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Shortcut Smoked Brisket Recipe Cooks Up Juicy + Tender in Half the Time — Perfect for Father’s Day

Learn the right internal temp to check for doneness

Father’s Day is around the corner, and you know what dads love? Good food, especially when it involves a little smoke and some serious bragging rights! I remember many summers watching my father use his smoker to cook delicious dinners for my family. So, I decided to return the favor this year with the king of barbecue: beef brisket. But get this — you don’t have to wait all day to enjoy it. I found the best shortcut recipe that delivers fall-apart tender meat and rich flavor in half the time. Plus, experts share the secrets to prepping brisket and achieving the perfect internal temp. Here’s your ultimate guide to smoked brisket.

Only love the brisket point? Try this recipe for Burnt Ends!

Your guide to smoked brisket

raw brisket with ingredients to make smoked brisket
Ilia Nesolenyi/Getty

As someone who had never used a smoker on their own before, I needed a little help at first. Thankfully, these expert tips got me smoking like a true pit-master.

1. How to pick the best brisket

“First, you’ll want to select your brisket,” explains Leroy Hite, founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood in Atlanta. “I like the whole brisket, known as a ‘packer brisket,’ but you can also opt for just the flat or just the point.”

“I like to trim my brisket of excess fat, leaving about a quarter inch on the top and streamlining the piece of meat so the smoke goes across it evenly,” says Chef David Figueroa, owner of Melinda’s Hot Sauce.

Then, season aggressively. “Choose a barbecue rub that’s full of bold flavor and made with big, chunky pieces,” adds Chef David Rose, executive chef at Omaha Steaks. “This is what will form that wonderful black ‘crust’ during smoking that explodes with flavor when you dig in.”

For extra depth, John Rivers with 4 Rivers Smokehouse suggests to “refrigerate uncovered at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.”

2. What tools you need to smoke

You’ll want the right tools to get the job done well. Charcoal provides a consistent heat source, so, choose a good quality lump charcoal. Hite also recommends using “ultra-high-quality cooking wood. The wood is an ingredient, not just a heat source. Hickory is my favorite for beef brisket because of its bold flavor.”

As part of your prep, Rivers suggests “soaking hickory chips or chunks for 1 hour beforehand. This allows the wood to smolder and smoke for longer periods of time versus catching on fire and quickly burning up.”

3. Timing your brisket right

Remember: “Fat side up, always!” emphasizes Chef Figueroa. And don’t rely on the clock when it comes to smoked brisket. “You need to push a brisket to 203-205 degrees.”

Chef Rose adds: “Cook to temperature, not to time! Your brisket could take less or MUCH more time, depending on a compendium of circumstances that you can’t control.”

While cooking, Adrian Davila from Davila’s BBQ in Texas suggests to “turn the brisket (flip it) every 2 hours.” He adds to “use gloves to turn. Do not use a fork because each time you puncture the brisket, you will lose some of the juice and it may become too dry.”

4. How to slice brisket

Importantly, “remove the brisket from the heat and allow it to rest for 35 to 45 minutes before slicing against the grain,” says Davila. This allows for perfectly thin slices. Then, slice again the grain for maximum tenderness with a long, sharp slicing knife.

Shortcut smoked brisket recipe

I couldn’t believe how easy this recipe was from Sweet C’s. It took me far less time than traditional smoking but tasted just as smoky and flavorful. You can also season your brisket up to 36 hours in advance!

Hot and Fast Brisket

finished smoked brisket sliced on cutting board


  • 14 lb. brisket
  • 2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs. onion powder
  • 2 Tbs. paprika
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar


  • Active Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  1. Firstly, prepare your smoker. Light your fire and burn for 15-20 minutes until the gray/black smoke turns wispy blue. Bring the temperature to 300°F.
  2. Trim brisket, removing any excess fat. Then, season aggressively with your rub of choice. Place on the smoker fat side down and smoke until it hits an internal temperature of 160-170, roughly 2-3 hours.
  3. Depending on your cooker, keep your smoker between 295-325°F. Wrap brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil when it has reached 160-170°F. Then, cook until it reaches 205-210°F. This should take approximately 2-2½ hours but check to be sure. 
  4. Once at the internal temp, remove it from the smoker, keep it in foil or butcher paper. Wrap it in a towel and then put it in a clean, dry cooler to rest for at least an hour. After, slice against the grain and serve.

Storing smoked brisket

Once cooled, wrap your leftover brisket tightly in plastic wrap or butcher paper and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

See also: How to Reheat Brisket So It Stays Tender and Juicy — Chef Reveals the #1 Secret

Customize your smoked brisket

When I first made this recipe, I went classic with my rub and barbecue sauce. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Here are some fun flavor combos to try next time your smoke.

1. Classic Texas-style

Chef Figueroa prefers his rub from the Lone Star State: “The rub is simply coarse black pepper and kosher salt, no binder or anything else, Texas Style!”

2. Coffee rub

For a unique twist, use a rub with coarse-ground coffee, brown sugar, and chili powder

3. Honey glaze

Brush the brisket with a honey glaze during the last hour of smoking for a touch of sweetness and a caramelized crust.

For more meaty barbecue recipes, check out these dishes below:

Easy Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs Recipe Cooks Up Fall-of-the-Bone Tender

Texas Roadhouse Steak Seasoning: Easy Recipe to Enjoy Big Flavor for Less Money

Corn Ribs Are the Fun + Flavorful Side Dish You Need to Try — Easy 30-Minute Recipe

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