In the past I’ve done recipes and videos for competition brisket but this one is a little different. There’s no injection or aggressive trimming, it’s just seasoning, smoke, and time.

I start with a 12-14lb whole brisket which is the perfect size for fitting into a Food Saver bag. It’s hard to wrestle bigger briskets trust me on this. You can expect a 12-14lb brisket to yield about 6-7lbs cooked which is enough meat to feed a dozen or more people.

beef brisket ready for the smoker

Since we’re not injecting or marinating this brisket, it needs a good dose of seasonings on the outside to drive the flavor. I start with Butcher BBQ’s Steak and Brisket Rub. This rub is a combination of Salt, Garlic, Onion, Lemon Pepper, and herbs. It’s a great base layer for any cut of beef. You can substitute any seasoning here even Salt, Pepper, Garlic will work.

Next I apply my rub (The BBQ Rub.). It’s got some peppers and it’s going to give a great color to the Brisket. Plus it’s going to add just a touch of sweetness to give you a perfect balance… which is all your need for beef in my opinion.

Give it a good coat all over the brisket. Make sure you get the edges covered and any get it down in all the folds. You want seasoning on all surfaces.

The Last layer of seasoning is Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick. Not only does it bring more flavor to the bark but it also creates texture due to the coarse grind of the spices in it.

beef brisket with rub ready for the slow-smoker

Once again here’s where this recipe differs:

At a contest I would cook brisket fat side down the entire time. But you have to remember with my competition briskets I’ve trimmed off most of the fat, and I’ve injected it with at least 16oz of liquid.

Also I’m more concerned with the appearance of the competition brisket. We’re judged on one bite most of the time and as you can imagine that bite has to be packed with flavor, moisture, and has to look like it came out of a magazine. You wouldn’t want to sit down and eat a plate of this brisket. It’s simply to rich and over the top.

For this “Eating Brisket” we’re not worried about the extra fat or what it looks like after it’s cooked, so I’m going to cook it fat side up the entire time. I want the final product to have a “beefy” flavor but not be enhanced or artificial.

I also want to taste the spice and smoke on the outside. This is the way brisket was meant to be cooked!

beef brisket on the smoker

So I have the brisket on the pit, fat-side up and the temp holding steady at 250 degrees. For smoke I use a few chunks of pecan and cherry wood, but not too much. It’s easy to overpower beef with smoke. The cherry will give you all the color and smoke ring it needs, trust me on this.

At this point you can set a timer and relax for a few hours. Keep the temp steady at 250 and the door closed. After 4 ½ hours it’s time to take a look.

I don’t go by internal temperature at this point. I know some folks say to take it to 165 or 170 before you wrap, but I really don’t care what the internal is right now. What is important is the color on the outside. It should be dark but not burnt. I want a mahogany color not a meteorite!

beef brisket on the smoker

Once the color is right on the outside, I wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. Pull off strips about 36” long and lay them cross wise over each other. I use at least 3 layers because I don’t want any leaks. Carefully place the brisket back on the cooker to finish.

beef brisket with a beautiful color

The temp should be holding steady at 250 for the remainder of the cook and it’s probably going to take about 4 more hours. Typically a 14lb brisket takes me 9 hrs to cook at 250.

beef brisket wrapped on smoker

It’s a good rule of thumb but not always the case. This is where the internal temperature becomes crucial.

Brisket needs to get to 198 degrees in the thickest part of the flat. Sometimes it happens is 8 hours, sometimes it’s 12. There’s no exact science here but be patient and start checking around the 7 ½ hour mark.

Once I see 198 in the flat, it’s time to get it off the heat. Open up the foil and let the steam escape for 5 minutes, then cover it loosely and let it rest. I place it in a cambro or clean, empty cooler for at least 2 hours.

smoked beef brisket ready to eat

Since I’m giving this brisket as a gift, I needed it to cool completely before vacuum sealing.

After the 2 hour rest, I chilled it in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Then it was easy to slide into the 11” Food Saver bag.

