Smoking Brisket on a Weber Kettle: A Complete Guide

November 3, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The secret to smoking a brisket on a Weber kettle is to use the charcoal snake method to create a low and stable temperature throughout the cook. This method also means that you don’t have to keep topping up the coal during the cook!

Call me old fashioned but I have almost exclusively only smoked briskets in a smoker. So, when my friend begged me to help them figure out how to replicate this method on a Weber kettle, I knew I had my work cut out. With a little bit of experimentation, though, we finally figured it out!

In this post, I am going to show you how to master the charcoal snake method and offer step-by-step instructions on smoking a brisket on a Weber grill. Let’s begin!

Brisket on a Weber Kettle

Smoking Brisket in a Weber Kettle: The Ultimate Trick

The biggest issue with trying to smoke a brisket in any charcoal grill is the temperature. See, brisket is a tough piece of meat due to all that connective tissue. This means that it has to be cooked low and slow.

This gives the heat time to break down the tissues and results in a nice, tender cut of meat. Since the heat is quite low, though, there is little risk of the brisket drying out while it is cooking.

Now, charcoal grills like the Weber kettle grill tend to get pretty hot and it isn’t as easy to manage the cooking temperature as with a smoker.

The good news is that with a little bit of experimentation, I have figured out the best technique for this scenario: the charcoal snake method.

With this method, the charcoal is placed only on one side of the grill, in a semi circle. The wood chunks are placed along the way. Then, lit briquettes are placed at one end of this snake. Slowly, the rest of the coals will begin to burn, lighting as they go.

The greatest benefit of this method is that it helps to keep the temperature low as well as stable. This ensures that your brisket is always cooking at the desired temperature.

The other advantage is that with the snake method, the coal burns for much longer as well. As you know, cooking a brisket can easily take 12 hours or even longer with a larger cut.

With most charcoal stacking methods such as with the charcoal basket, the coals turn to ask too quickly and you need to keep replenishing the fuel. This means that you have to keep a constant eye on your Weber charcoal grill and this can be rather frustrating.

If you stack enough briquettes in just the right manner, you will be able to ensure that you don’t have to replenish the grill even once!

Charcoal Snake vs. Two Zone Method

When you usually grill or smoke meat, you are probably used to using the two zone method. This is where the hot coals are piled on one side and the other side is for indirect heat. This is where the meat or other food item typically goes.

Now, if you are smoking a small brisket flat, then sure, this method may work for you. This is because such a cut takes up less space.

If you are smoking a whole brisket in a small Weber charcoal grill, though, the brisket is likely to take up the entire space of the cooking grate.

This means that one side will be exposed to direct heat and the other to indirect heat. In turn, one section will cook a lot faster than the other. As you can imagine, this isn’t going to work for you so it is best to skip this method when smoking a brisket or any other large cut of meat.

Preparing the Grill with Charcoals

How to Set Up Coals According to the Charcoal Snake Method?

Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up your charcoal snake:

What You Will Need?

Charcoal Briquettes/Lump Charcoal

When it comes to deciding how much lump charcoal or many briquettes you will need, it is best to pay attention to the instructions for each brand. This will give you a rough idea of how much you are going to need.

On average, you may need about 100 pieces of coal, give or take a few. If there are no instructions provided, then fill up a chimney starter to the brim.

Chimney Starter

I don’t like using any kind of accelerant for the grilling or smoking process. Due to this, I prefer to use a chimney starter to get the fire going. I suggest that you do the same.

Not only is this method incredibly effective but it ensures that you don’t add any odd odors or flavors to your food.

The Method

Step 1

Remove the cooking grate.

Arrange the unlit charcoal in a semi circle at the bottom of the grill. Then, on the inside of this line, arrange another row of coal. Make sure that this row overlaps the first. They should be of similar length.

Step 2

Place the coal on top of the first row until you come to the end. Then, repeat this with the second row. Once again, the second row should overlap the first.

Step 3

Arrange wood chunks along the top of the highest layer. Place the wood near the beginning of the snake.

This is because the brisket will only absorb smoke during the first portion of the smoke. So, it is important to keep the wood at the start of the line.

Step 4

Place around 8 briquettes into the chimney starter.

