How to Cook a Hot and Fast Brisket? Your Complete Guide (and Recipe)

June 5, 2023
Written by John Smits

To smoke a hot and fast brisket, fire up your smoker to 300°F, throw some wood chunks or chips on there, and cook for 4 to 5 hours, until the internal temperature of the meat is between 204 and 210°F. You’ll want to wrap your brisket in aluminum foil when the internal temp reaches 160 to 165°F, and make sure you add liquid if the brisket looks dry.

I’m a BBQ fanatic. I’ve smoked more briskets than I can count. Brisket is my favorite meat to both cook and eat! I think juicy sliced brisket is the greatest treat in all of BBQ. If you cook hot and fast brisket, there are some tricks and techniques you have got to know – I’m here to spill the tea on how I churn out consistent, deliciously smoked brisket every time.

Is your cooker ready? Let’s go! I’ll lead you through the hot and fast cooking process step-by-step.

Hot and Fast Brisket

Essential Techniques for Hot and Fast Smoking

The hot and fast cooking method is a technique used by seasoned pitmasters for brisket, pork shoulder, and occasionally pork ribs. The big advantage of the method is that it shaves several hours off a traditional low and slow cook. However, if the fire and beef brisket isn’t properly managed, you have a higher risk of overcooking your meat, leaving it dry and burnt.

I recommend you get your low and slow brisket recipe dialed in before you progress to the hot and fast method. There are more variables when you smoke hot and fast brisket. It’s best to master the slower smoking method before progressing to the more difficult hot and fast technique.

Before we get to my hot and fast brisket recipe, I’ll walk you through some tips that are absolutely crucial for a successful cook. If you want the best fast-smoked brisket on the block, you better read carefully.

Buy a Big, Fatty Cut of Meat

Cooking hot and fast is best done with large chunks of meat. That makes brisket (and pork shoulder) an ideal candidate.

Look for a large cut of brisket with plenty of fat – Prime rating or Wagyu is best. USDA Choice and Select will not cut it for hot and fast brisket. Quality is essential when cooking a hot and fast brisket.

Trim Less Fat off than Normal

Trim less fat off the meat than you normally would for a traditional smoke. The additional fat will provide the beef brisket with extra insulation, protecting it from the higher heat inside your smoker.

Face the Brisket Fat Toward the Heat Source

Position the brisket fat cap toward the heat source when you place it in your smoker. This will provide additional insulation from the higher heat. So, if you’ve got a Kamado or bullet grill, the fat side will be down. The fat side will be up if you’re using a pellet smoker.

Oven Baked Spicy BBQ Whole Pork Brisket

Wrap the Brisket

The wrap is optional with a traditional cook. It’s vital when cooking a hot and fast brisket. The bark formation happens quickly at high temps, and the bark will turn a beautiful mahogany color in no time. Wrapping helps speed up your cooking time and makes the smoky brisket divinely tender.

Keep Things Moist

Keep an eye on how moist your brisket looks as it smokes. If it looks dry, spritz it with a liquid. Beer, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider are all popular options. The additional liquid from a spritz helps keep the meat juicy.

If your smoker has a water pan, make sure there’s liquid in it throughout your cook.

Finally, when you use the “Texas crutch” to wrap the brisket, add some liquid to the aluminum foil. This will help break the stall and gently braise the meat. It will also ensure juicy brisket.

Move the Meat

When I’m smoking a hot and fast brisket, I check it more often and move it frequently. Often, pitmasters neglect to move their meat as it cooks, resulting in a bark that’s overcooked and charred. It happens at 300°F temperatures.

Moving the meat often and spritzing it with liquid frequently will cut down the chances of overcooked bark.

Hot and Fast Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Hot and fast is the cooking technique you’ve been waiting for if you don’t have time for a low and slow cook. This recipe takes a 12-15lb [5-7 kg] whole-packer brisket, which contains both the brisket flat and brisket point, from fridge temperature to fully cooked in 4-5 hours. You’ll still want to let the brisket rest for around 2 hours after cooking.

Feeds: 20

Suggested wood: Oak, pecan, cherry wood, or hickory

Approximate total cook time: 4-5 hours

Grill setup: Indirect heat

Smoker temp: 300°F


  • 1 12-15 lb [5-7 kg] whole packer brisket
  • 1 cup [240 ml] beef broth
  • 2 tbsp [36 g] kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp [36 g] freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp [7 g] onion powder
  • 1 tbsp [7 g] garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp [7 g] paprika

You could also use 1/2 cup of your favorite pre-made beef seasoning, or go simple and just use salt and pepper.

