How Long to Smoke a Brisket per Pound (Best Results)

If you’re wondering how long it will take to smoke your brisket, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How long it takes to smoke brisket per pound
  • Factors that can make it take longer
  • And much more!

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Brisket Per Pound at 225?

It takes between 1.5 to 2 hours per pound to smoke a brisket at 225°F.

Are you smoking a brisket for the first time, or maybe you did it before but didn’t get the perfect result you wanted?

Smoking a brisket is one of the most rewarding things you can do for your family and friends.

It’s not tough to do, but if you want to achieve the maximum tenderness, juiciness, and flavor perfection in your barbecue, you’ll have to pay attention to a few details. It is a big step towards becoming a grill master.

There are various methods for testing your brisket for doneness. The two most popular are the probe test and monitoring the internal temperature.

While these methods are great tools for estimating cooking time, there is a more reliable way to determine when the brisket is ready to come off the grill. This is knowing how long to smoke a brisket per pound, giving you more consistency in your outcome.

With the plethora of information out there that gives you confusion, we’ll provide expert tips on calculating the cooking time for a brisket to get the best results.

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How Long Should You Smoke a Brisket per Pound?

Low and slow is the mantra most often chanted by barbecuers when preparing a beef brisket. But how slow are we talking?

Well, that depends on several different factors but the critical thing is the temperature and the amount of time to cook a certain cut of beef.

The number of hours you smoke your brisket per pound will vary based on the temperature you’re cooking at and what type of smoker you’re using.

The most common temperature to smoke brisket is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, 1 hour to 2 hours per pound will yield moist and tender brisket.

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smoking brisket per pound fact

Smoking a Brisket per Pound: Tips per Size

Here are helpful details that provide the appropriate time, temperature, and internal temperature ranges for smoking a brisket based on their cuts. We use the standard 225°F for the details below.

However, the cooking times will need to be adjusted accordingly if the internal temperature will increase or decrease due to weather conditions.

Also, right before the end of the recommended cook time, but not before, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat. This is to avoid undone meat and to guarantee you serve your guests nothing less than tender and juicy meat.

How Long To Smoke a 1.5 lb Brisket

A typical brisket will weigh about 3 to 4 pounds, but you can have 1.5 lb, especially if you opt for the steak option. This brisket cut should take approximately 2 hours (or longer) to cook. At 90 minutes, you should test the brisket to ensure it is not overcooked.

How Long To Smoke a 2 lb Brisket

A 2 lb brisket is no different than 1.5 lb to cook. The larger size adds more fat and connective tissue which help provide a moist tender bite. It usually requires a 3 to 3.5 hour cooking time or slightly longer if a very tender brisket is desired.

How Long To Smoke a 2.5 lb Brisket

Smoking 2.5 lbs of brisket will take approximately 4 hours. Resist the urge to serve this section right off the smoker — even strips of beef benefit greatly from a brief rest period, allowing their proteins to firm back up again.

How Long To Smoke a 3 lb Brisket

The ideal time to cook a 3 lb brisket on the smoker is 4 to 5 hours. If it’s cut from the pointed end, take note that it will cook faster than the flat end. many chefs cook the point until it is overcooked (or burnt) because it doesn’t make it dry due to higher fat content.

How Long To Smoke a 4 lb Brisket

How long, exactly, does it take to smoke a 4 lb brisket? When a 4 lb brisket is cooked to perfection, note that it needs approximately 6 hours on the smoker. Some briskets might be ready before this while others will take more time. Thus, make sure to check the internal temperature when it reaches the 6-hour mark.

How Long To Smoke a 5 lb Brisket

A typical untrimmed brisket flat weighs 6 to 10 pounds. After trimming, it will yield around 5 lb. For this cut, the average cooking time takes 7 to 8 hours. You won’t have to babysit a larger brisket, but you will have to keep an eye on brisket this size. This is to avoid overcooking and drying the meat.

How Long To Smoke a 8 lb Brisket

The cooking time for this brisket will vary based on the smoker temperature, cooking time, the weight of your brisket, and variables outside of our control (such as room humidity and air temperature). But, you can smoke an 8-pound brisket between 10 to 16 hours. Plan and check for doneness at around 8 hours.

How Long To Smoke a 9 lb Brisket

It takes 12 to 18 hours for a 9-pound brisket to cook to perfection. Temperature fluctuations and other environmental conditions can cause it to cook faster or slower, so keep this in mind. At the 10-hour mark, don’t forget to check for doneness.

How Long To Smoke a 10 lb Brisket

In 15 hours (based on the 90 minutes per pound rule), you’ll have a tender and juicy brisket that melts in your mouth. There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to smoking a 10-pound brisket. Some people prefer to give the meat lots of time, while others prefer to get the process done faster. It’s all a matter of preference.

