What’s the Best Brisket Smoking Temperature? It’s Eye Opening!

When it comes to slow-smoking large meat, like beef brisket, the best smoking temperature for beef brisket ranges between 180-275 range.

And among these 6, but 4 commonly chosen temperature options of 210, 225, 250, and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Which one should you choose?

Several factors determine the ideal brisket smoking temperature for beef brisket, and among these, a few are:

  • Brisket type
  • grill/smoker type 
  • Your recipe.
  • Your actual goal of smoking a brisket is to get a delicious, tender, and flavorful brisket with the darkest smokey bark.

Among all these, I think the last one is the most important. Do you agree? Great!

For this purpose, choose the temperature carefully at which you should smoke your beef brisket while smoking your piece of meat. 

To help you make the most informed decision, I’ll elaborate on which temperature you should select and what to expect.

Let’s Debunk the Myths of the Best Temperature for Smoking a Brisket.

When discussing the best temperature to smoke your brisket on a pellet grill, it’s essential to know how brisket is smoked and slow-cooked on a pellet grill. Only then can you conclude whether a defined low-temperature matter and which one you should choose.

Slow Smoking a brisket involves 3 main stages, and each stage has different temperature zones–180 to 270 or under 300 degrees Fahrenheit. All these stages are about playing within suitable temperature zones to get a smokey bark besides moist and soft brisket bites.

Smoking a brisket at any temperature within this temperature range can take different times. It’s why most pit masters define the required time as 40 minutes to 2 hours per lb of meat.

Yet, when we get into the science of the 3 main stages of brisket smoking, the time limit, and ideal temperature become secondary–they’re only for guesswork. 

Your only task is to get a perfect brisket through all these primary steps. That’s why I’m discussing them in detail.

Rendering collagen, forming bark, and perfectly infusing smoke in it.

At the first stage of brisket smoking, you get two tasks:

  • Rendering the brisket collagen (proteins) begins at 160 degrees and lasts till 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Getting a super-smoke flavor in your brisket bark in a pellet grill—it isn’t easy to get out of pellet grills at a higher temperature of 250+ degrees Fahrenheit.

The large cut of meat brisket temperature rises slowly when we put it on a pellet grill. It takes about 6 hours for an average size brisket to hit an internal temperature of 175-180 degrees when it stalls and you wrap it. 

Unfortunately, if you choose a higher temperature above 250 degrees, a stall occurs more quickly. Resultantly, though the collagen breaks down, the brisket will be less smoke–not because of shorter time, but because the pellets burnt at higher temperatures produce less smoke.

To combat the issue, you get two options:

  • Get a pellet grill with a super-smoke setting–what I call a drama! The super smoke setting is nothing except the lowest temperature setting in a pellet grill, at which the pellets burn slower and give more smoke. 

You can get that much smoke by operating your pellet grill at a lower temperature. Thus, it’ll take more time to smoke brisket at that low temperature.

  • Smoke brisket exposed to the smoke, e.g., without wrapping it. It can be done by using the foil boat method–I’ll discuss this technique in the next section of this article.

So, if we keep the points mentioned above in view, there is nothing like the ideal temperature for beef brisket between 210 vs. 275, as pitmaster and BBQ champion Harry Soo proves.  

Fully rendering fat

Fat rendering (liquefying) begins at 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit and continues for several hours if the temperature is maintained below 190 degrees. Yet, the duration depends on the temperature. For example, the fat will render faster at 180 degrees and vice versa at a lower range.

To help the fat rendering process, you can wrap the brisket in aluminum foil or butcher paper. It helps to raise the brisket temperature further. 

During slow smoking, at your chosen temperature, cook the brisket until it’s bamboo probe tender. It shows that your brisket is fully done. Your brisket can be fully done (squishy) at 190-203 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature range, depending on the brisket’s individuality.

Remember that, at the lower range of brisket done temp, your brisket can be meaty, while at the upper range of 200+ internal temperature, it can turn out like pot roast and chewy. Still, only certain doneness tests can determine brisket doneness.

Redistributing rendered fat and collagen juices into the brisket.

Finally, when your brisket has passed all doneness tests, the final stage of resting comes. At this stage, you have to:

  • Stop carryover cooking by resting your brisket unwrapped.
  • Rest and hold the brisket at a temperature below 145 degrees to redistribute the brisket juices in the meat. According to USDA, below 140 degrees, the pathogens will grow, and meat won’t be safe for eating. 

