I’ve previously produced my article on what I think is the best method to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill/smoker. This article is going to be more specific about smoking a beef brisket on a Camp Chef and their recommended methods. Camp Chef has produced a wide range of horizontal pellet grills/smokers, and they also have their vertical pellet smoker. The information below is applicable to all Camp Chef pellet grills/smokers. Right then, let’s get into this!
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- Cooking Time: Generally 8 to 12 hours
- Camp Chef Recommended Temp: 225 to 250 F
- Brisket Internal Temp When Done: Around 200 F
- Best Pellets For Brisket: Oak, Mesquite or Apple pellets
I’m no BBQ expert, my expertise is how pellet grills/smokers work and the range of makes/models on the market. When it comes to how to cook on a pellet grill/smoker, I’ll be referring to the professionals.
Camp Chef Recommended Approach For Smoked Brisket
Now, the Camp Chef approach below to cooking a brisket is not true Texas-style (just a salt and pepper rub) as additional basting is involved.
I think there are circumstances where a pure Texas-style is better and times when a marinade injection/basting process may be the better approach. We’ll discuss that below.
However, to start off this article, I’ve included the video from Camp Chef on their recommended approach of cooking a brisket on one of their pellet grills/smokers.
I think most of the video above has good advice on preparing the brisket, trimming the fat etc, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. However, at the end of the video, an important step is missing.
The brisket is pulled straight off the Camp Chef at around 200 degrees and cut into. At this point, I generally sighed, as this is bad advice, and I’ll discuss this more below.
But simply, you need to rest your brisket after its pulled off the Camp Chef to get the best result. Anyway, let’s start by talking about the raw brisket itself and its preparation.
1: Higher Quality Brisket = Higher Quality Result
Now, while the title above is true, you can also cook a high-quality brisket poorly and end up with a poor-quality result. The objective is to obviously avoid that with the information below.
So how can you tell what’s a high-quality brisket from a lower-quality brisket, the price? Well, the price could be an indicator, but there is a more clear means to tell the difference.
There is a USDA grading system for meat cuts which is applied to briskets. The three grades are USDA Select, USDA Choice and USDA Prime, but what does that actually mean?
Ok, so I’m sure you can tell the difference between the three briskets above and its the extent of inter-structural fat, also known as ‘fat marbling’. The USDA Select brisket has the least, and the USDA Prime brisket has the most.
The extent of fat marbling within meat plays a crucial role in the taste and texture of meat once cooked. Hence, if you want the juiciest and most tasty brisket of the three, a USDA Prime brisket is the one you would choose.
However, if you have the cash, there is a type of beef brisket which exceeds even a USDA Prime brisket, and its a type of beef you may have already heard of, its called Wagyu.
Now, even before you have clicked the link above to check out the price of a Wagyu brisket, I’m sure you have guessed that its expensive to most people and potentially unaffordable.
If you can only afford a USDA Select brisket, that should not stop you from going ahead with smoking a brisket. I wanted to reference the different brisket grades up to Wagyu for a reason.
With a top-end brisket (USDA Prime/Wagyu), personally, I think the best approach is to let the quality of meat stand for itself, in other words, a simple Texas-style cook with a basic salt and pepper rub.
However, if your working with a USDA Select/Choice brisket that doesn’t have the same extent of fat marbling, well, then adding marinade injections etc, can potentially raise the game of those cheaper brisket cuts.
2: How To Prepare Beef Brisket For Your Camp Chef
I do like the Camp Chef video above with regard to preparing/trimming the brisket. While we have established above that fat marbling within the brisket is good, you don’t want excessive hard surface fat.
Large lumps of fat on the surface and around the edges of the brisket will not render down during the cook. They will still be there at the end, lumpy pieces of fat, which are gross.
You want to trim large lumps of fat off along with connective tissue on the surface of the brisket. With regard to the ‘fat side’ of the brisket, that may also need a trim too.
You definitely don’t want to remove all the fat on the fat side of the brisket. Just make sure its nice and consistent, with a depth of around a quarter of an inch.
Quick Tip: You’ll want to trim the brisket when its cold straight out of the refrigerator. That way, your knife will cut through the fat more easily.
Basic Texas-Style Rub vs Marinade Injections/Basting
Once your brisket has been trimmed of excessive surface fat, its ready to have some rub applied, which not only helps to flavour the brisket, its what helps the brisket to develop that classic bark.
Now, you could consider the simple/classic Texas-style salt and pepper rub (sea salt and black pepper) liberally applied all over the brisket’s surface, including the sides.
If you’re dealing with a top-end Prime/Wagyu brisket, that’s the approach I would personally take. However, with a lower grade of brisket, you could consider the Camp Chef approach from the video above.
With this method, the fat trimmings from the brisket are used to produce beef tallow which is added to the brisket during the wrapping phase, its a pretty good idea I think.
The Camp Chef All Purpose rub with its black pepper, white pepper, red pepper and salt base would be ‘ok’ as a brisket rub, but there are many other more suited brisket rubs, such as those from BBQGuys.
Right, you’ve got your brisket, its been trimmed and rubbed down let’s talk about your Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker. Well, first, let’s talk about your choice of pellets.
3. The Best Camp Chef Pellets For Cooking/Smoking Brisket?
So what are the best pellets you can choose to smoke a brisket? Well, to be honest, you have quite a range of options, and there is nothing wrong with using good old Oak pellets.
However, if you want to go for a more bold smoky flavour, that’s where you may want to consider a Hickory or Mesquite blend instead.
Alternatively, if you want a sweeter smoke flavour, then going for an Apple or Cherry blend may be the better option for you.
