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How long do I smoke a brisket?

Question Submitted by Dan:

Question:

Is there any other way to smoke a brisket other than smoking it for 15 hours. If I was planning a party to eat around 2:00 pm, I would have to start smoking it at 9 pm the night before (don't really want to stay up all night). Could the brisket be put in a roaster overnight for 5 hours or so than start smoking it at 7 am, or should it be smoked first from 4 pm to 11 pm then put in a roaster til it's time to eat? I've never smoked anything before!!

Answer:

Hello. When I smoke briskets, pork shoulders, etc, I only use time as a relative measure. You are really smoking until the internal temperature of the meat you are cooking has reached a done-temperature. I usually smoke a 12 pound brisket at 250-275 degrees F for 8 hours or so, keeping the brisket moist using a mop. When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 190 or so, it will be done.

Also, the internal temperature of a brisket will reach about 165 degrees and maintain the temperature for a while. The fat in the brisket is rendering, releasing juice at this time, and the brisket is cooling off due to evaporation. This is called the stall. The brisket should reach this temperature range, hold for a while, then begin to climb again. To speed up the stall, wrap the brisket tightly in foil once the internal temperature reaches 165. Leave no air pockets. This will reduce evaporation and speed up the cooking time. When the internal temperature starts to increase, shoot for a temperature of 185 or higher before you pull it off. .

Some people remove the brisket from the pit when the temp reaches 185-190, wrap it in foil, and stick it in a cooler for a couple of hours. This will increase the tenderness of the brisket. I recommend putting any brisket in a cooler for about 2 hours to let it rest and get really tender.

Thank you

The Smoker King