Traeger BBQ Brisket


Since we’ve made Brisket about 5 times now, we decided it’s time to post our “how to”.

Low and slow is the way to go.  Just keep saying that.

It really needs to cook smoke for 18-22 hours to get the best flavor and tenderness.  There are speed methods for cooking brisket, which result in a fine piece of meat, but it just doesn’t have that same tenderness and finger-licking goodness as smoking it.  We’ve done both methods so I can speak from experience on this.

For either method, the first step is trimming the fat to 1/4″ thickness.  I also like to cut out some of the deep fat pockets.

After the meat is trimmed, rub it down with olive oil and then season it with some Sweet BBQ Rub.  Heavily season it.

Get the Traeger fired up.  Oak pellets are known to produce more smoke than other pellets, so we always use Oak. (We are so serious about this that if there’s already pellets in the hopper, we scoop them out and replace them with oak pellets).

Set the Traeger to “smoke” (or 180-degrees, depending on your Traeger thermostat).   You want to maintain 180-200 degrees for the duration of the cooking period, which is approximately 18-22 hours.  (So yes, you will start cooking this 18-22 hours before you plan to serve it!)  DO NOT OPEN THE LID TO CHECK THE MEAT.  We use a digital remote thermometer to keep an eye on the meat temperature.

Also, be sure to monitor your Traeger- keep the hopper full of pellets, which means for the overnight portion you are going to want to set alarms to monitor the hopper. You do NOT want to run out in the middle of cooking!  Trust me!

The temperature of the meat will increase steadily, and then hover around the 170-degree mark for HOURS.   Don’t worry- that is the point where all the “magic” happens and the meat really starts breaking down.

The goal is to take the meat off at 185-190 degrees, wrap it in foil tightly, then wrap it in towels, set it in a cooler filled with towels and let it “set” for another 1-3 hours.  During that time the internal temperature will actually rise another 5 degrees and this process causes the fat to melt through all the meat and moisten the meat so it’s extra tender and juicy.  To serve it, simply cut into slices.

SPEED METHOD:  This method results in a less tender cut, but it’s still really good!  Cook in the Traeger at 300-degrees for 5 hours, then turn down to smoke (180-200 degrees) for 3-4 hours.

Side note:

If you get within 3 hours of your serving time and the meat has not reached 185 degrees yet, go ahead and turn the Traeger up a notch (200-degrees) to speed up the final cook.  It will cook fairly fast, pull it at 185 and do the foil, towel, cooler method to finish it.

If your meat is done earlier than anticipated, just keep it wrapped in the cooler until you are ready to serve it.  It will stay warm for hours.