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How long does brisket take to smoke?

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Smoking a brisket can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who are new to barbecue. One of the most common questions that come up when smoking a brisket is “How long should I expect it to take?” In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the factors that affect the cook time of a brisket, and how to ensure that your brisket is cooked to perfection.

Factors Affecting Cook Time 

There are two main factors that affect the cook time of a brisket: the temperature at which it’s smoked and its weight.

For a long, slow cook, you can expect the brisket to take about one pound per hour of cook time, with a smoking temperature of 225-250°F. For a hot and fast cook, which involves smoking the brisket at 275°F or higher, you can expect a cook time of around two pounds per hour. In other words, a hot and fast cook takes about half the time of a long, slow cook.

How to Estimate Cook Time 

To estimate the cook time of your brisket, take the weight of the brisket and multiply it by the estimated cook time per pound, depending on your cooking method.

For example, if you have a 10-pound brisket and you’re cooking it low and slow, you can expect it to take around 10 hours, plus an hour or so for prep time. On the other hand, if you’re cooking the same 10-pound brisket hot and fast, it should take around 5-6 hours.

Prep Time Matters

When estimating the cook time of your brisket, it’s important to factor in the prep time, which includes getting your smoker ready, lighting the fuel, and making sure the temperature is consistent. You’ll also need to factor in time to season your brisket and let it rest before placing it on the smoker.

All of these factors can add up and turn your cook time into a longer total cook time.

Temperature is Key Regardless of your cooking method, the most important thing when smoking a brisket is to pull it off the smoker at the right temperature. Once your brisket reaches an internal temperature of 200°F, grab a toothpick and start poking it around. You want zero resistance whatsoever before pulling the brisket off the smoker.

Final Thoughts

Smoking a brisket can be a time-consuming process, but with the right preparation and cooking methods, you can achieve a perfectly smoked brisket that is both tender and flavorful. Remember to account for prep time and adjust your cook time estimate accordingly.

By focusing on temperature, preparing your smoker properly, and giving yourself enough time, you’ll be well on your way to creating an outstanding brisket that your guests will love.