Brisket is one of the best cuts of beef for smoking. It is from the muscular breast area of the steer and is therefore tougher than other cuts of beef. It requires low and slow cooking, making it ideal for long smoking.
This cut of meat will do well in any kind of smoker. That includes electric, propane, and charcoal. Timing may differ for each. We’ll explore an electric smoker method here, using the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker but for example any Traeger, Pit Boss or Bradley smoker should also work fine.
There are two debates when it comes to smoking a brisket.
One is whether to marinate it overnight or just apply a dry rub minutes before smoking it. The other is whether to allow the brisket to rest on a cutting board before slicing and serving. Or, should you wrap it in foil, then a towel, and stow it away in a cooler for a couple of hours to allow the juices to absorb back into the brisket before slicing
I am somewhere in-between on both sides of these issues, which is reflected in the recipe.
Dry Rubbed Smoked Brisket Recipe
Dry Rubbed Smoked Brisket
Brisket is one of the best cuts of beef for smoking. Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to smoke perfect brisket in your Masterbuilt smoker.
- 12 pound uncured brisket
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup smoked paprika
- 6 TBS chili powder
- 6 TBS kosher salt
- 4 TBS cracked black pepper
- 4 TBS ground cumin
- 2 TBS garlic or onion powder
- 2 TBS dried oregano
- 2 TBS ground coriander
- 2 tsps cayenne pepper (alter to your liking)
- Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- Mesquite or hickory wood chips
- Remove the brisket from the package and pat dry with paper towels. Clean any connective tissue or silver skin from the lean side. Trim the fat cap down to approximately 1/4 inch thickness, leaving enough on for moisture and flavor. Place the brisket on a large sheet pan.
- Mix all of the dry seasonings together in a bowl. Generously coat all sides of the beef with the dry rub, patting it into the meat. With the fat side up, cover the meat with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. (Make your side dishes while the meat marinates).
- Preheat the smoker to 225˚F. Meanwhile, take the brisket out of the refrigerator and allow it to come slightly to room temperature but still cool.
- Fill the water bowl or pan 1/2 way with the apple cider vinegar. Add the wood chips to the side tray.
- Place the brisket directly on the middle rack with the fat side up. Insert the digital thermometer, if your smoker has one, into the thicker end of the meat. Close the door and set the timer for 10 hours.
- Check the water bowl a few times and refill with ACV as necessary. Check for smoke every hour and refill the wood chip tray as needed.
- Check the internal temperature of the meat after 9 hours. You are looking for between 190˚F and 200˚F.
- Remove the meat to a cutting board and cover it and the board to seal with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest covered for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1398Total Fat: 86gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 41gCholesterol: 481mgSodium: 2243mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 133g
Sweet and Tangy Potato Salad Recipe
Sweet and Tangy Potato Salad
This sweet and tangy potato salad makes a perfect side dish for a smoked brisket.
- 2 pounds of red new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 TBS of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBS yellow or brown mustard
- 1/4 cup of sweet pickles with a tsp of juice, chopped
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Place potato pieces in a pot of cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Then simmer until just tender, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and give them a quick rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.
- In a large bowl, mix the liquid ingredients then add in the celery, pickles, and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
- Serve this alongside your smoked brisket with other sides, such as corn bread and baked beans.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g
Brisket is a very popular Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, or Purim entrée. I attended my first Rosh Hashanah dinner about 15 years ago. The entire meal was a celebratory ritual steeped in the history of the Jewish religion and culture. It made me take a step back, take notice, and be thankful for every bit of food that I was fortunate enough to be served.
It was a long evening, but I enjoyed the pace at which we dined and enjoyed each other’s company. My favorite part was the slow cooked brisket. Well, maybe the apples (new fruit) dipped in fresh honey or the braided challah bread that we shared was just as good.
