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Smoked Brisket

The king of BBQ. Here's everything you need to know to make the perfect pellet grill brisket.

Competition Style BBQ Brisket

What is a Brisket?

One of the nine beef primal cuts, brisket is a favorite type of barbecue. The brisket muscles support about 60% of the bodyweight of a cow, so it has a lot of tough connective tissue. Slow cooking brisket melts the connective tissue, turning this cut of meat into a tender, melt-in-your-mouth feast.

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What Cut of Meat is Brisket?

Though the exact cut varies internationally, in the United States the brisket is cut from the lower breast or chest of the cow. It’s found between the chuck and the shank.

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How long does it take to smoke brisket?

Smoking a brisket the right way is a daylong endeavor. We recommend smoking a 12 to 14-pound brisket for 8 to 9 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, Super Smoke mode, or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees Fahrenheit. We then recommend letting it sit for an hour before slicing it. The time it takes to smoke a brisket depends on a few factors including the size of the brisket and smoking temperature. See our guide below for a step-by-step guide on brisket times and temperatures.

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How to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill

Whether you’re looking to smoke your first brisket or improve on your craft, our ultimate guide can help you make the perfect smoked brisket.

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Trimming Brisket

While you don’t want to trim all of the fat off of your brisket, you’ll want to remove some. Get rid of any hard fat that won’t render well during smoking, any fat that will prevent you from seasoning the meat, and any unattractive edge meat that will make your finished brisket look less appealing.

How to Cook Smoked Brisket

Traeger Pitmaster Matt Pittman will walk you through everything from trimming and seasoning, to smoking a brisket on the Traeger, to achieve full packer perfection. Smoked low and slow, wrapped, and rested, this classic BBQ beef will earn you pitmaster status.

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Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Brisket

  • Some types of meat taste best with specific wood pellets - but brisket pairs well with a wide range of wood flavors. Some pitmasters like a robust hickory flavor while others prefer milder woods like oak or sweeter woods like apple. You can even try something like pecan for an especially unique smoked brisket.

Try out our Texas Pellet Blend which has hints of mesquite, oak, and pecan.

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Cutting Brisket

Cutting your smoked brisket against the grain is absolutely essential. Cutting against the grain guarantees ideal mouthfeel and tenderness. If you cut with the grain, the meat may feel chewy and rough.

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Beginner's Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Prep Time: 5 mins.

Cook Time: 3 hrs.

Serves: 8-12

Effort: 2/5

Ingredients -

  • 1 (6 lb) flat cut brisket, trimmed
  • As Needed Traeger Beef Rub
  • 2 cup beef broth, beer or cola
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • As Needed Traeger Texas Spicy BBQ Sauce

Preparations -

  1. When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  2. Season on both sides with the Traeger Beef Rub.
  3. Make the Mop Sauce: In a clean spray bottle combine the beef broth, beer or cola with apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Arrange the brisket fat-side down on the grill grate and smoke for 3 to 4 hours, spraying with the mop sauce every hour.
  5. Increase the grill temperature to 225℉ and continue to cook, spraying occasionally with mop sauce, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reaches 204℉, this should take about 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Foil the meat and let it rest for 30 minutes. Slice with a sharp knife across the grain into pencil-width slices. Serve with BBQ sauce. Enjoy!
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How to Make Brisket Burnt Ends

Burnt ends are called “meat candy” for a reason. Learn how to make this tasty treat that’s sure to be a hit with family and friends.

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How to Wrap a Brisket

Whether you use butcher paper or aluminum foil, correctly wrapping your brisket is a crucial part of the cooking process.

Fat Side Up or Down?

It’s one of the most debated questions in barbeque -- do you smoke brisket fat side up or fat side down? Answer: You should always cook your brisket fat side down. If you cook your brisket fat side up, the fat won’t render the brisket. Instead, it’ll wash away all that amazing seasoning, and prevent the beautiful, uniform bark from forming.

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Prime Rib Recipes & Guides

Whether you want to master a smoked prime rib or just need need some quick tips and recipes, we have you covered so you can plan a delicious wood-fired dinner.