How Long Should You Smoke a Brisket – Guide to Cooking Time Per Pound of Meat

how long to smoke a brisket per pound

Got a cookout coming up?

Then there’s a high chance that you’re considering smoking a brisket for the party. After all, this is an inexpensive cut of meat that can feed a lot of people, offering a brilliant flavor and tender texture.

But to get the ideal temperature and texture from your brisket, you need to smoke it properly.

And if you’re wondering how long to smoke a brisket per pound of meat, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a definitive guide to smoking brisket, how long to smoke it, along a quick and easy way to determine the ideal smoking time for your brisket.

Read on to learn more.

How Long Does It Take Brisket to Cook?

Brisket is a tough piece of meat. The brisket comes from the breast area of the steer. This is a muscle that does a lot of work, and over time the fibers become tough. This may be confusing to first-timers since brisket is known for its tender texture.

So, how do you turn this tough cut of meat into a tender and juicy meal? Well, you have to cook it for a really long time.

Usually, it takes upwards of 8 hours for an entire large brisket to cook in the smoker. However, this largely depends on the weight of your meat, the smoking temperature, and other environmental factors.

To make it easier to figure out the appropriate cooking time for a brisket, here’s a quick guide to use when smoking the meat at different temperatures;

Smoking at 275

Smoking a brisket at 275 is a technique some chefs use when they are pressed on time. Since cooking a brisket the whole way through takes a lot of time, you can shed off a couple of hours on the cooking time if you raise the temperature.

If you’re smoking a brisket at 275, the general rule of thumb is that it will take between 30 minutes to 45 minutes per pound for the meat to cook. So, if you have a 10-pound brisket, then you can expect it to take between 5-7 and a half hours to cook all the way through.

While you won’t be waiting as long when smoking the brisket at 275, it does come with its own share of risks. To start, you won’t have as much control at this temperature and you can risk overcooking the meat.

With that in mind, smoking a brisket at 275 is best recommended for people who already have experience smoking brisket at lower temperatures. That way, it will be easier for you to make adjustments if you notice that something it’s quite right with the cooking.

Smoking at 225

For most beginners, 225 is the ideal temperature for smoking a brisket. On top of that, most chefs choose this temperature as the standard for people looking to smoke a brisket. This is because 225 degrees Fahrenheit allows your meat to cook all the way through, slowly breaking down the fibers, making the meat as tender as possible.

With that said, it will take a much longer time to cook brisket at this temperature. The general rule is that it will take between 60-90 minutes per pound when cooking a brisket in a smoker set to 225 degrees.

So, for a 10-pound piece of meat, you can expect it to take between 10-15 hours to cook. This is significantly longer than at higher temperatures. However, this allows you to get a much more tender texture and have control over the full process.

If you aren’t pressed for time and you’re willing to wait to get the best texture possible, then smoking the meat at 225 is the way to go.

What is The Best Temperature for Smoking Brisket?

thermometer in a cooked beef brisket

In our experience, we’ve gotten the best results when we smoke the brisket at 225 degrees. Since the meat takes a long time to cook and the fibers are broken down slowly, you will get a consistently juicy texture when you smoke the brisket at this temperature.

While this isn’t too hot that it will burn or overcook the meat, 225 is also just the right temperature to avoid the “danger zone”. This is a point in the cooking time where bacteria can thrive in the meat. So, the less time the meat stays in the danger zone, the better.

With that said, not everyone has the time to wait for a brisket smoking at 225 degrees. If this is too long for you, you can bump the temperature up to 275. However, when doing this, make sure to keep a close eye on the meat to avoid overcooking it.

When Should I Take My Brisket Off the Smoker?

If your brisket has been smoking for the appropriate time per pound, it should be safe to take out to rest. However, there are many environmental factors that can lengthen or shorten the cooking time. On top of that, it can be close to impossible for newbies to spot if meat is cooked by just looking or touching it.

That’s why we recommend using a meat thermometer. That way, you can get an accurate reading of the temperature of your meat, so you won’t risk under or overcooking the brisket.

If you have a meat thermometer, you can take the brisket out if it reaches between 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. From there, rest the meat for at least an hour, that way, the internal temperature will rise a bit more to ensure a juicier and more tender texture.


If you’re smoking a brisket for your next cookout, you need to make sure to smoke it for an appropriate time. That way, you won’t accidentally overcook or undercook the brisket. Additionally, this is how you can make sure that the meat reaches the desired texture and flavor. Ideally, you’d want to smoke a 10-pound brisket in a smoker at 225 for between 10-15 hours. However, if you choose to bump the heat up to 275 for a shorter cooking time, the same brisket will be done within 5-7 hours.


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