Are you planning to smoke Brisket?
Then you must have possibly done some research already on the best smoking wood flavor, marinade, and dry rub.
However, other essential things you shouldn’t forget are the time and temperature, especially the right temperature for smoking brisket, the estimated smoking time, and how long to hold Brisket at 195°F.
Here is our complete go-to guide to master your smoked brisket skills every time. Want to know the right smoked brisket temperature and how long to hold Brisket at 195°F, then read on.
Note: This guide assumes you’ve grabbed the perfect beef brisket, trimmed and seasoned it. So it focuses mainly on how to smoke a beef brisket.
To begin smoking your beef brisket, you have to preheat your smoker to about 250°F with your wood and lump charcoal. For the best smoking wood flavor, you can use fruit woods for smoking brisket.
To monitor the temperature, insert a thermometer probe into the flat of the Brisket.
This part is leaner and the most critical part of the beef brisket to monitor while smoking.
250°F is the ideal temperature for slowly rendering fat. The temperature of 225°F is lower and takes longer than preferred.
Whether the flat side faces up or down doesn’t matter – though some people usually prefer placing the flat side toward the hotter part of the smoker – there has not been any record of significant difference between the outcomes of both.
It takes about five hours for the Brisket to smoke in the smoker where the Brisket gets its bark and smoke flavor
For additional flavor, you may choose to Spritz. This is done by spraying a bottle of desired liquid onto the Brisket after the bark forms.
If you decide to spritz, you must spritz while the Brisket is in the smoking step and not wrapped.
When the smoked Brisket gets to the temperature of 165°F, remove it from the smoker and wrap it with a peach or pink butcher paper.
This process is called “The Texas Crutch.”
Wrapping enables the internal temperature to rise faster and speed cooking, making the meat to tenderize.
The wrapping period is also important because it is the final stage to allow the intramuscular fat to fully render out.
Peach or pink butcher paper is better than foil because it’s more breathable, giving the meat less of a pot-roast flavor. However, if you don’t have a butcher paper, it’s still ok if you use foil.
And you may also choose to cook your smoked Brisket unwrapped. It will only take slightly longer, but the finishing temperature guide remains the same.
As your smoked brisket cooks, it will get to a period called “the stall.” This period can be encountered anywhere between 160°F and 175°F.
As the heat from the smoker renders the pockets of fat, the fat liquefies. And as the fat liquefies and interacts with the meat, there is a cooling effect that happens similar to when you sweat – this is the stalling process.
So, you need not be alarmed if you see a couple of hours of incremental movement in the internal temperature of your smoked Brisket.
You have pushed through the stall when the fat has rendered enough that there is balance, and the meat heats up again.
This is one reason why wrapping is done at 165°F regardless of the stall.
Once your wrapped Brisket gets to 180°F, there would be a rapid increase in the temperature.
Also, it is important to note that Brisket is cooked to temperature, not time.
So you have to focus on a temperature milestone and not the time as some briskets will just take longer (or lesser) time.
Removing And Holding (Resting)
This is the stage where this question, “How Long to Hold a Brisket at 195°F?” is mostly raised.
Once the temperature of the wrapped Brisket gets close to 195°F, then it’s time to start probing the Brisket with an instant-read thermometer to see if it’s done.
The thermometer does two things – checks the temperature and the resistance.
Normally, when you insert the thermometer probe into the Brisket, it should feel as if you are inserting it into room temperature butter.
But if the thermometer meets with resistance as you probe it into the Brisket, then the intramuscular fat hasn’t fully rendered out yet.
The only thing you can do at this point – and which has always been our common response to people – is to exercise patience and wait for that soft butter-like feeling.
Nevertheless, most people get nervous at this point and pull at an exact temperature rather than wait for the feel.
Note: Smoked Brisket will continue to cook even after it has been removed from the smoker. To prevent the smoked Brisket from drying out, we suggest that you remove it from the smoker when the internal temperature reads 195°F. This will put the temperature just at 200°F by the time you are ready to serve it.
A smoked brisket usually gets done at the temperature of about 195°F, but this may vary between the temperature ranges of about 195°F to 215°F.
What you have to do is keep thrusting the probe and keep checking the temperature every 15mins until you get that soft butter-like feel.
So, how long to hold a brisket at 195°F depends on how long it takes to achieve the soft butter-like feel.
Note: To get the best temperature reading, avoid thrusting the probe in the fat pocket between the flat and the point. You’ll end up achieving a temperature reading much faster than the surrounding Brisket.
Ensure you read the temperature in the middle of the flat and the middle of the point in multiple places. More so, thrust the thermometer into the thickest part of the Brisket for a quick reading of the inside temperature of the meat.
Once you have gotten the feel, remove your smoked Brisket and let it rest for at least 30 mins.
The smoked Brisket holds its high temperature (≥195°F). But as it cools slowly, it’ll start to get its cells to pull back in the juices.
