Hot and Fast Brisket

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You don’t have to spend all day, or wait for a special occasion to enjoy a delicious smoked beef brisket, with my easy hot and fast brisket method. 

picture of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board
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picture of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board

Quicker Smoked Brisket Recipe

Smoked beef brisket is really the king of the barbeque. The problem with smoked beef brisket is that it traditionally takes 12-15 hours to cook. It’s an all-day commitment that often doesn’t fit into our busy schedules, even if we love the beefy, rich flavor of well-smoked beef brisket. 

Smoked beef brisket doesn’t have to be reserved for only for special occasions with my easy hot and fast brisket method. 

Easy hot and fast brisket method takes less than half the time and packs all of the smokey, beefy flavor of the traditional “low and slow” method. It’s the prefect method if you’re craving smokey, beef brisket but don’t have all day to cook it. 

The tradition of cooking brisket for special occasions was brought to America by eastern European Jews during the 1800’s as part of their celebratory meals for Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Hanukkah and Shabbat. It’s believed that smoked brisket started showing up in Jewish delis in Texas at the turn of the century. Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas claims title of being the first to sell brisket exclusively on their menu in the 1950s. 

For seasoning, I like to stick to the Texas tradition, so I only use salt, pepper, and garlic powder as my rub. You should play around with the seasonings you like. In the past I’ve had great success with coffee and chili powder rubs.

Check out my web story about this brisket method!

 

picture of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board with a brush and bbq sauce next to it

How To Make Hot and Fast Smoked Brisket

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Whole beef brisket – Your whole, “packer” brisket had two parts, the point and the flat. The “point” is the rounder, fattier end, and the “flat” is the thin, flat end that traditionally makes up the slices of brisket that go on sandwiches. The point is often cut up into pieces and made into burnt ends. The point is my favorite part of the brisket, since it brings the flavor and the fat. My father and my son prefer the less fatty flat of the brisket, so cooking a whole packer brisket severs the whole family. 
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder – Making your own rub at home ensures you have total control of the ingredients, and you’re not sneaking stabilizers or sugars (malto-dextrine) into your meals that are often in pre-packaged spice rub blends. I love the simplicity of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, as they accent the flavor of the beef well, and help build a good bark. 
  • Pink butcher paper or aluminum foil – You can use either the traditional pink butcher paper or regular heavy duty aluminum foil for wrapping your brisket. Each has its own advantages, so use what’s available near you. 
  • Oak wood – Oak chunks provide a wonderful medium flavored smoke for your brisket. Oak is a great all round workhorse wood for a host of different types of meat, so I always have it on hand. Hickory is another great wood for smoking beef, but it can have a stronger, sometimes more acrid flavor than oak. 
  • Hardwood charcoal – Use high quality, large lump charcoal, not the pressed briquettes. The pressed briquettes are bound together with petroleum products that can give your meat and off flavor. My husband swears by Jealous Devil’s Premium XL hardwood charcoal, as a clean, hot burning charcoal that is easy to use.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method: 