Step-by-step Recipe

  • Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and mix them together with a whisk.
  • Get your smoker running. Preheat it to 300°F – try to avoid higher temperatures, as they will cause the bark to burn. If using a kamado (Big Green Egg), or bullet grill (Weber smokey mountain), add two or three chunks of your smoking wood to the hot coals. If you’re using a pellet grill (Traeger), your pellets are both your fuel and your smoking wood.
  • Trim the brisket, removing excess fat. Remember to leave most of the fat cap in place – this will help insulate the brisket while it smokes.
  • Season liberally, applying all of the spices to the brisket. Gently rub the seasoning into the meat. Let the brisket sit out on the counter while the smoker comes to temperature.
  • Get your beef brisket on the cooker. Make sure the fat side is pointed toward the heat source. Cook the meat until the internal temperature hits 160 to 165°F, about two hours.
  • Remove the smoked beef brisket from the cooker and prepare to wrap it. I like to use aluminum foil for hot and fast cooks, not butcher paper. I find that the foil adds a layer of protection from the fire, keeping the brisket from overcooking that butcher paper does not. Use three or four long sheets of aluminum foil.
Smoked Brisket with Spicy Hot Sauce
  • Place the brisket on the foil and roll up the sides of the foil, creating a pocket. Pour the 1 cup of beef broth over the brisket, then wrap it tightly. Check the tinfoil for leaks.
  • Stick the wrapped brisket back on your cooker and continue smoking for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 more hours.
  • Check for doneness. A thermometer probe should slide into the thickest part of the brisket flat with little to no resistance, it’s done. It should feel like a knife going through hot butter. If it hasn’t reached the desired tenderness, re-wrap the brisket and check again every 30 minutes. I shoot for an internal temp of 204 to 210°F.
  • Once the brisket hits your desired tenderness and the internal temperature reads 204 to 210°F, pull it from your grill. Open the foil a little bit and let the brisket vent for 10 minutes.
  • Get the brisket wrapped, stick it in a cooler, cover it with an old bath towel (a clean one), and allow it to rest for at least two hours before slicing. This is an important step. Don’t rush your smoked brisket to the dining table – it needs resting time. The internal temperature should stay well above 160°F if your faux Cambro has a good seal and is well insulated.
  • Immediately before serving, slice with a sharp knife on a cutting board. Serve. Enjoy the delicious flavor of fast-smoked beef brisket. Eat the brisket hot.

How to Slice Brisket?

Separate the point and flat with a knife by looking at the grains – they run in different directions. Remove any excess fat that was between them.

Slice both the point and the flat against the gain. Cut the flat approximately 3/16″ thick. The point can be cut thicker, around 1/4″. Serve as slices or pile some on white bread to make a sandwich.

To make the brisket juicier, you can use the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the crutch.

How to Make Brisket Burnt Ends?

Burnt ends are thought by some people to be the pinnacle of brisket. To make them, you’ll need to have the smoked beef brisket separated into point and flat. While you can make burnt ends from either muscle, most people use the point because it’s both uneven (tough to slice nicely) and richly fatty.

Cut the point into cubes that are about 3/4″ thick. Douse them in some BBQ sauce and throw them back on a hot grill to get them nice and crispy.

How to Smoke a Partial Brisket?

Want a hot and fast brisket but don’t want to buy a full brisket? Look for a 5-pound hunk of point muscle, and smoke it, following the instructions above, but reducing estimated cooking times by half.

A whole brisket that weighs 12 pounds is a huge commitment, both in time and money. Also, though leftover smoked beef brisket is tasty (stick some leftovers on bread for amazing sandwiches), brisket will always taste best when freshly carved.

A whole packer brisket is made up of two muscles – the point and the flat. Grab the point. It’s more richly marbled, packed with flavor, and juicier. If your butcher only has flat muscles, ask for a point. Flats are tougher, and making them tender when cooked hot and fast is a challenge.

What Smoker to Use to Cook Brisket Hot and Fast?

Whatever cooker you’ve got will do the trick! Pellet grills are nice because you can set the temperature at 300°F and not worry about it climbing above that. But feel free to use a kamado, kettle grill, electric smoker, bullet smoker – whatever you’ve got. Just monitor the temperature, keeping it as close to 300°F as possible.

If your grill runs on charcoal, I like to grab a bag of lump charcoal. It burns hotter and is all-natural, unlike charcoal briquettes.

Sliced Brisket Pieces on a Tray

What to Serve with Smoked Brisket?

The sky is the limit here. Traditionally, brisket is served sliced with a side of white bread. Smoked macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, collard greens – you name it, it probably tastes great with smoked brisket. I like to reserve the drippings from the bottom of the crutch and whip up some smoked brisket gravy. Serve it over mashed potatoes.

Seasonings like salt and pepper are usually placed out if you’d like to kick the flavor up a notch.

What to Do with Leftover Brisket?

The options for what to do with leftover brisket are almost limitless. Throw some in a taco shell for perfect, out-of-this-world tacos. Shred the brisket into chunks and toss it into a bowl of chili. Make some Philly cheesesteaks out of brisket, and I guarantee the leftovers won’t hang around for long.

I love using leftover brisket on nachos. (Fantastic. I’d highly recommend you try it.) I also love tossing some smoked brisket into bolognese sauce. Traditional? Nah. Delicious? You betcha. The robust, beefy flavor of leftover brisket is perfection paired with Korean dishes. I stick some in bibimbap or a Korean taco whenever I get the chance.

How to Store Leftover Hot and Fast-Smoked Brisket?

Leftover brisket should keep in the refrigerator for three to four days.

If you don’t plan on eating the brisket in three or four days, stick it in the freezer, where it should stay good for about 6 months.

Is Brisket Better Low and Slow or Hot and Fast?

Can I plead the fifth? They’re both amazing!

Personally, I’d advise you to master the art of cooking brisket at 225°F before attempting a hot and fast brisket. Brisket is a fickle hunk of meat, and you’ll want to be intimately familiar with your smoker. The giant mound of protein known as beef brisket makes for a notoriously tricky cook.

That said, if you’re looking to cook a brisket, but don’t have a full day to devote to the task, you can speed up the cooking by making a hot and fast brisket. Do it right, following the instructions in this article, and you’ll have super tender brisket with a beautiful pink smoke ring.

Moist Barbecue Brisket

In Conclusion

There you have it, every tip and trick in the toolbox. I’ve given you everything I know smoking a hot and fast brisket. Smoked brisket is one of the reasons we BBQ. It is rich, beefy, juicy, and BBQ perfection.

Follow my steps, and you’ll be cranking out brisket that’s so delicious, your friends and family will be begging you to smoke brisket at every get-together.

By John Smits
John bought his first home in 2012 and bought his first grill shortly afterward: the ubiquitous Weber kettle grill. He’s been hooked since the first time he fired up some coals. Now, after over a decade spent making countless delicious meals, John is a passionate advocate for live-fire cooking.
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