You probably already know that you should smoke beef brisket at a low temperature. But how low should you go? Is smoking brisket at 300 an acceptable method, or will the meat cook too fast at this temperature? Let’s find out.
Smoking Brisket at 300
300 degrees is an acceptable temperature for smoking brisket. Setting the smoker temperature this high will reduce the cooking time significantly, especially if you opt to wrap the meat in foil about halfway through. As always, aim for an internal temperature of about 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why It Matters
Beef brisket is a cut that contains a lot of fat and connective tissue. That’s because it’s cut from a section of the cow that supports a great deal of the animal’s weight. Since the muscles get such a good workout, the resulting cut of meat can be quite tough.
However, if you’ve ever eaten brisket that was properly prepared, you probably noticed that the meat wasn’t tough at all. When you cook it over low heat for a long time, the connective tissue breaks down and the fat renders out, making the meat tender and juicy.
At What Temperature is Brisket Considered Done?
According to the USDA, it’s safe to consume beef that’s cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you try to consume brisket at this temperature, however, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
For best results, you should leave the brisket in the smoker until the thermometer readout hits the 200-205 degree range. As the meat will continue to cook slightly during the resting period, your target temp is 210 degrees.
About “Probe Tender” Brisket
When brisket is done, the temperature probe should slide right in and out as easily as if you’d inserted it into a stick of butter. Some chefs rely on this “probe tender” method to determine when the meat is done. However, we prefer to keep an eye on the temperature itself.
Although the probe method is a useful way to tell whether the meat is approaching doneness, it’s not foolproof. The meat might feel probe tender at 180 degrees, or you might still feel some resistance when it’s crept past the 210-degree mark.
As long as you’re probing the brisket in the first place, you might as well do so with a working thermometer and check the temperature along the way. It won’t do any harm, and it will provide you with a more accurate result.
One tip: When you’re checking the brisket, be sure to insert the probe into the thickest part of the flat. If you check a thinner section, it will likely tell you that the meat is done before the thicker part has had a chance to hit the target temperature.
Always avoid the point when testing the brisket for doneness, even if you’re only probing to see if the meat is tender. If you hit a pocket of fat, it might feel probe tender even if the meat itself isn’t done yet.
What’s The Ideal Temperature For Smoking Brisket?
We would recommend setting the smoker to 225 degrees when making smoked brisket. The only downside to this technique is the amount of time it takes for the meat to be ready.
When the smoker temperature is set to 225 degrees, beef brisket typically cooks at a rate of 1.5 to 2 hours per pound. That might not sound like such a long time, but when you consider the fact that a whole brisket can weigh as much as 16 pounds, you’re looking at a huge time commitment.
The overall cooking time can be affected by many different factors. Maybe the smoker has a hard time maintaining the set temp for long periods of time. Or maybe it’s especially cold or windy outside. Every brisket is different, so it’s impossible to predict exactly when you might achieve the target temperature of 200-205 degrees.
Is Smoking Brisket at 300 Degrees a Good Idea?
If you’re short on time, you can set the smoker temperature to 300 degrees or higher. Although it relies on a few shortcuts that we prefer to avoid when possible, it’s a suitable option to fall back on when you’re in a pinch.
In the recipe below, we include the additional step of wrapping the brisket in aluminum foil partway through the smoke. This is called the “Texas crutch,” and it allows the brisket to cook to the desired temp more quickly.
With the heat cranked to 300 degrees, beef brisket can cook at a rate of 30 minutes per pound when you employ the Texas crutch. That means a 15-pound whole packer brisket can be done in about 7.5 hours.
How To Smoke Brisket at 300 Degrees
- 1 whole packer brisket (12-14 pounds)
- 1/4 cup seasoning rub
- 1 cup beef stock or broth
- Barbecue sauce for serving (optional)
1. If you’re preparing your own seasoning rub, mix together the ingredients in a small bowl. We like to use a blend of brown sugar, smoked paprika, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper.
2. Trim the brisket to remove any excess fat and save the trimmings, if desired. You may also do a little extra trimming to help the brisket achieve a uniform shape.
3. Season the brisket with the spice rub, making sure to cover the entire surface with an even layer. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour.
4. Set the smoker to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If your smoker typically runs on the cooler side, or if the weather is chilly, consider cranking the heat to 325.
5. Set the brisket in the smoker with the fat side facing the heat source (this usually means that the fat cap is facing down). Close the lid of the smoker and cook until the brisket’s internal temperature reaches 150-160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 hours.
6. Remove the meat from the smoker and set it aside in a disposable aluminum roasting pan.
7. Place 3 or 4 long sheets of butcher paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface large enough to accommodate the brisket.
8. Lay the brisket on the foil layers and fold up the edges of the foil to create a rim around the edge. Carefully pour in the beef stock or broth, then seal the meat and liquid tightly within the foil, taking care to prevent the broth from seeping out.
9. Place the wrapped brisket back in the roasting pan and return it to the smoker. Let it cook for an additional 3 to 4 hours.
10. After the brisket has been back on the smoker for about 2 hours, start checking the meat for doneness. When the meat is approaching the target temperature, the probe should slide in and out easily.
11. When the internal temp registers 190-195 degrees, remove the brisket from the smoker. Carefully unwrap the meat and return it to the heat until the temperature hits the 200-205 degree range.
12. Take the brisket off the smoker and set it on a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 1 hour.
13. Separate the point end from the flat and carve the flat into slices. Shred the point meat.
14. Serve the sliced and shredded beef with barbecue sauce, if desired.
The Bottom Line
It’s fine to smoke brisket at 300 degrees when you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to the project. Although we think the meat has a superior texture when you set the smoker to a lower temp, you should be satisfied with the results.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!