  • Trim your brisket.  A packer brisket is a huge piece of meat, with so much fat there’s not way you’ll ever render all of it. Use a sharp knife on the cold brisket to remove as much of the soft, white fat as you can. Many top pitmasters render the fat trimmings down to make homemade beef tallow for cooking and frying. 
  • Season your brisket. Season your brisket aggressively with your rub of choice. Remember, it’s a large, thick piece of meat, so use more seasoning on the outside than you think you should. I prefer Texas-style for beef, so I used course salt and pepper and garlic powder. While sugar is often used in pork rubs, I don’t like it for beef seasoning, as it often burns and leaves and unpleasant after taste. You can season up to 36 hours in advance, which helps build and establish a good bark on your brisket.
  • Bring your smoker to temperature. Prepare your smoker for this cooking session. Light your fire and allow the charcoal to burn for 15-20 minutes until the grey/black smoked is replaced with thin, wispy blue smoke. Bring the temperature to 300 degrees for this hot and fast cooking session.
  • Smoke your brisket until it hits an internal temperature of 160-170o.  Place your brisket on the smoker with the fat side down. This keeps the fat cap between the heat source and the meat with Kamado and kettle style smokers like I use. I highly recomend using a disposible foil pan with water in to catch fat drippings and prevent flare ups in your smoker. The water also helps keep the brisket moist. This should take roughly 2-3 ours depending on the thickness of your particular piece of meat, your cooker, and ambient temperatures. 
  • Wrap your brisket. At 160-170o internal temperature, I wrap my brisket in either pink butcher paper or aluminum foil (the “infamous” Texas Crutch). Wrapping the meat protects the bark you’ve worked so hard to build, keeps it from taking on acrid burnt flavors from excessive smoke, and helps tenderize and soften the meat. 
  • Cook your wrapped brisket until in reaches 205-210o internal temperature. Wrapping the brisket will help you push through the “stall” as you work toward the internal temperature of 205-210o. This should take approximately 2-2.5 hours, but you should probe test the meat. The rule of thumb is that your meat is done when the sharp probe slides through the meat like hot butter. 
  • Wrap and rest your brisket for at least an hour in a cooler. Once your brisket hits the temperature, remove it from the smoker, keep it in foil or butcher paper wrap. Wrap it in a towel and then put it in a clean, dry cooler to rest for at least an hour. This rest keeps the meat juicy and helps to keep it tender. 
  • Slicer against the grain and serve. As with all beef, it is best to cut against the grain of the meat. Cutting the fibers this way, keeps the meat tender. I recommend separating the flat from the point, slicing the flat into pencil thick slices. If you’re ambitious, you can turn your point into burnt ends. 
picture of sliced smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Hot and Fast Brisket:

Hot and Fast smoked beef brisket is a pretty straightforward recipe but these tips will help make it even easier. 

Don’t rely on the clock. Your brisket is done when it has reached 205-210 degrees internal temperature, and is probe tender, NOT after a certain amount of time has past. Every piece of meat is different, every cooking sessions has different atmospheric conditions. Times listed in the recipe are general suggestions of how long it should take. Always rely on your trusty meat thermometer to determine doneness. 

Wrap your brisket using aluminum foil or butcher paper. Both work well for wrapping your brisket. Foil, known as the “Texas Crutch”, tends to speed up the cooking session, as you can create a proper seal on the wrap. Pink butcher paper helps maintain the bark or “BBQ crust” better, but doesn’t seal as well as foil, so can take longer to finish. If you’re in a hurry, use foil. 

Don’t rush your brisket rest. Letting your brisket rest allows the meat to reabsorb it’s juices, so your brisket won’t be dry and tough; it also tenderizes your meat, so it is easier to slice; and letting brisket rest allows your rub’s flavor to better sink in so you’re getting a ton of flavor in every single bite!

picture of sliced smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board

FAQ:

When do I wrap a hot and fast brisket?

Wrap your brisket when it reaches 160-170 degree F internal temperature. Wrapping the brisket does two good things. It protects the bark on the outside of the meat from getting too dark or burnt, and the wrapping helps create steam from the meats own juices that keeps it flavorful and softens the tougher fibers of the meat. 

Can I cook a hot and fast brisket on a pellet smoker?

Pellet smokers are great bbq tools. Clean your pellet smoker and make sure the pellet hopper is full. We recommend Jealous Devil Legendary Blend pellets

What temperature should I cook my hot and fast brisket at?

Depending on your cooker, our cooking goal is to hold the smoker between 295-325F for this hot and fast brisket cooking session. With pellet smokers, it’s easy to hold the temperature right at 300F, but with charcoal or wood burners it takes more skill to hold it at a precise temperature.

Should I smoke brisket fat side down or fat side up?

For the hot and fast method, particularly if you’re using a kettle or Kamado style smoker, start your cook with the fat-side down. Keep the layer of fat between the heat source and the meat will help it render more fully and protect the meat from the fire. 

How much brisket should I cook per person?

We find it best to plan for about 1/2 pound of brisket per person.

What size brisket should I buy?

