Home » cooking » beef » Barbecue Brisket …Smoked Beef Low and Slow

Barbecue Brisket …Smoked Beef Low and Slow

For many years I attempted to slow smoke a barbecue beef brisket on both my old charcoal grill and my gas grill. I did have some success but when I finally broke down and bought a vertical smoker I refined the art.  I thought some of you might be able to use tips on cooking brisket on a gas grill, charcoal grill and vertical smokers. It may save you the years I spent trying to barbecue the perfect beef brisket

Brisket is cheap but very flavorful so I don’t mind it taking all day to cook. And when I say all day I mean……..ALL DAY! (If you are looking for a quicker way to smoke a brisket use this link).

I hope they help you.

Recipe Ingredients for Barbecue Beef Brisket

12 pound beef brisket (packer cut). You can also use the smaller “whole” brisket about 9 pounds or even a brisket flat which will weigh approximately 5 pounds. This recipe talks about the packer brisket but if you do the smaller versions everything is the same except for cooking time. Rule of thumb is one hour per pound and half of that with smoke being applied. No matter the size you want the brisket to have an internal temperature of 200 degrees when it is removed from the smoker.

The flat is much smaller with less fat and almost square shaped. The whole brisket and packer brisket will be about $2.50 a pound and the flat by itself about $4.99 a pound so I think it’s a waste of money to pay $22 for a flat when you can buy the whole brisket which includes the flat for $28 or less. Do the math and you are paying less than a dollar a pound for the extra beef you are purchasing when you buy the whole brisket.

beef brisket rubbed with chef salt

Whole beef brisket rubbed with chef salt and brown sugar

Wood chips, water soaked 30 minutes. I like hickory or mesquite but it really comes down to personal taste.
Two Oz Brown Sugar
One Cup Chef salt(1 cup salt,1 Tbsp. paprika,1 tsp. black pepper,1/4 tsp white pepper,1/4 tsp. celery salt,1/4 tsp. garlic salt)
1 medium onion, grated or chopped fine
1 tablespoon butter, or margarine
1 1/2 cups ketchup
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Favorite hot sauce to taste

Vertical Smoker

Vertical Smoker

Vertical Propane Smoker Beef Brisket Directions

I bought my vertical propane smoker from Bass Pro. As far as smoking or slow cooking a brisket I should of bought one 25 years ago. It makes cooking a brisket almost effortless. The one I bought is extra wide and I would recommend it highly for the size alone. If you are a fan of barbecue brisket a gas smoker is a great way to capture the flavor of smoke.

Just like with the charcoal and gas grill method – trim your meat. Mix the Two Oz Brown Sugar
One Cup Chef salt(1 cup salt,1 Tbsp. paprika,1 tsp. black pepper,1/4 tsp white pepper,1/4 tsp. celery salt,1/4 tsp. garlic salt) in bowl and massage into the beef brisket. Use all the meat rub. Remaining ingredients will be used for sauce (recipe at bottom of page).

Preheat your smoker with your water pan and wood chip pan filled. I use hickory and cherry. Hickory because I like it and cherry because I cut down my cherry tree last year. I keep my water filled throughout the whole cooking process. The wood chips I replace during the first five hours more or less.

Place your beef brisket on a middle shelf fat side up. I use the one second from the top. I put a pan under to catch the drippings. One thing I have discovered is; if you put a pan under your brisket it may as well have a pork shoulder in it. If you have ever had a smoked shoulder that has had brisket fat

Pork Shoulder Basted in Beef Drippings

Pork Shoulder Basted in Beef Drippings

dripped on it for 12 hours you would know why. Try it – I guarantee you will like it and you are already using the propane so what the heck. I have also been known to put a turkey or a pan filled with chicken thighs. It seems almost any meat basted in beef drippings is a winner.

Close your smoker and watch the temperature gauge. You want between 200 and 225. On my smoker that is turned low but yours


may be different.

Leave the exhaust wide open. When you no longer see smoke escaping – time to fill the wood chip pan!

Try not to open and close the smoker more than necessary but I do flip the beef brisket over after three hours and again after six hours total time.

It will take about an hour a pound. After 10 hours remove, wrap tightly in foil and replace in smoker. Using a meat thermometer check after another hour you are wanting 200 degrees.

After it is done – let beef brisket rest 30 minutes. Slice against the grain serve with sauce and enjoy!

barbecue beef brisket

Beef Brisket Smoked Low and Slow

Feel free to use the comment section to ask any questions you may have.