But if you’re too impatient to let it rest and do not wait for at least 30mins but slice the Brisket immediately, you remove it; all the juices will pour out on the cutting board and not stay in the meat.
This means all of your hard work will be gone, just like that, because of impatience.
However, if you’re not ready to slice your Brisket, you can hold the temperature to slowly let your Brisket cools.
You can hold your Brisket in a cooler without ice. The cooler will act like a Cambro warmer box.
You can hold the temperature of your Brisket for four hours in case you’re not ready to slice or serve your smoked Brisket yet.
Some people usually prefer to hold Brisket for hours before serving. Just make sure you leave it wrapped to keep it tender.
How Long To Smoke A Brisket
The length of time taken to smoke a brisket varies based on several factors, which include the type of beef. For instance, American Wagyu smokes slightly faster than Prime.
Generally, we would advise that you plan about 90mins for every pound of Brisket – which includes the holding (resting) temperature – when cooking in a smoker preheated to a temperature of 250°F.
Altogether, it takes anywhere from 8hrs to 16hrs to smoke a brisket depending on the size of the cut. Nevertheless, it’s normal to expect that every Brisket you smoke will vary in time.
Brisket Temperature Monitoring Tools
As you have seen above, time and temperature are two important things you must always consider when smoking Brisket, with the temperature being the most important factor to consider.
Therefore, you need to get a very good unit to monitor the temperature of your Brisket during the cook.
There are several good smoke units out there. One of them is the Smoke Unit from Thermoworks.
Aside from its high precision and durability, this smoke unit has a remote unit that can be used to read the temperature from afar.
Another temperature probe is the Thermapen. You can use this device to probe in multiple areas while smoking your Brisket.
Some Closely-Related Questions
In this section, we’ll answer some of the common questions about smoking brisket.
How Do I Slice A Smoked Brisket?
Slicing a smoked brisket is not a very difficult task. All you need to do is first cut the smoked Brisket into half about where the point ends. Doing this separates some of the flat from the point.
Next, slice the flat into pencil-thin slices. After, take the larger cut that is both the flat and the point, and then slice that in half. Then, simply make more pencil-thin slices.
Having both the flat and the point meat together not only looks awesome on a serving plate but also gives you options when eating.
How To Make Burnt Ends
This is similar to the Kansas City style Barbecue. Foremost, cut out the point or parts of the point from the Brisket before wrapping.
Then slice it into cubes and re-season it before placing it back into smoker to render out.
Should I Wrap A Brisket?
As stated above, you may choose to cook your smoked Brisket unwrapped.
Wrapping only enables the internal temperature to rise faster and speed cooking, making the meat to tenderize.
Unwrapping will only make the Brisket take slightly longer but with the same finishing temperature.
Hence, there is no right or wrong answer here. Either way depends on your flavor preference.
If you choose not to wrap, you will get a greater bark, and some people love it that way.
However, you won’t be adding more smoke flavor, which typically gets added around the 5th hour of smoking.
More so, unwrapping may add about 20 mins per pound to the total smoking time.
So, make sure to account for that if you choose not to wrap your Brisket while smoking.
However, if you choose to wrap, use either the peach or pink butcher paper. Both are the best.
How Long To Smoke A Brisket Per Pound?
The smoke time depends largely on the size of the cut. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the Brisket will also determine the average smoke time of the Brisket.
More so, the length of time taken to smoke a brisket usually depends on factors like the quality of meat (Prime, grass-fed, or American Wagyu), the ambiance temperature (superhot or raining), and the temperature of your cooker.
However, we would recommend that you smoke your Brisket for 90 mins per pound, and briskets can range anywhere from 5 to 11 pounds.
So, if your brisket size is on the smaller side, the smoke time will take about 7 hours to 8 hours, but if your Brisket is on the large or larger side, expect as much as 10 hours to 16 hours smoke time.
Nevertheless, always remember these key milestones:
- Wrap your Brisket when you like the bark that is set, which is always about 165°F.
- Start checking the temperature at 195°F and remove the smoked Brisket when the thermometer probe goes easily into the meat like room-temperature butter (usually between 195°F and 212°F).
- Rest or hold your wrapped Brisket for about 30 mins before serving.
Should I Inject My Beef Brisket With Beef Stock?
This typically depends on your flavor preference and type of beef used. If you use at least Choice or higher type of beef, you may not need to inject your smoked Brisket.
But if you use Select, you may consider injecting your smoked Brisket with beef stock as the fat layers don’t look so pronounced.
Best Wood for Smoking Brisket
It’s good to always go local and remember for the best smoking wood flavor, always use fruit woods like apple and cherry trees for smoking brisket.
Use fruit woods for sweeter flavors and avoid mesquite as it only gives a campfire-like flavor.
Post oak is also good wood for smoking brisket.
You can choose to use what is local to you and experiment with the flavors.
Where To Buy the Best Brisket?
We also recommend that you always go local.
Visit your local butcher to purchase the best Brisket. Consider the USDA Choice or higher Brisket for the minimum marbling.