How to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill

Brisket Nutrition Facts

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    How to Prep a Brisket?

    Before we get into how to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best quality meat you can afford. You’ll want to use a cut of brisket that has good marbling. Keep in mind the grading system which will help you know the quality of the meat you’re buying. The most common grades, in order of lowest to highest, are select, choice, and prime. Aim for a prime cut for a smoked brisket recipe to make sure you have a good cut.

    how to trim the brisket

    How to Trim a Brisket?

    How you trim your brisket depends on your personal preferences but there are a few simple rules to follow. You’ll want to remove any ‘hard fat’ from your brisket – this won’t render down during smoking and will add nothing to the finished dish. You should also aim to remove any fat that will prevent you from directly seasoning the meat.

    Tools needed for trimming brisket:

    How to Season a Brisket for Smoking?

    For this smoked brisket recipe, we use a dry rub to season the brisket. Our rub is made up of the following:

    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder
    • Paprika chili powder   
    • Ground black pepper  
    • Ground salt    
    • Brown sugar

    Ensure you cover every part of the brisket with this mixture. Rub it in thoroughly to ensure even distribution. You’ll also want to pay particular attention to the fat side, as this is what will go onto the pellet grill first.

    smoked brisket rub

    What Temperature Should You Smoke a Brisket in a Pellet Grill?  

    For smoking a brisket on a pellet grill, we recommend preheating your grill to 225°F before you begin. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the brisket internal temp throughout the cook – you’re aiming for around 160°F for the first stage of cooking, and around 200°F for the second stage, where you’ll wrap the brisket and turn the heat up to 250°F. 

    How Long to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill?

    The length of time it takes to smoke your brisket will depend on the temperature of the grill and the size of your brisket. We recommend smoking your brisket at 225°F for around 6-7 hours for 10lbs and up to 15-16 for 20lbs. For this smoked brisket recipe, we’re using 4lbs of brisket with a total cooking time of around 4 hours, which is 1.5-2 hours with the grill set at 225°F, followed by 2 hours with the grill set at 250°F.

    Recommended reading: Smoking Brisket at 250 vs 225 Degrees

    How to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill

    Preheat the Z Grills Pellet Smoker to 225°F 

    Start by preheating and setting the pellet grill smoker to 225°F with your favorite wood pellets.

    preheat your pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit

    Place the Brisket Fat Side Down on the Grill

    Place your brisket on the grill fat side down. The fat acts as a heat shield for the meat and will give you the best finished result.

    Place the Brisket Fat Side Down on the Grill

    Cook at 225°F

    Cook the brisket at 225°F until the brisket’s internal temp reaches 160°F.

    Place in the Deep Pan

    Remove the brisket from the grill and place it in the deep pan lined with aluminum foil and prepare the beef stock and light beer.

    Remove the brisket from the grill

    Pour the Sauce Right into the Pan

    Pour the sauce into the pan, making sure the liquid comes up to the top of the brisket but below the top of the pan.

    Pour the Sauce Right into the Pan

    Take Extra Edges and Fold Them Over

    Take the extra edges of aluminum foil and fold them up over the pan to partially cover the brisket and sauce.

    Take Extra Edges and Fold Them Over

    Use a Piece of Aluminum Foil and Cover the Top

    Take an extra piece of aluminum foil and cover the top of the pan. Wrap it loosely around the pan, leaving some space for air to vent. This will help regulate the internal temp and retain moisture which will make your smoked brisket tender and luscious.

    Use a Piece of Aluminum Foil and Cover the Top

    Place It on the Grill Again

    Place your brisket back on the grill again and cook at 250°F until the brisket’s internal temp is 200°F.

    Place It on the Grill Again

    Check the Temp

    Use the meat thermometer to check the brisket internal temp. When it reaches 200°F, remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest for around 10 minutes.

    Check the Temp

    Slice the Brisket

    After the smoked brisket has rested, slice longways, going against the grain of the meat. You’ll notice a smoke ring around the edges of the meat – this means the smoke has penetrated the meat and it will taste fantastic.

