Brisket in a cast-iron skillet with roasted new potatoes.

Smoking A Prime Brisket

Brisket on cutting board

They say brisket is king and I have to agree with "them." There are a few ways to smoke a brisket, low & slow or hot & fast. Either way, you choose make sure you take in the aromatics, stoke a fire, and most important...HAVE FUN.

I wanted to include some of my favorite seasonings I like on a brisket. The fun thing to do is to layer them to get even more flavors.

Let's get to it.

Popular BBQ Seasonings:

  • Boars Night Out - White Lighting
  • Clark Crew Jack'd Brisket Rub 
  • Terry Blacks Beef Rub
  • Hardcore Carnivore - Black Beef Rub
  • MeatChurch Holy Cow
  • Kosmos Cow Cover

Homemade Rub Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder


Not necessary, but can help with keeping the brisket moist. Watch out though, too much can make the brisket too salty.

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Main ingredient

  • 1 whole beef Prime brisket (about 12-14 lbs) Also known as a full packer.
    - Wanna go big?...Check out briskets from Snake River Farms or Creekstone Farms.


  1. Trim your brisket...On the top, trim off any soft/mushy/hard fat. You are wanting to see the meat more than the fat. Round or corners off. On the bottom, trim the soft/mushy/hard fat so only 1/4 inch remains. Yes, this means to cut out the hard pieces near the deckle. This will not render down. Watch a few YouTube videos on brisket trimming to see exactly what needs to be cut out.

  2. Seasoning...Use a preferred BBQ seasoning or use the homemade ingredients. Mix together the kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder to make the dry rub.

  3. Pat the brisket generously with the dry rub, making sure to cover all sides of the meat. Let the brisket sit at room temperature for about  20 minutes to 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

  4. Start the grill...Preheat your smoker to 225°F for low & slow, 275°F - 300°F for hot & fast. As far as charcoal goes, I like using Jealous Devil or FOGO because they both have minimal to no popping of the charcoal and a both have the best charcoal chunks throughout the bag. 

  5. Put in wood chunks of your choice for smoking, such as hickory, mesquite, or post oak. (pp: mix in a cherry chunk for a more dynamic flavor.)

  6. Let's get grilling...Place the brisket on the smoker. I like fat side down to protect the bottom of the brisket. Smoke the brisket for about 1 hour per pound of meat, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195°F to 205°F. The time can take anywhere from 10-14 hours for low & slow or 6-8 hours for hot & fast depending on the size of the brisket.

  7. Spray or baste...While the brisket is smoking, take a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and cup of water to put that in a clean spray bottle to spray the brisket every hour. *Avoid using ice cold water.

    Or combine the beef broth, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
    After the brisket has smoked for several hours, baste it with the sauce mixture every hour or so to keep it moist and add extra flavor.

  8. The wrap aka stall...You may want to wrap the brisket if you are noticing that the temperature hasn't moved over a period of time. This usually happens around 165°F - 180°F. There a few methods to be aware of...full wrap with foil, full wrap with butcher paper, or a foil boat. These options will push the brisket through the stall. This your last chance to spray or baste so be aware of that.
    *Pro tip: Lightly spray your butcher paper with your spray or water. This will allow you fold the paper easier.

  9. Starting around 195°F start checking the tenderness by inserting a thermometer with ease in the point and flat. There should be no tug when you pulling the thermometer out. 

  10. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195°F to 205° (Make sure the tenderness is there.), remove it from the smoker. I like to keep my brisket in the butcher paper or foil and then wrap it in a towel and put in a dry cooler to minimize any air getting to the meat. This is called resting. Let the brisket rest for at least 1 hour, preferably 2-3 hours, to allow the juices to redistribute. You could rest overnight if you need to. When reheating place your covered brisket in the oven and heat until, per the USDA guidelines, the internal temperature reaches 165°F and let stand for 3-5 minutes.

  11. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce and other sides.

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