Brisket is one of the most popular dishes in many restaurants in America. Often served with barbecue sauce, this crowd favorite can be quite tricky to cook.

However, this requires patience and enough knowledge of how to prepare it. This is most likely the reason why some people are hesitant to try cooking brisket at home.


First, let us share some important information before we show you how to grill a brisket.

  1. The weight of your meal has an effect on the length of time that you will be cooking.

A good rule of thumb that many people use would be to cook the brisket for about 30 to 60 minutes per pound.  

You can use this figure to estimate your cooking time if you will use 275 degrees.

This means that if you have a 16-pound brisket, be prepared to cook it for a long time. Cooking a brisket with this weight usually takes about 10 to 12 hours.

But, if you are going to allot about 30 minutes of cooking time per pound, it will be 8 hours. And, if you are going to allot 60 minutes, then it is going to be 16 hours.

Do not go for 30 minutes per pound, though. Keep in mind that it is important to spend enough time cooking it.

After all, the last thing that you want to do is serve an under-cooked brisket for your guests. Nobody likes an under-cooked brisket because of the chewy meat.

2. The average weight of a whole brisket is about 12 – 14 pounds. 

 This weight includes both lean meat and fat.

3. If you are planning to cut the fat side, do not remove all the excess fat.

Many experts suggest leaving about 1/4 inch of the fat cap. This will help ensure that you have the  best brisket.

4. The internal temperature of the smoked brisket is important.

The general rule of thumb regarding the relationship between the weights and cook times is not the standard.

The amount of time needed to properly cook a brisket actually varies.

The figures mentioned above should only serve as a basis for the length of time that you should allot for cooking.

To determine whether it’s already cooked, check the internal temp of the brisket.

The brisket is cooked once the internal temperature reaches 180 to 200 degrees. This is the ideal temperature range.

Here are some of the important tips that you may want to consider:

a) Wait for a few hours of cooking time before you start checking the internal temperature of the meat.

b) Do not open the lid to check the internal temperature of the brisket more than once every hour.

c) The ideal temperature for a cooked brisket is 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

d) As soon as the internal temp of the meat reaches 195 degrees, take the brisket out of the smoker. At this temperature, you can be assured that the connective tissue has already dissolved.

5. Avoid using the aluminum foil method as much as possible. 

You can do this by planning ahead for your entire cooking process. When you plan, make sure that you have enough time to cook.

The aluminum foil method is only used to reduce the cooking time.

While the use of the aluminum foil method will not affect the taste of your brisket, many are still against it.

Aluminum foil, if not used properly, can affect the quality of your dish. This is why many people are discouraging its use.


The estimated cooking time at 250 degrees is between 45 to 75 minutes per lb. brisket.

Keep in mind that you should never rely on these figures solely and entirely.

When you allocate time for the entire cooking process, make sure that you add extra hours. These extra hours will give you an opportunity to prepare and cook the dish properly.

If you notice, 45 to 75 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit is longer than the usual 30 to 60 minutes.

The usual 30-60 minutes per lb. brisket is often suggested if you will be cooking at 275 degrees.

This means that, in most cases, you will need a shorter cooking time if you plan to use higher temperatures.

Likewise, be prepared to cook for more hours if you will be using lower temperatures. Your cooking temperature can determine your length of cooking time.

While many use 275 degrees for cooking brisket, there are also those who suggest that the best temperature range is 225 to 250 degrees.

Ultimately, it will depend on your preferences. Cooking at a low temperature will result in a tastier and better crust.

The internal meat will not be dry either. So, if you prefer this, the best brisket for you is the one cooked at a low temperature.

If you plan to cook at this temperature, follow these steps:

  1. Start by heating your pellet smoker. Make sure it’s 250 degrees.
  2. Close the cover or lid and wait for about 15 minutes.
  3. When the smoker temperature is already at 250 degrees, place brisket inside.
  4. Put the probe thermometer in the thickest part of your brisket.
  5. Increase the temp of the smoker to about 300 degrees.
  6. Cook for several hours.
  7. Remove the brisket when the internal temp of the meat reaches its ideal temperature.
  8. If you wrapped the brisket with either foil or butcher paper, you may now remove it.
  9. Leave and let it rest. Wait for about one hour.

Remember to regularly check your pellet smoker’s temperature during cook time.

The temperature may drop if you don’t have enough fuel supply. The weather and the external temperature can also lower your smoker’s temperature.


To ensure that you are able to enjoy a tastier brisket, always remember the following tips:

  • Always prepare your dry rub for several hours before cooking the brisket.

While it is true that you can apply it right before grilling, many suggest letting it stay on the meat for a few hours.

For best results, most people suggest a six-hour gap between the time the dry rub is applied and the time it is cooked.

Some would even suggest that you let the dry rub sit overnight before cooking.

  • In preparing your dry rub, we suggest adding brown sugar to your usual list of ingredients.

The brown sugar will add a little bit of sweetness to your brisket.

The list of ingredients includes onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.

You may choose to use one or two tablespoons of each, depending on your taste preferences. Then mix everything in a small bowl.

  • Add a water pan to your pellet smoker.

This will prevent your cooking chamber from burning. It can also help ensure that there is enough moisture during the cooking process.

  • Before grilling your brisket, always let it sit on a table at room temperature for at least 30 to 60 minutes.

The bottom line is that you should always allocate enough time for the entire cooking process.

You can not rush the cooking time. Instead, be prepared to cook for longer than your original estimated time.


How long does it take to cook a 12 lb. brisket at 250?

About 9 to 15 hours. You will arrive at this time if using the 45 to 75 minutes-per-pound estimate mentioned above.

This is the rough estimate that many uses to compute their cooking time whenever they do it at 250 degrees.

Are 250 degrees too high for brisket?

The answer is no. As was mentioned above, the best temperature range is 225 to 250 degrees. Many even cook at 275 and 300.


Cooking brisket is not something that you can do in a matter of minutes.

It requires patience and careful planning. You cannot rush the cooking process.

You need to allocate enough time for it.

You even have to be okay with the possibility of cooking for longer than your estimated time.

The time figures mentioned in this article are just rough estimates.

You can use it to compute the time that you will need.

You will just need to add a little bit more for just-in-case scenarios.

The necessary time to cover the entire cooking process usually varies.

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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