Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (2024)

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by Whitney Bond
May 25, 2023

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4.41 stars (22 ratings)

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Create mouth watering Smoked Brisket on a wood or pellet smoker with simple techniques & delicious marinade, rub and wet mop recipes! My family has tested and perfected this recipe over the last three decades.

It’s the perfect main course for your next BBQ and the leftovers make a delicious sandwich! Serve this tender, juicy smoked brisket with Buffalo Potato Salad and THE BEST Bacon Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad!

Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (1)

Growing up in Oklahoma, smoking meats was a regular occurrence at family get-togethers. My Grandpa owned an Oklahoma Joe’s smoker when I was growing up. He then passed it down to my Dad. When I started showing an interest in cooking, my Dad taught me how to smoke meats out on my Grandpa’s smoker.

For the past decade my Dad and I would smoke brisket, pulled pork and ribs whenever I would come home to visit in the summer. This last year I became the proud owner of my very own smoker, a Traeger pellet grill and smoker.

I spent the last year testing and perfecting my smoked brisket and pulled pork recipes. I’m still using the smoked brisket marinade, rub and wet mop recipes that my family has been using for years. But I have found a few techniques, tips and tricks to make my families smoked brisket recipe even better!

I was super intimidated when I first started smoking my own brisket. But now that I’ve got the recipe and method down, it’s so easy, I make it all the time!

Table of contents

  • Step by step instructions
  • Smoked brisket marinade recipe
  • Rub recipe and instructions
  • Wet mop recipe and instructions
  • Recipe tips and tricks
  • Tools you’ll need
  • What to serve with brisket
Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (2)

Step by step instructions

To create the perfect smoked brisket recipe, you’re really looking at four simple steps.

  1. Marinate the brisket
  2. Rub the brisket
  3. Smoke & wet mop the brisket
  4. Let the brisket rest before slicing
Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (3)

Smoked brisket marinade recipe

  • Combine the smoked brisket marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. For the marinade, you’ll need soy sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, garlic powder and white vinegar.
  • Place the brisket in a large dish and cover with the marinade. I’ve made this recipe with everything from a 6 pound to 14 pound brisket. Depending on how many people you’re serving, I like to plan 1/2 lb meat per person. You’ll most often find a packer brisket, which includes the point and the flat, averages 12-14 lbs.
  • Cover the marinating brisket with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. I like to flip the brisket at least 2-3 times to make sure it’s marinating on both sides. I usually marinate the brisket while I’m sleeping, so I put the brisket in the marinade for 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Flip it once before I go to sleep, then flip it once again the next morning.

Rub recipe and instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the brisket rub ingredients. For the rub, you’ll need kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. You’ll also need chili powder, oregano, parsley and sugar.
    • Quick Tip!Since I make this smoked brisket recipe so often now, I multiply the rub recipe by at least 4 each time I make it. This way I already have the rub on hand next time I’m ready to smoke a brisket.
  • Sprinkle the rub generously over the entire brisket and rub it into the meat.