I asked my hostess how the brisket was prepared. She went into detail about letting it rest in herbs, spices, and aromatics and then braising it for hours. I asked if smoking it was acceptable. She said she didn’t see why not and decided she might try that next time. With further research, I discovered that smoked brisket is a holiday tradition in Texas Jewish culture.
You can find certified kosher brisket with the online and in some grocery stores and butcher shops. Serving it smoked with braised leeks, sauerkraut, and maybe some horseradish would be a nice twist on your holiday meal.
I have a new Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker. I followed the recipe and smoked a 3 3/4 pound brisket. the taste of the brisket was very good however, the brisket meat it self was tough. What did I do wrong? Was it the cut of meat or something else? The internal temp was 175 when I took it out of the smoker.
The recipe stated the internal temp needed to be between 190 – 200 degrees when done. Perhaps it was tough because you needed to cook it longer if your internal temp was 175.
I had the exact same experience with that size of brisket. I don’t know what I did wrong either.
Part of the problem is cooking fat side up. From personal experience, cooking fat side up makes it tougher. Fat does not melt into the meat at that low of a temp – so disregard any comments you read about that.
The fat side should always be nearest to the heating element (which would be down in most smokers).
Always fat side up. Fat melts into the meat this way. You just have to get it to the right temp slowly.
Agree with Jamal. Fat side up does the brisket RIGHT as long as you have the patience to cook it through to the prescribed temperature and not jump the gun by pulling it early. You have to cook it to at least 190 and then let it FALL BACK to 175.
There are so many comments about whether fat side up or down. I’ve tried each way several times and the overall results are similar. What I have found after 20 plus years of using an electric smoker is getting the temperature right and work with the “Stall” period. Either leave the temperature at 225 and wait it out or use the Texas Crutch method. A method that has been around for quite some time.
Low and slow, 225 degrees for as long as it takes depending on the brisket cut, size and reaching 190-200 degrees before pulling. Use an internal meat thermometer and a unit thermometer for best results
I like using the Texas Crutch method because once hitting the “Stall” around 150-165, I simply wrap in foil and place back in the smoker. Once hitting 190-200 I pull and let rest for a minimum of 1 hour.
There are many good comments like the one I’m replying to so use trial and error, have fun and enjoy the Brisket!
I had a similar experience, so I did more research, sometimes the smaller ones are just tougher. It’s more with the cut of meet than your smoking
Hey Joe Can you help me out here. It my fist time wit the smoker and im doing a brisket, what happens if the temp in the unit is 225 and the meat temp is 130 degrees. its been smoking for 2 hrs so far. and just wrapped it for another two.
Thanks for you assistance
Try moving the thermometer or wrapping in aluminum foil and continue cooking. A stall is common, usually around 165 degrees.
Joe, any brisket under 8 pounds I would smoke at 180 to 200 max and always fat side to the heat. You might think the internal temp wouldn’t get hot enough but it will. For the smaller briskets I wrap them in foil at 150 and cook to 185 and them put them in a cooler or oven for 30min max. No worries.
Reaching 190 is very important! This is what breaks down the connective tissue in the brisket, esp if its the top/end cut. Tent it after smoking. 20 min per lb
I have had that issue as well during my early trials. Cooking it longer to that required temperature took care of the tough issue
Did u have a flat cut brisket or a whole one?
I have a 5 pound flat brisket. What’s the best way so it’s not so dang tough?
Buy a whole one. Much better
Simple, drip your smoker temp to 180/185 and slow it down! Texas Crutch at 150 deg and pull at 180 185 deg, wrap and let rest for 30min.
I just got my smoker and love mine with lots of juiciness. I’m getting a feeling it’s about the low and slow and it just takes time. A question I have is, does anyone use a drip tray to catch any of the droppings to use for dipping afterward or do you have other sauce recipes that are good for after cooking/eating?