I also poured the drippings into a pyrex measuring cup and let it chill in the fridge. Once the fat comes to the top, dip it off and pour the remaining Jus in the bag with the brisket. It makes some really good liquid for reheating the brisket.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

34 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Rich February 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm -

    I love the brisket. I made a video about it. I thought you guys would appreciate it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsYUaWOXgy4

  2. bbq smokehouse February 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm -

    The best BBQ is always cooked for hours. I love that you cook it for 9 hours!

  3. Administrator March 11, 2014 at 7:50 am -

    low and slow is how BBQ should be cooked

  4. Todd March 28, 2014 at 9:49 am -

    Malcolm, I followed your recipe for easy smoked brisket. It was hands down the best brisket I’ve ever made. Thanks for sharing all your recipes and techniques, they have been very helpful. I really enjoy your website and blog.

  5. Linda Nguyen March 31, 2014 at 8:37 am -

    I am a housewife, I regularly eat BBQ for the weekend. I had marinated grilled meat in the grill about 5 hours, then I manually sauce to eat with bbq.

  6. Administrator April 1, 2014 at 9:57 am -

    Thanks for checking it out

  7. wayne stapleton April 22, 2014 at 11:57 am -

    Hi Malcom ! I was just going over your easy brisket recipe . Do you trim any fat off the brisket at all ? also what’s the best way to heat it ? you have some great bbq recipes . Thanks for helping with the great recipes .
    Regards Wayne

  8. Administrator April 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm -

    When I’m cooking at a contest, I will trim the fat off because I’m thinking about the final appearance – plus I inject and wrap and baby competition briskets, so I don’t loose any moisture or flavor by removing the fat. If I’m cooking a brisket at home to eat, I rarely trim off the fat. Fat is flavor – and since I’m not worried about putting this brisket in a blind box, I want to leave it on.

  9. Olyphant May 7, 2014 at 11:59 am -

    Smoked items are always mouthwatering its not exception. Its looking so delicious. Thinking about the taste and feel it. Thanks malcom for share this cool item. will try it soon.

  10. Vince May 13, 2014 at 6:54 am -

    Hi Malcom, I am going to smoke my first brisket using this method. My question is what is the best way to reheat the brisket if you are giving it away as a gift or freezing it to use later?

  11. Administrator May 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm -

    I keep it whole and put it in a food saver bag. That helps to keep it fresh and allow me to freeze it. Then I just give it to them whole – usually with some instructions on how to reheat it.

  12. Scot October 3, 2014 at 9:42 am -

    Hi Malcom,
    I also need to know the best way to reheat a finished brisket
    Thanks

  13. Administrator October 6, 2014 at 9:29 am -

    When I cook a brisket to re-heat it, I like to save the au jus that cooks off. I let it all cool down and place the brisket in the fridge – then skim the fat off the jus and save that in the fridge too.

    When it comes time to reheat I take the cold brisket and slice it, put the slices in a large pan with the jus and put it in the oven or the cooker at 250 for about 1 hour.

    This keeps it moist and juicy.

  14. Brian Parke October 10, 2014 at 7:00 am -

    I vacuum pack whole pork butts and freeze. I simply place the frozen bag in a pot of cold water and heat them up together to a slight boil. Boil lightly for a while. Then open bag (be careful). The pork pulls apart and tastes just like you pulled it off the smoker. I assume you can do this with brisket…

  15. Mark Beringer October 17, 2014 at 10:46 am -

    Malcolm, I have an electric smoker that uses the fine wood chips. I see some people soak the chips in water. Would you suggest I do the same with the finer chips? I am going to try a brisket. I have already used your pulled pork recipe and that was AWSOME…

  16. Administrator October 20, 2014 at 7:48 am -

    I wouldn’t soak any wood before putting it on the smoker. It creates the wrong type of smoke. I want a pure smoke that comes from smoldering dry wood. I have an article you can check out here: http://howtobbqright.com/blog/?p=1777

  17. Brian November 8, 2014 at 9:53 am -

    Malcolm, I’m new to the smoking world. Just got a Mak grill 2star General and I’m loving it. I’ve watched several of your videos. Made the ribs and my family went crazy over them. About to smoke my first brisket. If we smoke a smaller brisket (1/2 the size) how much less time will it take to smoke? Thanks!

