When to Pull Brisket Off The Smoker – A Beginner’s Guide

When to Pull Brisket Off The Smoker

Planning a cookout soon?

Then smoking a brisket is a great choice. To start, the brisket is an inexpensive cut of meat. So, it won’t cost you that much to find a large chunk that can serve a lot of people.

On top of that, smoking brisket results in a tender and juicy texture that will leave everyone’s mouth-watering. In fact, just smelling the brisket is enough to get some people hungry.

But if you want to achieve that signature texture and flavor, you need to smoke your brisket for just the right time. That means you need to know when to pull brisket off smoker to make sure it isn’t undercooked or overcooked.

And in this article, we’ll be explaining just the right time to take out your brisket to make sure that the meat is cooked to just the right point.

Read on to learn more.

When Should I Pull a Brisket Off The Smoker?

The thing about smoking brisket is that it takes a long time to cook. The brisket cut comes from the breast part of the steer. This is a muscle that does a lot of work, so over time, it becomes very tough. And to get the brisket tender and juicy, you need to slowly raise the temperature.

That way, the muscle fibers have enough time to break down. So, chewing, cutting, and eating the brisket will be a great experience.

The FDA recommends cooking beef, pork, and lamb to a temperature of at least 145 degrees. However, brisket requires a slightly higher temperature. We recommend taking the brisket off the smoker once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees at its thickest point.

Since there are many factors that determined how long it will take the brisket to reach that temperature, we highly recommend getting a meat thermometer. That way, you aren’t relying on time and you have more precision when cooking.

Here are some of the factors that will determine how long it will take the brisket to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees;


The first thing that will determine how long it will take to cook a brisket is the weight. Briskets are generally a heavy cut of meat. In fact, it can be tough to find a brisket at your local butcher’s shop that weighs less than 10 pounds.

With that said, the typical weight of briskets is between 10-15 pounds. However, you may also find larger and heavier cuts, which will take longer to cook.

So, before figuring out how long you should set your timer for your brisket, figure out how much it weighs. That way, it’s easier to decide how long it will take to cook it.

There are other things that will determine how long it will take the brisket to cook. However, a general rule to follow is that the heavier the brisket, the longer it will take to cook.


The next thing to determine is the temperature of smoking the meat. Chefs have different opinions when it comes to the right temperature for smoking brisket. But chefs usually smoke their briskets at a temperature between 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

The lower the temperature you smoke the meat, the longer the cooking time and vice versa. However, that doesn’t mean that smoking your brisket at higher temperatures to reduce the cooking time is the best option.

In fact, many people say that smoking your meat at 225 is the ideal temperature. This is because this gives you more control over the smoking process and allows the fibers to slowly break down, resulting in a lower temperature.

At 225 degrees, it will take around 60 minutes to 90 minutes to cook your brisket per pound. So, if you’re considering smoking as brisket at this temperature, keep in mind that it will take a 10-pound brisket between 10-15 hours to cook at this temperature.

You can shorten the cooking time to 30-45 minutes per pound at 275 degrees. This means the same 10-pound brisket will only take between 5-7 hours to cook at this temperature.

Regardless of the smoking temperature, it’s important to pull the brisket off the smoker once it reaches 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit at its thickest point. This is because you need to rest your meat after pulling it off the smoker, which allows the juices to reabsorb and raise the temperature to just the right point to get the signature texture of smoked brisket.

Environmental Factors

Another thing to consider that will determine when you should pull the brisket off the smoker is environmental factors. If you’re smoking the meat during winter or in windy or cold conditions, this can also affect the cooking time. In fact, environmental factors can actually do some significant harm to the cooking process, which is why we recommend keeping your smoker in a place that won’t be affected by wind and other factors.

Should I Rest The Brisket after Removing It from The Smoker?

Smoked Barbecue Beef Brisket with Sauce

Since it can take hours before your brisket is ready to be pulled off the smoker, you may want to start digging in the second it reaches the right temperature. However, just because you pulled the brisket off the smoker, doesn’t mean the cooking process is done.

Before slicing the meat, you have to rest it for at least 30 minutes and a maximum of one hour. This is to let the juices reabsorb and distribute themselves throughout the meat. It also allows the meat to reach the proper temperature for consumption which will leave all your guests satisfied.

So, as tempting as it might be, make sure to give the meat time to rest after pulling it off the smoker.


Brisket is a very interesting cut of meat for people who want to smoke a lot of food for a large party. With that said, since brisket is a tough cut of meat, you need to make sure you pull it off the smoker at the right time so that it isn’t under or overcooked.

There are many factors that determine the ideal smoking time for briskets such as the weight of the meat, smoking temperature, and environmental factors. But one of the best ways to tell if your brisket is ready to be pulled off the smoker is using a meat thermometer. If the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 on the meat thermometer, then it’s ready to be taken off the smoker to rest.


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