    Slice the Brisket

    What to Serve with Smoked Beef Brisket?

    Your smoked brisket will be superb on its own, but if you want to treat your family and friends to a feast, here are our recommendations of what to serve with your brisket:

    Final Thoughts

    Our Z Grills 700 Series is a firm favorite with our customers because they are so easy to use yet produce fantastic results. It allows you to cook dishes packed with wood-fired flavor in the comfort of your own home.

    If you want to learn more about this recipe, watch the full video on YouTube.

    Smoking Brisket FAQs

    Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Brisket

    You can use any wood pellets you want for your smoked brisket, but we recommend using hickory pellets for a strong, rich flavor.

    Grill a Brisket Fat Side Up or Down?

    You should always cook your brisket fat side down. The fat acts as a heat shield, protecting the delicate meat and keeping it moist. Cooking fat side up will cause the fat to drip down the meat, washing away that delicious rub, undoing all your hard work. It also makes the finished product look amazing.

    How to Tell When the Brisket is Done?

    You can’t always tell if your smoked brisket is done just by looking at it. As it cooks, it will develop a bark where the sugars inside the meat have caramelized. When you cook meat at high temperatures, this happens very quickly. When smoking meat at low temperatures, it takes longer to occur. So trust in your meat thermometer to tell you when your smoked brisket is done – you’re aiming for an internal temp of 200-205°F.

    how to tell when the brisket is done

    More Brisket Recipes and Guides

    Explore our best brisket recipes and guides for anyone who plans on smoking a brisket.

    Hot and Fast Brisket
    3.50 from 2 votes

    Smoked Brisket

    It’s easier than you think to get a perfectly cooked, flavorful, tender, and fall-apart brisket when you try this smoked brisket recipe on a Z Grills pellet grill.
    Servings 4
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 4 hours
    Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


    • Z Grills 700E Wood Pellet Grill
    • Z Grills Apple Wood Pellets
    • Aluminum foil pan


    • 4 lb brisket

    Brisket Rub:

    • 2 tbsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp onion powder
    • 2 tbsp paprika chili powder
    • 2 tbsp ground salt
    • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar


    • Preheat the Z Grills pellet smoker to 225°F.
    • Place the brisket fat side down on the grill.
    • Cook at 225°F until brisket internal temp is 160°F.
    • Remove from grill and place in a deep pan lined with aluminum foil.
    • Pour beef stock and light beer sauce into the pan, making sure it comes up to the top of the brisket.
    • Take extra edges of foil and fold them over.
    • Use a piece of foil and cover the top.
    • Place it on the grill again, cook at 250°F until brisket internal temp is 200°F.
    • Check brisket internal temp.
    • Once internal temp reaches 200°F, remove from the smoker.
    • Rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing.


    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Beef, Smoked

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    About The Author

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    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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    1. Why does it say cook to 200 degrees in one place and 165 in another?

      1. z grills Author says:

        Hi there,
        It’s a two-step process. Firstly cook the brisket at 225°F to an internal temperature of 165°F, then wrap and continue smoking until the thermometer placed in the meat reads 203 °F. 
        Happy smoking!

    2. I am fairly new at cooking with a pellet grill, but so far, absolutely love it. I have cooked several Boston pork butts and other meats using my pellet grill. All served that have ate my BBQ, absolutely love it. Thanks to my wife for getting this as a Christmas gift in 2019.

    3. I’m going to attempt this recipe for the first time. Can someone tell me what the mixture ratio is for the beef stock and light beer? Any particular brand of beef stock? Any helpful suggestions on this recipe are welcome.

    4. 3 stars
      The recipe ingredients for the liquid part, and the video are missing. But this is a good guideline for how long to smoke, and how to wrap and cook.

    5. Hey, so for the first step of cooking to 160F, is 160F the thickest of thinnest part of the brisket when you take it off?

      1. z grills Author says:

        Hey, it’s the thickest part.

    6. 4 stars
      Hi to all, the contents existing at this web page are
      really awesome for people experience, well, keep up the good work

    7. Leonie Adcock says:

      Dear owner, Your posts are always well presented.

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