Smoked Brisket Recipe + Tips and Tricks

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Create mouth watering Smoked Brisket on a wood or pellet smoker with simple techniques & delicious marinade, rub and wet mop recipes! My family has tested and perfected this recipe over the last three decades.

It’s the perfect main course for your next BBQ and the leftovers make a delicious sandwich! Serve this tender, juicy smoked brisket with Buffalo Potato Salad and THE BEST Bacon Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad!

Sliced smoked brisket on wood serving platter

Growing up in Oklahoma, smoking meats was a regular occurrence at family get-togethers. My Grandpa owned an Oklahoma Joe’s smoker when I was growing up. He then passed it down to my Dad. When I started showing an interest in cooking, my Dad taught me how to smoke meats out on my Grandpa’s smoker.

For the past decade my Dad and I would smoke brisket, pulled pork and ribs whenever I would come home to visit in the summer. This last year I became the proud owner of my very own smoker, a Traeger pellet grill and smoker.

I spent the last year testing and perfecting my smoked brisket and pulled pork recipes. I’m still using the smoked brisket marinade, rub and wet mop recipes that my family has been using for years. But I have found a few techniques, tips and tricks to make my families smoked brisket recipe even better!

I was super intimidated when I first started smoking my own brisket. But now that I’ve got the recipe and method down, it’s so easy, I make it all the time!

Sliced smoked brisket on wood tray

Smoked Brisket Recipe

To create the perfect smoked brisket recipe, you’re really looking at four simple steps.

  1. Marinate the brisket
  2. Rub the brisket
  3. Smoke & wet mop the brisket
  4. Let the brisket rest before slicing

Smoked brisket recipe instructional images

Smoked Brisket Marinade Recipe

  • Combine the smoked brisket marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. For the marinade, you’ll need soy sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, garlic powder and white vinegar.
  • Place the brisket in a large dish and cover with the marinade. I’ve made this recipe with everything from a 6 pound to 14 pound brisket. Depending on how many people you’re serving, I like to plan 1/2 lb meat per person. You’ll most often find a packer brisket, which includes the point and the flat, averages 12-14 lbs.
  • Cover the marinating brisket with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. I like to flip the brisket at least 2-3 times to make sure it’s marinating on both sides. I usually marinate the brisket while I’m sleeping, so I put the brisket in the marinade for 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Flip it once before I go to sleep, then flip it once again the next morning.

Smoked Brisket Rub Recipe

  • In a small bowl combine the brisket rub ingredients. For the rub, you’ll need kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. You’ll also need chili powder, oregano, parsley and sugar.
    • Quick Tip! Since I make this smoked brisket recipe so often now, I multiply the rub recipe by at least 4 each time I make it. This way I already have the rub on hand next time I’m ready to smoke a brisket.
  • Sprinkle the rub generously over the entire brisket and rub it into the meat.

Smoked Brisket Wet Mop Recipe

  • Add white vinegar, canola oil and red wine to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a slight boil. Add a sliced onion, crushed garlic cloves, sliced lemon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cover and take the wet mop out to the smoker to wet mop the meat throughout the cooking process. Brush the brisket with the wet mop approximately every 30 minutes while smoking.

Smoked Brisket Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • How to trim a Brisket: I recommend leaving at least 1/4 inch of fat cap on the brisket. The fat will render throughout the cooking process and give the meat great flavor. I’ve smoked the brisket fat side up and fat side down and don’t find it makes a difference.
  • Ideal Smoking Temperature for Brisket: Brisket should be smoked at 225°F. Low and slow is the name of the game with smoked brisket!
  • Texas Crutch Technique: this is a great way to speed up the smoking process on large cuts of meat like a brisket or pork shoulder. It will also help keep the brisket moist and tender.
    • When a large piece of meat hits a certain temperature it begins to “stall”. (Using pit-master language here y’all!) This basically means that the temperature of the meat has hit a plateau. The brisket is essentially releasing so much liquid that it’s actually cooling down the temperature of the meat.
    • The Texas Crutch technique was invented to combat this “stall” time while smoking meats.
    • To use this technique, tightly double wrap the brisket in foil when it reaches between 150-160°F.
    • I like to place two large pieces of foil on top of each other on the grill grate, then add the brisket on top of the foil when I begin smoking it.  This way I do not have to remove the brisket from the smoker to wrap it in foil. I simply use my Ove Gloves to place two more pieces of foil on top of the brisket, then pull the foil pieces together to tightly wrap the brisket.
    • Place a meat thermometer in the meat through the foil to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. Once it hits 203°F, remove the brisket from the foil and place back on the smoker for an additional 30 minutes. This last 30 minutes will help finish the deliciously crispy bark on the brisket.
    • If using the Texas Crutch method, brush liberally with the wet mop before wrapping, then discontinue wet mopping throughout the remainder of the cooking process.
    • Mark over at Food Fire Friends has a really great and extensive article on The Texas Crutch on his site.  If you’re a smoker nerd like me and want to learn even more, I definitely recommend checking it out!
  • Cooking time for smoked brisket: this will vary based on the size of the brisket, but expect around 60 minutes per pound of meat using the Texas Crutch method or 90 minutes per pound of meat without the Texas Crutch method.
  • Let it rest! After removing the brisket from the smoker, place it on a large cutting board. Loosely wrap meat with foil and allow it to rest for one hour. This will guarantee that all the juices stay in your meat and don’t leak out.
    • Quick Tip! I like to use an electric cutting knife to slice the brisket after it’s rested. Be sure to always slice against the grain.
  • What wood to use for smoking:  whether you’re using wood, pellets or wood chips, I recommend hickory as my top choice. With mesquite or apple as close second choices.

