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How long should it take to smoke a brisket? (Explained)

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How long should it take to smoke a brisket

If you are wondering how long it should take to smoke a brisket, then you have come to the right place. For the most part, the single most important thing to consider when determining the length of time for your brisket cook, is to consider its weight and ambient temperature at which you are smoking it at. 

For briskets that are smoked at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, you can start to expect a cook-through rate of about one pound per hour.

Briskets that are smoked at 250 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, can be completed at about a ratio of 2 lb per hour of cook time. 

These are just the average cook through rates that any particular brisket can be expected to be completed and fully rendered down. 

What happens if you smoke brisket too long?

If you’re wondering what happens if you smoke a brisket for too long, then keep reading. 

First, you’ll need to understand that briskets are completed at an internal temperature range of about 200 to 205 degrees. This is the stage at which the collagen and interconnected tissues inside of the meat start to fully render down. 

This tenderizes the entire piece of barbecue. 

If you happen to smoke the brisket way past an internal temp of 205, then the fibers and collagen inside of the brisket will start to dry up and have the opposite effect of making the brisket nice and juicy. 

It will all become very bland, dry, and crumbly. 

You don’t want that!

How long before you smoke a brisket should you season it

Let’s talk very briefly about seasoning your brisket. For the most part you will want to consider seasoning it at least 30 minutes prior to throwing it on the smoker. 

There honestly is not really any certain time frame that you should be placing seasoning on your barbecue, but by having a general operating procedure that you can stick to, you will be able to effectively and efficiently season, prep, and prepare your brisket.

How long is too long to smoke brisket?

For those wondering how long is ‘too long’, just know that you should be smoking briskets anywhere from 16-24 hours. That pretty much encompasses all the different possibilities in terms of both temperature and weight of the brisket itself. 

Anything shorter or longer than that time frame, and you may want to check your brisket smoking strategy!

Final Thoughts

All in all, just ensure you’re smoking your briskets at a reasonable temperature of 225 to 350 degrees. The hotter you go (towards 350), and you’ll certainly expect to be smoking your brisket for substantially shorter periods of time than you would if smoking the same brisket at 225 degrees.

That being said, in terms of what you SHOULD be doing, it’s really up to you. Just stay inside those temperature ranges and only pull the meat off the smoker once you get to an internal temp of 205 (but no more than this!).