Times and Temperatures for Smoking Beef Brisket – A Short Guide

Smoking beef brisket on a pellet grill can be a delicious and rewarding experience, but it also requires careful planning and attention to detail.

We’ll break down the process of achieving the correct internal temp for brisket step by step, going over the times and temperatures (internal temp and smoking temperature) you’ll need to keep in mind when smoking beef brisket on a pellet grill.

Internal Temp for Brisket Doneness is 195F
Smoked Brisket Recipe

Times and Temperatures for Smoking Beef Brisket – A Short Guide

Step 1 Prepare the Brisket

First, it’s important to choose a high-quality cut of beef brisket. Look for a brisket that has a good amount of marbling, as this will help keep the meat moist and flavorful during the long cooking process. Trim off any excess fat, but leave a thin layer to help protect the meat as it cooks.

Step 2 Set the Pellet Grill to Smoke at 225F

Next, prepare the pellet grill for smoking. Set the grill to a low temperature, around 225-250°F, and preheat it for at least 15 minutes.

This will help ensure that the grill is properly heated and ready to cook the brisket. It also means that the smoke will have time to take on a clean, blue quality as any chemicals or ash will have burnt off.

If you have a Traeger grill with the capacity, put it on to the Super Smoke setting to add extra smokiness. If you are using a Pit Boss set it to the smoke setting (S). If you have a Camp Chef set the Smoke number to 7 or above to get a prominent smoke ring on it and a good strong, tasty smoke flavour.

Step 3 Cover the Meat in BBQ Dry Rub

Use mustard, oil (or even hot sauce) as a binder to help the dry rub stick to the brisket. Apply the binder to the top, bottom and the sides. Now cover liberally in your favourite BBQ Beef Rub – we like Holy Cow Beef Rub if you need a recommendation.

If you want to make your own homemade dry rub use these fresh spices and seasonings:

  • 1 tbsp of coarse sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

Step 4 Place the Brisket in the Smoker

Once the grill is preheated, it’s time to start smoking the brisket. Place the brisket on the grill, fat side up, and close the lid. It’s important to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process, so check the grill regularly and add more wood pellets as needed to maintain the desired temperature.

If you like a strong smoke flavour use hickory or mesquite. The bold taste of beef holds up well against robust smoke flavour.

Cooking times for beef brisket on a pellet grill can vary depending on the size and thickness of the cut of meat, as well as the desired level of doneness. Plan on cooking the brisket for at least 1 hour per pound. For example, a 10-pound brisket will take around 10 hours to cook. A 12 pound brisket will obviously take 12 hours, and so on.

The length of time will also depend on how steady the temperature in your smoker is too. Luckily, if you are using a good quality pellet grill you should be able to control the temperature at 225F fairly easily throughout a long smoke.

To check the internal temperature of the brisket, use a meat thermometer to take readings in the thickest part of the meat. A digital wireless meat thermometer like Meater Plus will allow you to check the internal temperature of your beef from an app on your phone.

Keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise a bit as the meat rests, so it’s best to pull it off the grill when it’s slightly underdone.

As the brisket cooks, it’s important to monitor the temperature and add wood pellets as needed to maintain a consistent heat. It’s also a good idea to baste the brisket with a mixture of your favorite BBQ sauce and apple cider vinegar every hour or so. This will help keep the meat moist and add additional flavor.

Step 5 Wrap the Brisket When it Reaches 155-165F

When your brisket reaches an internal temperature of around 155-165F you will need take it off and wrap it in Butcher’s Paper or foil.

This is because the internal temperature of the brisket reaches a plateau (called the stall) where it stops increasing. This could last for hours and waste time, money and fuel.

The stall usually happens 2-3 hours into the smoking time, but can vary.

As you are wrapping it add a little liquid and butter. You can add apple juice, apple cider vinegar, beer or even a little bourbon if you have it.

Make sure it is tightly wrapped – some people like to double wrap it to make sure.

Step 6 Place the Wrapped Brisket Back in the Smoker Until it Reaches 195F Internal Temp

The ideal temperature for finished brisket is around 195F, however the meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the pellet grills.

Some people like to take it out of the smoker at around 190F for fear it might overcook.

Step 7 Rest the Brisket and then Slice & Serve

Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest in its wrap for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the meat easier to slice. When it’s time to serve, slice the brisket against the grain (the grain = the direction the muscles and fat are travelling in) and serve with your favourite BBQ sauce on the side, and some delicious sides.

Smoking beef brisket on a pellet grill can be a time-consuming process, but the end result is well worth the effort. By following these guidelines and paying careful attention to the temperature and cooking times, you can create a delicious, tender, and flavorful brisket that will be the star of any BBQ.

Internal Temperature of Brisket Reached
Sliced Smoked Brisket with Prominent Smoke Ring

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