Tools Needed to Smoke Brisket

Overhead shot of sliced brisket on round wood serving tray

What to serve with Smoked Brisket

The traditional Texas way to serve brisket is with BBQ sauce on the side. Slices of white bread, pickles and raw or pickled red onions are also served with the brisket.

For side dishes, mac and cheese, potato salad, pasta salad and corn are all popular sides found at BBQ restaurants, served with smoked brisket. Here are a few of my favorite sides that I regularly serve with smoked meats.

  • BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese – I simply leave out the chicken when serving this recipe as a side dish.
  • Roasted Cauliflower Salad – for a healthy side dish option that everyone raves about, I toss this cauliflower salad on the menu!
  • Watermelon Salsa – so refreshing in the summer! I serve this scrumptious salsa with tortilla chips while the meat is smoking.
  • Spicy Buffalo Macaroni Salad – for a pasta salad with a kick, try this recipe which features my favorite sauce!
  • Kale Apple Slaw – for a fun twist on coleslaw, I love this crunchy kale slaw recipe!

Made this recipe and loved it? Be sure to rate it 5 stars in the recipe card below! Have questions about smoking brisket? Comment below and ask away!

Sliced smoked brisket on wood tray
4.19 from 11 votes
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Smoked Brisket

Create mouth watering Smoked Brisket on a wood or pellet smoker with these simple techniques & delicious marinade, rub and wet mop recipes!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 9 hours
Marinating Time 6 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Servings 20 people
Calories 520 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 12-14 lb boneless trimmed brisket

Marinade

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

Dry Rub

  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar

Wet Mopping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Instructions

Brisket Marinade

  1. Place the brisket in a large bowl or dish, leaving enough room for it to be covered in the marinade.

  2. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the marinade over the brisket to cover.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.

  5. Flip the brisket 2-3 times so that both sides get marinated.

  6. After the brisket has marinated, remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry.

Brisket Rub

  1. Combine all of the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl, then rub generously over the entire brisket.

Brisket Wet Mop

  1. Prepare the wet mopping sauce by placing the vinegar, oil and wine in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.
  2. Bring to a slight boil, then add the onion, garlic, lemon, pepper and salt.
  3. Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Cover the wet mop and take out to the smoker to use throughout the smoking process.

Smoked Brisket

  1. Add hickory, mesquite or apple wood, wood chips or pellets to the smoker.

  2. Heat the smoker to 225°F.

  3. Place two large sheets of foil on top of each other in the smoker. Place the brisket fat side down or up, it doesn't matter, on top of the foil. 

  4. Brush with the wet mop. Continue brushing with the wet mop approximately every 30 minutes while the meat is smoking.

  5. Smoke the meat to an internal temperature for 200-205°F. This will take approximately 90 minutes per pound of meat or 60 minutes per pound of meat using the Texas Crutch Technique shown below.

  6. Remove the meat from the smoker, place on a cutting board, loosely wrap with foil and let rest for 60 minutes before slicing.

  7. Slice the meat against the grain.

Texas Crutch Technique - optional

  1. To speed up the smoking process and eliminate the "stall" time (see notes below), tightly double wrap the brisket in foil when it reaches an internal temperature between 150-160°F.

  2. If using the Texas Crutch method, brush liberally with the wet mop before wrapping, then discontinue wet mopping throughout the remainder of the cooking process.

  3. Place a meat thermometer in the meat through the foil until it reaches 203°F. 

  4. Remove the brisket from the foil and continue cooking directly on the grill grate for an additional 30 minutes.

  5. Remove the meat from the smoker, place on a cutting board, loosely wrap with foil and let rest for 60 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes

  • The "stall" time is when the internal meat temperature hits a plateau. This is due to moisture releasing from the meat and cooling down the brisket. This can be combatted by using the Texas Crutch technique. 
  • If time is not an issue, the Texas Crutch technique does not need to be used, as the meat will eventually start to rise in temperature again, it will just take approximately 30 minutes more per pound of meat.
  • If your butcher has not already trimmed the brisket, you'll want to trim the brisket, leaving at least 1/4 inch of fat cap on the meat.
  • I recommend hickory wood or pellets for this recipe, but mesquite and apple also work well.
  • I recommend 1/2 lb of meat per person, so pick out the brisket size based on how many people you're serving.
  • If using a smaller brisket, cut the ingredients for the rub in half. 
  • The rub ingredients can also be multiplied by 5 or 10 times and stored in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, in the pantry for up to 2 years.