How to Smoke a Brisket Flat

Smoked Brisket Flat Recipe

Today we are going to cover How to Smoke a Brisket Flat that is a little complicated but worth the effort.

When I first started smoking meats, brisket quickly became my first obsession.  Why?  Because I was terrible at them – and so are most people.  Brisket, in my opinion, has no equal in difficulty.  It’s an extremely tough cut of meat, and to smoke it to a juicy, tender completion is no easy task.

Man oh man…I have destroyed a LOT of briskets.  But I learned many lessons along the way, and I’m going to share some secrets that will make your path a heckuva lot less rocky.

There are several cuts of brisket you can get – for this recipe I used a standard flat you can find in any local grocery store.

For the rub, I recommend buying a brisket/beef/all-purpose rub or use our Award Winning Brisket Rub.  Figure out what you like.  I found I like peppery rubs for brisket, but you may totally disagree.

Be patient, get a nice probe thermometer and pay attention to internal temperature!  Most importantly, enjoy.  There aren’t many tastier treats than smoked brisket.

Smoked Brisket Flat

A brisket flat is packed with flavors then smoked to perfection.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 344 kcal


  • Your Favorite Beef or All Purpose Rub
  • 1 c Beef Broth
  • 1/4 c Worceshire Sauce
  • 1/4 c Beer
  • 1/8 c Soy Sauce


  • Combine all liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  • Place brisket in a container or marinating bag.
  • Inject the mixure into the brisket using an injector needle.
  • Seal tightly and place in fridge for several hours or up to 2 days.
  • Remove brisket and place on tray.
  • Liberally apply rub to both sides of brisket.
  • Set up your grill for indirect cooking or use your smoker.
  • Place brisket fat side up on your grill/smoker.
  • Smoke your brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of about 165.
  • Wrap in aluminum foil or place in an aluminum pan with some beef broth or other liquid (beer).
  • Cook brisket covered until it reaches an internal temperature of about 195 - 200.
  • Remove from smoker and vent foil to prevent from overcooking. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • Slice thin and serve!
Keyword Smoked Brisket Flat

14 thoughts on “How to Smoke a Brisket Flat

  1. Hello Kevin, I have a question for you. Since the flat is thin and cooks faster, what about using kitchen twine to roll up the entire brisket into a more uniform thickness? Please advise 🙂

    Thanks in Advance!

    1. Beth…that is a very interesting idea. I’ve never tried it. I assume you’re talking about cooking a whole packer brisket. When I cook packers, I have the point at the heat source with the flat furthest from it and it seems to work well – the point and flat finish at the same time. The point has so much fat, it can cook a lot longer with higher heat and not have an issue. If you try that method, take some pics and post to our Facebook page so I can see how it turns out!

  2. First time smoker here.

    I heard people brine their brisket like they would a turkey. Is this common procedure? After all I’m gunning for a nice crust yet moist inside.

    Another practice I’ve heard is to NOT use water (empty water bowl inside) and instead use a spray bottle to spray the brisket every so often to ensure a nice crust. I’d imagine that this practice would cause a high risk of a dry meat.

    Any words on this?

    1. Andy – great thoughts and questions.
      1. Brining brisket – yes, you absolutely can. I just did one like this a couple months ago. I did a basic salt, pepper, brown sugar brine. I did not inject. Smoked it for about 4 hours, then wrapped until it hit an internal temp of around 200, and it was awesome. Very juicy.

      2. No water and spray. Yes, you take a chance of it drying out if you’re still attempting low and slow. I would recommend cooking at a higher temp to avoid drying out – maybe 275-300. Your bark will definitely set at a higher temp, and with it getting done quicker, you should avoid drying it out. And spraying is always good, in my opinion. Layer on that flavor – just be careful not to spray so much that you soften the bark – which is the whole reason you’re trying that method!

  3. Good recipe. You should point out that the temp has to be over 190 for 30 minutes to break down connective tissue, to make it tender. I started out trying to cook them rare, and learned my lesson as you might have too.

  4. Hey there. Just did this recipe, let me just say… It’s not you it’s me 🙂 this is my second attempt at brisket and my second fail. 2 things, not enough smokiness inspite of several chunks of wood. I followed the recipe to a T but it still came out dry a minute after I sliced into it. Any advice? Thanks!!

    1. Hmmm, well, here’s a few thoughts, Mikal:
      – Are you cooking full packer briskets with fat cap on, point on? Or is it the small flat? (Small flats get dry much easier)
      – For smoke – try a harsher wood – hickory or even oak – to get more smokiness. And smoke for at least 4 hours.
      – For moisture…try more liquid in the pan during the wrap phase. Set aside a cup of the marinade and pour that in, add in whatever other flavors sound good -beer, soda, whatever.

      I hope with a few changes you have better success next go around. I’m telling you – brisket is for sure the toughest to master!

      1. I think I need to be more steady with the smoke. Funny thing is, I normally get good smoke penetration with Cherry, I will have to try some hickory along with it. I used a flat so I know I was against the moisture there. I did add liquid to the pan but maybe not enough. Hopefully next time these changes will help. Brisket is not only hard to master, but expensive to master 🙂 Thanks for the help.

  5. Hey, I was just wondering why you choose to put fat side up? I have heard to do it both ways, but I do not know the reason for doing either way.



    1. Hey Ryan – to be quite honest – I do both. I start with fat side down to create a good bark on the meat side. After about 2 hours I flip it fat side up. Why? Because my thought process with brisket is that fat drips down through the meat, giving you a juicier finished product. This is more important with brisket than say, a pork butt, because brisket is such a lean, tough meat. You need all the help you can get to make it juicy and tender!
      So, that’s my reasoning. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    1. I usually ballpark an hour cooking time per pound. It’s probably slightly less than that, but that’s my high end figure.

  6. making your brisket for 50 people this week. I use a Treager grill with natural burning wood pellets ( I love that grill). What temp. do you set your grill at for the pre- foil cooking ? I was going to use 250 degrees. Any suggestions. Thanks

    1. Yes, around 225-250 is my brisket smoking temp. Good luck and let me know how it goes! Great cooker, by the way. Traeger is awesome.

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