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How long to add smoke to brisket? (Explained)

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How long to add smoke to brisket?

If you’re wondering how long you should be adding smoke to your brisket, then you have come to the right place. When you think about smoking a brisket, you will certainly have to be cooking it for several hours at a time. 

The length of time that it takes to actually smoke your brisket at, is entirely dependent on how much it weighs and how hot you decide to be cooking it at.

For hotter style cooks, you should expect about 2 pounds per hour of cook time while for the lower end of the cooking range, you should expect an average of about 1 pound per hour of cook time to fully cook your brisket.

You should strongly consider these ratios when determining the length of time that is needed to smoke a brisket, as those are very important guidelines to follow.

When to stop adding smoke to brisket

When you’re talking about adding smoke to your piece of barbecue, outside of just cooking it in general, most people will say that the brisket will stop taking in smoke at around 160° mark. 

This is usually because that is the time that many decide to wrap the brisket and push it past the stall.

In actuality and in practice, if you don’t wrap your brisket at 160°, then you will certainly start to get more of a smoke flavor than if you had wrapped it 160. 

Therefore the brisket is always obtaining smoke flavor throughout the entirety of the cook.

You don’t want to risk getting an under smoked brisket by wrapping it to you soon.

What you want to do is basically just unwrap the brisket throughout the entire smoking session and let the internal temperature get to round 200°F before you ever think about pulling it.

What happens if you smoke brisket too long

If you happen to think that you’re smoking a brisket too long, then take a quick look at the internal temperature of the meat. See where it’s at, if it’s around 200°F, then you should know that it is almost about done. 

Take a toothpick and slide it in and out of a meat and test for resistance.

What you don’t want, is for the BBQ to reach an internal temperature above 205°F. 

At that point, you’re severely risk overcooking your piece of BBQ.

What happens when you smoke a brisket up to 205°F, is that it will become very crumbly and dry once you begin to slice into it afterwards.

Should I spray my brisket while smoking

Some people say that spraying or spritzing your brisket with apple cider vinegar or apple juice will help to form the crust all over the barbecue as well as cool off the meat throughout the entirety of the smoking session. 

Some people will even advocate and say that by spritzing the meat throughout the cook, you are helping to impart a lot more smoke flavor because it traps a lot of the smoke particles inside of the spritz itself.

I have done plenty of brisket cooks where I have not spritzed it whatsoever and it came out fantastic.

Don’t think that you have to be spraying it all the time.

What temp does brisket stop taking smoke?

Brisket never really stops taking smoke in my experience. You can measure that by the formation of the crust for your piece of barbecue. 

A lot of people like I had mentioned earlier, will advocate for wrapping your brisket around the stall period of the cook. 

You really don’t want to do that if you’re concerned about getting as much smoke flavor as possible.

When you unwrap the brisket throughout the entirety of the cook, then you will notice at the crust as well as the overall smoke flavor and smoke ring are excellent and have a very prominent smoke flavor overall.

When Should I stop adding wood to the smoker?

The length of time it takes to smoke a brisket is quite significant. Many may even ask when they should stop adding wood to the smoker, to potentially not let any more smoke flavor from being imparted onto the meat. 

You first have to decide if you want a lot of smoke flavor or if you do not want a lot of smoke flavor. 

That will determine when you should be taking wood off the smoker.

If you do want tons of smoke flavor, then continue adding fuel to the fire as you normally would, and cook the brisket to an internal temperature of 200°F. 

If you don’t want as much smoke flavor, you don’t really have to stop adding wood since that’s the primary fuel source to begin with, but consider wrapping the brisket at around 160°F to thwart any type of smoke flavor from being imparted onto the meat further.

How often do you add wood when smoking brisket?

In terms of how frequently you should be adding wood to the smoker when you’re cooking a brisket, it’s entirely up to how hot or how low of a cooking temperature you are cooking it at. 

For hotter temperatures at around 300° or hotter, you will certainly burn a lot more fuel in the process than if you would be smoking at 225°F. When you smoke at these temperature variances, you’ll also want to take note of your vents and the overall airflow of your cooking chamber. 

As you get more oxygen in the chamber, the more fuel you will be burning.

For the hotter temperatures that have maximum airflow, you’ll notice that you can be adding wood to the fuel just about every hour or so.

This also is depending on how thick of steel your smoker actually is, for heat retention purposes. 

The lower and temperature you happen to go, the less frequently you’ll be needing to add the fuel to the fire. Specifically, it’s about every one or two hours that you’ll be anything to add fuel to the fire for 225°F style cooks.

Is 24 hours too long to smoke a brisket?

If you’re concerned about getting too much smoke flavor on a 24 hour smoked brisket, no need to worry. Brisket is a severely huge cut of meat that can take tons of seasoning and beating from the smoke in your cooker. 

Not only that, but you need to be smoking it for significant amounts of time to even get any type of smoke flavor at all.

A lot of people will say that you have to pull it and wrap it and place it back onto the cooker at about 160°F to push it past the stall. 

They also seem to say that that is the point at which it takes no more smoke flavor. 

That is false, and if you happen to be smoking a brisket for 24 hours, it will still be taking smoke, but it will not be that it overpowering since the piece of meat is usually very large to begin with.

Final Thoughts

Smoking a brisket is a tremendous task that can take some planning if you don’t know what you are doing.

Just know that brisket never really stops taking smoke flavor, but if you’re concerned about that, you can certainly take necessary steps to block any further smoke from occurring. 

The most notable of which, is to be wrapping it once it reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F. That is when it goes to the stall, and it’s a great excuse to be wrapping it to push it past that portion of the cook.