Wet mop recipe and instructions

  • Add white vinegar, canola oil and red wine to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a slight boil. Add a sliced onion, crushed garlic cloves, sliced lemon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cover and take the wet mop out to the smoker to wet mop the meat throughout the cooking process. Brush the brisket with the wet mop approximately every 30 minutes while smoking.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • How to trim a Brisket: I recommend leaving at least 1/4 inch of fat cap on the brisket. The fat will render throughout the cooking process and give the meat great flavor. I’ve smoked the brisket fat side up and fat side down and don’t find it makes a difference.
  • Ideal Smoking Temperature for Brisket: Brisket should be smoked at 225°F. Low and slow is the name of the game with smoked brisket!
  • Texas Crutch Technique: this is a great way to speed up the smoking process on large cuts of meat like a brisket or pork shoulder. It will also help keep the brisket moist and tender.
    • When a large piece of meat hits a certain temperature it begins to “stall”. (Using pit-master language here y’all!) This basically means that the temperature of the meat has hit a plateau. The brisket is essentially releasing so much liquid that it’s actually cooling down the temperature of the meat.
    • The Texas Crutch technique was invented to combat this “stall” time while smoking meats.
    • To use this technique, tightly double wrap the brisket in foil when it reaches between 150-160°F.
    • I like to place two large pieces of foil on top of each other on the grill grate, then add the brisket on top of the foil when I begin smoking it. This way I do not have to remove the brisket from the smoker to wrap it in foil. I simply use my Ove Gloves to place two more pieces of foil on top of the brisket, then pull the foil pieces together to tightly wrap the brisket.
    • Place a meat thermometer in the meat through the foil to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. Once it hits 203°F, remove the brisket from the foil and place back on the smoker for an additional 30 minutes. This last 30 minutes will help finish the deliciously crispy bark on the brisket.
    • If using the Texas Crutch method, brush liberally with the wet mop before wrapping, then discontinue wet mopping throughout the remainder of the cooking process.
    • Mark over at Food Fire Friends has a really great and extensive article on The Texas Crutch on his site. If you’re a smoker nerd like me and want to learn even more, I definitely recommend checking it out!
  • Cooking time for smoked brisket:this will vary based on the size of the brisket, but expect around 60 minutes per pound of meat using the Texas Crutch method or 90 minutes per pound of meat without the Texas Crutch method.
  • Let it rest! After removing the brisket from the smoker, place it on a large cutting board. Loosely wrap meat with foil and allow it to rest for one hour. This will guarantee that all the juices stay in your meat and don’t leak out.
    • Quick Tip! I like to use an electric cutting knife to slice the brisket after it’s rested. Be sure to always slice against the grain.
  • What wood to use for smoking: whether you’re using wood, pellets or wood chips, I recommend hickory as my top choice. With mesquite or apple as close second choices.
Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (4)

What to serve with brisket

The traditional Texas way to serve brisket is with BBQ sauce on the side. Slices of white bread, pickles and raw or pickled red onions are also served with the brisket.

For side dishes, mac and cheese, potato salad, pasta salad and corn are all popular sides found at BBQ restaurants, served with smoked brisket. Here are a few of my favorite sides that I regularly serve with smoked meats.

  • Smoked Mac and Cheese – because what pairs better with incredible smoked meat, than a creamy, cheesy smoked side dish!
  • Roasted Cauliflower Salad – for a healthy side dish option that everyone raves about, I toss this cauliflower salad on the menu!
  • Watermelon Salsa – so refreshing in the summer! I serve this scrumptious salsa with tortilla chips while the meat is smoking.
  • Spicy Buffalo Macaroni Salad – for a pasta salad with a kick, try this recipe which features my favorite sauce!
  • Instant Pot Potato Salad – sharp cheddar cheese and ranch seasoning take this potato salad recipe to a whole new level!
  • Kale Apple Slaw – for a fun twist on coleslaw, I love this crunchy kale slaw recipe!
  • Smoked Cream Cheese – while the smoker is fired up, throw a block of seasoned cream cheese on there for a delicious appetizer or side dish!

Made this recipe and loved it? Be sure to rate it 5 stars in the recipe card below! Have questions about smoking brisket? Comment below and ask away!

Smoked Brisket

Create mouth watering Smoked Brisket on a wood or pellet smoker with these simple techniques & delicious marinade, rub and wet mop recipes!

Servings: 20 people

Prep Time: 1 hour hr

Cook Time: 9 hours hrs

Marinating Time: 6 hours hrs

Total Time: 10 hours hrs

Author: Whitney Bond

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American


  • 12-14 lb boneless trimmed brisket


Dry Rub

Wet Mopping Sauce


Brisket Marinade

  • Place the brisket in a large bowl or dish, leaving enough room for it to be covered in the marinade.

  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

  • Pour the marinade over the brisket to cover.

  • Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.

  • Flip the brisket 2-3 times so that both sides get marinated.

  • After the brisket has marinated, remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry.

Brisket Rub

  • Combine all of the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl, then rub generously over the entire brisket.

Brisket Wet Mop

  • Prepare the wet mopping sauce by placing the vinegar, oil and wine in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.

  • Bring to a slight boil, then add the onion, garlic, lemon, pepper and salt.

  • Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

  • Cover the wet mop and take out to the smoker to use throughout the smoking process.

Smoked Brisket

  • Add hickory, mesquite or apple wood, wood chips or pellets to the smoker.

  • Heat the smoker to 225°F.

  • Place two large sheets of foil on top of each other in the smoker. Place the brisket fat side down or up, it doesn’t matter, on top of the foil.

  • Brush with the wet mop. Continue brushing with the wet mop approximately every 30 minutes while the meat is smoking.

  • Smoke the meat to an internal temperature for 200-205°F. This will take approximately 90 minutes per pound of meat or 60 minutes per pound of meat using the Texas Crutch Technique shown below.

  • Remove the meat from the smoker, place on a cutting board, loosely wrap with foil and let rest for 60 minutes before slicing.

  • Slice the meat against the grain.

Texas Crutch Technique – optional

  • To speed up the smoking process and eliminate the “stall” time (see notes below), tightly double wrap the brisket in foil when it reaches an internal temperature between 150-160°F.

  • If using the Texas Crutch method, brush liberally with the wet mop before wrapping, then discontinue wet mopping throughout the remainder of the cooking process.

  • Place a meat thermometer in the meat through the foil until it reaches 203°F.

  • Remove the brisket from the foil and continue cooking directly on the grill grate for an additional 30 minutes.

  • Remove the meat from the smoker, place on a cutting board, loosely wrap with foil and let rest for 60 minutes before slicing.


  • The “stall” time is when the internal meat temperature hits a plateau. This is due to moisture releasing from the meat and cooling down the brisket. This can be combatted by using the Texas Crutch technique.
  • If time is not an issue, the Texas Crutch technique does not need to be used, as the meat will eventually start to rise in temperature again, it will just take approximately 30 minutes more per pound of meat.
  • If your butcher has not already trimmed the brisket, you’ll want to trim the brisket, leaving at least 1/4 inch of fat cap on the meat.
  • I recommend hickory wood or pellets for this recipe, but mesquite and apple also work well.
  • I recommend 1/2 lb of meat per person, so pick out the brisket size based on how many people you’re serving.
  • If using a smaller brisket, cut the ingredients for the rub in half.
  • The rub ingredients can also be multiplied by 5 or 10 times and stored in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, in the pantry for up to 2 years.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 520kcal (26%)Carbohydrates 9g (3%)Protein 58g (116%)Fat 25g (38%)Saturated Fat 7g (35%)Cholesterol 168mg (56%)Sodium 2619mg (109%)Potassium 994mg (28%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 120mg (2%)Vitamin C 3.5mg (4%)Calcium 35mg (4%)Iron 5.9mg (33%)

Did you make this recipe?Tag @WhitneyBond on Instagram and hashtag it #WBRecipes!

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originally published June 4, 2019 — last updated May 25, 2023 29 Comments

Posted in: 4th of July Recipes, Beef, Dairy Free Recipes, Dinner, Method, Recipes, Smoker, WB Favorites

About Whitney Bond

I’m a sports-loving, coffee-drinking, food blogger, the host of “29 Minute Meals”, a contributing writer for TODAY Food, cookbook author and on-camera food and lifestyle expert! Here you’ll find most recipes are made in 29 minutes or less, in one pot, or in a crock pot!

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    29 Comments on “Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks”

  1. TRACI BARNES December 28, 2023 @ 4:11 PM Reply

    EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCELLENT! This was my first time smoking ANYTHING and let me tell you, the smoked brisket was a HUGE hit for Christmas dinner! Definitely will make again and again 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks (2024)


What is the secret to the perfect smoked brisket? ›

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.

What is the secret to moist tender brisket? ›

When placing your meat, make sure the fattest side is facing upward. You want to do this so that the fat can dribble down over the meat to keep a brisket moist and juicy for longer.

What is the key to a good brisket? ›

When buying a brisket, look for one that's fresh and has good marbling. The marbling is the fat that runs through the meat, and it's what gives brisket its flavor and tenderness. A good rule of thumb is to choose a brisket that has a 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of fat on top.

