How to Smoke a Brisket on Your Pellet Grill – Kick up your smoking game with the famous primal cut−brisket. Melt-in-your-mouth tenderness delivers delectable smokey goodness. And versatile is this recipe’s middle name!
Not only does smoked brisket make an awesome main course, but the leftovers deliver several options. Sliders, tacos, nachos, you name it. Besides, you’ll really impress your guests and prove you’re a pitmaster to be reckoned with.😉
Even better, this almost hands-off delicacy practically cooks itself. Season, smoke on a pellet grill, wrap, and rest for a wood-fire-infused specialty that will have everyone begging you to tell them how you did it. Then add some homemade BBQ or steak sauce for added deliciousness.
The Secret to Perfectly Smoked Brisket
Honestly, smoking brisket was a bigger challenge than I expected. But hey, asking around works great. You’ll find that it’s all in the preparation and cooking process. The best tip was actually wrapping it and slowly roasting it after smoking. Dry brining it in the fridge overnight also helps to allow the flavors to penetrate.
Then cook it low and slow (225-250℉/107-120℃) when it’s time to smoke. And a combination of different flavored wood chips takes it over the top. But it doesn’t stop there. After your brisket has all the smokey goodness you want, wrap it and roast it low for a few more hours. You can even finish it off in the oven for incredible ease.
Why Pellet Grills Are Best
This amazing smoking tool is perfect for an apartment with a balcony. And it’s ideal for weekdays because you set it and forget it while you work. Plus, they are effortless and provide consistent temperatures throughout the smoking process. So whether you’re a pitmaster or a beginner, a pellet grill is a great investment for deliciously smoked meals for years.
- Brisket – This primal cut has a lot of connective tissue, which means it has to be cooked right to be tender. No worries, it’s so worth the effort.
- Wet Ingredients – A little prepared mustard and Worcestershire sauce moistens the surface so your rub sticks better. And don’t worry because the flavors aren’t overwhelming at all.
- Brisket Rub – Paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, oregano, cumin, cayenne, kosher salt, and brown sugar (optional) complement any beef roast, especially when smoking.
How to Smoke Brisket on a Pellet Grill
Prepare the Brisket
- Prep the Brisket – Place your brisket on a large cutting board, fat-cap side up. (Brisket has a fat layer covering the meaty part, varying in thickness. Most of it is a hard fat that doesn’t render and prevents the roast from absorbing smoke for the desired smokey goodness.)
- Remove the Fat – Trim most of the fat off your brisket, leaving a thin layer (at least ¼ inch thick) on the outside to help protect the meat from drying out as it cooks. A fairly thick layer of fat is sandwiched between the point and the flat. Don’t trim this part, as it helps keeps the brisket moist. If desired, you can remove it as you slice the finished brisket.
- Make the Rub – Stir the brown sugar, salt, paprika, ground pepper, mustard, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl.
- Seasoning – Slather the brisket with yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce or water. This acts as a binder so the spices adhere to the brisket. No worries, you won’t taste the mustard. Season the brisket with spice mix evenly over all sides. (Photo 1)
- Prep the Smoker – Preheat your pellet grill to 225-250°F (107-120℃), and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific grill. Use wood pellets of your choice; I used a blend for this recipe.
- Start Smokin’ – Place the brisket in the pellet grill, fat-side up, and smoke for approximately 6 hours, or until the internal temperature of the brisket is between 165-170℉ (75-78℃) and your brisket has developed a good bark (flavorful crust that forms on the surface of the brisket).
- Wrap – Remove from the smoker and tightly wrap with butcher or foil paper. (Foil paper cooks faster and makes the brisket tender, but it might ruin the bark, while butcher paper can preserve the texture of the bark but might take longer to cook.) (Photo 2)
- Roast – Return the wrapped brisket to the pellet grill and continue smoking until cooked to an internal temperature between 200-205°F (93-96℃).
- Rest – Place the wrapped brisket in a cooler or a warm, dry place and let it rest for at least an hour, preferably 2-3 hours, to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and the fibers to relax. You’ll be glad you did when you bite into a more tender and juicy brisket. So don’t skip this step.
- Serve – After it’s done resting, slice the brisket against the grain and serve it up with your favorite BBQ sauce and sides. (Photos 3-4)
Smoked Brisket Recipe Variations
- No Smoker? No problem! Dry brine your brisket with smoked salt or a little liquid smoke to your marinade, then wrap it and slowly roast it in your oven for 3-4 hours.
- Dry Rub Swap: Another option is to marinate your brisket overnight in soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce for a sweet and savory flavor that’s hard to resist.
- Roast Swap: This recipe works great for any roast that needs to cook low and slow because of the connective tissue. That includes cuts from the legs and shoulder.
Tips and Tricks
- There are different grades of brisket. Get as good as you can afford for the best marbling and fat content.
- Be generous with your spices because your brisket can take it. It’s a big hunk of beef, so load it up.😉
- Low and slow is the way to go on the brisket to break down the fibers and connective tissue for a tender juice meal.
- Rest is best. It really does need that 30 minutes or so for the juices to redistribute evenly.
