Cooking a brisket on a Weber Kettle grill requires some planning and patience, but it’s not overly complicated. Kettle grills are versatile and can be used for grilling, roasting, and smoking meat. Smoking a brisket takes some time, regardless of the type of grill or method you use. To make the process easier to understand, we’ve broken it down into 15 steps.
To smoke a brisket in a Weber Kettle grill, choose a high-quality brisket with good marbling and trim excess fat, leaving a thin layer of 1/4 inch fat on top. Dry brine the brisket using kosher salt and optionally inject it with liquid for added flavor and moisture. Apply a brisket rub and preheat the grill to 225-250°F. Smoke the brisket for 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, then wrap it in foil or butcher paper and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 205-210°F. Let the brisket rest for at least 30 minutes, slice against the grain, and serve with optional BBQ sauce or other condiments. To achieve a crispy crust, place the sliced brisket back on the grill for a few minutes.
Brisket In A Weber Kettle – Step-By-Step
|1||Choose a high-quality brisket with good marbling|
|2||Trim excess fat off the brisket, leaving a thin layer of 1/4 inch fat on top|
|3||Dry brine the brisket with kosher salt|
|4||Optional: inject the brisket with liquid for added flavor and moisture|
|5||Apply a generous layer of brisket rub to form the bark|
|6||Preheat the Weber Kettle grill to 225-250°F|
|7||Smoke the brisket for 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F|
|8||Wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 205-210°F|
|9||Let the brisket rest for at least 30 minutes|
|10||Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with optional BBQ sauce or other condiments|
|11||Optional: place the sliced brisket back on the grill to crisp up the edges|
How To Set Up Your Kettle For Smoking Brisket
|Temperature||Long, Low & Slow||Hot Coals||Fuel Supply||Kettle Stabilization Time||Cook Time||Top Vent Setting||Bottom Vent Setting|
|225-250°F||Yes||5-6||130 briquettes||20-30 minutes||10-12 hours||1/8 to 1/4 open||1/8 to 1/4 open|
- Choose a high-quality brisket with good marbling, as this will result in a tender, juicy final product.
- Trim excess fat off the brisket, leaving a thin layer of 1/4 inch fat on top to form a bark.
- Dry brine the brisket using kosher salt to add flavor and moisture.
- Inject the brisket with liquid (such as bone broth, beer, or stock) to add flavor and moisture. This step is optional.
- Apply a generous layer of brisket rub to form the bark.
- Preheat the Weber Kettle grill to 225-250°F.
- Place the brisket on the grill, fat side up, and smoke for 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Wrap the brisket in foil or butcher paper and return it to the grill.
- Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 205-210°F, which should take another 3-4 hours.
- Remove the brisket from the grill and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Slice the brisket against the grain and serve.
- Optional: To achieve a crispy crust, place the sliced brisket back on the grill for a few minutes to crisp up the edges.
- Optional: Add BBQ sauce or other desired condiments.
1. Select The Best Brisket You Can Afford
Selecting quality beef is one of the most important steps if you want a tender, juicy brisket. You can get everything else right from the wrapping to the spritzing, but if you choose a dud brisket, there’s a good chance it will turn out dry no matter what you do.
When choosing a brisket, the first thing you should look for is good marbling (the fatty streaks in the meat). If there is a lot of marbling, then you will increase your chances of smoking the perfect brisket. When a brisket has a high marbling score, the fat will melt and render into the meat if it’s cooked low-and-slow. Without the marbling, the meat will probably turn out dry.
A whole brisket is known as a packer brisket and contains a point and a flat. The point is the thickest part, and the flat is the thinner end of the brisket. You can buy the point and flat separately or buy whole packer brisket.
2. Trim Your Brisket, Leaving 1/4 Inch of Fat
Try not to buy a brisket that has too much fat on the top layer, because most of the fat will need to be removed. If the brisket has too much fat, the smoke won’t be able to penetrate the meat and a bark won’t form. Trim most of the fat off the brisket, but leave a thin 1/4-inch layer of fat on the cap. The remaining fat will work with the rub and form a bark, and shield the meat from the hottest part of the smoker.
