Hot and Fast Brisket Vs Low and Slow (Which Methods Is Better?)

You’ve probably seen many recipes telling you to cook your brisket low and slow.

While there’s nothing wrong with the slow method, sometimes you may not have time to wait 12-18 hours

You do have the option to use the hot and fast cooking method

But will you still end up with juicy tender meat?

We’ll compare the hot and fast brisket compared to low and slow and see what is better!

Cooking my brisket low and slow!

What Does Low and Slow Mean?

Low and slow means cooking meat at low temperatures for a prolonged period. .

This technique helps maintain a moist cooking environment and doesn’t leave you with dry meat in the end.

Typically, the smoker is set to a cooking temperature between 225°F to 275°F and you cook for 12-18 hours.

Briskets are higher in collagen and meat fiber.

These long cook times ensure the collagen has time to break down. Therefore, it requires the right cooking methods to achieve a tender brisket. 

In most cases, cooking low and slow is ideal for tough cuts like pork shoulder, beef brisket, and ribs.

Once the collagen and connective tissue break down into juicy gelatin, you are left with juicy meat that fall apart to the touch.

What Does Hot and Fast Cooking Mean?

Most people still take the low and slow brisket approach.

However, what if you could cook the brisket much faster?

The hot and fast method means cooking the meat at a higher temperature around 325°F, thus cooking it faster. 

The hot and fast method must be performed using a type of smoker that can reach higher temperatures. Traditional offset smokers aren’t ideal since they can’t sustain hot temperatures as well. 

We recommend only using the drum smoker, pellet grill, or kamado grill to cook at high temperatures between 300°F to 325°F. 

The hot and fast method can cook briskets between 5 to 6 hours compared to the standard 12 to 18 hours with the low and slow method.

Some pitmasters have found that the higher temperature and the reduced cooking time achieve more or less a similar result. 

Which Is Better? 

The better technique for smoking brisket is low and slow.

Cuts of meat with more fat and connective tissue should ideally be cooked at a lower temperature over a long time.

However, leaner cuts of beef can benefit from cooking at a higher temperature over a short time. 

It comes down to preferences and the type of meat you choose. 

Most smoking connoisseurs prefer the low-and-slow brisket since it brings a quick burst of flavor and juiciness.

In contrast, it can be harder to replicate the same finished product when cooking at a higher temperature. 

If you want to have faster cook times, you may cook other foods like skirt steaks, shrimp, and asparagus, which are more suitable for the hot and fast method.

That’s because cooking on high heat for these food types creates a delcious crust and sear without overcooking the insides. 

Challenges With Cooking Hot and Fast

When cooking at higher temperatures there’s a higher chance that you could end up losing the moisture and drying your meat. 

Many bbq enthusiasts will be tempted to add water to their meat. Unfortunately, that won’t work since water causes evaporative cooling, so the brisket will squeeze out the water and release it. 

Furthermore, higher heat requires monitoring the internal temperature more frequently.

Low and slow cooking is very unlikely to overcook, meaning you can let it sit and not have to worry about it. 

Don’t be afraid to brine and spritz the brisket to give it more flavor, texture, and juiciness. 

Cooking Brisket Using Hot and Fast Method 

If you want to give the hot and fast method a shot, we’ve got you covered. Follow our guide to ensure you still get the smoky, delicious brisket you deserve.

When done properly, you’ll still be able to produce a nice bark around the edges and a smoke ring in the meat. 

Before you begin smoking the brisket, you’ll need to trim and prep it. This usually entails trimming some of the excess fats and cutting them down to your desired size and shape.

When cooking hot and fast, you’ll want to keep most of the fat to ensure that you retain the flavor and moisture in the meat. 

Keep in mind that the larger the brisket you’re smoking, the longer the cooking time will be. You can trim the large brisket into smaller sections so you aren’t cooking the meat for a long time. 

Step 1: Let your brisket sit so that it reaches room temperature. 

Step 2: We recommend applying brisket rub

Try the following rub ingredients; kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika for the rub. 

Apply the rub to the entire brisket. 

Step 3: Preheat the smoker to about 300°F. Do not exceed 350°F, since that could lead to dryness and overcooking. 

Step 4: Place the brisket with the fat side facing down onto the grill’s cooking grates and close the lid—cook for two hours

Step 5: Take the brisket off the grill and place it on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Before sealing the foil, spritz the brisket with your choice of liquid. Often times apple cider vinegar or apple juice are great options. 

Step 6: Wrap the brisket in foil and put it back in the smoker

Step 7: Insert a meat probe thermometer in the brisket or digital thermometer so that you can monitor the brisket’s internal temperature. 

Step 8: Let it cook for about 3 more hours. 

Step 9: The brisket is done when it reaches between 190°F to 205°F. Within this temperature range, tough cuts like pork butt and beef briskets will soften. The connective tissue gelatinizes, and the fat melts, giving you juicy and tender meat. 

Step 10: When done, take it off of the smoker. Open the aluminum foil slightly and allow it to vent for about 5 minutes. 

Step 11: Close the aluminum foil and let the brisket rest in a cooler for another 45 minutes. 

If you have the time, we recommend going with traditional methods like the low and slow cooking style.

That way, you’re almost guaranteed to end up with a juicy brisket.

However, as you gain experience, you may want to experiment with the hot and fast method, just to see how it turns out for you. 

Cooking it well can save you plenty of time! 

No matter which cooking style you prefer, the most important thing is the end result. Now go out and cook the best beef briskets of your life!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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