This Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe is easy to prepare with only 3 ingredients and is smoked on a low heat in your smoker. It’s definitely worth every minute when you taste the flavorful results. You will not believe how juicy and tender the meat is.

Smoked beef brisket is a summer must have and a rite of passage for anyone who smokes meat. Pull out that smoker, and fire it up for the best smoked brisket recipe you’ll make! Serve it up with some Creamy Coleslaw, Bow Tie Pesto Pasta Salad or Parmesan Orzo With Basil, Mini Jalapeno Popper Corn Muffins and top the day off with Buster Bar Ice Cream Cake for dessert!

whole smoked beef brisket being cut with a knife

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How to Smoke a Beef Brisket

Patience is the key to smoking a beef brisket. Time is your friend, so make sure you have lots of time while you are taking on this smoked brisket recipe. We like to time it so the brisket is ready for dinner, so we start the smoking in the early morning (sometimes really early, or even the night before, if it’s a really big brisket!).

There is plenty of time in between for pool-time fun and lounging around during the cooking process. Your neighbors will smell the hickory smoke wafting over their fences, so be prepared to make extra in case they invite themselves over.

The smoker needs some attention and babysitting so my hubby sometimes likes to do some yard work in the morning while the brisket is smoking. Aside from knocking a few jobs off the list before the brisket is ready, we prep our other dishes, and enjoy some strawberry margaritas too! 

While smoking beef brisket may sound daunting, the preparation of this smoked beef brisket recipe is definitely easy. It doesn’t require fancy rubs with multiple ingredients. This beef brisket rub has just two ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen: freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt (or try this Best Beef Brisket Rub). I also use a small amount of beef stock for the final process of this easy smoked beef brisket recipe.

closeup of beef brisket with salt and pepper rub on a baking tray with a towel in the background

How Long to Smoke Beef Brisket

The meat is cooked in the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 190F. Typically, this will take about 10 to 12 hours for a 12 pound beef brisket, and around 16 hours for a 20 pound brisket.

The smoking of the beef brisket really happens in the first 3 – 5 hours of when you begin to cook the beef brisket on the smoker. That’s when you develop a nice “bark” around the meat which is essentially the smoke ring that you see when you slice the meat, which is about 1/4 inch penetrated into the meat. It’s easier for the smoke to penetrate the meat when the beef meat fibers are relaxed and uncooked. I like to use hickory wood chunks for smoking beef brisket because it’s not too overpowering and adds a nice woody, campfire taste to the beef that just can’t be beat.

smoked beef brisket being cut with a knife

The cooking process takes requires a good thermometer so you can be certain that you are achieving a constant temperature inside the smoker (225F to 250F) and monitoring the internal temperature of the meat. I like to use a digital BBQ thermometer. I ordered mine from Amazon. I love it because it has multiple probes and is connected to the internet so you can be anywhere in the world and monitor your smoker (fun, right?). However, I would recommend grabbing a glass of sangria and staying close to home!

Smoking for more than 10 hours may require more fuel or charcoal briquettes to be added to the smoker, so be prepared by having another bag of briquettes on hand. I like to use the Weber charcoal briquettes as they burn slower than Kingsford brand, but have used both. Always have two bags of charcoal ready for this smoked beef brisket recipe.

cut smoked beef brisket showing the tender meat on the inside

When the internal temperature of the beef brisket has reached 160F, remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap it in heavy aluminum foil and add the beef stock inside the foil. Place the foil wrapped beef brisket back in the smoker and insert the temperature probe. Put the lid on the smoker and maintain the 225F to 250F temperature until the internal temperature of the beef brisket reaches 190F. 

How Much Beef Brisket Should I Make?

As a rule of thumb, you should smoke or cook about 1/2 pound of brisket per adult serving. The brisket will reduce in size by about 15% as you cook it and depending on the amount of fat to be trimmed off the brisket. Add about 2 pounds extra for a smaller group, and 3-4 pounds extra for a larger group. So to serve 20 people, assume 1/2 pound per person (10 pounds) and add two pounds, for a total of 12 pounds.