  18. Watersmoke January 17, 2015 at 6:49 am -

    Hey
    In smoking a brisket. I have a propane smoker & it has a 1gallon water pan above the wood chips. My question is should I use water in this for smoking the brisket? Full half or none??
    Thanks

  19. Administrator January 21, 2015 at 8:20 am -

    You can use your water pan… but personally I wouldn’t. I want that deep, crunchy bark on the outside of my brisket and you just aren’t going to get that with a water pan.

  20. Watersmoke January 26, 2015 at 4:34 am -

    thank you kindly for the advise on no water pan for the brisket. But how about chicken or pork ribs?
    Thanks for the advise!!!
    Eat well

  21. Administrator January 26, 2015 at 8:06 am -

    I like to use a water cooker for ribs.

  22. Omar February 4, 2015 at 10:53 pm -

    Hello Malcom,
    I enjoy your videos very helpful. Would you recommend mopping a beef brisket? Can I use mustard on the brisket to hold the rub?

  23. Administrator February 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm -

    I don’t like to mop brisket. I want to go for that dark, crunchy bark. And I don’t think the mustard gives that much flavor – so I don’t see a problem using it on a brisket. If you wanted, you could use a cooking oil instead to get the rub to stick… but I think mustard would be fine.

  24. Alex March 1, 2016 at 3:01 am -

    Hey Malcolm,

    Excellent videos and great information. As a newcomer to BBQ, it has helped a bunch.

    I’ve tried a few brisket flats and my stall is occurring at like 140F about 5 hours in. Is it safe to wrap at this point? Thanks a bunch!

  25. Administrator March 3, 2016 at 9:21 am -

    Yeah – I usually wrap when my brisket has the right color instead of going by internals on the wrap stage.

  26. Tom May 28, 2016 at 9:12 am -

    Killer Hog, I’m a novice when using a vacuum sealer. Please slow down a bit and explain the process of vacuum sealing the brisket and pouring the juice back into the bag. Are there two bags? I’m confused.

  27. Larry July 11, 2016 at 7:45 am -

    This looks really tasty from the pictures, i will try to make something like this aswell for my family !

  28. Dale July 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm -

    I tried your beef briskit for the firestorm time ever smoking meat an I have to say it turned out really good. I had a few friends over to try it out an now all I. Hear is when am I going to make another one. I really thank you for putting that out there for people to try.

  29. tim July 29, 2016 at 7:23 am -

    I’m using a master built electric smoker and have had mixed results with my brisket. What temp should I use? Leave the fat cap? If so, up or down? Apply the rub the night before, or right before putting it in ? And should I inject? Thank you.

  30. Jeffrey G Short August 3, 2016 at 7:27 am -

    how long can i leave a easy smoked brisket in the cooler and still be the correct temp to serve

  31. Dave kreshpane August 27, 2016 at 9:43 am -

    Great common sense approach to
    Doing a backyard brisket .
    To often the technical stuff you read online especially when rolling smoke
    Cooking a brisket or other larger cuts
    Of meat – can create a uneccassary challenge . Great job on your information ….

  32. plasterer bristol November 14, 2016 at 10:24 pm -

    This looks and sounds so delicious. Thank you for putting this up.

    Simon

  33. Jonathan November 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm -

    Doing 3 6lb briskest this weekend. Should I follow the same temps and recipe for a smaller brisket like these??? Thanks

    PS Love the killer hogs sauce and rub I bought this summer. Good stuff!!!

  34. Administrator November 25, 2016 at 9:47 am -

    Keep the temps the same – but watch your internal temps. You will go by the internal temps instead of time. But It won’t take as long – probably half the time.

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