To smoke a hot and fast brisket, fire up your smoker to 300°F, throw some wood chunks or chips on there, and cook for 4 to 5 hours, until the internal temperature of the meat is between 204 and 210°F. You’ll want to wrap your brisket in aluminum foil when the internal temp reaches 160 to 165°F, and make sure you add liquid if the brisket looks dry.
I’m a BBQ fanatic. I’ve smoked more briskets than I can count. Brisket is my favorite meat to both cook and eat! I think juicy sliced brisket is the greatest treat in all of BBQ. If you cook hot and fast brisket, there are some tricks and techniques you have got to know – I’m here to spill the tea on how I churn out consistent, deliciously smoked brisket every time.
Is your cooker ready? Let’s go! I’ll lead you through the hot and fast cooking process step-by-step.
The hot and fast cooking method is a technique used by seasoned pitmasters for brisket, pork shoulder, and occasionally pork ribs. The big advantage of the method is that it shaves several hours off a traditional low and slow cook. However, if the fire and beef brisket isn’t properly managed, you have a higher risk of overcooking your meat, leaving it dry and burnt.
I recommend you get your low and slow brisket recipe dialed in before you progress to the hot and fast method. There are more variables when you smoke hot and fast brisket. It’s best to master the slower smoking method before progressing to the more difficult hot and fast technique.
Before we get to my hot and fast brisket recipe, I’ll walk you through some tips that are absolutely crucial for a successful cook. If you want the best fast-smoked brisket on the block, you better read carefully.
Cooking hot and fast is best done with large chunks of meat. That makes brisket (and pork shoulder) an ideal candidate.
Look for a large cut of brisket with plenty of fat – Prime rating or Wagyu is best. USDA Choice and Select will not cut it for hot and fast brisket. Quality is essential when cooking a hot and fast brisket.
Trim less fat off the meat than you normally would for a traditional smoke. The additional fat will provide the beef brisket with extra insulation, protecting it from the higher heat inside your smoker.
Position the brisket fat cap toward the heat source when you place it in your smoker. This will provide additional insulation from the higher heat. So, if you’ve got a Kamado or bullet grill, the fat side will be down. The fat side will be up if you’re using a pellet smoker.
The wrap is optional with a traditional cook. It’s vital when cooking a hot and fast brisket. The bark formation happens quickly at high temps, and the bark will turn a beautiful mahogany color in no time. Wrapping helps speed up your cooking time and makes the smoky brisket divinely tender.
Keep an eye on how moist your brisket looks as it smokes. If it looks dry, spritz it with a liquid. Beer, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider are all popular options. The additional liquid from a spritz helps keep the meat juicy.
If your smoker has a water pan, make sure there’s liquid in it throughout your cook.
Finally, when you use the “Texas crutch” to wrap the brisket, add some liquid to the aluminum foil. This will help break the stall and gently braise the meat. It will also ensure juicy brisket.
When I’m smoking a hot and fast brisket, I check it more often and move it frequently. Often, pitmasters neglect to move their meat as it cooks, resulting in a bark that’s overcooked and charred. It happens at 300°F temperatures.
Moving the meat often and spritzing it with liquid frequently will cut down the chances of overcooked bark.
Hot and fast is the cooking technique you’ve been waiting for if you don’t have time for a low and slow cook. This recipe takes a 12-15lb [5-7 kg] whole-packer brisket, which contains both the brisket flat and brisket point, from fridge temperature to fully cooked in 4-5 hours. You’ll still want to let the brisket rest for around 2 hours after cooking.
Suggested wood: Oak, pecan, cherry wood, or hickory
Approximate total cook time: 4-5 hours
Grill setup: Indirect heat
Smoker temp: 300°F
You could also use 1/2 cup of your favorite pre-made beef seasoning, or go simple and just use salt and pepper.
Separate the point and flat with a knife by looking at the grains – they run in different directions. Remove any excess fat that was between them.
Slice both the point and the flat against the gain. Cut the flat approximately 3/16″ thick. The point can be cut thicker, around 1/4″. Serve as slices or pile some on white bread to make a sandwich.
To make the brisket juicier, you can use the juices that accumulated in the bottom of the crutch.
Burnt ends are thought by some people to be the pinnacle of brisket. To make them, you’ll need to have the smoked beef brisket separated into point and flat. While you can make burnt ends from either muscle, most people use the point because it’s both uneven (tough to slice nicely) and richly fatty.
Cut the point into cubes that are about 3/4″ thick. Douse them in some BBQ sauce and throw them back on a hot grill to get them nice and crispy.
Want a hot and fast brisket but don’t want to buy a full brisket? Look for a 5-pound hunk of point muscle, and smoke it, following the instructions above, but reducing estimated cooking times by half.
A whole brisket that weighs 12 pounds is a huge commitment, both in time and money. Also, though leftover smoked beef brisket is tasty (stick some leftovers on bread for amazing sandwiches), brisket will always taste best when freshly carved.
A whole packer brisket is made up of two muscles – the point and the flat. Grab the point. It’s more richly marbled, packed with flavor, and juicier. If your butcher only has flat muscles, ask for a point. Flats are tougher, and making them tender when cooked hot and fast is a challenge.
Whatever cooker you’ve got will do the trick! Pellet grills are nice because you can set the temperature at 300°F and not worry about it climbing above that. But feel free to use a kamado, kettle grill, electric smoker, bullet smoker – whatever you’ve got. Just monitor the temperature, keeping it as close to 300°F as possible.
If your grill runs on charcoal, I like to grab a bag of lump charcoal. It burns hotter and is all-natural, unlike charcoal briquettes.
The sky is the limit here. Traditionally, brisket is served sliced with a side of white bread. Smoked macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, collard greens – you name it, it probably tastes great with smoked brisket. I like to reserve the drippings from the bottom of the crutch and whip up some smoked brisket gravy. Serve it over mashed potatoes.
Seasonings like salt and pepper are usually placed out if you’d like to kick the flavor up a notch.
The options for what to do with leftover brisket are almost limitless. Throw some in a taco shell for perfect, out-of-this-world tacos. Shred the brisket into chunks and toss it into a bowl of chili. Make some Philly cheesesteaks out of brisket, and I guarantee the leftovers won’t hang around for long.
I love using leftover brisket on nachos. (Fantastic. I’d highly recommend you try it.) I also love tossing some smoked brisket into bolognese sauce. Traditional? Nah. Delicious? You betcha. The robust, beefy flavor of leftover brisket is perfection paired with Korean dishes. I stick some in bibimbap or a Korean taco whenever I get the chance.
Leftover brisket should keep in the refrigerator for three to four days.
If you don’t plan on eating the brisket in three or four days, stick it in the freezer, where it should stay good for about 6 months.
Can I plead the fifth? They’re both amazing!
Personally, I’d advise you to master the art of cooking brisket at 225°F before attempting a hot and fast brisket. Brisket is a fickle hunk of meat, and you’ll want to be intimately familiar with your smoker. The giant mound of protein known as beef brisket makes for a notoriously tricky cook.
That said, if you’re looking to cook a brisket, but don’t have a full day to devote to the task, you can speed up the cooking by making a hot and fast brisket. Do it right, following the instructions in this article, and you’ll have super tender brisket with a beautiful pink smoke ring.
There you have it, every tip and trick in the toolbox. I’ve given you everything I know smoking a hot and fast brisket. Smoked brisket is one of the reasons we BBQ. It is rich, beefy, juicy, and BBQ perfection.
Follow my steps, and you’ll be cranking out brisket that’s so delicious, your friends and family will be begging you to smoke brisket at every get-together.
Before you go...