You can rest your brisket for 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on your brisket grade (fat-to-lean ratio/marbling) and your time window. Remember that a 30 minutes rest time is undesirable and only for emergencies. Likewise, 12 hours of rest time is not recommended for a low-grade brisket with less fat, for it’ll be drier at the end.

TO CUT A LONG-STORY SHORT

Following the low-temperature range, brisket smoking is more about goals you should achieve by the end of each stage than following an exact temperature “figure.”

It’s why dozens of brisket smoking gurus keep finding workable techniques to get the smokiest, tenderest, and most delicious briskets. 

And in this article, I’ll be sharing techniques you can incorporate when smoking your memorable brisket.

Is there any Best Smoking Temperature between 210- 275 Degrees?

No matter what type of smoker or grill you’re using to slow smoke the meat, there is no ideal temperature between 200-275 degrees. Meat cooked between these ranges feels and tastes equal.

When fellows come up with the recipes like:

Or

  • How should you smoke a brisket at 275?

It’s all about how much time they have got. Some humble guys like to be safe with 210-225 temperatures, while others are adventurous and prefer going with 225.

But no temperature makes a difference, and Harry Soo, the grilling champion, has proved it on his YouTube channel.

So, what’s the exception?

The smoker type!

Yes, your smoker type makes a big difference–some allow you to choose the higher temperature of 275 degrees, while others don’t.

For example, when smoking a beef brisket on a large offset smoker, you can fearlessly hit the upper limit of 275 or even 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, when smoking brisket on a small pit, like Weber Kettle, or Kamado Joe, you shouldn’t exceed 225 F because the brisket is still near the heat source, and convection is limited.

How to Smoke a Perfect Brisket—Most Effective Up-to-Date Techniques from BBQ Pundits.

Have you read the previous section carefully?

If “yes,” this section is for you!

Gone are the days when they used to smoke brisket at a sharp temperature range of 210, 225, 250, or 275. Intelligent brains have come up with new techniques to develop more flavor-rich juicy briskets with firm smokey barks in pellet smokers. 

You can use these techniques to stay between the temperature range of 180-275 F or up to 300 F.

Now, besides outlining the basic method of smoking a brisket on a pellet grill, I’ll discuss 2 most effective and innovative techniques that BBQ influencers are using to smoke competition briskets. 

The primary method of brisket smoking:

  • Take a brisket of 12-16 pounds.
  • Trim it to remove extra fat and thin edges.
  • Season it with salt and pepper and blend in a 2:3 ratio.
  • Start and set your smoker at any temperature between 210-275. (We’ll ignore the lower temperature range in our next technique introduced by Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ and popularized by Chuds BBQ.”)
  • Smoke brisket until it stalls at about 165-185 internal temperature range.
  • Wrap the brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil and smoke it till it’s done. (skip wrapping the brisket in aluminum foil or a butcher. Instead, use an aluminum foil boat).
  • Rest brisket at room temperature to stop carry-over cooking.
  • Rest your brisket in a temperature-controlled environment.
  • Slice and serve it.

Super Smoke Brisket Technique (Wonderful for Pellet Grills)

Super smoke slow smoking techniques allow you to get the most smoke for your brisket by expanding the bark-forming window. You prolong the bark-forming period by setting your pellet grill at a low setting of 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit.

This technique is terrific for pellet smokers, which are notorious for getting your meats less smoke flavor–they’re not BBQ dragons. Here is how to do it:

  • Trim and season your brisket.
  • Start a pellet smoker at the lowest possible setting, like 180 or 200 degrees. ( If you begin with 180 degrees, raise the temperature to 200 degrees after 1.5 hours, and again raise it to 220 after 1.5 more hours). 
  • Place your brisket at the top rack (fat side up or down doesn’t matter at this stage, for the pellet grills are convection cookers). At this low temperature, an average size brisket will take about 12-14 hours to reach the stall stage.
  • Keep checking the brisket at this stage of bark formation. As soon as the bark is formed, crack the temperature up. Keep checking the brisket at this stage. Otherwise, you can get a beef jerky-like bark instead of a brisket.
  • At the stall stage, raise the smoker temperature to 250 or 275 degrees to speed up cooking for fat rending and cook your brisket wrapped. It’ll take about 3 hours. 
  • When the brisket is done, wrap it in beef tallow greased butcher paper or aluminum foil pocket or place it in an aluminum foil boat

Cook it so that it’s probe tender. If you’ll end up smoking your brisket at 250 degrees smoker temperature, keep it on 2nd rack, and if at 275 degrees temp, place it on the third rack.

