How Long to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill: (Ultimate Guide to Perfect BBQ)

Hey, the grill master is in the house! Are you ready to learn how to smoke a delicious brisket on a pellet grill? I know I am.

Welcome to my foolproof guide on how long to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill. As an avid grilling enthusiast and pitmaster, I’m here to share with you all of my secrets for creating the perfect smoked brisket. In this guide, I’ll teach you:

  • The basics of smoking a brisket, including marinades and rubs
  • How long it takes to smoke the perfect brisket
  • Tips for getting that juicy smoky flavor that everyone loves
  • What temperatures are ideal for smoking your briskets
  • Ways to speed up or slow down the cooking process depending on your needs
  • And much more!

Are you salivating yet? Let’s dive right in and get started…

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Selecting the Perfect Brisket for Smoking

Selecting the ideal brisket is the first step in ensuring a mouth-watering, smoked brisket.

The quality of the brisket can significantly influence the taste and texture of your final product.

Understanding the Different Grades of Brisket

When purchasing a brisket, you’ll notice different grades such as Prime, Choice, and Select.

The difference lies in the marbling, or the thin streaks of fat running through the meat.

Prime grade beef, which has the highest marbling, is considered the best.

Choice grade beef, while having less marbling than Prime, is still of good quality and is the most commonly sold.

Select grade beef has the least marbling, and while it’s not bad, it may not be as juicy or flavorful as its higher-grade counterparts.

Deciding the Right Size of Brisket to Smoke

Knowing the number of guests you plan to serve will help determine the size of the brisket you need.

Most briskets range from 10-20 pounds, but there are exceptions.

As a general rule, anticipate serving half a pound of cooked brisket per person, or one pound of uncooked brisket per person.

For a family gathering or a small party, a 12-15 pound brisket is a popular choice.

If you’re looking for something more manageable, a four to five-pound brisket flat can be smoked in six to eight hours without sacrificing the flavor and tenderness.

Where to Buy High-Quality Brisket

Quality brisket can be found at various places.

Porter Road offers top-grade meat for those who prioritize quality.

Feed the Party provides free delivery, making it easy to get your brisket right at your doorstep.

Wild Fork and DeBragga are excellent options for those who prefer whole briskets.

Lastly, Fossil Farms is an excellent choice for barbecue enthusiasts who want the best quality for their smoked brisket.

Prepping Your Brisket for Smoking

Now that you’ve acquired your perfect brisket, it’s time to prep it for smoking.

This process is critical to the outcome of your brisket.

Importance of Trimming Your Brisket

Trimming your brisket is crucial as it affects the entire cooking process.

Fat is necessary to keep the brisket tender and juicy during the extended cooking time.

However, not trimming a brisket before smoking can lead to uneven cooking and a less appetizing final product.

Trimming off thin corner pieces of the flat muscle ensures even heat distribution while cooking, resulting in a more delicious brisket.

Pro Tips on Trimming a Brisket

Trimming a brisket can be a tedious task, but here are some tips to make it easier.

First, use slow sawing cuts parallel to the fat cap.

If you don’t have a boning or fillet knife, any sharp knife will do.

Lastly, trim towards the edge rather than surface cutting for optimal results.

Chilling Your Brisket Before Trimming: An Easy Pro Tip

Here’s a quick tip: chill your brisket before trimming.

Cold brisket is easier to handle, and the meat and fat are firmer, making it easier to trim.

Plus, slicing smoked brisket before refrigerating retains moisture and flavor, contributing to a better final product.

Seasoning the Brisket

Once your brisket is nicely trimmed, it’s time for seasoning.

The Role of Rub in Smoking a Brisket

Seasoning, or applying a rub, to your brisket is essential for enhancing the flavor.

A rub usually includes spices like onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and coarse Kosher salt.

Such ingredients amplify the overall taste of the brisket, creating a mouthwatering barbecue.

Ingredients for a Perfect Brisket Rub

A perfect brisket rub includes a variety of spices that complement the taste of the meat.

Some staples are salt, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder.

Texas Brothers Dry Rub is a recommended pre-made rub that you can use.

To Use or Not to Use a Binder on Brisket

Binders like mustard or water can help your spice rub adhere to the meat, preventing uneven and dry patches.