How to make the most tender smoked brisket? ›

Inject the meat prior to smoking. Cook it at 275 degrees farenheit, once the internal temp is 135 wrap it in butcher paper until internal temp is 205. Let it rest for an hour at least. Guaranteed tender brisket.

How do I keep my brisket moist while smoking? ›

Keeping a water pan in the smoker is the best way to retain moisture. After the first 2-3 hours start spritzing your brisket with water, apple juice, hot sauce or apple cider vinegar every 30 minutes to an hour. This helps keep it moist and stops it from burning.

What is the magic number for brisket? ›

Your slow cooks, which require a lot of rendering & breaking down of collagen, such as brisket and pork shoulder, need to hit 195-210 -- with the magic number being 203. It is extremely difficult to get an accurate meat temp on pork ribs, since there are a lot of bones and not much meat in between.

Do you smoke brisket fat side up or down? ›

So if you're new to the art of grilling, it's important to note that evenly cooked meat offers seamless flavor throughout. This is especially applicable to a full-size brisket, which contains a fattier “point” half and a leaner “flat” half. Placing brisket fat-side-down will help you achieve the best possible taste.

How long to smoke a 12 lb brisket at 225 degrees? ›

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.

How to make a brisket fall apart? ›

To cook it until it's so tender it falls apart, you'll need to choose a joint like chuck and blade or beef brisket and either braise, slow roast or slow cook it for at least a couple of hours.

At what temperature does brisket fall apart? ›

Brisket can be done in a range of 200-210°F (93-99°C), but as a general rule, it's safe to bet on 203°F (95°C). Brisket should be tender but not so tender it's falling apart. You should be able to slice it into pieces that can just hold together, requiring a little pull to come apart.

What is the best liquid to keep brisket moist? ›

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is one of the most commonly used liquids for a brisket spritz, especially for Carolina-style barbecue. Apple Cider Vinegar is often mixed with a little bit of water or apple juice to slightly dilute it.

What is the secret to brisket? ›

These are our top 10 tips for cooking the best brisket possible.
  1. Start with a good brisket. ...
  2. Trim it into a nice shape. ...
  3. Season it simply. ...
  4. Maintain an even heat. ...
  5. Look for color changing. ...
  6. Wrap it at the right time. ...
  7. Wrap it in a foil boat. ...
  8. Pull it off when it's tender.
Mar 22, 2021

What is the rule for brisket? ›

5 Rules For Smoking A Brisket
  1. All about the timing. ...
  2. Select the right cut. ...
  3. Use the right smoker. ...
  4. Avoid seasoning too far in advance. ...
  5. Go “slow and low.” The best way to turn a tough cut of brisket into a tender delight is to cook it slowly at a low temperature.
May 26, 2022

How to smoke a perfect brisket? ›

For a 12- to 14-pound brisket, allow anywhere from 9 to 12 hours in the smoker. Here, you'll first smoke the brisket for 6 to 8 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Then, you'll wrap the brisket in unwaxed butcher's paper and return it to the smoker for 3 to 4 hours, until it reaches 203°F.

How do you smoke a brisket to make it juicy? ›

Preheat your smoker for 250-265F with some added Post Oak wood chunks or chips for extra smoke flavor. Add the brisket on to the smoker fat side either way. Cook the brisket until it reaches about 165-170F at the thickest and fattiest part (about 7-8 hours). Once it has hit 165, get ready to wrap in butcher paper.

What makes a brisket more tender? ›

The type of connective tissue in brisket is called collagen. Cook the meat quickly and you get tough, dry meat. Cook a brisket slowly, with some liquid, and the collagen turns into gelatin. A tender and moist brisket is the result.

What do you soak a brisket in before smoking it? ›

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the boiling water. Add the ice, then let cool to room temperature. Place the brisket in the brine and cover. Transfer to the refrigerator to brine overnight.

How soon should I season brisket before smoking? ›

Refrigerate: Let the seasoned brisket sit in the refrigerator or cooler for at least 6 hours. That will help the seasoning to be absorbed, and get an extra flavor on the inside and not only on the exterior bark.


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