  • Unwrap your brisket to cool it at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  • Re-wrap it, and rest in a controlled environment. 
  • Serve it!

Foil Boat Brisket Smoking Technique – The Revolution in Brisket Smoking World

Another technique to focus on more pronounced and flavorful bark is using an aluminum foil boat. Instead of wrapping your brisket at any stage during smoking or resting it, you keep it in an aluminum foil boat with the fat cap up. Thus, rendered fat is collected in the boat, and moisture evaporates, which could cause your brisket to become steamy if you fully wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. 

Besides this:

  • The brisket gets more smoke; 
  • The flat cooks moister being dipped in the gathered juices
  •  and exposed brisket forms an excellent darkest bark. Consequently, you enjoy “wow” bites. 

This all makes it the most preferable technique among many others.

To smoke brisket in a foil boat:

  • Smoke your brisket following your recipe. 
  • Place your brisket in a doubled-lined aluminum foil at the stall stage and cover all the crispy sides. 
  • When the brisket is done, rest it, so its internal temperature doesn’t drop below 145 degrees.

Note: 

It’ll be excellent to co-opt the abovementioned techniques and enjoy the best-smoked brisket. Since super smoking is for pellet grills, you can skip it when smoking your brisket on a charcoal kettle grill or an offset smoker. Yet, aluminum works with all.

The foil boat method advises you to look for a flawless w caramelized color fat before pulling it off the smoker. If you have followed this method before, it can seem challenging. Yet, when you combine it with what I call the “super smoke” technique, you can get it! 

How long should you smoke a brisket at 210, 225, 250, and 275 degrees?

You can smoke your brisket at any temperature suitable for slow smoking like 210, 225, 250, or 275 degrees Fahrenheit. And there is no difference in taste or texture. Yet, the time frame helps with guesswork on how much time you should follow when smoking a brisket. As a rule of thumb, you should always add 6 extra hours to your allocated time.

Below, the chart explains how much time your trimmed brisket should take if you smoke it following traditional smoking techniques for Texas-style brisket.

Trimmed BrisketAT 200-210F
2 hours per pound
At 225F
1.5 to 2 hours per pound
At 250F
1 hour per pound
At 275F
45 minutes per pound
At 300F
1/2 hour per pound
10 lb Brisket20 hours15-20 hours10 hours7.5 hours5 hours
12 lb Brisket24 hours18-24 hours12 hours9 hours6 hours
14 lb Brisket28 hours21-28 hours14 hours10 hours7 hours
16 lb Brisket32 hours24-32 hours16 hours12 hours8 hours
18 lb Brisket36 hours28-36 hours18 hours13 hours9 hours
20 lb Brisket40 hours30-40 hours20 hours15 hours10 hours
22 lb Brisket44 hours33-44 hours22 hour16 hours11 hours

Please note that for 200-225, the time is about 1.5 to 2 hours. But we consider about 2 hours for 200-210 degrees Fahrenheit.

FAQs

What’s the best beef brisket temperature for smoking on a kettle-style?

In a small smoker, the convection is limited and can cause burnt ends quickly. So, keep the temperature low when smoking brisket in a small kettle grill. 

Start at a low temperature of 200 degrees. Then, hit the upper-temperature limit of 250 F at the stall phase to end rendering faster. 

Yet, if you succeed to keep creating significant distance between the heat source:

  •  Either by following a snake method for setting charcoals,
  •  Or by selecting a small-sized brisket, 

You can go up to 275 degrees to smoke your brisket.

Can you use an aluminum foil boat method on kettle-style grills?

The aluminum foil boat works great with any pit-style grill like Weber Kettle, Kamado Joe, or Big Green Egg, where the smoke flavor is not so strong. Follow your recipe for smoking brisket and after the stall, place your brisket in aluminum foil. Also, use an aluminum foil boat to rest your brisket. It’s done!

Final Thoughts

The best temperature for smoking brisket lies anywhere between the temperature range of 180-275 degrees. All work fine to smoke your brisket. Yet, by incorporating a few more innovative techniques and following proper guidelines, you can smoke your best brisket ever.

Good luck! 

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