A majority of homes have a kettle grill in the yard or shed!
Most people think they are just for grilling!
But guess what you can also smoke meat in them!
It’s not that difficult to convert a normal charcoal grill into a smoker.
All you need to do is know how to place your charcoal briquettes, select the right type of wood chunks and get the cooking technique right.
In this article, we’ll be showing you exactly what you’ll need.
As well as the steps you need to take to turn any kettle-type grill into a BBQ smoker.
You’ll be serving up pitmaster-level smoked brisket in no time!
Should You Use Brisket Point Or Brisket Flat?
A whole brisket can actually be split into two parts — the point and the flat.
The point is actually triangular in shape while the flat resembles more of a rectangle.
Well, the point is actually thicker and has more fat. It’s great if you want something a little juicier and less dry.
On the other hand, the flat is leaner
If you go for the whole packer cut, you can always save the remaining cooked brisket for another day. Honestly, leftover brisket tastes just as delicious.
Don’t Forget To Trim Your Beef Brisket
While fat will always equal flavor, you will still need to trim the layer of fat that you’ll find on top of your whole packer.
The general guide to trimming this fat cap is to just ensure that you leave about a 1/4 inch of fat on top of the meat.
If you don’t trim the fat cap enough then the fat will actually hinder the cooking process.
You can use the brisket trimmings for other recipes or even in candles
This is because the smoke won’t actually be able to penetrate the meat enough.
The Brisket Rub Is Crucial
Almost every single brisket recipe that exists will often also recommend that you use a dry rub.
All you really need is kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, and paprika or you can buy one.
You can also easily swap these ingredients out, or even add to them.
- Cooking salt
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Mustard powder
- Cayenne pepper
Note: the sugar helps to contribute to the formation of a firm bark on your brisket.
Prep Your Weber Kettle Grill For The Charcoal Snake Method
The ‘charcoal snake method‘ is also often used as a indirect grilling method.
All you really want to do is to ensure that your meat isn’t directly over the flame.
You’ll want the smoke being produced to cook your piece of beef instead.
This indirect cooking method may be slow, but it’s the only way to make a perfectly smoked brisket.
So, you will be needing:
- Water pans — disposable aluminum trays that can fit into the body of your grill
- Charcoal heat beads or any other charcoal briquettes
- Smoking wood chunks or chips
Step 1: Create a Semicircle of Charcoal
You will want to begin with placing a single line of the pieces of charcoal along the inner wall of your backyard charcoal grill.
However, you don’t want to complete the circle. So, just stop when you’ve formed a sort of semi-circle.
Step 2: Add in The Second Layer and Lump Charcoal
You’ll want to proceed by stacking some more unlit briquettes on top of the existing semi-circle of unlit coal. You can feel free to leave it at two layers, but we usually like to go for three. And you should be left with a border of charcoal that just covers half of the inner circumference of your kettle grill.
Note: If you want you can go in with a layer of lump charcoal if you want a longer burn.
Step 3: Use The Charcoal Chimney Starter
After that, just light around five to ten briquettes in the charcoal basket of your chimney starter. Then dump the hot charcoal at one end of your semi-circle or ‘snake’ and slowly watch as all of them begin to light up.
However, before you set a flame to the curved line of charcoal, you’ll want to place your water pan or tray in the middle. The incomplete ring of coal should sit around your disposable aluminum tray.
And apart from that, there’s no specific rule that you need to follow when it comes to the placement of your wood chips or chunks. You just have to make sure that they’re amongst the hot coals so that they also catch some of that fire.
Step 4: Apply Your Rub
Well, you waiting for your charcoal to heat, you can make your rub and apply it to the brisket.
Step 5: Add Liquid to the Pan
After 10 -15 minutes your grill should go to go. Place a drip pan over the coals. Add some liquid to the water pan you placed in step 3.
Step 6: Place Your Brisket on The Grill
Now place your brisket on the grates over the top of the waterpan. Add some liquid to the water pan. Then place the lid on and open the top vents. Spritz the brisket every 45 minutes.
Step 7: Monitor The Temperature In Case It Stalls.
Monitor the temperature using a temperature probe. Probe the brisket in the thickest part. If the meat stalls at 145°F you may have to wrap the brisket. If you find the brisket is stalling for to long you can finish the brisket in the oven. This is helpful if your guests are ready to eat now!
Step 8: Monitor The Internal Temperautre
Use a temperature probe to monitor the internal temperature. Once it reaches 204°f pull the brisket from the grill and cover. Let it rest for at least 1-2 hours.
Keeping The Meat Moist With a Water Pan
You don’t want to be left with is a dry brisket. To avoid this, you can ‘mop’ your brisket.
This is just a technique to keep your piece of meat moist so that it doesn’t completely dry out during the cooking or smoking process.
We’d recommend making an easy spray concoction of water and apple cider vinegar. Just be sure to spritz your meat every half an hour about halfway into your smoking session and you should be golden.
Wrap Brisket To Avoid The Meat Stall
This is famously known as the Texas Crutch method. But it really just involves wrapping your piece of beef in foil before placing it back onto the cooking grate.
You should do this as soon as you notice that the internal meat temperature of the brisket has stopped rising.
However, not everyone has the time to wait for hours — especially when you’ve got some hungry guests waiting at the table!
What Temperature Does Your Brisket Need to Reach?
You’ll want to wait until your brisket has an internal temperature of about 204°F.
If you want a nice and crispy bark, then you shouldn’t leave your brisket in foil until the very end of the grill. All of that moisture trapped within the foil will completely ruin any sort of bark from forming.
After that, you just need to take the cooked brisket off the heat and leave it to rest under a make-shift tent of aluminum foil for at least 1-2 hours. And then it’s completely ready for serving and devouring!
Have you tried converting your grill before?
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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