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How long to slow smoke a brisket? (Explained!)

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How long to slow smoke a brisket

If you are wondering how long you should be smoking a brisket at a low enough in slow enough temperature, you’ve come to the right place. 

Most of the time, you can consider a low and slow style of cook to be at the ambient temperature range of 225°F. 

That is pretty much the gold standard for smoking any type of meat at a low enough and slow enough rate.

For most briskets, you should expect an average total cook time of about 12 to 15 hours. 

That does not include the prep time for seasoning or preparing the smoker to come up to the correct temperature, nor how long you should be letting the brisket rest. 

12 to 15 hours in estimation of cook time is solely just for the cook time and nothing else.

How long to slow smoke a brisket per pound

The cook time per pound for a slow smoked brisket at 225°F is about one hour per pound of meat. 

Taking that estimation, for briskets weighing in excess of 15 or more pounds, you can safely assume that it will take about 15 or more hours to fully cook through the brisket and render down all of the collagen within the meat.

How long do you smoke a brisket at 225?

For smoking brisket at 225°F, use the ratio of about 1 pound per hour of cook time. Use that and multiply basically by however many pounds in weight that your brisket is exactly. That should give you the greatest inclination as to how long exactly you should be smoking it at that temperature specifically.

How long is too long for brisket

Since we’ve established that most briskets that are slow smoked at 225°F can take over 15 or more hours, you really want to start to consider how long is too long for a brisket to be smoking. 

Honestly, I would not suggest low smoking briskets at all. 

The benefits you get from doing hot fast versus low and slow are really pretty marginal at best, and you don’t really gain anything by doing solely a low and slow cook.

You can get better results by doing hot and fast cooks, while also finishing the overall brisket in about half the time it would take to slow smoke a brisket.

It is at the discretion of the pitmaster of course, but try not to smoke brisket past anything over 15 hours.

What temperature should I smoke a brisket at?

The temperature you should be smoking a brisket at is really determined by the weight of your brisket. 

If the brisket is about 15 or more pounds, you should be considering smoking at hotter temperatures than normal. That’s just to save you a lot more time, while producing excellent and quality results. 

The exact temperature you should be smoking a brisket at can vary anywhere from about 275°F all the way up to about 325°F.

Final thoughts

The length of time it takes to slow smoke a particular brisket, is entirely dependent on how much it weighs and approximately how hot you will be cooking it at. 

If you are cooking at 225°F, you’ll be smoking any size of brisket at a rate of about 1 pound per hour.