Slip a piece of newspaper at the bottom of the chimney and light this on fire.

Set the chimney down in the middle of the grill and wait for the coal to light.

Step 5

In the meantime, if you plan on using a water pan, now is the time to fill it up with water and place the water pan at the bottom of the grill.

Conversely, you can arrange the drip pan to catch any liquid that may come off of the brisket.

Step 6

Once the lit coals begin to ash over and glow red in the middle, it is time to place them in the grill.

Use tongs to arrange the lit charcoal at the beginning of the snake, where the wood pieces are.

Step 7

Replace the grate and close the lid. Wait until the temperature inside the grill reaches 2250 to 250 F before you start the cooking process.

Burning Charcoal on Kettle Grill

How to Smoke Brisket on a Weber Kettle?


  • 12 – 16lb beef brisket
  • Yellow mustard

Brisket Rub

  • 1 tsp. of kosher salt (if not dry brined)
  • 6 tbs. of cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbs. of brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. of onion powder
  • 4 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 4 tsp. of chili powder
  • 4 tsp. of mustard powder
  • 2 tsp. of cayenne pepper


Step 1

Preheat the grill to 225 to 250 F – use the charcoal snake method.

Use a grill thermometer to track the temperature.

Step 2

Trim the fat cap. Keep about 1/4th of an inch of the fat cap intact.

Step 3

Add all of the ingredients of the dry rub to a small bowl. Mix well.

Apply yellow mustard all over the surface of the brisket.

Sprinkle the dry rub onto the surface of the brisket and press into the flesh.

Step 4

Insert a meat thermometer into the brisket.

Place the brisket onto the cooking grate and close the lid.

Step 5

When the internal temperature of the brisket reads 165 F, take the brisket off the grill.

Tear off two large sheets of pink butcher paper – each should be about four times the width of the brisket.

Place one of the sheets in front of you. Take the other sheet and place on top, but only so that half the bottom paper is covered.

Place the brisket about a foot away from the bottom edge. If you like, you can spritz some apple cider vinegar or beef broth onto the meat if you like.

Take the bottom and fold over the brisket. Then, take the right side and fold, at an angle, over the brisket. Repeat this with the left side too.

Roll the whole brisket over. Fold the right side at an angle. Repeat this with the left side.

Fold the paper at the top over. Then, roll the brisket so that the folded section is underneath.

Reinsert the thermometer.

Step 6

Place the wrapped brisket back on the grill and close the lid.

Keep on the grill until the internal temperature registers at 195 F.

Then, take off the heat and place the smoked brisket on a cutting board.

Let the smoked brisket rest for at least an hour before slicing and serving.

Related Reading

Can You Fit a Brisket on a Weber Kettle?

Well, this does depend on the size and weight of the brisket. As you are probably aware, a full packer brisket can be anywhere from 12 to 18lbs.

If the brisket is around 12lbs, then you should be able to make it fit without much trimming. Anything over than this and I suggest separating the cut into a brisket point and brisket flat.

If you are interested in flavor, go for the brisket point as it offers a beefier taste. In case you want to cook for a crowd, go with the brisket flat as the brisket flat is a much larger section.

Perfectly Cooked, Sliced Brisket

What is the Secret to a Tender Brisket?

The secret to a really tender smoked brisket is either brining or injecting.

Brining is a good option if you are prepping the brisket ahead of time. About 24 hours before cooking the brisket flat, brisket point, or the entire cut, sprinkle kosher salt all over the meat.

Then, place the brisket on a baking tray and keep it in the refrigerator, uncovered.

If you are short on time, then create a mix from water, salt, sugar, and beef broth. Inject this into the brisket flat, point, or whole cut at regular intervals.

You can then smoke the brisket about half an hour later.

What Temp Do You Cook a Brisket at on Weber?

It is best to cook your brisket at 225 F or 250 F for the most tender and delicious results.

If you want, you can go up to 275 F but I would not advise going above this.

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Brisket on a Weber Kettle?

This depends on the temperature that you have set the grill to. In general, though, the brisket will take between an hour and 90 minutes to smoke per pound on low heat.

Wrapping It Up

This is what you need to know about smoking a brisket on a setup like the Weber kettle grill. Now that you know the important tricks and tips, it will be a breeze!

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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