3. Dry Brine Brisket For Extra Moisture and Flavor
Dry brining is the best way to brine your brisket before smoking. Wet brines work well with other cuts of meat, but if you wet brine a brisket, it will take on a different texture and taste. Dry brining involves simply rubbing salt onto the meat prior to smoking. The salt will penetrate the flesh, add flavor, and will help the meat retain moisture.
Brisket is a large piece of meat, so it needs to be cooked for a long time. During the long cook, the meat will lose a lot of moisture, but the salt will help the meat re-absorb some moisture. Kosher salt is the most commonly used salt among pitmasters because it has large granules, no iodine, and doesn’t stick together. Once you have rubbed salt into the brisket, place it in a ziplock bag and store it in the refrigerator for 2- 24 hours prior to smoking.
4. Inject the Meat For ‘Competition-Style’ Brisket
Injecting your brisket is optional, and depending on where you are on your meat smoking journey, you may not yet have a meat injector. Injectors are inexpensive and easy to use, and will take your brisket to the next level.
Injection is the best way to get more flavor and moisture deep inside the brisket. Brining will only absorb so far, but injecting allows you to flavor every part of the meat. Injecting is a good way to get some extra fluid into the brisket to help it on the long cook. Competition smokers pump marinades into brisket, but you can use bone broth, beer, stock or whatever you fancy. If you don’t have an injector, make sure you buy a stainless steel injector, not the cheap plastic ones. For more on injecting, check out another article: Should I Inject Brisket?
This brisket injection marinade is the secret used in competitions and made by a World Barbecue champion.
5. Apply a Generous Layer of Brisket Rub
Applying a good covering of rub is an important step in the brisket smoking process because it helps form the bark. The bark is the hard crust on the outer layer of the meat. You can make your own rub from a few simple ingredients or you can purchase a brisket rub. I use Killer Hogs TX Brisket Rub because it’s made by barbecue pro Malcolm Reed. The other brisket master, Aaron Franklin, keeps it simple with rubs, and all he uses is a 1:1 ratio of black pepper and kosher salt.
Most homemade brisket rub recipes contain different combinations of paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Search the meat smoking forums and you’ll find dozens of brisket rub recipes. Applying a binder for the rub is a good idea, so it sticks to the meat. Mustard is the best binder, but you can also use mayonnaise, oil or anything that will make the rub stick.
6. Arrange the Briquettes Using The Snake Method
The snake method is the best way to set your coals for the long brisket smoke. Make sure you make a large, thick snake that stretches along the outer layer of your kettle. The snake should be 2 or 3 coals wide and 2 or 3 coals high and form a C shape.
Light one end of the snake by laying half a charcoal chimney of lit coals on one end of the snake. Scatter wood chunks along the first half of the snake. There are dozens of YouTube videos that demonstrate the snake method. No matter how you setup your snake, the most important thing is being able to hold the temp at 220°F for the entire cook.
7. Add a Few Chunks of Hickory or Pecan Wood
Brisket is a tough cut of meat and can handle the strong smoke from most woods. The best wood for brisket are the stronger wood flavors such as hickory, mesquite or oak. Pecan is ideal for brisket, and a safe choice. So too are any of the fruit woods such as apple or cherry wood. Chunks work best for smoking on a Weber Kettle and can be scattered along the charcoal briquettes. If you’re employing the snake method, lay wood chunks along the snake to about the halfway point and about an inch apart.
8. Use Thermometers For Good Temperature Control
If you don’t have a good meat thermometer, then you’re operating in the dark. A decent duel-probe thermometer is a must if you’re serious about smoking a brisket. A thermometer takes all the guesswork out of cooking and allows you to track the internal meat temperature and the ambient temperature of your smoker. Brisket needs to be smoked low-and-slow at 220°F for the entire cook. If the temperature fluctuates, then you’re going to end up with a tough, dry brisket.
