How Long To Smoke A Brisket

Nothing quite satisfies our carnivore instincts like a rich, juicy smoked brisket. Brisket is a tough and flavorful cut of meat that transforms into a succulent, tender, drool-worthy art piece if smoked low and slow for hours. How long should you smoke a brisket?

How long to smoke brisket ultimately depends on the size and weight of the cut, brisket style (flat or point), and smoking temperature. The best temperature to smoke brisket is 225F. It will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours per pound to cook when smoking a brisket at 225 degrees.

Whether you’re a seasoned smoke master or the novice owner of a new backyard smoker, it’s essential to remember that no matter how perfect your cut of meat is, incorrect temperatures and times can damper your results. Here’s the ultimate guide on how long to smoke a brisket.

How Long To Smoke A Brisket

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to how long you should smoke a brisket. Finding the perfect temperature and cooking time is tricky. It ultimately depends on personal preference.

The most recommended temperature to smoke brisket is 225⁰F. You can expect the brisket to take between 1.5 to 2 hours per pound to cook at 225 degrees. However, the cooking time can vary depending on the brisket’s size and weight, the thickness of the meat, even heat distribution, and how often you open and close the lid to check the progress.

Temperature changes will alter the cooking time and offer different flavors and textures. For example, cooking brisket at 250 degrees instead of 225 degrees can cut the cooking time in half, but it will be less tender and have an intense smoky flavor.

Beef brisket is a pretty large cut of meat that can take up to 15 hours (or more) to cook. For best results, use an accurate meat thermometer and keep track of how much time passes while smoking the brisket. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Why Should You Smoke Brisket Low and Slow?

Brisket is a primal cut of beef that comes from the breast section. This triangular cut of muscle supports a lot of the cow’s body weight. It contains a large amount of connective tissue, collagen, and fat, making it a tough cut of meat. Consequently, brisket needs low and slow cooking to transform into a rich, tender, juicy delicacy.

Although smoking a brisket at a high temperature will thoroughly smoke and cook the meat, the fat, collagen, and connective tissue won’t have sufficient time to break down and cook evenly, resulting in a dry, tough piece of meat.

Note: You can’t go too low, either! Beef needs to be cooked at a minimum internal temperature of 145F  to prevent unsafe consumption, per USDA recommendations.

How Do I Know if The Brisket is Done?

The only sure way to test if your brisket is cooked is by testing its internal temperature. The preferred temperature is between 190 – 200⁰F. Higher temperatures can result in a dried-out cut of meat.

You can test the internal temperature using a meat or food thermometer. For the most accurate reading, probe the brisket at the thickest part.

Read also: How Long to Smoke Ribs

Many seasoned brisket smokers love to use the fork method to test if the brisket is cooked. Simply run a fork through the brisket. If it slides through effortlessly – as it would penetrate into a stick of butter – the brisket is ready.

How To Smoke Brisket At Different Temperatures

After selecting a high-quality brisket, the temperature is the most critical aspect of the smoking process. It plays a major role in the texture and flavor of the meat.

The time it takes to smoke brisket depends on various factors, but size and temperature are the most critical. The bigger your brisket and the lower the smoking temperature, the longer it takes.

As a ballpark figure, you will need to smoke brisket between 1 to 2 hours per pound at 210 – 250⁰F. These ranges ensure that the brisket’s fat and connective tissue dissolves and cook evenly.

Raising the temperature up to 275 and 300 degrees can drop the cooking time to 30 to 45 minutes per pound, but it will lack tenderness and juiciness. In contrast, smoking brisket below 210 degrees can produce dry meat with a tough texture, as the fat and connective tissue won’t break down properly.

Remember you’re looking for a magic 190 to 205-degree internal temperature. Once your brisket reaches this heat, remove it from the smoker or grill, wrap it in foil, and allow it to rest to soak up the juices.

How Long To Smoke A Brisket At 225

Smoking brisket at 225⁰F creates a tender, moist piece of meat. It is ideal for smoking a brisket at 225 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours per pound of beef.

For example:

  • A 4-pound brisket will take between 6 and 8 hours to cook.
  • A 10-pound brisket takes between 15 and 20 hours to cook.
  • A 15-pound will take between 22.5 and 30 hours to cook.

How Long To Smoke A Brisket At 250

Raising your smoking temperature to 250⁰F reduces the cooking time to approximately 1 and 1½ hours per pound. 250 degrees is still ideal for producing tender, succulent meat. Some even believe the rendered fat has a better texture at this temperature.

For example:

  • A 4-pound brisket will take between 4 and 6 hours to cook.
  • A 10-pound brisket takes between 10 and 15 hours to cook.
  • A 15-pound will take between 15 and 22.5 hours to cook.

How Long To Smoke A Brisket At 275

While most pit masters smoke their brisket between 225- and 250⁰F, you can still achieve a perfectly cooked brisket at 275 degrees. However, you’ll need to keep a very close eye on the thermometer while cooking the brisket.

The brisket will naturally cook faster at 275 degrees. On average, it takes between 30 and 45 minutes per pound to cook.

For example:

  • A 4-pound brisket will take between 2 and 3 hours to cook.
  • A 10-pound brisket takes between 5 and 7.5 hours to cook.
  • A 15-pound will take between 7.5 and 11.25 hours to cook.

Smoking Brisket At 225 Vs. 250

Time is the most significant difference between smoking brisket at 225 degrees versus 250 degrees. You can expect to half the smoking process when you up the heat to 250 degrees.

