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How Long To Smoke A 3 lb Brisket-3 Easy Ways?

If you’ve ever been to the southern states, you’re likely very familiar with the iconic “brisket.” 

Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the breast and lower chest areas of the cow. 

When prepared correctly, brisket is known to be one of the best pieces of meat in terms of flavor. Been craving a slow cooker barbeque dish lately? You can’t beat brisket. 

Achieving the perfect brisket can be challenging and definitely takes time to fully understand. In fact, in the south, people view this talent in high regard and admire those who have mastered the art. 

The key to making the perfect juicy and tender brisket is all in the cooking process. The method required to make this cut of beef entails an approach known as “low and slow.” 

The “low” aspect refers to the temperature: briskets are best lower heat setting.

The slow part refers to the total cooking time: briskets cook for long periods of time so that the meat heats up slowly and stays nice and tender. 

The “low and slow” method definitely requires a lot of time, so make sure you’ve planned ahead when making this dish. 

Now, typically, brisket is made in larger sizes and slow-cooked in a smoker for up to 28 hours (crazy, right?). 

But when you’re craving this delicious meat and are preparing dinner for just the fam, going for a smaller size of brisket, such as a 3 lb one, is ideal. 

3 lb briskets can be smoked at various temperatures, depending on how long you want to cook your beef for (and how seriously you want to take the “low and slow” approach). 

If you’re ready to dive into the magical world of brisket making and become what is known as a “pitmaster,” check out the following sections for further details and instructions on how to smoke the perfect brisket 3 different ways.

How To Smoke Brisket At 225 Degrees Fahrenheit?

When it comes to 3 lb briskets, 225 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature. When you look at most recipes, especially if they come from the southern states, you may notice that the recommended temperature is 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 

While this is an optimal heat setting if you are low on time and need your beef to cook faster, when it comes to smaller cuts of brisket, 225 is ideal. 

Here’s how to do it

How To Smoke Brisket At 225 Degrees Fahrenheit

Pro Tips

  • When trimming the fat from the brisket, make sure to leave behind a ¼-inch layer. You also want to ensure you remove the silver skin (the thin membrane of tissue on the outer part of the meat).
  • If you’re feeling uneasy about this step and are purchasing your brisket from a local butchery, ask the butcher to trim these parts for you!
  • Briskets are already extremely flavorful, so a lot of seasonings aren’t necessary. In fact, a simple beef rub would do the trick (salt, pepper and garlic is our fav!). 
  • Leaving your brisket in the fridge overnight is also not required, however, it will allow the seasonings to really soak into the meat. 
  • Additionally, allowing your meat to come to room temperature prior to cooking will decrease the total cooking time. 
  • Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper isn’t necessary, but it will speed up the cooking process and make your meat extra tender. 
  • The best way to know your brisket is done is by checking the internal temperature with a thermometer.
  • Another great method is using meat probes. When the beef feels buttery and smooth, it’s done. 
  • Don’t skip the resting period! This will really allow the juices to get locked in, adding a ton of extra flavor and tenderness. 
  • Your brisket will be in the perfect state to be served when it reaches a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Make sure you let the brisket rest in the paper so nothing can get at it!
  • When slicing the brisket, ensure you are cutting against the grain. 

RELATED: 15 Beef Crock Pot Recipes That Are Easy To Make

How To Smoke Brisket At 250 Degrees Fahrenheit?

Although smoking your 3 lb brisket at 225 degrees Fahrenheit is preferable, if you’re short on time and need to speed up the cooking process, you can also prepare your beef at a slightly higher temperature. 

Smoking brisket at 250 degrees Fahrenheit entails essentially the same steps as preparing it at 225 degrees but takes the cooking time down to approximately 3 hours (about 1 hour per pound). 

Check out the following table for more details

How To Smoke Brisket At 250 Degrees Fahrenheit

Pro Tips

  • You may be hesitant to use this approach as higher temperatures generally imply a less tender end product. However, in this case, the difference is very slight from cooking your brisket at 225! 

Aside from this, the same tips and tricks from the previous section also apply here

  • When trimming the fat from the brisket, make sure to leave behind a ¼-inch layer. You also want to ensure you remove the silver skin (the thin membrane of tissue on the outer part of the meat).
  • If you’re feeling uneasy about this step and are purchasing your brisket from a local butchery, ask the butcher to trim these parts for you!
  • Briskets are already extremely flavorful, so a lot of seasonings aren’t necessary. In fact, a simple beef rub would do the trick (salt, pepper and garlic is our fav!). 
  • Leaving your brisket in the fridge overnight is also not required, however, it will allow the seasonings to really soak into the meat. 
  • Additionally, allowing your meat to come to room temperature prior to cooking will decrease the total cooking time. 
  • Wrapping the brisket in butcher paper isn’t necessary, but it will speed up the cooking process and make your meat extra tender. 
  • The best way to know your brisket is done is by checking the internal temperature with a thermometer.
  • Another great method is using meat probes. When the beef feels buttery and smooth, it’s done. 
  • Don’t skip the resting period! This will really allow the juices to get locked in, adding a ton of extra flavor and tenderness. 
  • Your brisket will be in the perfect state to be served when it reaches a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Make sure you let the brisket rest in the paper so nothing can get at it!
  • When slicing the brisket, ensure you are cutting against the grain. 
How Long To Smoke A Tender 3 lb Brisket In Delicious Way

RELATED: 14 Beef Sausage Recipes You Can Try Tonight

How To Smoke Brisket At 200 Degrees Fahrenheit?