One you pulled it to early. It’s not a medium rare sirloin your making for a weekday dinner. 190-200 is where the sinew all breaks down (what connects the muscle) like in pulled pork. It will be more like a pork chop at 170. 195 wrap in foil and beach towel drop in empty cooler for hrs. You’ll pull the shank bone out clean with 2 fingers and the whole butt will fall apart on the cutting board.
Same concept. Brisket. Temp it. Rest it. Cut against the grain. Stay away from the flat brisket. Buy the point. Has more fat marble. The marble means a lot as well. And fat side up it will render down through the meat. Low and slow. 225 is the mark. Electric smoker does that for ya. My smoker for a whole hog is a nights worth of work monitoring the digital temp, stoking and adding wood and napping.
Don’t pull the brisket til 203 internal temp
It is not your masterbuilt smoker or your recipes fault. 90% of your smoking meat success is on the type of meat you buy. Make sure the meat is usually prime. If you buy select or choice meat- these two are too lean meat.
I tried a Brisket for the first ri.e last night. I used this recipe and directions. My meat was just shy of five lbs. I calculated the cook time at being just over an hour/lb. I started it at noon hoping to take it out at 5pm and let it rest for about an hour. Well, my problem was that the meat never even got close to 190 degrees internal temp. So I increased the temp and continued to cook. After about an hour, it was only about 160 degrees internal. So I took it out of the smoker, wrapped it in foil and threw it on the BBQ for about 20 min(10in on each side). I took it off and let it rest. Surprisingly, it was pretty good. Not too tough either. Not sure what I could’ve done differently other than putt the meat in the smoker earlier. Other than that, the rub is great and very tasty.
I’m guessing that the internal temperature of the brisket should have been between 190-200 degrees. Lower temperatures don’t break down the fiber in the meat as well and according to food expert Kenji Lopez-Alt, the connective tissues will “melt’ into more a more gelatin like consistency and result in a tender roast once that internal temp is reached.
That said, I’ve also gotten a “chewy” roast and it can be the particular roast more than the cut.
Hope you get it figured out by the 4th, so your bbq will ROCK!
In my limited experience, cut of meat is number one and cook time number two. I cook to 195 internal temp. A friend cooks to 205 degrees. Also, a brisket under 4 pounds may have been just the Flat, with no Point. I’ve cooked just the Flat and it was tough and dry.
Get an oven thermometer and run your smoker empty to check the temperature. I used mine twice and my recipes ran over by hours. I bought an oven thermometer and found out at if I set my smoker to 250 degrees it is actually cooking at 225. Now my food turns out great
So I had a 3.7# brisket. Cooked it for almost 5 hours at 225. Internal temp never got past 147 until I ran the smoker temp up to 250 but I was short on time and pulled the meat out after it hit 153. Taste was good but very chewy. How am I supposed to get to 190? Need some help on this one.
You’ll need to do the foil wrap part of the recipe to get the internal temp up to 190-200. The foil keeps the heat in the brisket.
Question about the Texas Crutch, is it ok if you increase the temp when the brisket is in the crutch? Started at 225, it’s wrapped would it be ok to go to 230?
I’ve read mostly all the posts and yet to see where anyone brine the brisket.. I followed all the instructions also and made the best brisket ever.. remember to try brineing.. that rub is awesome.
Just read in 2020 but if you’re brining you might as well make it into pastrami. Just saying it’s a 5 day brine
The internal temp is non negotiable. I know a chef in Houston that told me two things…an 11-12# brisket should be in the smoker at 225 for 20-24 hours in order to get the internal temp to over 200. It will be tough if you don’t achieve that temp. Also he said do not use any sugar in the rub if you want that Texas style taste. With cooking that long the sugar (brown and/or white) will caramelize and be hard to chew. I have yet to have a brisket that everyone does not rave about.
So the brisket doesn’t dry out overcooking it that long?It is a 11-12 pound brisket?General rule of thumb is 1 hour per pound.
What the recipe is missing is that you need to wrap the brisket with aluminum foil once it reaches between160 and 170 degrees.then you will be able to get to the desired 190 to 200 degrees.without wrapping it will plateau at around 175.
