Cooking brisket is one thing. But smoking it in a barrel smoker?
That’s a whole different story…
Smoking a brisket can be an intimidating prospect. But don’t worry!
We’re here to break down all the steps you need so that it goes smoothly.
Have a read of the guide below to see how to smoke the perfect brisket in a barrel smoker
Preparing The Brisket For The Smoker
Using a sharp knife, trim the fat from the brisket. Leaving about a quarter of an inch of fat on the brisket.
If you prefer your brisket with more bark, trim less fat.
Seasoning Your Brisket
We recommend using a dry brisket rub to get that crispy delicious bark.
For a simpler option season the brisket with olive oil, herbs, salt, and black pepper.
Rub the seasoning all over, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight.
Preparing the Smoker
Load your barrel smoker up with wood chips, charcoal, or wood chunks and get it fired up.
Preheating a barrel smoker can take about 1-2 hours to get it to the right temperature.
When there is a layer of red hot coals at the bottom of the barrel, it’s time to begin cooking.
How To Smoke A Brisket In A Barrel Smoker
Step 1: While the barrel smoker is preheating, remove the brisket from the fridge.
Let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Decide what to serve with beef brisket, as you want to prep those now as well.
Step 2: Trim your brisket if need by and apply the rub.
Step 3: Once your smoker is up to temperature, place the brisket on the grates.
Step 4: Check the temperature of the smoker. It should be at about 160°F. Make sure you keep an eye on the temperature of your unit. You don’t want to get to the Pit Barrel to get too hot. You can control the temperature by opening and closing the vents.
Step 5: Check the internal temperature of the brisket periodically. You can also spritz your brisket if you want to, this may help with the formation of bark.
If you find your brisket is stalling at around 140°F you can wrap your brisket to combat the stall.
Step 6: Once the probe temps read 204°F then you can pull the brisket from the smoker. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and a towel.
Step 7: Place brisket in a cooler and let it rest.
You want to rest your brisket until the temperature comes down to 140°F. This can take 2-4 hours
Step 8: Remove the wrapped brisket from the cooler after four hours. Slice it up, then pat yourself on the back and serve your juicy brisket!
How Long Do I Need to Smoke My Brisket For?
You want to ensure your brisket has an internal temperature of 204°F. (you can use a temperature probe to check this )
You might have heard you need to smoke your brisket for 8 hours.
But really it’s down to internal temperature.
Smoking brisket with a barrel smoker is a long process.
So you want to know how to tell when your smoked brisket is done?
Use this calculation we use to roughly figure out how long it will take.
It will take 1 hour and 30 minutes per pound (lb) of brisket at 225°F (or 107°C)
A brisket I smoked last weekend was 9lb. Here is the actual cooking time
9lb brisket x 1.5 hours = 13.5 hours with a cooking temperature of 225 °F
When Should I Wrap The Brisket
If the internal temperature of the brisket stop rising between 150°F – 160°F you are experiencing the brisket stall.
Once your brisket starts to stall is when you want to wrap your brisket in alfoil or butcher’s paper.
Continue smoking until it reaches 204°F then remove it from the smoker.
What Temperature Should I Smoke At?
You want to smoke your brisket at 160°F.
This low temperature will allow all the connective tissue to dissolve into juicy gelatin and make it fall apart even when you look at it!
What Else Can I Smoke In My Barrel Smoker?
There are plenty of options out there!
Barrel Smokers are great for smoking chicken, ribs, or pulled pork butt.
You can even smoke foods like cheese and tomatoes in your barrel smoker.
Just remember you need to clean your smoker after each use
Haven’t Got a Barrel Smoker?
Below are smoked brisket recipes for each type of unit
Smoked Brisket on a Big Green Egg
What to do With Leftover Brisket?
Leftover brisket is the best!
Just slice what you want to eat, then leave the rest. It makes it easier to reheat later.
Smoked Brisket on a Barrel Smoker
- 11-14 lbs beef brisket
- olive oil
- brisket rub
- While the barrel smoker is preheating, remove the brisket from the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
- Trim your brisket if need by and apply the rub.
- Once your smoker is up too temperature, place the brisket on the grates.
- Check the temperature of the smoker. It should be at about 160°F.
- Check the internal temperature of the brisket periodically. You can also spritz your brisket if you want to, this may help with the formation of bark. if you find your brisket is stalling at around 140°F you can wrap your brisket to combat the stall.
- Once the probe temps reads 204°F then you can pull the brisket from the smoker. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and a towel.
- Place brisket in a dry cooler and let it rest.
- Remove the wrapped brisket from the cooler after four hours. Slice it up, then pat yourself on the back and serve your juicy brisket!
Smoking your brisket in a barrel smoker doesn’t have to be complicated.
It will take time…but we think that this piece of meat is worth it!
Smoked beef brisket is a fantastic way to show off your barbecue skills.
It also gives this cut an incredible juicy flavor.
What do you usually serve with brisket?
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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