How Long to Cook a Brisket in a Smoker


A smoked brisket is the stuff of legends. If you’ve ever had one, you know that it’s tender, juicy and flavorful — and can be a little tricky to cook. If not done properly, however, a brisket can end up dry or tough. So how long does it take for a flavorful brisket to come out of the smoker? It depends on several factors: your smoker temperature (low or high), the thickness of the meat and whether or not it’s wrapped in foil first before being put back on the grill. These tips will help ensure that your brisket comes out perfectly every time!

Prep Smoker and Meat

Before you begin cooking, make sure your smoker is ready. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it to 225°F and make sure there’s enough wood in the firebox to last throughout the entire cooking process.

If you’re using charcoal or wood pellets as fuel, use a chimney starter to light them up so they’ll be at their hottest when you need them most. Make sure not to overdo it on this step–if there are too many flames coming out of the bottom vent holes in your smoker box or grill lid, then they’ll burn down too quickly and leave nothing but ash behind (and no taste!).

Once everything is set up properly and ready for action, now it’s time for us all our favorite part: getting ready!

Set up smoker to cook indirect

  • Set the smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Place a drip pan on the lower rack of your smoker, then place brisket on top rack with fat cap facing down (this will help keep it moist).
  • Add wood chips to your firebox, close all vents and doors.

Smoke brisket over low heat

Smoking is a slow and delicate process, so you’ll want to use low heat when smoking your brisket. The ideal temperature range for smoking is 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be achieved using either charcoal or wood.

I prefer to use lump charcoal because it burns more slowly than briquettes (and produces less ash), but both types will work fine in this recipe. If you’re using charcoal, fill one side of your charcoal chimney with your choice of fuel and light it up; once the coals are glowing red hot and covered with gray ash (about 15 minutes), spread them evenly over half of your grill’s surface area. Then place an aluminum pan filled halfway with water on top of those coals before covering everything with foil until ready for cooking! This technique helps keep meat moist while still allowing smoke from wood chips/chunks/logs to permeate into its surface during cooking time–which brings us back around again…

Wrap in foil, then back in the smoker

  • Wrap the brisket in heavy-duty foil and place it back in the smoker.
  • Let it cook until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F (if you don’t have a thermometer, this is about 2 hours).
  • If desired, add wood chips to your fire during this time to give your meat more flavor while it’s cooking.

Internal temperature is 200 degrees F

You can test the internal temperature of a brisket by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, away from fat and bone. An ideal temperature for a fully cooked brisket is about 200 degrees F (93 C).

If you want to know how long it will take to reach this point in your smoker, use this handy chart:

Internal temperature is 205 degrees F


Once you have reached the desired internal temperature, remove the brisket from your smoker and allow it to rest for 1 hour before slicing.

This will allow all of that delicious juice to redistribute throughout the meat so when you cut into it, there’s no dryness or toughness in any part of your brisket!

Internal temperature is 210 degrees F, remove from smoker

When you’re cooking a brisket in a smoker, the internal temperature of the meat should be between 200 and 210 degrees F. This is measured using a meat thermometer that’s inserted into the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1/2 inch from either side).

Remove your brisket from the smoker when its internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F (if you want it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting). The temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees while resting, so don’t let it go much above 215 degrees F if you want juicy results! If you wrap your brisket in foil while it rests, expect another 5-10 degrees increase in temp due to heat retention inside said foil packet.

Follow these tips for smoking a delicious brisket.

Smoked brisket is one of the most versatile cuts of meat you can make, and it’s also incredibly delicious. Brisket is a cut from the cow’s breast, which means it has a lot of connective tissue that needs to be broken down during cooking. This process takes time–about 12 hours in total!

Here are some tips for how long to cook a brisket in a smoker:

  • Smoke over low heat: If your smoker has an internal temperature gauge, keep it between 225-250 degrees F while smoking your brisket. This temperature range helps break down fat and collagen without drying out the meat or causing flare-ups from excess fat dripping into hot coals.
  • Wrap in foil first: Wrap each whole piece of brisket tightly with aluminum foil before returning it back into your smoker (this step isn’t necessary if using smaller pieces). Wrapping will hold in moisture as well as add flavor from whatever rub or spice mixture you apply before wrapping (if using). It also keeps things tidy; no need for messy splatters on your grill!
  • Internal temperature should reach 200 degrees F before removing from heat source: When monitoring internal temperatures throughout cooking time periods, take note that this number represents when both ends have reached 150 degrees F–not just one end like many other meats typically require when checking doneness levels.”


We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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