How To Keep Brisket Moist While Smoking (6 Simple Techniques)

Want to know how to keep brisket from drying out in smoker? I know that smoking a brisket can seem daunting, you don’t want to mess up after all that time and serve dry meat.

Brisket is the king of the BBQ scene! It has a lot of intermuscular fat and connective tissue. All of these make for one tasty treat but its needs to be cooked low and slow to ensure connective tissue breakdown into juicy gelatin.

The indirect heat and slow cooking create the ideal environment for the perfect brisket. It slowly breakdown the fat and connective tissue, assists the bark formation, and adds a smoky flavor which adds a depth of natural flavor

Below is exactly how to keep your brisket moist during that long smoke session

Note: Check out my smoked brisket recipe here 

How to Keep Brisket Moist During Smoking?

Below I have taken some eight of my tried and tested techniques from my own experience and from watching pros like Aaron Franklin. If you follow the below steps then I am sure you will end up with a beautiful JUICY and tender brisket!

Putting The Fat Cap Down On The Grill

The beef fat has a higher melting point. You always want to face the fattiest part the heat source within the smoker. The outer layer of fat will render down, flavor, and most importantly, help retain moisture.

Using A Meat Thermometer

Accurately measuring the brisket’s internal temperature is one of the most important steps you can do. This information will let you know when you remove it from the smoker. This also helps so you don’t end up with tough brisket or it overcooking. 

Spraying The Brisket 

Every 60 minutes during the cooking process also helps to reintroduce moisture in the form of a spritz The easiest way to do this is to use a spray bottle filled with your favorite liquid. Here are what to spritz brisket with to keep it tender and moist. apple juice, beer, apple cider vinegar or butter.

Try Wrapping Your Brisket

Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil will also keep the brisket moist and beat the stall. If internal temp stalls at around 140°F, many professionals choose to wrap their brisket with butcher paper.

This also locks in moisture and reflects some of the heat.

Trimming The Brisket

Too much fat will hinder the cooking process and even act as a protective layer. 

This can cause the brisket not to cook evenly, burn the fat or make the bark too thick. 

Ask your butcher to leave around an inch of fat on the cap and remove any silver skin.

You can also do this yourself with a sharp knife.

Know The Exact Weight Of The Brisket

Knowing the weight will impact the cooking time and the resting time.

Get Organised 

I’m sorry if I sound like your mum but mise en place is there for a reason.

Visualize and prepare for every stage of the cooking process.

This means any ingredients that need to be processed or cleaning your grill.

Plusmaking sure you have enough fuel to last the cooking process.

What Kind Of Grill Are You Using

How much control do you have over the smoker’s temperature? 

Does your grill have enough space to evenly fit a 10-pound brisket?

Knowing the tools you utilize and the control you have is very important to achieving a perfect finished brisket. 

Note: A charcoal grill won’t give you as much control as a pellet grill! 

What Fuel Are You Using?

Fuel plays an essential role in keeping a brisket moist when smoking because it directly impacts the cooking process and temperature control. The fuel source, such as charcoal or wood, generates heat and smoke, which surround the brisket as it cooks. This combination of heat and smoke helps create a moist cooking environment by trapping moisture within the meat.

Maintaining a steady and controlled temperature is crucial for moisture retention in brisket. Consistent fuel management ensures a consistent heat source throughout the smoking process, preventing temperature fluctuations that can dry out the meat. It allows the collagen in the brisket to slowly break down, resulting in tender and juicy meat.

Furthermore, the type of fuel used can influence the flavor profile of the brisket. Different fuels, such as hardwoods or fruitwoods, impart unique flavors that enhance the overall taste of the meat.

Brining The Brisket

You can either dry or wet brine a brisket before the smoking process. This will help tenderize and avoid a dry brisket. 

The salt penetrates on a cellular level into muscle fibers and protein structures. 

This is called the denaturation effect and improves the water holding capacity within the meat.

You can also use a meat injector to add this solution if the brisket is too large to submerge.

A Correct Ratio Of Seasoning 

Seasoning plays a big role when smoking a brisket. There are many rubs and seasonings to choose from. 

I recommend always sticking with at least kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. 

The key is to not add loads of sugar as it will burn in the long cooking process.

Cooking At The Right Temperature

The best temperature to cook a brisket is around 225°F for 60 minutes per pound of meat.

The desired internal meat temperature is 204°F.

Resting The Brisket For The Correct Time 

Lastly, resting the brisket is just as important as the cooking process.

You should wrap the brisket and put it in a cooler box to slowly cool.

15 minutes of rest per pound of meat is the standard and be sure not to let the temperature drop below 140°F during this process.

The Different Cuts Of Brisket & How To Choose One?

I love pork, I do but my first recommendation is beef brisket. 

Beef has more fat marbling through the muscle and a less outer layer of thick fat. 

When choosing a brisket, make sure it is even in size throughout and has an even level of marbling to meat ratio. 

Always buy from your local butcher, grass-fed if you can.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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