Again, smoking times will vary depending on the size and shape of the brisket. Experienced pitmasters will tell you that a 10-pound brisket can be ready in as little as 10 hours, while others say they have had to smoke one for 20 hours before it was ready.

We recommend you not to rush, check the texture, and cook appropriately to make it tender, not just edible.

How Long To Smoke a 14 lb Brisket

In the case of a 14-pound brisket, figure around 17.5 hours when you’re going at a good pace. The brisket will be ready when it has a nice bark and reaches an internal temperature of 200°F – 210°F. As a general rule of thumb, don’t forget to check the temperature of the meat and desired doneness.

How Long To Smoke a 15 lb Brisket

Briskets weighing between 15 lb are done at around 18 hours. Chances are yours won’t be done by then, but we suggest using the probe test to be sure. Briskets can take up to 24 hours to finish cooking. You’ll want to monitor the internal temperature regularly once it hits 18 hours.

How Long To Smoke a 16 lb Brisket

16-pound briskets necessitate a long smoking time of 24 hours or more. That’s why if you’re hosting guests and need to finish the brisket at a specific time, start smoking the 16-pound brisket about 30 hours before you plan to serve it.

If you want to smoke a whole brisket, but don’t have all day. You can do what the professionals do, cut the point and flat, and smoke them separately. They’ll need a shorter smoking time and will be easier to arrange on the grill.

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How Many Hours to Smoke a Brisket per Pound?

The rule of thumb for calculating how long to smoke a brisket is dependent upon several factors, but primarily the time and temp.

Most often though, it should take somewhere between 1.5 to 2 hours for a 1-pound brisket to be smoked completely.

The proper smoking time varies depending on the amount of brisket in question. With brisket, it’s crucial to know the weight of your piece and the temperature at which you’re comfortable cooking it so you can get the exact amount of smoking time.

 A lot of people think that barbecuing brisket is all about low and slow. It’s not uncommon for brisket to be done at high temperatures to get a nice crust.

For the best results, smoking a brisket at 225 °F takes one and a half to two hours per pound. If at 250 °F, you’ll need to smoke it for 1.5 hours per pound. And, a pound of brisket cooked at 300 °F should take 30-45 minutes before pulling off your grill.

Thus, for example, if you prepared a whole packer of brisket that weighs 12 pounds, it will take an 18-hour cooking session at 225 °F.

When you’re smoking at 250 °F, it will need 12 hours before it’s completely done. These are just for your guidelines, but you can extend your cooking time longer than expected.

Also, when it’s fully done, allow 30 to 60 minutes window time for it to rest before serving.

Factors That Can Change The Time it Takes for Smoking Beef Brisket

Cooking temperatures and techniques are important aspects to consider when smoking brisket, but there are many other factors that you need to take into account as well. Let’s go over these factors.

Weight & Size

While the absolute cooking temperature is important, so is the size of your brisket. The larger and thicker the flat cut of beef; the more time it will take to cook per pound.

That’s because the heat takes more time to penetrate through to the center. A whole brisket, for example, does take longer than a piece of beef tenderloin to cook.


Brisket cooking times require some special techniques that can be applied to make a brisket cook faster. One way of shortening the cooking time is by letting the beef sit at room temperature before putting it in the oven or on the grill.

If you thaw the meat a little bit, it will be easy for the heat to penetrate. Thereby, lessening the amount of cooking time.

Additionally, if you’re not a fan of waiting long for your brisket, wrapping it with a foil of butcher paper helps shorten the cooking time without sacrificing flavor and texture.

For instance, if you wrap a 12-pound brisket before cooking, it will decrease the cooking time to just 7 to 9 hours. Plus, wrapping the beef will prevent it from drying out and losing its flavor due to the long cooking time.

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Cooking Method & Type of Smoker

There are different ways to smoke a brisket and also different types of smokers on the market. The cooking time per pound will vary from one smoker to another, even with the same type of meat.

Each type of smoker operates differently and requires a different amount of heat to smoke your food properly.

For example, electric and gas smokers maintain a consistent temperature. This means it’s easier to predict cooking time per pound than for pit and barrel smokers.

Also, don’t forget to keep the lid closed when smoking. This creates a thermal barrier that confines heat.

Therefore, reducing cooking time and energy expenditure as well.

Other Variables

A brisket’s thickness, fat content, and grade are all factors that will affect how long it takes to cook it.

A higher grade of brisket will be more tender and cook faster than a lower grade. It’s because it has more marbling and fats, which make it cook faster.

Furthermore, wind and humidity will also affect the cooking time. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature, humidity, and wind conditions outside.

Under normal conditions, you will likely not notice much difference in cooking time.