However, smoking meat at 225 degrees is a safer option to ensure the brisket is tender and evenly cooked. It gives the tough and chewy pieces of connective tissue and fat enough time to fully dissolve. Smoking the brisket at a lower temperature reduces the risk of overcooked and dried-out meat.

Smoking brisket at 250 degrees can deliver the same juicy, tender texture. Still, you’ll need to be a lot more careful to avoid dry, overcooked meat.

How To Smoke Different Pieces Of Brisket

A brisket has two primary cuts: the flat and the point.

The flat cut consists of the majority of the brisket. It is long, thin, meatier, and leaner. However, it has a thick fat cap that moistens the meat when cooked. The flat cut is best for slicing.

The point cut is the smaller, thicker, and fattier part of the brisket. It contains more fat, marbling, and connective tissue. The point cut packs a ton of flavor but yields less meat. It is best for shredding.

We highly recommend smoking smaller cuts of brisket – both flat and point – at 225 degrees. The flat cut is long and thin and can dry out quickly in too high temperatures, and the point is thicker with more fat marbling and connective tissue that needs extra time to dissolve.

However, if you’re smoking a whole beef brisket (Packer’s Cut) left untrimmed, you can tweak the heat to 250 degrees to speed up the process. The larger the cut of meat, the more ‘wiggle room’ to achieve soft, tender meat without it drying out too quickly. 

Lastly, consider the fat cap and marbling of the cut of brisket. The fat acts as an insulator that slows the cooking rate and prevents it from drying out. If your brisket has a thick fat cap, you can smoke the meat at 250 degrees. The fat will dissolve and soak into the meat, keeping it moist and succulent. However, it’s best to stick to 225 degrees when the brisket has a thin layer of fat to prevent the meat from turning dry. 

How Long To Smoke Brisket

Simply put, you need to smoke a brisket until it’s done and reaches the magic internal temperature of 190 – 205⁰F. The time it takes to reach this temperature depends on what temperature you’re smoking the brisket.

Low and slow cooking at 225 degrees takes longer, whereas cranking up the heat to 250 or 275 degrees speeds up the process but increases the risk of overcooking.

How Long To Smoke A 3 Lb. Brisket

You can enjoy a perfectly tender 3-pound brisket within 4.5 to 6 hours if you smoke it between 225- and 250⁰F. You can quickly overcook a small piece of brisket, be sure to have hawk eyes on the brisket every step of the process.

Some chefs suggest charring the point cut of brisket. The extra fat content will melt into the meat, creating a succulent, smokey masterpiece.

How Long To Smoke A 4 Lb. Brisket

Smoke a 4-pound brisket for 6 to 8 hours for the tastiest piece of meat. Be sure to check the internal temperature regularly. Too little heat can leave you disappointed with a tough and chewy piece of meat, and too much heat can render and overcook your brisket.

 Take the brisket off the smoker as soon as it hits 190⁰F.

How Long To Smoke A 10 Lb. Brisket

Brace yourself; a ten-pound brisket takes more than half a day to thoroughly cook. Expect to smoke the brisket for 15 to 20 hours at 225⁰F. You can cut the time to around 10 hours if you cook it at 250 degrees.

The smoker temperature, the thickness of the brisket, and how frequently you open and close the smoker’s lid to check the progress will impact the cooking time. Occasionally check on the brisket to ensure the temperature stays constant.

How Long To Smoke A 15 Lb. Brisket

Slow and steady does it. A 15-pound brisket is a full-day process. It takes around 22.5 and 30 hours to cook till perfection at the ideal temperature of 225 degrees.

Feel free to speed up the process by cranking the heat to 250 degrees. A large 15-pound brisket won’t dry out as quickly as the smaller cuts.

Once again, ensure the internal temperature hits 290 to 205 degrees before taking it off the smoker.

How To Short Brisket Smoking Time?

There are numerous ways to shorten a brisket’s cooking time without sacrificing texture or flavor. Here are our top five tips.

  1. Increase the smoker’s temperature to 350 degrees instead of 225 degrees.
  2. Even heard of the Texas Crunch Method? Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil or some pink butcher paper to reduce the cooking time by 30 to 45 minutes per pound. You’ll love the smoky flavor and crispy bark outside.
  3. Use smaller brisket cuts like the flat or point cut instead of the whole brisket.
  4. Leave the brisket to warm up to room temperature before cooking.
  5. Finish the brisket in the oven when it’s almost done cooking.


How Long To Smoke a 10 pounds Brisket At 225?

Smoke a 10-pound brisket for 15 to 20 hours at 225⁰F.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke a 10 pounds Brisket At 250?

Smoke a 10-pound brisket for 10 to 15 hours at 250⁰F.

Is It Better To Smoke Brisket At 225 Or 250?

Smoking brisket at 225 or 250 is a matter of preference. Smoking brisket at 225 degrees slowly cooks the meat to create a tender, ultra-succulent piece of meat. However, many argue that smoking it at 250 degrees gives the rendered fat a better texture.

Smoking meat at 250 degrees instead of 225 degrees cuts the cooking time by half.

How Long To Smoke a 10 pounds Brisket At 200 Degrees?

Smoke a 10-pound brisket for approximately 20 hours at 200⁰F.


Our favorite way to smoke brisket is sticking to the low and slow method and cooking it at 225⁰F until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 to 205 degrees.

Fire up those smokers and enjoy a mouth-watering, juicy, tender brisket.



In the world of food, with one single ingredient you can make thousand of recipes variation, and let’s be honest, I love it!!

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