A duel probe thermometer will allow you to clip one probe to the grill of your Weber kettle, and it will alert you if the temperature goes above 220°F. Once alerted, you can make adjustments to the vents and hold the temp in the correct range. A lot of things can influence the temperature, such as the wind or the cold. Also, opening the lid of the smoker can send the temperature soaring.
Insert the second thermometer probe inside the meat to track the internal meat temperature. This is extremely important because the brisket needs to be wrapped at an internal temperature of 150°F and is only considered done at an internal meat temp of 203°F. It’s impossible to know that you’ve hit these important temperature milestones without a good meat thermometer. For more on meat thermometers, check out my article: The Best Meat Thermometers Under $50
9. Practice Good Vent Control
Weber kettles can be difficult to control, so they need some attention on long cooks when smoking a large roast like a brisket. Before you attempt a brisket, make sure you know your kettle well and can hold the temperature in the 220°F range for a long period. Make sure you have a good understanding of your vents, know how to wind back the temperature when needed, and how to raise it up.
Try keep your kettle grill away from the wind because this will cause temperature fluctuations. If you are still working your way up to a brisket, try smoking a pork butt (pork shoulder). Pork butts are hard to mess up and are a good practice run before smoking your first brisket.
10. Mop or Spritz Your Brisket To Slow The Cook
The brisket should be mopped or spritzed regularly during the first half of the cook until the brisket is wrapped. Adding moisture will help set the bark, keep the meat moist, and help make the meat tender by slowing down the cooking. For the first 3 hours, leave the brisket alone. Once the bark has hardened, begin spritzing the brisket every hour until wrapping.
Spray bottles work well to spritz the meat or you can mop the meat with a mini mop and bucket. Otherwise you can use a regular basting brush to baste the brisket. There are dozens of different mop sauces you can use on brisket, and they won’t make much difference to the taste of the meat. Here is a list of the most common mop sauces you can use:
- Bone Broth
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apple Juice
- Melted butter
11. Wrap Your Brisket To Keep It Moist
Wrapping the brisket in foil is an important step if you don’t want a dry brisket. Brisket is a large cut of meat that can easily dry out since when exposed to heat for so many hours. The wrap will create steam and braise the meat in the final hours of the cook. The best time to wrap the brisket is once it reaches an internal meat temperature of 150°F.
Use heavy duty foil and double wrap the brisket so it won’t leak any meat juice. Give the brisket one final spritz/mop before sealing the parcel. The downside of a foil wrapped brisket is a soft bark. The trick is to make sure you have a hard bark before you wrap, then the bark should survive the wrapping stage. Some people don’t wrap their brisket, but if you go down the unwrapped path, the brisket will have a firm bark, but the meat will be dry.
Butcher paper is an excellent alternative to foil and has become popular in recent years thanks to Aaron Franklin. Butcher paper allows the meat to breathe more than foil while still keeping the meat moist. Some people believe butcher paper gives you a better bark than foil, while others say the differences are minimal. For more on wrapping, check out Wrap Brisket at What Temp? and Foil or Butcher Paper?
12. Push Through the Stall
Every brisket will hit the stall when the internal temperature reaches 150°F. The stall occurs when the meat sweats and cools down. When meat stalls, the internal meat temperature gets stuck in the 150°F range and can stay there for hours. The best way to push through the stall is to wrap your brisket, and it should take an hour off your total cook time.
13. When is a Brisket Done?
A brisket is done once it reaches an internal meat temperature of about 203°F, or the meat is probe tender. Beef roasts are safe to eat at 145°F, but a brisket will be too chewy if it’s served at that temperature. If you allow the brisket to cook over 200°F, it will give the connective tissue a chance to melt and render into the meat. If it’s pulled from the smoker at 203°F, the brisket should have developed a gelatinous texture, which is what we are after. Experienced pitmasters go by fell, rather than temperature. When you stick a probe in a perfectly cooked brisket, it should feel like butter.