However, if the temperature drops or humidity rises quite a bit you may need to adjust your time estimates and account for it in your barbecue.

How Long to Cook a Brisket in the Oven?

It takes about one hour of oven time for every pound of brisket, which is reasonably shorter than smoking or grilling.

It’s a fact that braising in the oven is one of the best ways to cook your brisket. This cuts down on smoke and the time you need to watch over it while still producing tender, tasty meat.

The exact cooking time depends on the weight of the brisket. 

How to Cook a Brisket in the Oven?

To prepare oven-roasted beef brisket, preheat the oven to 250 °F. Place the brisket in a baking pan, put some liquid (such as beef broth), and seal the pan with foil. Bake the meat for one hour per pound.

How Long Should I Smoke a Small Brisket?

Are you cooking a small cut brisket that weighs a few pounds? Cooking times vary greatly depending on the cut of meat and the desired doneness.

But, if you are cooking a small cut brisket, it won’t take long compared to larger cuts. When cooking, be sure to check the internal temperature often to avoid overcooking and drying the meat.

Ways to Shorten the Cooking Time

Here are ways to reduce the cooking time for your brisket while, achieving tender, juicy results.

Increase the Temperature

If you find yourself in a rush, try cooking your brisket at 325 °F instead. The roast will still turn out tender and juicy and will be ready much sooner.

However, you need to ensure that you don’t overdo it.

Otherwise, it will be exposed to heat for long enough that the fat and connective tissues break down, dring the beef out. On the other hand, lesser time on the smoker may lead to a less tender piece of meat.

Use the Texas Crutch Method

You can also get through the stall faster by adapting the Texas crutch method, which involves wrapping the brisket in foil or pink butcher paper.

If the meat reached an internal temperature of at least 150 °F, wrap it in foil or pink butcher paper. Then, return it to the grill for several hours.

When grilling brisket or other sorts of meat, keep in mind that aluminum foil and butcher paper can also be used to facilitate the cooking process and give better results.

Aluminum foil reduces the cooking time more than butcher paper does; butcher paper is better for preserving the crisp bark because it is more porous.

If you decide to use this method, cooking can speed up the process by 45 minutes per pound — while delivering a smoky grilled flavor and crispy bark.

Finish It Up in the Oven

When the brisket is about to cook, probably an hour to two hours before it’s well done, you can transfer it to the oven and roast it until it reaches its final internal temperature. It has little effect on the flavor and is a simple way to speed things up.

Abandon the Low N’ Slow Method

As mentioned earlier, the low and slow method is great but why use it when you can cook fast?

When properly executed, the hot and fast method can yield incredible results that are almost as good as the low and slow methods.

Tips for Starters When Using the Hot & Fast Method

If this is your first time smoking a brisket, preheat the smoker to 350 °F and position the meat fat side down. When it reaches 170 °F, wrap it with a foil and smoke it again — until the internal temperature reaches 203 °F, which is the minimum temperature needed to render the fat and make the brisket tender.

Note: Use a probe to check that it is completely done all the way through before removing it from the grill. If not yet done, cook it a bit more.

Keep Lids Closed

Always remember to leave the lid closed as much as possible, only opening it to add wood chips (here are our favorite types of wood for smoking brisket). It will cause unpredictable temperature swings, resulting in less than optimum results.

Thus, using a remote meat probe is recommended for maintaining a constant temperature within the smoking chamber, as well as monitoring internal meat temperature.

Let It Rest

Resting is a final step in preparing a barbeque brisket, allowing the juices to be reabsorbed by the meat. Some say that resting isn’t helpful or they just rest for a short time.

However, it makes a difference, it will leave you savoring every bite. The best way to do this is by wrapping your brisket in towels and placing it in a warm cooler for at least two to four hours. Then, serve it when until the internal temperature cools to about 160 °F.

More Brisket Resouces:

Final Thoughts on Brisket Timelines

Cooking the perfect brisket may seem like a daunting task. Once you follow our tips and have an idea of how long to smoke a brisket per pound, your taste buds, family, and friends will thank you.

Additionally, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long it takes to smoke a brisket.

However, knowing how much time to allow will help you provide your guests with the best barbecue around without ever having to wait.

If you want to learn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources!

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Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

1 thought on “How Long to Smoke a Brisket per Pound (Best Results)”

  1. Hi,

    Put my 2.4lb piece of brisket on at 11:45am. (first time with small piece) Wrapped it in butcher paper at 165 at about 4:30. It’s now 5:20 and stalled at 165 still. Ain’t no way I’m pulling it at that temp. What kind of voodoo are folks using to smoke a small brisket in 4.5-5hrs. I just don’t see the math. Shouldn’t I be shooting for 190-200 temp before pulling? That ain’t happening in the 4-5hr mark.


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