If you’re planning to smoke a brisket, it’s best to prepare it beforehand to save time on the day of your cookout and marinate for even more flavor. Season your brisket generously with your favorite dry rub, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before smoking. This helps the flavors penetrate and create a delicious crust.
When you’re ready to smoke the brisket, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Then proceed with the smoking instructions.
Serving and Storage Instructions
First, let the smoked brisket rest for about 30 minutes after removing it from the smoker. Then, slice against the grain to ensure tender pieces. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce and sides like coleslaw or baked beans, and enjoy!
I always struggle with what to do with leftover brisket after a barbecue. It’s too good to waste, but I don’t want it to go bad, either. My go-to solution is to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. That way, it stays fresh for a few days, and I can easily reheat it for a quick and easy meal. Another option is to freeze it for later. Either way, I’m glad I can enjoy the deliciousness of brisket for a bit longer.
Prime, choice, and select (prime being the best) are graded by the amount of marbling and how old the animal was. The better the marbling, the juicier your beef will be. And then there’s Wagyu, which just blows everything else out of the water. And the price tag matches. 🤦🏿♀️ The Japanese cattle breed produces a higher quality beef with softer fat for an extraordinary dining experience.
Tallow has become the rage and with good reason. You can use it to slather your brisket after smoking and before wrapping it, or you can melt it and inject it straight into your roast. And if you find Wagyu tallow, that’s a great way to enhance your roast without the huge Wagyu beef price tag.
I usually go for hardwood, like oak, hickory, and mesquite. But combining these guys produces a robust smokiness that complements the rich, beefy brisket flavor.
What to Serve With Smoked Brisket
A few classic side dishes always hit the mark. First, you can’t go wrong with homemade mac and cheese and coleslaw. The tangy crunch of the coleslaw helps cut through the brisket’s rich meatiness, making for a balanced and satisfying meal.
More Incredible Meaty Recipes to Try
Smoked brisket is a fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth experience that will make any pitmaster proud. Have you smoked this famous cut yet? Let me know what rub you used. I love hearing from you.
- 1 12-14-pound brisket
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (or as needed to cover the surface)
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1½ tablespoons black pepper, freshly ground
- 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1½ tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- Place your brisket on a large cutting board, fat-cap side up. (Brisket has a fat layer covering the meaty part, varying in thickness. Most of it is a hard fat that doesn't render and prevents the roast from absorbing smoke for the desired smoky goodness.)
- Trim most of it off the brisket, leaving at least a thin layer of fat (about ¼ inch thick) on the outside of the brisket to help protect the beef from drying out as it cooks. A fairly thick layer of fat is sandwiched between the point and the flat. Don't trim this part, as it helps keep the brisket moist. If desired, you can remove it as you slice the finished brisket.
- In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, paprika, ground pepper, mustard, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Rub the brisket with yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce or water. This acts as a binder, so the spices adhere to the brisket. No worries, you won't taste the mustard.
- Season the brisket with the spice mix evenly over all sides.
- Preheat your pellet grill to 225-250°F (107-120℃) and follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific grill. Use wood pellets of your choice; I used a blend for this recipe.
- Place the brisket in the pellet grill, fat-side up, and smoke for approximately 6 hours or until the internal temperature of the brisket is between 165-170℉ (75-78℃), and your brisket has developed a good bark (flavorful crust that forms on the surface of the brisket).
- Remove from the smoker and tightly wrap with butcher or foil paper. (Foil paper cooks faster and makes the brisket tender, but it might ruin the bark, while butcher paper can preserve the texture of the bark but might take longer to cook.)
- Place the wrapped brisket back in the pellet grill and continue smoking until the internal temperature is between 200-205°F (93-96℃).
- Place the wrapped brisket in a cooler or a warm, dry place and let it rest for at least 1 hour, preferably 2-3 hours. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and the fibers to relax, resulting in a more tender and juicy brisket. Don't skip this step.
- Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce and sides.
- Don’t be tempted to unwrap the brisket during the resting period, as this can cause the juices to escape and the meat to dry out. Trust the resting process, and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious and tender brisket.
- In the smoking world, you often hear about SPG (salt, pepper, and garlic). You may choose to use only these three spices or experiment with additional spices.
- Opt for high-quality spices and seasonings to ensure the best flavor. Freshly ground pepper, high-quality paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder can make a noticeable difference in the taste of the rub.
- Use a high-quality brisket: The quality of the meat you use can greatly impact the final result. If possible, choose a high-quality brisket. Opt for Prime Brisket, a well-marbled, high-grade brisket, to ensure tenderness and flavor. A great place to purchase one would be at Costco.
- While the recipe provides general instructions, perfecting the smoking technique can take your brisket to the next level. Experiment with different wood pellet flavors to find the one that complements your taste preferences. Monitor the temperature carefully throughout the smoking process to ensure consistency and avoid overcooking or undercooking.
- Customize the resting time: While the recipe suggests resting the brisket for 1 to 3 hours, you can experiment with different resting times to achieve the desired tenderness and juiciness. Some pitmasters prefer longer resting periods, up to 4 or 5 hours, to achieve optimal results.
- Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.