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Explore the world of brisket mastery with Traeger—learn the secrets of smoking and discover top recipes in one convenient place.

What is a Brisket?

When it comes to brisket, common questions come up like "What is brisket?", "What part of the cow is brisket?", "What cut of meat is brisket?", "Is brisket beef or pork?" At Traeger, we have the answers.

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 body weight 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.

What Cut of Meat is Brisket?

Though the exact beef cut varies internationally, in the United States, brisket is cut from the lower chest of the cow located between the chuck and shank. This flavorful cut boasts two primary muscles: the point and the flat, working in perfect harmony to craft that timeless, melt-in-your-mouth brisket experience that barbecue enthusiasts can't resist.

How To Smoke A Brisket

Whether you’re a first-time Traeger owner or pitmaster, discover our ultimate guide on how to smoke a brisket. Learn everything from how to trim to how to make burnt ends, and discover top recipes. Smoked low and slow, wrapped, and rested, this classic BBQ beef will earn you pitmaster status.

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Recommended Products

To cook the best brisket, you’re going to need the right tools.

How Long to Smoke A Brisket

Smoking a brisket the right way is a daylong endeavor. We recommend smoking a 12 to 14-pound brisket (otherwise known as a full packer) for 8 to 9 hours at 225℉, Super Smoke mode, or until the internal temperature reaches 204℉. 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.

Pro Tip: Smoking time also depends on if you're smoking a brisket fat side up or fat side down.

When To Wrap A Brisket

Wrapping a brisket is a crucial step to getting that delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture. Not only does it help seal in moisture so that it doesn't dry out during the long cooking process, but it also helps maintain the bark (outer crust) that forms on the meat during cooking.

Cutting Brisket

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.

Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Brisket

Some types of meat taste best with specific wood pellets - but if you're looking for the best pellets for brisket, you'll find that a wide range of wood flavors works. 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.

Variations For Smoked Brisket

While there are some tried and true methods for how to cook a brisket, there are different techniques that you can try to get the best results:

  • Binder vs. No Binder: Some pitmasters use mustard or olive oil to bind their rub, while others season the meat directly for a purist approach.
  • Wrapping in Butcher Paper vs. Foil: Both methods have their perks. Butcher paper breathes for optimal bark while foil seals in moisture for tender perfection.
  • Smoking Temperature: At Traeger, we swear by low and slow, letting wood-fired flavor seep into every bite of your brisket. But if time's short, bumping up to 275°F gets you there faster without compromising taste.
  • Fat Side Up vs. Down: Competitors opt for fat side down for slicing ease, smoke ring, and bark, while fat side up enthusiasts enjoy the intact fat cap for a tender texture.

Fat Side Up or 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.

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All Brisket Videos

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Top Brisket Recipes

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.

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What To Serve With Beef Brisket

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Brisket How-Tos, Guides, and Tips & Tricks

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.

Beginner's Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins.

Cook Time: 12 hrs.

Serves: 8-12

Effort: 2/5

Ingredients -

  • 1 (6 lb) flat cut brisket, trimmed
  • As Needed Traeger Beef Rub
  • 2 cup beef broth, beer or cola
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • As Needed Traeger Texas Spicy BBQ Sauce

Preparations -

  1. When ready to cook, set Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  2. Season on both sides with the Traeger Beef Rub.
  3. Make the Mop Sauce: In a clean spray bottle combine the beef broth, beer or cola with apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Arrange the brisket fat-side down on the grill grate and smoke for 3 to 4 hours, spraying with the mop sauce every hour.
  5. Increase the grill temperature to 225℉ and continue to cook, spraying occasionally with mop sauce, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reaches 204℉, this should take about 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Foil the meat and let it rest for 30 minutes. Slice with a sharp knife across the grain into pencil-width slices. Serve with BBQ sauce. Enjoy!