However, it’s not essential for a dry rub.

Some argue that there’s no need for a binder on brisket while others swear by it.

It mostly comes down to personal preference, so feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.

Preparing Your Pellet Grill

Now, let’s set up your pellet grill for smoking.

Necessary Equipment for Smoking Brisket on a Pellet Grill

Before you fire up your pellet grill, ensure you have all the necessary equipment.

This includes a high-quality digital thermometer to monitor the temperature accurately, a pair of heat-resistant gloves for safe handling of the brisket and grill, and, of course, your trusty pellet grill.

Choosing the Right Wood for Your Pellet Grill

Choosing the right wood for your pellet grill can enhance the flavor of your brisket.

Different types of wood impart different flavors, so choose according to your preference.

For example, hickory and mesquite pellets add a robust smokey flavor, while apple and cherry pellets give a sweet, fruity taste.

The Great Water Pan Debate: Pros and Cons

The use of a water pan in pellet grilling is a hotly debated topic.

A water pan can help maintain the humidity inside the grill and prevent the brisket from drying out.

However, others argue that a water pan is unnecessary in a pellet grill due to its convection-style cooking.

The decision to use a water pan ultimately comes down to your personal preference and specific grill model.

Smoking Process: How Long to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill

One of the most asked questions about smoking a brisket on a pellet grill is, “How long?” While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, some general guidelines can help you estimate the cooking time.

Ideal Temperature to Smoke Brisket on a Pellet Grill

The ideal temperature to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill is between 225°F and 250°F.

Keeping the temperature in this range ensures a slow and steady cook, which is key to achieving a tender and juicy brisket.

Fat Side Up vs Fat Side Down: Which is Better?

Another common question is whether to smoke the brisket fat side up or down.

There’s no definitive answer to this, as it depends on your specific grill and preferences.

Some argue that having the fat side up allows the fat to render down and baste the meat as it cooks, while others believe having the fat side down protects the meat from the heat source.

Understanding the First Part of the Cook: Smoking the Brisket

The first part of the cook involves smoking the brisket.

This is when the meat absorbs most of the smoke, developing that deep, rich flavor that barbecue lovers crave.

Keep a close eye on your brisket during this stage, maintaining a steady temperature and adjusting as necessary to ensure even cooking.

Smoking Brisket Through The Stall: What Does it Mean?

During the smoking process, your brisket will likely “stall” around 150°F to 170°F.

This is when the internal temperature of the meat stops rising due to evaporative cooling.

But don’t worry!

This is a natural part of the process and your brisket is still cooking.

Just be patient and let your brisket continue to smoke.

Wrapping the Brisket: Foil or Butcher Paper?

Once your brisket reaches around 165°F, it’s time to wrap it.

This helps to push through the stall and keep the brisket moist.

Pros and Cons of Wrapping Brisket in Foil

Wrapping your brisket in foil, also known as the “Texas Crutch,” can speed up the cooking process and keep your brisket moist.

However, because foil doesn’t breathe, it can soften the bark (the crusty exterior of the brisket) and make it mushy.

How to Wrap the Brisket with Butcher Paper Correctly

Using butcher paper is another option.

Unlike foil, butcher paper breathes, allowing smoke to reach the meat and maintaining that delicious bark.

To wrap your brisket, simply place it in the center of a large sheet of butcher paper and fold the paper around it, tucking in the ends to secure.

The Resting Phase

After your brisket is smoked to perfection, it’s time to let it rest.

The Importance of Letting Your Brisket Rest

Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the brisket, resulting in a more moist and flavorful bite.

It also makes the brisket easier to slice.

How Long Should You Let Brisket Rest?

The length of the rest will depend on the size of your brisket, but a good rule of thumb is to let it rest for at least one hour.

However, if you have the time, letting it rest for two hours or more can lead to even better results.

Serving the Smoked Brisket

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: it’s time to serve your delicious smoked brisket!

How to Slice and Serve Smoked Brisket

When slicing your brisket, be sure to cut against the grain for the most tender bite.

Use a sharp knife and aim for slices about 1/4 inch thick.

Serve your smoked brisket on a large platter for a dramatic presentation.

Tips on What Sides Are Served With Smoked Brisket

Smoked brisket pairs well with many sides.

