How to Smoke a Brisket | Brisket Recipe & Guide

How to smoke a brisket guide

How to Smoke a Brisket

In this beginner's guide, we will dive into the world of smoking a brisket and provide you with step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and essential techniques that will ensure your brisket turns out tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor. Whether you are a seasoned pitmaster or a novice BBQ enthusiast, mastering the art of smoking a brisket is within your reach.

Jump to Lane's Brisket Recipe below.

Brisket comes from the chest of the cow. Traditionally this is a tough cut that includes a flat and point. The flat is super lean with tons of muscle fibers and the point is fattier with tons of flavor. To break down those tough muscles fibers takes time and skill. What was known more as trash or a throw-away cut has now become the pinnacle of the BBQ world to showcase the skill of the person cooking the brisket. It also puts brisket into a category (expert) that most people are not willing to try as frequently as a pork butt, ribs, or chicken. Brisket is a cut of beef that has the potential to be some of the juiciest and most flavorful meat you’ve ever put in your mouth if it is been prepared and cooked correctly. Low and slow is always going to win in the Brisket BBQ'ing world.  

What size brisket should I buy?

What you really want is a whole Packer style brisket. The packer style brisket is going to have both the flat and point. Knowing your local butcher is a huge advantage and they can really help you find what you want to cook. The next best place to find packer brisker is in Sam’s Club or Costco. Sometimes their meat section will have more cuts that occasionally are not found in the local grocery. If you have any doubts or questions don’t be afraid to ask the people who are working behind the meat counter.

It all really depends on how many people you are trying to feed. We prefer to cook a 12-15 lbs brisket. You can find larger brisket, but this is the weight that we have found the best success with. 

How do you trim a brisket?

Showing the thickness of the brisket fat cap

Once you have the raw brisket you need to trim the fat cap leaving a ⅛-¼ inch of fat for cooking purposes. Be sure to trim your brisket while it is super cold. The fat will become gummy as it comes to room temp and will be a pain to trim. Cold brisket and a sharp boning knife can make this process less frustrating! At the end of the day, you will only yield 6-7lbs after you have trimmed and cooked your 12-15 lbs brisket.

How do you season a brisket?

All you need is BARK! A good long smoke along with a fantastic seasoning is the only way to get that brisket bark we all love. Don't hold back, the reality is brisket is a dense cut of meat and adding more on the outside allows those flavors to work their way through the meat as it cooks. We do not use any injections to boost internal moisture. If you cook the meat properly you should not need any added solutions to help with moisture. Just let that cut of meat shine.

Seasoning the brisket with layers of flavor

Best Lane's Brisket Rubs

  • Lane's Brisket Rub - An even blend of salt, pepper, and garlic with a touch of thyme.
  • Lane's Cubano Rub - Building on the salt, pepper, and garlic taste with oregano and orange peel pulls out a new flavor in the brisket
  • Lane's Brancho Rub - Add a bit of Brown Sugar, Espresso and Ancho Chiles to your Salt, Pepper, and Garlic blend. Brancho gives your brisket a Great dark bark
  • Lane's Scorpion Rub - Great blend of Salt, Sugar, and Heat. Scorpion touch on all the flavors for any palette 
  • Lane's 50/50 Salt and Pepper - True traditional Texas style. Large grain 16 Mesh Pepper and Salt is all you need to just let the brisket shine.

How long to smoke a brisket

There are several ways/methods you can use depending on your own comfort level and the equipment you have to cook on. We are going to walk you through our method which has proven to be tried and true. 

  • Fat Cap Up - No matter what you are smoking on we always smoker our brisket fat cap up. 
  • Brisket Smoking Woods - We like to use are Cherry or Applewood for a ceramic or offset smoker. If we are using a pellet smoker we will use the a Cherrywood pellet or a hardwood pellet blend.
  • Ceramic - On a ceramic you will be smoking indirect using deflector plates. Load up your charcoal as full as you can. Use a water tray to keep moisture in the smoker. Smoke at 275 degrees for 6/hrs. You are looking for 180 degrees internal temp after the stall and after the bark has formed, wrap (See the next section for the wrap guide) and put back on the smoker until 202-205 - pull it. 
  • Pellet smoker - Set your smoker to 275 degrees and smoke for 6/hrs. You are looking for 180 degrees internal temp after the stall and after the bark has formed, wrap (See the next section for the wrap guide) and put back on the smoker until 202-205 - pull it. 

How to wrap a brisket

The brisket will naturally go through a stall at 150 to 160 where it seems dead. It takes about 30-40 mins for the stall, but afterward, the brisket will begin to climb to the 202-205 range. At 180 we pull the brisket and wrap it. You can wrap using aluminum foil or butcher paper, we use two pieces of aluminum foil in the + shape. The key to wrapping is to keep it as air-tight as possible. Remember, fat side up!  Place it back on the heat to finish at 202.

Now the controversy is that wrapping destroys the bark or causes it to be soggy. You worked so hard to create that bark so why would you intentionally screw it up? Well, the wrapping does steam the bark for a few hours, but the end result of having a tender and juicy brisket outweighs the lightly steamed bark. 

How long to rest a brisket

We are completely adamant that brisket needs a 2 hour minimum to rest. You can just keep it wrapped and throw it in a cooler or oven for the rest.  Every brisket that we cook goes through this resting period. But why? Well, you just cooked a piece of meat for an extended amount of time. The meat (don’t forget it’s a muscle) has tensed up and it needs time to relax and allow the juices to disperse evenly throughout the brisket. Patience is all part of the process. Cutting it too early can cause the meat to be tough and chewy. However, if you will let it rest, good things are on the horizon.

Correct way to slice a brisket

Lastly, slicing is another huge part that if not done correctly can have a major impact on the final outcome of your brisket. You must slice the brisket against the grain which normally is easy. However, the direction of the grain changes in the point versus in the flat. We are right handed - so we like to slice the brisket with the flat on the left and the point to the right. Where the two sides meet is where you want to make your initial cut. You then can slice the flat. Before you slice the point rotate it 90 degrees then slice.

Enjoy the ride!

As you invest in the BBQ world we hope that you see that you get to make incredible meals for friends and family, but also the process of BBQ'ing is part of the fun. I know there is nothing better than spending time prepping, cooking, and delivering a meal that brings smiles to faces. Before I will fix my own plate I find myself taking a moment to serve others, smile, and enjoy the significance of relationships. Let’s be honest anything worth having is gonna be difficult. Cooking brisket is no different. If you want a great tasting brisket it’s gonna take time, technique, and skill. 

How to Smoke a Brisket Guide Video:

Lane's BBQ Animals


Arlene C Holman

Arlene C Holman

When smoking meat on a Traeger smoker can you put a brisket on before going to bed and let it smoke all night? Do you have to check on it every so often or add anything while it is smoking?

Jason @ Lane's

Jason @ Lane's

Hey Beverly, you sure can! You will still want the internal temp to reach 180 and then wrap it and then follow the same directions, pull it, wrap it, and get the internal temp to about 205. When you pull the brisket to wrap it you will probably want to add more charcoal to the grill before you put it back on for the final phase.



Can you cook this brisket on a Weber charcoal grill?

Harry Kaufman

Harry Kaufman

Fantastic and easy to follow guide to produce tremendous tasting g briskets
Thank you

Joanie Meiman

Joanie Meiman

We tasted your out-of-this-world-as -good-as-Austin-TX brisket today @ Mercier Orchard’s 80th celebration.
Thank you! Having lived in Austin a long time, we’re very picky about our barbecued brisket. You got it right;)

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