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How to Smoke Brisket on Your Grill: The Ultimate Guide

Smoking brisket on your grill is an art form that combines patience, skill, and the proper techniques to create a mouth-watering masterpiece. This comprehensive guide will take you through every step of the process, ensuring that even beginners can achieve succulent, flavorful results that will rival any professional barbecue.

slicing delicious brisket

How to Smoke Brisket on Your Grill

Selecting the Perfect Brisket

Start by choosing the proper cut. Look for a whole packer brisket, which includes both the flat and the point. It should have a good amount of marbling and a thick fat cap. The weight usually ranges between 10 to 14 pounds – a sizeable cut ideal for smoking.

Preparation and Seasoning

Before smoking, it's crucial to prepare your brisket. Trim the fat cap to about ¼ inch thickness to ensure even cooking and effective seasoning penetration. Apply a generous amount of dry rub evenly across the brisket. A simple yet effective rub includes kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. For a completely different flavor explosion, use Dad Spice.

Setting Up Your Grill for Smoking

Whether you're using a charcoal grill, a gas grill, or a dedicated smoker, maintaining a consistent low temperature is key. Aim for a temperature range of 225°F to 250°F. If using a charcoal grill, set it up for indirect cooking and add wood chips for that smoky flavor. Oak, hickory, or mesquite are excellent choices.

The Smoking Process

Place your brisket fat side up on the grill, away from the direct heat. Smoking a brisket is a long process, usually taking about 1 to 1.5 hours per pound. Keep a water pan in the grill to maintain humidity and help regulate temperature. Avoid opening the lid too often to check on the brisket – this releases heat and smoke, disrupting the cooking process.

Monitoring and Managing the Stall

Brisket will experience a "stall," typically around 150°F to 160°F, where the temperature plateaus. This is normal. Resist the urge to increase the heat. This stall is due to the evaporative cooling effect and is crucial to achieving a tender brisket.

Wrapping the Brisket

Once the brisket reaches about 165°F, consider wrapping it in butcher paper or aluminum foil. This helps push through the stall and retain moisture. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches about 200°F – the ideal point for tenderness.

Resting the Brisket

After removing the brisket from the grill, let it rest for at least an hour. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. Wrap it in a towel and place it in a cooler to keep it warm during this period.

Slicing and Serving

Slice the brisket against the grain for the best texture. The flat and the point have different grain directions, so pay attention as you carve. For a complete feast, serve the brisket with your favorite barbecue sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread.

brisket served with coleslaw and veggies


Smoking a brisket on your grill is a rewarding experience that yields delicious results. With the right cut, preparation, and patience, you can create a barbecue delicacy that will impress your friends and family. Remember, the key to a perfect smoked brisket lies in maintaining a consistent temperature, managing the stall, and allowing ample rest time before serving.

Enhance Your BBQ Skills Further

For those looking to elevate their barbecue skills beyond smoking brisket, explore different smoking techniques, try various wood types for unique flavors, and experiment with homemade rubs and sauces. Each element adds a layer of complexity and depth to your barbecue repertoire.

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