Smoked Brisket Flat

A smoked brisket flat on a wooden chopping board having been partly sliced against the grain to create a triangle effect.

A brisket flat is the easiest and most economical way for most people to buy brisket. A smoked brisket flat is a great starter recipe to explore smoking this piece of meat and once mastered can be built upon and adjusted to your preference.

A competition trim is one full packers-brisket that produces one large flat that has the edges running with the grain and fat still attached. A standard butchered brisket will be smaller (one packers-brisket is 4 ‘brisket flat’ cuts) and is likely to have the grain at an angle and the fat removed. If cooking the latter note the direction of the grain so it can be sliced correctly after being cooked.

The recipe includes a basic beef rub which is perfect for a Texas-style brisket and includes ingredients available in most homes. If desired or as you become more comfortable this can be exchanged for your own rub or favorite purchased one.

The method can be cooked on any style of smoker however the temperatures are in the ‘low-and-slow’ range as ‘hot-and-fast’ is likely to over dry such a small and typically lean piece of meat.

Swipe to see all photos
A smoked brisket flat sitting in foil and the liquids it was cooked in.
At the end of the wrapped cooking stage there will be a rich and tasty liquid created in the foil.
A shaker distributing a rub over a brisket flat.
The rub recipe is a simple Texas style that is easily made, alternatively you can exchange for your favorite brisket rub.
A rich mahogany red smoking brisket flat sitting on a grill grate.
The first three hours of the cook are focused on adding the smoke flavor and creating the smoke ring.
Looking down on a white meat tray with a raw brisket flat sitting in it.
Unlike competition brisket flats the grain of the meat may be at an angle to the cut. Note this for when slicing after being cooked.
A sheet of foil with a partly smoked brisket flat sitting on brown sugar.
The smoked brisket flat remains the same way up as smoked if no fat, or fat side up is still there.
A bed of lettuce with neat slices of smoked brisket flat laid in it.
This layout is from a competition cook of sliced brisket with a focus on uniformity for the judges.
A large brisket flat squared off with the meat grain sitting in a foil tray.
Competition briskets flats are butchered with the grain and not readily purchased. One brisket equals one flat, typical butchering produces four.
A smoked brisket flat on a wooden chopping board having been partly sliced against the grain to create a triangle effect.
After being cooked make sure to slice the brisket flat against the grain to get the most tender slices available.

Smoked Brisket Flat Recipe

7
reviews
A smoked brisket flat on a wooden chopping board having been partly sliced against the grain to create a triangle effect.
Smoked Brisket Flat is seasoned with a simple Texas-style method, but results in big flavor. The smoking method creates a moist smoked brisket that is ideal for slicing.
Preparation 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook 6 hours
Ready in 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
CourseDinner
DifficultySeasoned
MethodSmoke

Ingredients

  • 1 brisket flat

Brisket Rub

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sea or kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fine raw sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chili or cayenne optional, for heat

Wrapping Additions

  • 1/4 cup cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup beef stock

Equipment

  • smoker
  • foil

Directions

  • Trim the brisket flat of any odd parts or excessive fat or silver skin. Keep the layer of fat on the bottom, but make sure it is of an even thickness.
    Note: When buying just the flat often it has already been heavily trimmed including removing the fat from the bottom, this is fine.

Brisket Rub

  • Rub the Worcestershire sauce into the brisket.
  • Combine the salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, and chili or cayenne pepper.
  • Sprinkle the rub evenly over the brisket using a shaker.

Smoking

  • Preheat a smoker to 200 to 225 degrees F (93 to 108 degrees C). Add a strong wood chunk like mesquite, hickory, or ironbark.
  • Place the brisket fat side down (if present) on the preheated smoker as soon as the rub becomes moist. Cook for 3 hours.
    Tip: If using a pellet smoker or a smoker with a lot of hot air flow it can dry out the meat surface causing a crust rather than a soft bark. To manage this add 1 part apple juice to 2 parts water then spray until just moist as required.

Wrapping

  • Layout a piece of foil and place the butter and brown sugar on it.
  • Remove the brisket from the smoker and place the brisket on with the fat side-up on the foil, if there is no fat place it the same way up as when smoked.
  • Start to wrap the foil by folding it up then pour in the beef stock. Wrap tightly, then wrap with a second piece of foil.
  • Return to the smoker and change the temperature to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Cook for 2 to 4 hours.

Finishing

  • Start checking the temperature at 2 hours. The final temperature can range from 185 to 215 degrees F (85 to 100 degrees C). You will know it is ready however when the meat becomes soft. The longer it is cooked the softer it becomes. This could take up to an additional 2 hours depending on the brisket.
    Note: Brisket finished texture is up to the pitmaster, some prefer to slice it others like it to pull apart.
  • When finished, remove from the smoker and placed still foil wrapped to rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.
    Tip for outdoors: Pour boiling water into a cooler to preheat, then empty and dry. Wrap the brisket in a warm towel and place in the preheated cooler.

To Serve

  • Place the meat on a chopping board and slice against the grain of the meat.
  • Optional – Place the brisket slices back in the liquid in the foil to keep warm and coat the slices in the juice. This both keeps the brisket moist and returns the flavor back into the slices.

Nutritional Information

Sodium: 2680mgCalcium: 39mgVitamin C: 4mgVitamin A: 303IUSugar: 9gFiber: 1gPotassium: 1142mgCholesterol: 187mgCalories: 515kcalMonounsaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 8gFat: 22gProtein: 63gCarbohydrates: 11gIron: 6mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Did this a couple months ago. Came out amazing! Doing it again today, but this time I’m going to smoke at about 170 to 180 for a awhile longer to get a smokier flavor. 100% great recipe and direction for newbies.

  2. 5 stars
    I Followed the instructions to the letter. First cook in a new pellet smoker. The 3 pound brisket flat Stalled at 155 degrees 2:40 into the cook. I wrapped then, and left it on for total of 6 hours at 235 degrees pit temp. Final meat temp was 205 degrees. I Wrapped it in some bubble wrap and let it rest inside a closed cardboard box for 45 minutes. I unwrapped and served the best brisket I ever had, bar none.
    Many thanks for this tried and proven recipe.

    Mike Elder

    1. The first phase of cooking is 3 hours before wrapping and then doing a second phase, then a third finish stage. The total cook time is at least 6 hours.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe today. This was my first attempt at smoking a brisket. The brisket flat was amazing. I smoked it fat side down. Every 30 minutes I brushed the top with beef broth. It stalled at 135 degrees for almost 2 hours. But, then it continued on. At 160 I wrapped it and put it back on the rack with the fat side down again. At 200 I pulled it and let it rest for 45 minutes in the foil and wrapped in a towel in a cooler. Hands down one of the best briskets I have had.

  4. 5 stars
    I( tried doing this 2 times.

    The first my brisket came out dry.

    I tried it again but this time my brisket came out chewy (not cooked enough)

    What am i doing wrong?

    1. Chewy can meany it isn’t cooked enough, overcooked brisket falls apart rather than being tough. If the brisket is fall apart and is still dry it could be a very lean piece of meat, this can be helped by after slicing place back in the foiling liquid to keep moist.