Classic choices include coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese.

For a lighter option, consider a simple salad or grilled vegetables.

Common Questions and Pro Tips

Hopefully, this guide has answered most of your brisket smoking questions, but here are a few more tips to help you reach brisket perfection.

Addressing Frequently Asked Questions on Smoking Brisket

You might be wondering, “Can I over-smoke my brisket?” Yes, it’s possible.

Over-smoked brisket can taste bitter.

To avoid this, stick to the recommended smoking times and temperatures.

Sharing Expert Tips for a Perfectly Smoked Brisket

Patience is key when smoking a brisket.

It’s a long process, but the end result is worth it.

Remember to maintain a steady temperature, monitor your brisket closely, and let it rest properly before slicing.

Conclusion: The Joy of Smoking Brisket on a Pellet Grill

Smoking a brisket on a pellet grill isn’t just about the delicious end result; it’s also about the joy of the process.

It’s about the anticipation as you prep your brisket, the satisfaction of maintaining the perfect temperature, the excitement as you unwrap the brisket after a long smoke, and the gratification of seeing your guests’ faces light up as they take their first bite.


What are the steps to smoking a brisket?

The basic steps for smoking a brisket include prepping the meat with a dry rub or brine, setting up your pellet grill for indirect heat, adding wood chips for flavor, placing the packer brisket on the grill fat-side up, and cooking it at low temperatures until it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F. Once done, let it rest for several hours before slicing and serving.

What is a packer brisket?

A packer brisket typically refers to a whole beef brisket that includes both the flat cut and point cut sections left connected together. It is also known as a “full-pack” or “whole pack” because all of its parts remain intact throughout the cooking process.

What type of wrap should be used when smoking a brisket?

When wrapping smoked briskets, butcher paper or aluminum foil are usually used. Butcher paper tends to be more breathable than foil so it traps in moisture while allowing smoke to penetrate through. Foil will provide extra insulation which speeds up cooking time but can also reduce smoky flavors if not wrapped properly.

Are there any other ingredients used in addition to dry rubs when smoking Briskets?

In addition to dry rubs, other ingredients such as garlic powder and beef broth can be used when preparing smoked beef brisksets in order to enhance flavor and add moisture during the low & slow cooking process. Fat cap side down positioning helps retain juices as well by trapping rendered fat from excess fat during the cooking process resulting in tender flavorful meats.

How do I cook a brisket?

To cook a brisket, you will need whole brisket, wood pellets, a pellet smoker or grill grate, and the appropriate spices to make your desired rub. Prepare the rub by combining the ingredients of your choice together in a bowl. Place the brisket on the smoker or grill and cover with the rub. Smoke it at 225-250 degrees for approximately 1 hour per pound. Wrap it in peach butcher paper or foil when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and continue cooking until an internal temperature of 205-210 is reached. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoy!

What are my options for adding flavor to my brisket?

When adding flavor to your brisket, you have many options! You can make a homemade spice rub using ingredients like kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, apple juice or other liquid sauces. A popular combination is yellow mustard mixed with BBQ sauce which helps break down connective tissues for tenderness. For even more succulent meat candy results try marinating overnight with apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce added to enhance flavor!

What should I consider when selecting a full packer brisket?

A full packer brisket typically weighs 10-14 pounds so it’s important to select one that is not too big for your goal of making perfect smoked brisket results. When selecting a packer be sure to look for one that has nice marbling throughout as this will help keep moisture inside while smoking – don’t forget to trim off any hard fat as well! Lastly check that there’s no silver skin left on either side of the flat; removing any silverskin offers up more surface area & allows rub flavors penetrate faster into meat fibers – ultimately resulting in an incredibly juicy & flavorful cut of beef!

How long does it take to smoke a full packer brisket?

Smoking time can vary depending on weather conditions but typically takes 12-15 hours total when cooking at 225-250°F (107-121°C). The type of smoker used also plays an important role; pellet grills tend to heat up quicker than charcoal smokers so cooking time may be reduced if using one instead. Plan ahead by giving yourself plenty of time before serving by setting aside 3 days for preparation: Trimmed day 1 + Overnight Cook Day 2 + Final Touch/Slicing Day 3 = Perfect Smoked Brisket Results every single time!

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