Cooking Directions – Beef Brisket on Charcoal Grill

Prepare briquettes for indirect cooking (briquettes on each side and not in the middle.); add mesquite wood chips. I use a little smoker box I bought for about 6 bucks. If you don’t have one just sprinkle them into your briquettes or wrap them in foil, with a few holes punched into, to make them last longer. Trim excess fat from beef brisket.  I skip the fat trimming because I like the flavor.

Massage one cup Chef Salt mixed with two ounces brown sugar evenly over surface of brisket. Place beef brisket, fat side down, in large disposable aluminum pan. Add 1 cup water.  Place in center of grid over very low coals*.  Remember barbecue is low and slow. Cover cooker and cook 5 hours for the flat and AT LEAST 12 hours for a whole brisket, turning brisket over every 1-1/2 hours; remove excess fat from pan with baster every time you turn meat; reserve pan drippings. If not you could end up with barbecue beef brisket catching fire from drippings. If you like it black, skip this step.

Add additional water to pan, as it evaporates. Periodically add just enough additional briquettes to keep coals at very low temperature.
Notes: Coals should be in a single layer. To check temperature, hold hand about 4 inches above coals. Very low coals will force removal of hand in a few seconds. After 10 hours for whole brisket or 4 hours for flat, wrap the brisket tightly in foil replace on grill, cover and continue cooking till done.

For me – done is 200 degrees with a meat thermometer checked in at least three spots.

Feel free to use the comment section to ask any questions you may have.


Cooking Directions – Beef Brisket on Gas Grill

Cooking directions for your brisket, whether a flat or a whole brisket, on a gas grill is very similar to the directions for a charcoal grill – low and slow of course. There is no getting around the time factor when you are barbecuing beef brisket unless you power smoke.

If you are lucky enough to have a large five burner or even a slightly smaller four burner gas grill it makes things easier.

Turn off all burners except your burners on the far right and left. Turn those burners to low. Let grill warm. Adjust your controls till you are getting some where between 200 degrees and 225 degrees.

If you have a three burner you may need to cook the brisket on one side with one burner lit on the other side. Another option is to use to put the brisket in the middle in a pan like with charcoal. It will still get smoke and it may keep the brisket from burning. Remember bark is a good thing but burnt brisket isn’t.

The tricky part with a gas grill is flare ups. They are a low and slow cook’s nightmare. You may even want to keep a spray bottle full of water handy. DON’T spray in drip pan – SPRAY brisket!

Just like with the charcoal grill, trim the fat and rub the brisket. I do it the night before and wrap it in plastic. I think it is better but who really knows?

Place your brisket on the grill and let it cook for about ten hours with a small smoke box full of wood chips. I refill the chips for only the first four hours.

BBQ purists will think I cheat but after ten hours I wrap my brisket in foil, place it in a roast pan and finish cooking it in the over at 225. It will take at least two more hours and like the charcoal method, I stop cooking when the brisket reaches 200 degrees.

So in review; the critical issue is to keep the brisket at a temperature between 200 and 225. If you do that you will have a great brisket. It’s harder than it sounds. Flare ups, air temperature and opening and closing the lid too many times are all enemies to a good brisket but with practice you should have success.

Feel free to use the comment section to ask any questions you may have.

Barbecue Sauce Recipe

While the beef finishes cooking separate drippings from fat (gravy separator works best for this) discard fat from pan drippings; reserve 1 cup drippings. Another method if you have time is to put dripping in freezer and the fat will thicken and rise to the top. It can then be easily skimmed. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add reserved pan drippings, ketchup, lemon juice, a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce and  your favorite hot sauce (hot sauce may be omitted); simmer about 10 minutes, stirring often. Carve brisket across the grain into thin slices. I trim the excess fat after I slice.  Serve barbecue beef brisket with  bbq sauce.

barbecue beef brisket

sliced barbecue beef brisket

bbq beef brisket sandwich

BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich

Feel free to use the comment section to ask any questions you may have.

Barbecue Beef Brisket
Barbecue Beef Brisket
Barbecue Beef Brisket smoked low and slow

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 12 hours

Yield: 20 servings

  • whole beef brisket
  • meat rub
  • water
  • wood chips
  • bbq sauce made from beef drippings
Smoke beef brisket 12 hours low and slow in a gas grill, charcoal grill or vertical propane smoker


  1. […] How to smoke beef brisket? Read this    Beef Brisket   It will tell you everything you need to know. […]

  2. Scott Gipson says:

    When using a gas grill, i have a rack that is about 5″ off of the grill itself and i set the brisket on that. Under that rack i place a pan with a little water to keep the humidity up. Works great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>