I cooked a 6lb brisket yesterday for the first time in my Masterbuilt smoker. I am a seasoned pulled pork guy but until yesterday had never cooked a brisket. I pulled from 2 recipes, both based on Texas mentality BBQ and it turned out amazing! From coaching friends through their first pulled pork experience I will say the most important part of the process is the internal temp. Most folks tend to get in a hurry when its time for the group to eat and short their meat the time it takes to get to that perfect internal temp of 190-200. I used the Texas Crunch method of wrapping the meat in foil and adding your favorite liquid for the last 2 hours of an 8hr run. My wife usually only eats fish and she came back 3 times on the brisket!
Absolutely correct, Dudley. I recently switched from a propane to electric Masterbuilt 30 smoker. I found that initial cooking at 275 degrees with hydration brought a 3.5# brisket up to 172 degrees within 2.5 hours. I smoked it 3 times during this period. I then wrapped it in foil (tight) and continued to cook it at the same temperature for another 2 hours. The end internal temp was 203 degrees. I allowed it to rest for 20 minutes. It was one of the best briskets I’ve had. It cut with a fork and was absolutely juicy throughout. By the way, the outdoor temp was in the low 30’s and breezy. The smoker performed seamlessly and maintained the set temp consistently.
i have been doing some researching and the majority of what i see is that people are wrapping in foil at aprox 160ish no lower. that is the stall period where the temp kinda holds for a bit . wrapping in foil will help bring the temp up to bout 190 .keep wrapped in foil,then wrap in a couple towels then put in a cooler.
Yep, that’s the way I was taught too by an old timer…..foil wrap, towel or small blanket and into a cooler for hour or two. comes out PERFECT evey time
Hi Smoker Dude,
Are you saying that you refrigerate the brisket for an hour or two? Or, once it comes out of the smoker wrapped in foil you just set in aside, like in an empty cooler? What is the purpose for this?
Smoker Dudes post is s year ago. I believe he is saying after the foil wrapped brisket gets to an internal temp of 190 he then wraps in towel or small blanket and puts it in an empty cooler and let’s it set for 1 hour or two. Cooler being a picnic cooler not refrigerator. Hope this help you.
That’s how I learned and always good
I am finding the internal temperature of the smoker is light by 25-40 degrees, depending on the temperature outside. I have begin shielding the smoker from wind as to not lose temperature due to wind!
Kosher salt, black pepper, a dash of cayenne, and a little paprika are all I use on the brisket. I’ve found the Masterbuilt with the built in thermometer is pretty accurate on temperature. I use a wireless temperature probe (handles a couple of briskets at a time) and wait out the stall (around 160-170). I use trimmed briskets, around 8-10 pounds, and can do up to 4 briskets at a time (always watch both the bottom and middle briskets for temp). Cooking at 220 degrees, I usually run at 8-10 hours to get everything done at 190-195. Never wrap until the end. Briskets have been really good, and really consistent. But the stall still tests my patience.
My usual method is I put the rub on and I do the touch method around hour 3. If the rub is baked on and nothing comes off when I touch it, I take off the brisket. Wrap it, throw some juice on it, and throw it back on the grill until internal temp hits 200-205. Throw it into a cooler for an hour or so, as I clean up and get everything else ready. Serve.
I’m using a gas smoker and getting ready to smoke up a 9.5# brisket, your saying it should take about 10 hrs or so at 225F, do you spray it down with anything? I’m going to use apple chunks of wood. Any idea on how much wood to use?
I agree, the outside temp and wind effect my electric smoker just like my wood smoker. I have to smoke for 17 to 18 hours to get to 200 internal even with temps are warm. The greatest feature of the mastercraft is that it seals and the meat doesn’t dry out as much. I still foil wrap when I take the meat off the smoker. Even on ribs.
