Smoking Brisket at 275°F: From Start to Finish!

November 3, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton
Edited by John Smits 

There are a few things to be mindful of when you smoke brisket at 275°F, including monitoring the internal temp, brining the brisket, buying a good piece of meat (USDA Select or Choice, or Wagyu), and more!

I take brisket seriously. I’ve experimented with various temperatures, trying to find the perfect one. I think the best temperature for smoking brisket is 225°F. But you can cook brisket at higher temps and wind up with a delicious piece of beef. I’m dropping all my best tips for cooking brisket at 275°.

Keep reading – I’m going to explain how to smoke brisket at 275°F and show you the top tips and tricks for getting it right. Let’s get to business!

Brisket at 275

Is 275°F Too High for Brisket?

Let’s begin with the most important question – should you cook beef brisket at 275°F?

Personally, I prefer smoking brisket at 225°F. Brisket is an expensive and fickle cut of beef. Smoking it at 225°F gives you some wiggle room. It allows the fat to render and lets tissues break down, resulting in ultra-tender (and supremely juicy) beef.

That being said, you can absolutely nudge the smoker temperature up and cook brisket at 275°F. You’ll need to keep a close eye on your meat – the brisket will cook faster at higher temps.

You don’t have to cook brisket at this temperature throughout. You can start off high and then go a bit lower. Similarly, you can keep the temperature at 225°F or 250°F at the beginning of the cook, then increase your smoker’s temperature later on if you’re pressed for time.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Brisket at 275°F?

On average, your brisket will take around 45 minutes per pound. That’s one of the perks of cooking brisket at higher temperatures. The meat gets done cooking more quickly. Smoke a full-packer brisket at 225°F, and you’re looking at around a 16-hour cook. Bumping the temperature up to 275°F can shave hours off your cooking time.

Okay, let’s do some math (don’t worry, I’ll do the math for you!):

Homemade Smoked BBQ Beef Brisket

How Long to Smoke a 10 lb Brisket at 275°F?

Your beef brisket will take about 7.5 hours to cook.

How Long to Cook a 12 Pound Brisket at 275?

A beef brisket of this size will take around 9 hours to smoke. 

Remember, cooking times in BBQ are approximate, especially with big cuts of meat like brisket. It is important to never rely on time alone when smoking brisket. 

There are so many factors that can cause the cooking process and time to vary. These include the temperature inside the cooking chamber, the ambient temperature, your smoker, etc.

Use time as a guideline and pay close attention to the internal temperature of the beef brisket instead. Your brisket is done cooking when it’s 203°F internal and a probe or toothpick glides into the meat with almost no resistance.

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Tips for Smoking Brisket at 275°F

Here are some of the top tips to follow if you are planning to cook brisket at 275°F:

Buy a Good Brisket

USDA Prime or Choice are your best bets. Avoid Select – it lacks enough intramuscular fat to stand up to higher temps. American Wagyu is pricey, but it’s richly marbled, and it is fantastic smoked. When I smoke a brisket at 275°F, I usually go with USDA Choice.

Look for freshly cut brisket (read those packed on labels) with plenty of thin white strands of fat. The brisket should be dark red. If you’re buying half a brisket, grab a point – it’s got more fat than the flat, which will make it more tender and juicier.

Trim the Fat Cap

I like to trim down the layer of fat until there is only 1/4th of an inch left. This adds insulation but not too much. The fat acts as a shield and prevents the meat from taking the full blast of the heat. 

Dry Brine the Brisket

I would argue that brining a beef brisket is one of the things you absolutely must do. It’s simple and easy to brine meat – you just need to plan ahead of time.

Brining adds flavor to the brisket. It also helps lock in moisture. The salt particles are absorbed into the brisket. The salt breaks down the protein particles in the tissues, making them a lot softer and more capable of holding onto water.

To brine brisket, simply have to sprinkle kosher salt over the meat. Then, place it in the refrigerator uncovered overnight for up to 24 hours. Use ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound of beef. If you’re using table salt, go with ¼ teaspoon per pound of meat.

Raw Brisket with Dry Spices

Inject the Brisket

If you’re looking for a faster option than brining, you can inject the beef brisket with a mixture of flavorful liquids. (You can also inject brisket in addition to brining it – lots of competition teams do this).

You’ll need a meat injector for this part. I prefer injectors that are simple, without a lot of pieces. This makes them easy to use and keep clean. Check out this injector on Amazon if you’re looking to buy one.

The sky’s the limit for the liquid you use to inject. Beer, apple cider, and vinegar are all popular options in the BBQ community. Feel free to toss some seasoning into the liquid, too. One of my favorite injections is simple – beef broth, melted butter, and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce. 

