Beef brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the lower chest of a cow. It is one of the nine beef primal cuts. The brisket muscles support about 60% of the bodyweight of a cow, so it has a lot of tough connective tissue.
Brisket is a barbecue favorite because slow-cooking brisket melts the connective tissue, turning this cut of meat into a tender, melt-in-your-mouth feast.
Though the exact cut varies internationally, in the United States the brisket is cut from the lower breast or chest of the cow. It’s found between the chuck and the shank.
Smoking a brisket the right way is a daylong endeavor. We recommend smoking a 12 to 14-pound brisket for 8 to 9 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, Super Smoke mode, or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees Fahrenheit. We then recommend letting it sit for an hour before slicing it. The time it takes to smoke a brisket depends on a few factors including the size of the brisket and smoking temperature. See our guide below for a step-by-step guide on brisket times and temperatures.
Whether you’re looking to smoke your first brisket or improve on your craft, our ultimate guide can help you make the perfect smoked brisket.
While you don’t want to trim all of the fat off of your brisket, you’ll want to remove some. Get rid of any hard fat that won’t render well during smoking, any fat that will prevent you from seasoning the meat, and any unattractive edge meat that will make your finished brisket look less appealing.
Traeger Pitmaster Matt Pittman will walk you through everything from trimming and seasoning, to smoking a brisket on the Traeger, to achieve full packer perfection. Smoked low and slow, wrapped, and rested, this classic BBQ beef will earn you pitmaster status.
Some types of meat taste best with specific wood pellets - but brisket pairs well with a wide range of wood flavors. Some pitmasters like a robust hickory flavor while others prefer milder woods or sweeter woods like apple. You can even try something like pecan for an especially unique smoked brisket.
Other recommended flavors are:
Cutting your smoked brisket against the grain is absolutely essential. Cutting against the grain guarantees ideal mouthfeel and tenderness. If you cut with the grain, the meat may feel chewy and rough.
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook Time: 12 hrs.
There’s more than one way to smoke a brisket. From super simple beginners' recipes to game plans for the more advanced, we have a little something for everyone. Here are a few of our most popular recipes for you to try out on your pellet grill.
Say hello to bold hickory hardwood flavor. This brisket is given a Traeger Beef Rub coating, then smoked low and slow to tender perfection.
We’re taking everyone’s favorite BBQ dish, brisket, and infusing it with our signature wood-fired flavor. Forget seconds, you’ll be coming back for thirds on this mouthwatering whole packer.
This is the best way to smoke a brisket, worthy of any true Texan. This full packer is injected with Butcher’s Prime, sprayed down with apple juice, rubbed with a prime rib and coffee rub mix, topped with black pepper, and smoked over cherry wood to tender perfection.
This recipe is our foolproof, go-to method for cooking the perfect brisket. A combination of low and slow cooking, plus a long braise in its own beefy juices makes this brisket a blue-ribbon winner.
You can’t mess up this BBQ brisket recipe--Traeger's chef created a bulletproof recipe and method for smoking the perfect brisket. Fire it up on a Friday night and feast like a king all weekend long. Season the brisket one day prior to cooking for the ultimate flavor.
Low and slow makes for brisket perfection. This beef brisket is brined, seasoned generously with Traeger Beef Rub, and cooked over mesquite wood for a smoked meat sure to elevate your BBQ game.
Throw brined corn beef right on the grill and fire away. Grab your green beer; this brisket is gold at the end of the rainbow.
Clear some space in the trophy case because our competition-style brisket recipe will have you wrapped up in winning wood-fired flavor.
Simple spices are all it takes to make your taste buds think they've hit the jackpot. Coffee grounds and our rub are the perfect pairings for your brisket while it smokes low and slow.
Keep It Simple, Stupid. This recipe's amazing simplicity produces such incredibly tender and delicious results. We love it. You'll love it. 'Nuff said.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that we have a lot to say about brisket. With all of the experts we have on hand, we just can’t help it. Here are a few of our most popular articles about brisket from getting the perfect burnt ends to wrapping a brisket and beyond.
Do you cook brisket fat-side up or down? Always smoke brisket with the fattiest side facing down. Learn more about cooking brisket and other FAQs here.