How much of the rub do you actually use? I’m smoking a 6-lb brisket. I know too much rub is overwhelming for pork tenderloin but I think brisket requires more seasoning than pork.
I agree that the Masterbuilt internal temp is 15 – 25 degrees lower than the digital read out on the smoker. I bought a wireless Meat Stick and found that setting the smoker at 250 degrees results in a cook temperature of about 225 degrees. Now that I compensate for the temperature correction, my cook times are in line with the recipe. I just finished a 16 lb. brisket in 13 hours at 195 degrees internal meat temp. No foil wrap required. I don’t like to use the foil finishing method because it ruins the bark. This brisket has the best bark I’ve ever made, it’s tender, juicy and tastes fabulous. I used as much rub as would stick to the meat.
Thank you very much for the article and reply’s. Such a huge help.. Ya”ll are awesome. Somewhere down in Texas!!
I’m preparing a brisket for this weekend smoke and I just want to say thanks to those who posted comments here. All are very helpful.
Can you cook this the day before wrap it Add a bit of beef stock to rewarm the next day. As I have Ribs to cook the day of barbecue. Thank you Ethel
you want to get the internal temp about 190 and should help. Also try wrapping it with aluminum foil at the 160 deg mark it will speed up the time and get you over the hump for temp
I’m smoking a 5.2lb brisket flat this weekend in my new masterbuilt propane smoker and could use any tips y’all could give me!!! I’ve seen some that say to soak wood chips and others say not to. I’ve seen to use apple cider vinegar and I’ve seen use just water. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!
Can you cut the brisket in half also does it cut the time in half
Cook til internal temp of 203 deg. Or until u can push a probe thru it like butter.
need some advice, I have made about 3 briskets, been cooking until 205 degrees, wrapping in foil towards the end, and the flat part is crumbly, like roast. Is it overcooked or is it the way I’m cutting it?Cutting across the grain. Thanks, y’all
I’ve used my Master Built Smokers for more than 10 years and I have mastered the smoker.
1. You need to get the internal to 190-195*. The fat tissue will not liquefy to you hit 190* or more.
2. You need to hit 180*within 10 hours on a 10-12 lb. brisket or it will be tough.
3. If its windy or cold outside take the temp up to 235* I use two thermometers to check thick and thin ends of the brisket
4. If you can not get the temp to 190 after 11 to 12 hours and you are out of time for your dinner party, wrap it up in aluminum foil and finish it in the oven at 350* it works great
5. This is my personal touch: aluminum pan, fat side up in pan and allow the brisket to cook in the brisket oil. Clean-up is great, brisket can be cut with a fork and you will be the Master in your home.
6 am start time to serve dinner at 6 pm .
I really wished I had of read your way first! This recipe does not tell you bout the oven and tin foil!!
You’re a life-saver buddy. I was a little too confident in the fact that my 6lb. brisket would be ready by 6ish if I put it in the smoker at 9am. I was very wrong,between 2-5pm the brisket went from 160-172 and stalled at 172 for almost an hour. I remembered reading your comment and got back on here to find it. Worked like a charm, within half an hour my brisket was at 194 and we were eating by 6:15.
I’m doing a 6.3 Lb. Flat Brisket. I rubbed it down with really simple Coarse Sea Salt, Black Fresh Ground Pepper, White Pepper, Garlic Powder and Paprika yesterday. Wrapped it in Peach/Pink Butcher Paper put it back in the fridge over night. I know that Brisket is somewhat temperamental. Before I put it in the smoker this morning, I slathered a very small amount of Peach Puree and sprinkled a small amount of Light Brown Sugar on it. My question is will the Brown Sugar and the Sugar in the Peach Purée screw up the Bark?! I love the crunchy Bark from a Brisket!