You can inject liquid into brisket 1-2 hours before you cook it, right before it hits the smoker, or when the meat hits 165°F. You can also inject it multiple times. Most people in the BBQ community inject before cooking and during the cook. I don’t think when you inject matters too much, but try out different times and roll with what works best for you.

Make sure that the needle pierces all the way through the center of the brisket for the best results.

Plan An Earlier Cook Time

Smoking brisket at a higher temp is a great way to ensure that the meat cooks more quickly. That being said, there is no guarantee that your brisket will cook as fast as you would like. Smoking large pieces of meat takes hours, even with higher cooking temperatures. Remember, you’ll need to let the brisket rest for around 4 hours, too (more on the rest in a bit).

Starting your smoke early is especially important to do if you are having a cookout or are having guests over. By starting to cook early, you’re giving yourself a little bit of wiggle room, and you can guarantee that the meat will be done by the time that people arrive. 

Use a Wireless Meat Thermometer

Technically, you can use any kind of meat thermometer that you like. I use a thermometer that can be kept in while the brisket is cooking. With the Thermoworks Smoke, I can monitor the internal temperature of my brisket throughout the cook. 

Again, brisket is generally done smoking when the internal temperature is 203°F and the thermometer probe slides into the meat like a knife through warm butter.

Monitor the Cooking Chamber Temperature

The thermometer I use (Thermoworks Smoke) also tracks the temperature of my smoker at the grill grates. The thermometers on most grills and smokers are notoriously unreliable. My kamado grill thermometer is off by 50°F or more sometimes. This is no bueño! Buy a good thermometer and track those temps. I promise you’ll never look back.

Keep an eye on the temperature inside the cooking chamber. There are sometimes fluctuations. The temperature can get higher or lower, and this can affect the rate at which your brisket is cooking. When you are aware of these fluctuations, you can make changes accordingly.

Fresh Smoked Texas BBQ Brisket On the Grill

Wrap the Brisket at the Right Point

Remember, you will need to wrap brisket at around 165°F as this is the point when the stall is going to set in. The stall is when the meat temperature stops rising. The brisket sweats out moisture, which evaporates and cools the meat. When you wrap meat, the moisture can’t evaporate, and you push through the stall.

Wrapping brisket is optional. I like to wrap – it makes the meat more moist. If you don’t wrap, you’ll get a toothier bark. There are plenty of people in the BBQ world who don’t wrap. Try both ways and see which method you like best!

Remember, your brisket is going to reach 165°F internally faster when you smoke at 275°F vs. 225°F. Keep an eye on the internal temp.

When the stall hits, take the brisket out of the smoker and wrap it tightly in butcher paper or aluminum foil. Personally, I prefer the paper. It makes the bark crispier than aluminum foil. Again, try both, and see which you prefer.

The wrap should be tight – you should be able to see the outline of the brisket. A tight wrap will keep the moisture locked in.

When you wrap, you can spray some apple cider vinegar or other liquid onto the brisket (I like to stick some butter in there). I’m always looking for opportunities to add flavor and moisture to my meat. This is one of those opportunities!

Track the Internal Temperature Closely

Now that the brisket is wrapped, you’re nearing the end of your cook. You’ll need to check the internal temp regularly.

You should take the brisket out when it hits around 203°F. Again, a probe, toothpick, or fork should pierce into the meat with almost no resistance.

Related Reading

Rest the Brisket

You should always let the beef brisket rest after smoking. It is even more essential that you do this when smoking brisket at a higher temp. See, when meat heats up, the muscles contract and push the liquid out to the exterior of the meat. When the meat has had time to rest, the tissues relax and the juices work their way back throughout the brisket.

Make sure to rest the brisket for at least an hour. Personally, I like to let brisket rest for around 4 hours. Most competition teams and BBQ aficionados also like a 4-hour rest. It helps the meat settle down. Let brisket rest for 4 hours, and you be rewarded with slices that are more tender and juicier.

Sliced Slowly Cooked Brisket

Worried about the brisket cooling down too much during the rest? Don’t be! Wrap your brisket in foil or butcher paper and stick it in a cooler. Close the lid. The insulated environment will keep the meat plenty hot until you’re ready to slice it and serve.

Related Reading

Wrapping It Up

You’re ready to smoke a brisket at 275°F without worrying about anything going wrong. Again, I prefer to smoke brisket at 225°F, but you can turn out great brisket at 275°F as well. It’s critical that you buy a good cut of brisket, track the smoker temperature and meat temperature, and brine the brisket overnight before cooking.

Follow the guidelines that I have mentioned here, and you will be eating some amazing BBQ in no time! Time to fire up that smoker and get to cooking. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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