Learn how to smoke a full packer beef brisket. Learn how long it takes to smoke a brisket and at what temperature on your wood-pellet grill.
Learn how to smoke a brisket. This guide will teach you how to trim, season, smoke, wrap, temp, rest, and then cut a brisket on a wood-pellet grill.
Learn how to make a competition brisket. Learn how to trim the brisket, season it, and how to smoke it for the perfect flavor in this detailed guide.
Matt Pittman, famous Pitmaster & founder of Meat Church BBQ, came to Traeger HQ for a Traeger Shop Class & 2 Facebook Lives focusing on brisket and chicken.
Competition BBQ champion Chad Ward shares tips for creating brisket to enter in a BBQ competition. The key to competition brisket is the quality of beef.
Brisket is a cut of beef from the lower breast of a cow.
Burnt ends are called “meat candy” for a reason. Learn how to make this tasty treat that’s sure to be a hit with family and friends.
Whether you use butcher paper or aluminum foil, correctly wrapping your brisket is a crucial part of the cooking process.
Wrapping your brisket is a crucial part of the cooking process. Here, Chad Ward shows you two different ways to wrap your brisket – one using butcher paper, and the other using aluminum foil.
Curtis Nations’ favorite thing to cook, and eat, is brisket. Since this is his competition specialty, he gave us some pointers on how to select a brisket. Look for a brisket with dark, red meat. The fat should be nice, clear, and white. The interstructural fat is the most important — more marbling means more flavor and more tender brisket.
Nothing screams Texas more than this full packer. BBQ brisket injected with Butcher’s Prime, given an apple juice spritz, rubbed down with a prime rib and coffee rub mix, topped with black pepper and slow-smoked over oak. Bring Texas BBQ to your own backyard with this recipe.
A darker take on brisket. Smoked low ‘n slow over hickory, this cut is rubbed down with Traeger Coffee Rub and injected with a beef broth and coffee mixture for an extra punch of flavor.
#BBQtruth: Cook brisket fat-side down. Oil and water don’t mix in life or in BBQ, and a brisket contains both — oil in the fat cap and water in the red meat. Fat will not keep the brisket moist if cooked fat-side up so remember to always cook your brisket fat-side down.
It’s one of the most debated questions in barbeque -- do you smoke brisket fat side up or fat side down? Answer: You should always cook your brisket fat side down. If you cook your brisket fat side up, the fat won’t render the brisket. Instead, it’ll wash away all that amazing seasoning, and prevent the beautiful, uniform bark from forming.
One of the reasons we never get tired of smoked brisket is because it’s a versatile meat. Yes, brisket is incredible on its own, but it’s also an amazing dish when paired with other ingredients. From brisket pot pie to brisket hash, here are a few of our out-of-the-box recipes that feature brisket.
Soothe your St. Patrick’s Day hangover with a savory Irish breakfast. This brisket hash is loaded with protein and will make you forget about those pesky leprechauns that served you loads of beer last night.
Good things come to those who wait. Two words: brisket sandwich. Give it a try, you'll thank us later.
Juicy smoked brisket combined with the classic veggies will have you swapping out the chicken for good.
Saucy, slow-smoked brisket perfection. This Kansas City delicacy is full of savory flavor with a kick of heat you won’t be able to get enough of.
You're not going to find these at your local Mexican joint, but once you try them you'll wish you could. Brisket tacos make for one of the best flavor and texture combos you can imagine.
Say goodbye to plain old ground beef and impress your family and friends with a massive burger masterpiece dripping with flavor.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these smokin’ tacos. Tender, Traeger brisket is wrapped in a tortilla then topped with queso fresco and smoked cilantro lime cream.
A balanced diet consists of a taco in each hand. Wake up and double-fist with brisket. Put that leftover brisket to good use and wrap it up in a warm flour tortilla with soft scrambled eggs, cheese, guacamole and fresh salsa.
Piled high with brisket, cheese, jalapeños, and all the toppings imaginable, Andrew Perloff, from The Dan Patrick Show, believes these nachos deserve their own special teams. Grab your helmet and head out to the grill for winning nachos.
To cook the best brisket, you’re going to need the right tools.
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