I’ll take a frozen brisket put it in a cooler filled with 4-5 quarts of orange soda, let it marinate for 16-24 hrs, wipe it dry and apply my dry rub. Then I’ll put on the pit with the temp hovering between 200-300 for abt 4 hrs. unwrapped. After this I’ll wrap it and leave on the pit for atleast 8-10 hrs while maintaining the temp in the 250 range. I’ll them pull it off and put in the oven (wrapped) with the temp at 225 for 6-8 hrs. Upon them I’ll pull it out, unwrap it and let it sit at room temp for 1-2 hours before slicing it up. I’ve doing this abt abt 40 yrs plus and it’s always tender and delicious.
How large is your brisket? Seems like a long time to cook….
Master Built Recipes are the Best. I have a Master Built Box Smoker and a pellet grill.
My Box smoker is my favorite. But the recipes work on both.
It’s a common myth that fat melts into meat but its actually impossible. Muscle and connective tissue are mostly water and fat is mostly oil. Oil and water don’t mix. The fat will melt and run off the brisket into the pan taking any rub with it. As long as you have a smoker with a heat source from the bottom you should always cook far side down. The fat works as a barrier from the heat and will help keep your brisket tender and delicious. 190 is a bit more than I would recommend I would say 170-180 and when you remove your brisket immediately wrap in foil if you haven’t already done so then wrap in a Beach towel and straight into a cooler for 1-2hrs. This will also help to ensure a more tender finished product. I cooked far side up for many years and made some very good briskets but when I learned the science behind fat side down brisket went from amazing to ribbon worthy.
I have cooked both the flat and tip points in brisket. From a 3/4 lb guy to a 10 lb guy. ALWAYS cook to at least 200°. This allows the tough muscles to break done into a melt in you mouth brisket, this especially goes towards the flat because it’s generally tougher. Wrap it in foil or butcher paper, then in a towel and put it in a cooler for 2 hrs! Seriously wait that long, it makes so much of a difference, and it’s still hot so don’t worry. Brisket smoking means patience….from long smoker hrs, the stall, the wrapping and waiting. It’s al worth it though!!
Followed the dry rub on a 11lb whole brisket. Spritzing etc… 225 heat, 160 then foil wrapped the flat and foil wrapped the tip at 168, pulled at 190. Dry and tough as leather. Took about 12 hours total. Need to try lower and slower next time?
75 mins per pound at 225 degrees seems to work well for me. I also use the Texas Crutch and foil the whole brisket. I don’t care for a barky brisket. 205 internal is what I seek to hit. Then I rest it for at least one hour by wrapping in parchment paper and drop it in a cooler that is gapped just a tad. Brisket is such a labor of love.
Master Built MES30
16lb brisket, had to cut it in half to fit so really 2 8lbs. apple cider and water, mesquite wood, replenished liquid once and chips three times.
Started at 6:00a.m (I freaked out at first because I let it sit outside overnight, apparently they don’t like that, got error code 1, brought inside for 10 minutes, then it was heating, put it back out)
set smoker to 250 (ambient temp 16, no wind), aluminum pan, fat side down used the rub as above (with a lot of substitutions and tweaking due to what was on hand)
covered in foil at about 185, (about hour 9) pulled it when probe said 195 set inside with loose foil
second one (top one) was lagging, it stayed in another hour, set temp to 275 (max) as they say it reads high, it struggled to reach the target all day but it did the last hour.
So if doing again I would rotate the two so they end at the same time, lower one cooked much faster. I had put the better cut on top but we ate the other first.
They both turned out phenomenal, I’ve never had the like before, even paying for award winning highly regarded stuff, mine was better. I do not lie. Lord have mercy that was good. Super tender, crazy juicy amazing flavor. Thanks for posting everyone, I learned a ton and scored big first time out.
Can I leave in the brisket rubbed and in the fridge for more than 4 hours?
I try to leave mine in the fridge overnight or longer.
190+ internal temperature is an absolute for any quality or weight of brisket. Let it stand after removing for 10 minutes minimum… internal temperature will continue to rise. Listen to the Texans, they know brisket.