14. Rest The Brisket For 1 Hour
Resting is the last stage in the brisket smoking process. By giving the meat a chance to rest, it will allow the moisture to reabsorb its meat juices and continue to cook. If you sliced the brisket without resting, the meat juices will spill out and be lost. Pull the brisket from the smoker once it has reached a 203°F internal temperature. Keep the brisket in its foil, wrap the brisket in a towel, and then place it in a dry cooler. The brisket will stay hot for up to 4-hours, but you can slice anywhere after 1-4 hours of resting. For more on this, check out How Long Should I Rest Brisket?
15. Harden the Bark Before Serving
If you want a firm bark, unwrap the brisket after it has been well rested and place it back into the Weber Kettle for 10-minutes to dry out the bark. The brisket bark will be soggy after being wrapped, so giving it a quick burst of high heat should harden the bark. If the coals on your kettle grill have gone out, use a conventional oven and turn it up as high as it can go. Then, all there is to do is slice and serve your smoked brisket.
Pre-Made Brisket Rub Comparison
Homemade Rub Recipe For Smoked Brisket
Standard Barbecue Rub
I found this great rub recipe through How To BBQ Right. I use this recipe and alter it slightly depending on what I'm cooking. Made by the guys at Townsend Spice & Supply: https://townsendspice.com/
- - ½ Cup Paprika
- - ½ Cup Salt
- - ½ Cup Sugar
- - ½ Cup Granulated Garlic
- - ¼ Cup Granulated Onion
- - ¼ Cup Chili
- - ¼ Cup Cumin
- - 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- - 2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
- - 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
- Combine all the spices together in a large mixing bowl
- Store rub in rub shakers
My Favorite Brisket Tools
Thanks for checking out this article. I hope you learned a few things. Here are some of my favorite tools I use when smoking brisket that may be useful to you. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase any of these products, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the tools I recommend to my family and friends who are just starting out.
Meat Injector: Injecting meat is a great way to take your barbecue to the next level and help you make competition-style brisket. An injector is the only way you will be able to get flavor and moisture into the middle of the meat. The Beast Injector is a stainless steel injector that is sturdy and affordable. Check the latest price on Amazon here.
Brisket Marinade: The best injection solution on the market is the Butcher BBQ Brisket Injection. This marinade is used in competitions and is made by World Barbecue Champion pitmaster, Dave Bouska. You can find the marinade on Amazon here.
Butcher Paper: Wrapping brisket in butcher paper has become a huge trend in barbeque thanks to Aaron Franklin. Wrapping your brisket in paper will give you a nice brisket bark. However, you can’t just use any old paper, it has to be unwaxed, food grade paper. You can find it on Amazon here.
Brisket Rub: These days I make my own rub when possible, but I always have a few pre-made rubs for when I’m running low. Barbecue guru Malcom Reed produces Killer Hogs, one of the best brisket rubs I’ve found over the years. Another great rub is Slap Yo Daddy, made by brisket master and multiple World Barbecue Champion, Harry Soo.
Meat Thermometer: There are dozens of fancy thermometers on the market, but I still use my trusty TP20. For around $50, I have a high-quality meat thermometer with two probes, and can track the temperature of my smoker with one probe, and my meat with the other probe. The ThermoPro TP20 is an Amazon Best Seller because it’s the easiest thermometer to operate, is durable, highly accurate, and comes with pre-programmed meat settings.
Instant Read Thermometer: Arguably, the second most important tool you need is a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer. These tools play an important role in the latter stages of the cook when the meat needs regular checking in multiple areas. I use the ThermoPro TP19 because it can do everything a ThermaPen can do, but for a fraction of the cost. You can check out the TP19 on Amazon here.
Advanced Thermometer and Automatic Temperature Controller: Once you’re ready to take things seriously, the FireBoard 2 Drive is a six-channel Bluetooth/Wi-Fi thermometer that can monitor up to 6 pieces of meat, control and graph your cook sessions on your smartphone, and attaches to an an automatic blower that will convert your charcoal smoker to a set-and-forget. This is one of the most advanced meat thermometers on the market. You can check it out on the FireBoard website here.