp to 225 F and will wrap it once the IT hits 165 F. Will then wrap it and wait until IT reaches 202 F.
        Thanks again for the great step by step guide!

        Chuck in Canada

  52. Spot on recipe. Temps and all! I have done two briskets in the last 30 days. One was a 7 on a scale of 1-10 the second was a 9. Prime is the only way to go. Thanks

  53. I’m not what you call a master grilled but I followed this recipe to a T. I read the trimming article as well. This was the best brisket I’ve ever had. It was so so so so good. I smoked a 17lb prime brisket from Costco. Everyone at the party said the same thing. I did however pull it out at 195 internal temp. Started smoking at 130 am pulled it out at 8 1/2 hrs then wrapped in foil. Smoked for another 6 hrs. It was the bomb. Thanks for the easy instructions. Sometimes the traeger instructions suck. I seriously can’t rave enough about how great this was.

  54. Cook slow and low and drink beer! Wrapafter 4 hours. If it’s tough you did not cook it long enough. Cook at least another 6 to 8 hours. I use aluminum foil and double wrap. You can put in yeti for 6 to 8 hours more and it comes out perfect!

  55. Woooow this recipe looks amazing, cant wait to try it out myself. I have a grilla grill silverbac pellet smoker, would you do anything differently on that type of smoker? Would the cook time be the same? And what would be the go-to wood pellets used for a brisket?

    1. I haven’t used that type of grill, but just looking at it, it looks like you can just follow the written recipe and it will work great. I like to use a mix of hickory and cherry for a brisket!!

  56. I have a standing smoker that the whole brisket won’t fit in, so I will need to cut in half. Any recommendations for this? Also it’s wood chips should I soak them in water before smoking?

  57. The brisket doesn’t care where the heat comes from on the final cooking. I smoke the meat for whatever time needed, then put in a large pan with a tented foil cover and cook slow in the oven for the rest of the time. An oven can be controlled and will stay at the set temp. Cooking on a grill requires slaving over it for many hours. Finishing in the oven requires no grill at all.

  58. What do you think of Russ’ method above? I too think going to the oven at the peach butcher paper step will make no difference in the end.

  59. I grew up in Dallas and have spent most of my adult life in NM. As a child, we didn’t have the traditional smoker. My parents turned an old porcelain fridge into a smoker and after moving to NM in 86’, I kept their tradition alive and bought an old fridge and gutted it. Yea, people laughed at this old dumb Texan, but the last Last was in them when I started that baby up. Needless to say, the neighbors hung over the fence when they smelled the first brisket smoking with piñon wood. It didn’t take long for friends to ask me to smoke all types of meats for them.
    Yes, I’m still in NM, had to get rid of the old smoker a few years back when my husband’s health got bad and we had to move back to Dallas for his treatments, but now I’m back in NM and wishing I could find me another old fridge for smoking the best dang meats ever.

  60. I’m going to be cooking my brisket early in the morning. Is it ok to prep and season it the night before and wrap in plastic wrap so that it is ready to go in the morning?

    1. I don’t typically season more than 30-45 minutes in advance. The salt can draw out a lot of moisture from the brisket and it will change the texture of the finished product.

  61. Can this technique be used with an electric smoker. if so could you tell me if there are any secrets using your method.

    1. Every electric smoker is a little different, but most people have great results using them with this recipe. No modifications are required, but if your smoker has a water pan, I would recommend using it.

  62. My problem is there are two of us. A packer brisket costs some hefty bucks. Any way to have something similar to a brisket on a smaller version? I have a Webber smoker. Thanks,
    Keith Mayberry

  63. I use a Masterbuilt vertical water smoker, and so I don’t have to keep adding wood all night I half fill an A-Maze-N pellet smoker and let it smolders for 5-6 hours. I’ve had one on all night and it’s stalled at 145 (it’s cold and beginning to rain here) so I’m going to crutch it in butcher paper as soon as I finish this post. I get my brisket at Costco, a 16 lb cryopacked prime brisket is only about $40, and Montreal seasoning serves as the rub. Now to whip up some coleslaw, cornbread and Mac-n-cheese and we’ll recreate a little slice of summer!!

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