Based off a 1/2 pound serving size per person, plan on buying a packer brisket that weighs as much as the amount of people you’d like to feed – ie: for 18 people, buy an 18 pound packer brisket. For 12 people, buy a 12 pound packer brisket. This will account for weight loss due to liquid and fat cook-off, and trimming.

picture of smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board

What to Serve With Hot and Fast Smoked Brisket

With a traditional BBQ meat like smoked beef brisket, the traditional side are often the best. 

I love my Best Ever Bean Bake and the Best easy four ingredient coleslaw with smoked brisket. We love serving brisket with fresh, delicious baked Yeast Rolls, and Easy Potato Salad!

If you want to work outside the box, you can add the brisket meat to chili or tacos for a deep, rich beefy take on those classics.

Want to punch up your macaroni and cheese? Replace the lobster in my Best easy mac and cheese with brisket for a beefy cheesy delight!

You can find more of our favorite BBQ Sides Recipes below:

picture of slice smoked brisket on a wooden cutting board

Hot and Fast Brisket Recipe

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Hot and Fast Brisket

Delicious juicy, smoky brisket in about half of the time it takes to traditionally smoke a brisket.
Course Grill and Smoker
Cuisine American
Keyword bbq, beef, brisket, smoked brisket, smoker, texas brisket
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 6 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 550kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 14 lb brisket
  • Brisket Rub:
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

  • Prepare your smoker.  Light your fire and allow the charcoal to burn for 15-20 minutes until the grey/black smoke is replaced with thin, wispy blue smoke. Bring the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Trim brisket, removing any excess fat.
  • Season your brisket aggressively with your rub of choice. Remember, it’s a large, thick piece of meat, so use more seasoning on the outside than you think you should. You can season up to 36 hours in advance, which helps build and establish a good bark on your brisket.
  • Place on smoker grill, fat side down, and smoke your brisket until it hits an internal temperature of 160-170. I highly recommend using a disposable foil pan with water in to catch fat drippings and prevent flare-ups in your smoker. The water also helps keep the brisket moist. This should take roughly 2-3 hours depending on the thickness of your particular piece of meat, your cooker, and ambient temperatures. 
  • Depending on your cooker you will want to keep your smoker between 295-325F for this hot and fast brisket cooking session. With pellet smokers, it's easy to hold the temperature right at 300F, but with charcoal or wood burners it takes more skill to hold it at a precise temperature.
  • Wrap brisket in kraft paper or aluminum foil when it has reached 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cook your wrapped brisket until in reaches 205-210 degrees internal temperature. This should take approximately 2-2.5 hours, but check the temperature to be sure.  The rule of thumb is that your meat is done when the sharp probe slides through the meat like hot butter. 
  • Once your brisket hits the temperature, remove it from the smoker, keep it in foil or butcher paper wrap. Wrap it in a towel and then put it in a clean, dry cooler to rest for at least an hour.  This rest keeps the meat juicy and helps to keep it tender. 
  • After resting at least one hour, slice against the grain, and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 220mg | Sodium: 350mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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8 Comments

  1. Srnka Family says:

    I’m so excited to try this recipe for Easter dinner tomorrow! Do you know if I just cut the time in half if my brisket is only 7.5 lbs? I definitely don’t want to over cook this peice of meat. Theyre pricey and sooooo good when cooked well.

    1. Katherine says:

      It wont be exactly cut in half but it wont cook for as long yes. When cooking an expensive piece of meat I always like to use an internal probe thermometer to make sure it cooks perfectly!

  2. Elena says:

    I don’t have a smoker so can I use my gas grill?
    Thank you in advance

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      The flavor will be different without smoke, but you can cook this on a different grill!

    2. Srnka Family says:

      Thank you for your response! I’ve got it in the smoker as I type ?. Happy Easter

      1. Katherine says:

        Happy Easter to you too!

  3. Joe D says:

    Do you keep the smoker temperature at 300 degrees?

    1. Katherine says:

      Depending on your cooker, our cooking goal is to hold the smoker between 295-325F for this hot and fast brisket cooking session. With pellet smokers, it’s easy to hold the temperature right at 300F, but with charcoal or wood burners it takes more skill to hold it at a precise temperature.