If you want to implement the “low and slow” approach to cooking brisket to the fullest, preparing your brisket at 200 degrees Fahrenheit is just what you need. 

This method takes the longest but is totally worth it and will give you an irresistibly juicy and tender piece of brisket. 

When it comes to preparing your brisket at this temperature, the steps are exactly the same as the previous two heat settings, so be sure to check out those tables for full instructions. 

Note: for this approach, the total cooking time will be approximately 6 hours (about 2 hours per pound). 

Like the other temperatures, your brisket will be done at 200 degrees Fahrenheit when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 195-203 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Cook A Brisket Too Slow?

No! When it comes to brisket, cooking it nice and slow is the key to achieving the perfect result. 

As long as the final temperature reaches between 195-203 degrees, you can cook it as slowly as you would like. 

However, keep in mind that you don’t want to be smoking your beef for eternity, so we recommend not cooking your brisket below a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Do I Have To Wrap My Brisket?

Wrapping your brisket in butcher paper isn’t necessary, but it will speed up the cooking process and make your meat extra tender. 

How Do You Make A Moist Brisket?

As we just mentioned, a great way to make your brisket more tender is by wrapping it in butcher paper part way through the cooking process, as this will trap the heat and create extra moisture in your beef. 

If you choose to skip this step, you can also add a water pan to your smoker and add a little water (or apple cider vinegar for more flavor). If you notice the water has evaporated part way through, make sure to add more. 

Should The Fat On The Brisket Be Face Up Or Down?

The fatty side of the brisket should always be placed on the grill face down. 

How Can I Get Bark On My Brisket? 

If you’ve smoked your brisket to a temperature of 195-203 degrees Fahrenheit and the bark isn’t to your liking, add it to the grill for an extended period of time (until the bark has achieved the desired darkness). 

How To Smoke Brisket At 225 Degrees Fahrenheit

How To Smoke Brisket At 225 Degrees Fahrenheit?

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 5 hours
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Brisket is seasoned and placed in the fridge overnight or just before cooking and smoked for 4.5-6 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Materials

  • 3 lb brisket
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings/rub of your choice

Tools

  • Smoker
  • Trimming knife
  • Bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tongs
  • Thermometer
  • Butcher paper

Instructions

  • If preparing the night before: using your trimming knife, remove any excess fat from the brisket
  • Add olive oil to the entire surface of the brisket
  • Mix together your dry seasonings/rubs in a bowl 
  • Apply the seasonings/rubs all over the brisket 
  • Cover the brisket in plastic wrap
  • Place the brisket in the fridge overnight (if you choose not to do this the night before, simply follow all of the previous steps and skip the fridge)
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Place your brisket in the smoker and cook until the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • At this point, wrap your brisket in 2 pieces of butcher paper
  • Continue smoking until the internal temperature reads between 195-203 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • The total cooking time should take between 4.5-6 hours
  • Remove brisket from the smoker and allow it to rest in the paper for 30 minutes 
  • Serve by cutting the brisket into ¼-inch slices

How To Smoke Brisket At 250 Degrees Fahrenheit?

How To Smoke Brisket At 250 Degrees Fahrenheit?

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Brisket is seasoned and placed in the fridge overnight or just before cooking and smoked for 3 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Materials

  • 3 lb brisket
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings/rub of your choice

Tools

  • Smoker
  • Trimming knife
  • Bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Tongs
  • Thermometer
  • Butcher paper

Notes

  • If preparing the night before: using your trimming knife, remove any excess fat from the brisket
  • Add olive oil to the entire surface of the brisket
  • Mix together your dry seasonings/rubs in a bowl 
  • Apply the seasonings/rubs all over the brisket 
  • Cover the brisket in plastic wrap
  • Place the brisket in the fridge overnight (if you choose not to do this the night before, simply follow all of the previous steps and skip the fridge but allow your meat to come to room temperature)
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Place your brisket in the smoker and cook until the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • At this point, wrap your brisket in 2 pieces of butcher paper
  • Continue smoking until the internal temperature reads between 195-203 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • The total cooking time should take between 3 hours
  • Remove brisket from the smoker and allow it to rest in the paper for 30 minutes 
  • When ready to serve, cut the brisket into ¼-inch slices

Jess Smith
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