It never hurts to have leftover beef brisket. 

close up of cut pieces of smoked beef brisket on a white cutting board with a serving fork

What Cut of Beef Brisket Should You Smoke?

If you are going to smoke beef brisket, try to find the best cut of brisket you can find. Prime beef brisket is heads and tails ahead of AAA beef brisket. Its melt in your mouth goodness is ridiculously amazing. If your local butcher doesn’t have a Prime cut of beef brisket don’t worry, you’ll still love it! This beef brisket recipe works perfect for any cut and will still be amazingly delightful!

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Beef Brisket

Beef brisket freezes well in an airtight container or a zip top bag with the air squeezed out. Label your container and pop it in the freezer.

We use leftover beef brisket in salads, creamy pasta dishes and on nachos and quesadillas.  It’s perfect in grilled cheese sandwiches and beef dip sandwiches too!

If you’re looking to serve leftover beef brisket on its own, maybe with a side of Irish Potatoes, a Red Leaf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and No Knead Bread, it reheats really easily and so is tender and flavorful.

To reheat frozen beef brisket, wrap the meat in foil paper along with 1 cup of beef broth. Bake in a 225F oven for 2-3 hours or until heated through. This method is certain to reheat the beef brisket perfectly. It’ll be juicy and amazing.

Get ready to wow your family and your guests, all the while enjoying your day. This smoked beef brisket is a meal to remember!

whole smoked beef brisket being cut with a knife
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Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

This Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe is easy to prepare with only 3 ingredients and is smoked on low heat in your smoker. It's definitely worth every minute when you taste the flavorful, juicy, tender beef.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 14 hours
Servings 20 servings
Author Candace



  • With a sharp knife, remove excess fat layer on top of beef brisket to no more than ¼ inch thickness.
  • In a small bowl, mix the salt and pepper together and rub evenly over entire beef brisket. Let brisket sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before placing in smoker.
  • Prepare smoker to a temperature of 225F to 250F. Place 4 large hickory wood chunks on charcoals when the temperature reaches 225F.
  • Insert BBQ thermometer probe into the middle of the beef brisket and place brisket on top level of smoker, fat side up. Add second BBQ thermometer probe inside the smoker. Close the lid and set thermometer to an internal temperature (for the meat) of 160F and the smoker temperature to a range of 225F to 250F. Maintain smoker temperature, adding charcoal if needed, using chamber door. Every hour for 5 hours, open chamber door for 1-2 minutes to help create smoke (wood chips should ignite) while maintaining smoker temperature. If possible, do not open smoker lid.
  • BBQ thermometer will alarm when internal temperature of 160F is reached (approximately 7 hours). Remove beef brisket from smoker, wrap in aluminium foil, add beef stock, seal closed and return to smoker at the same temperature of 225F to 250F. Keep the lid of the smoker closed at all times to maintain the temperature.
  • Cook until internal temperature reaches 190F (approximately 5 hours). Remove from the smoker and rest for one hour, leaving beef brisket wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • Remove from foil and slice beef brisket into 1/4 inch pieces, across the grain of the meat and remove any excess fat and sinew. The prime beef brisket cut has a layer of fat in the middle of the brisket and it should be removed before serving. You may also shred beef brisket with shredding tongs if preferred.


For a 20 pound beef brisket, cook time is approximately 16 hours, about 10 hours to reach 160F and 5-6 hours to reach 190F. Increase salt and pepper to ½ cup each.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 423 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 2113mg | Potassium: 909mg | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 5.3mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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cut smoked beef brisket showing the tender meat on the inside

cut smoked beef brisket showing the tender meat on the inside
close up of cut pieces of smoked beef brisket on a white cutting board with a serving fork
smoked beef brisket being cut with a knife




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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This looks super yummy! My husband just bought himself a new smoker to do bigger cuts of meat and this is on our to smoke list of foods!!