If you want to go with a more pronounced smoky flavour, then you could consider the Charwood blends from Camp Chef, which are a mixture of charcoal and oak pellets.
Then again, just because you own a Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker that doesn’t mean you can only use Camp Chef pellets, check out my article on the best value smoking pellets to learn more.
In that article, you’ll learn about blended pellets vs single wood species pellets and which brands sell which type, along with the typical price point per lb of different brands of pellets.
Quick Word On The Camp Chef Woodwind Pro…
Whether you own a Camp Chef SmokePro, Woodwind, Apex or the XXL Vertical Smoker, you will be able to get smoke flavour into your brisket.
However, it will be a lighter smoke profile compared to say, an offset smoker or charcoal grill. Then again, if you own a Camp Chef Woodwind Pro, you have the ability to produce additional smoke flavour.
If you own a Camp Chef Woodwind Pro, when cooking a brisket, its the perfect time to take advantage of the Smoke Box on your pellet smoker with some additional wood chips/chunks.
At the start of the brisket cook is when you’ll want to take the most advantage of the Smoke Box as that’s when most of the smoke flavour will be absorbed into the brisket.
Pellet Usage When Cooking/Smoking A Brisket
As stated at the start of this post, depending on how large your brisket is, the total cook time could be between 8 to 12 hours, maybe even more. Therefore, you need to make sure you have enough pellets.
Generally, most pellet grills/smokers on a low and slow cook will consume between 1 to 2 lbs of pellets per hour. For a brisket cook, you could use between 8 to 24 lbs of pellets.
If you’re cooking on your Camp Chef during the cold winter months, I would strongly encourage you to consider an insulated blanket. Otherwise, your pellet usage could be considerably higher.
The point is, you want to have, at the very least, a full 20 lb bag of pellets ready, ideally a couple of bags. You don’t want to run out of pellets mid-cook.
4. Starting The Cook & Smoke Infusion
If you own an older Camp Chef with the rotary dial for setting temperature, you will have two smoke settings labelled Lo Smoke (160 F) and Hi Smoke (225 F).
If you have a more modern Camp Chef that’s fitted with the Gen 2 PID/WiFi controller (or you upgraded to it), or maybe you have the full-colour touch screen display, its a little different.
Well, you have the option of setting the smoke setting independent of the temperature. Therefore, as recommended by Camp Chef, you can set the temperature to between 225 and 250.
You can then choose to put the Smoke Setting between 1 to 10. If you are looking for a pronounced smoky flavour in your brisket, at least for the first several hours and maybe the whole cook, run that smoke setting at 10.
Now, be aware the higher the smoke setting, the wider the temperature swing your Camp Chef will experience. That’s the trade-off with more smoke production on a pellet smoker typically.
However, the exception is the Camp Chef Woodwind Pro, as there you have the option of lots of smoke, but very stable temps as most of the smoke can come from the smoke box.
If you have Camp Chef Connect, take advantage of it with one or maybe a couple of meat probes inserted to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket.
Typically, the general rule is once the brisket reaches around 160 degrees, take it off and wrap it. However, the Camp Chef advice is a little bit different.
5. Brisket Wrapping & Then Back On The Camp Chef
In my previous articles of smoking a brisket on a Traeger or smoking a brisket on a Pit Boss, their recommendations have been that once the internal temp hits around 160, take it off and wrap it.
However, the Camp Chef advice is a little bit different. Instead of taking the brisket off at a certain internal temperature, wait until the exterior bark of the brisket ‘sets’.
In other words, the advice from Camp Chef is to not remove the brisket until the rub on the brisket is thoroughly infused into the surface of the brisket.
In the video above, leaving the brisket until the bark was set did mean the internal temperature went up to 190 degrees, a good 30 degrees over the internal temperature typically recommended as the wrapping point.
Therefore, this does mean more fat may have started to drip down off the brisket until you get to the wrapping point, but I also get the argument/benefit of letting the bark get heat for longer.
Bear in mind though, more fat dripping off the brisket is going to mean it will be a bit more time-consuming cleaning your pellet grill after the cook.
When it comes to wrapping your brisket, you can use foil. However, to continue the bark formation, its generally agreed that butcher paper is the better option for wrapping.
Following the Camp Chef advice in the first video at the start of this post, during the wrap, you could add beef tallow produced from the brisket trimmings.
If you are working with a USDA Select of Choice brisket, I think you should probably consider this approach to get the best result possible.
Once wrapped, its back on the Camp Chef for several more hours until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Let Your Brisket Rest (This Is Important)
The Camp Chef approach is not to remove the brisket once a set internal temperature has been reached (say 200 degrees). They go off the feel of the probe going into the brisket.
However, what is disappointing is the Camp Chef video above skips a very important step, the resting phase, and the brisket is cut into straight off the Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker.
I get why they did this, as they are producing a video, but it should have been stated that this is by no means ideal for getting the best result from your brisket.
If you let your brisket slowly rest from 200 degrees down to around 140-150 degrees, the fat/juices will be reabsorbed back into the brisket, giving you the best taste/texture possible.
However, you don’t want the internal temperature of the brisket to be left below 135 degrees. That’s the danger zone for bacteria growth following FDA guidelines.
Final Thoughts On Smoking A Brisket On A Camp Chef…
Ok, when it comes to slicing and serving, check out my article on the best method to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill/smoker, which is also slightly different from the Camp Chef method above.
No matter which Camp Chef model you own, you will be able to produce an excellent brisket. However, if you own a Camp Chef Woodwind Pro, you will have the option of that additional smoke flavour well suited to a brisket.
However, no matter which Camp Chef model you own, you have the option of a Smoke Setting, and for a brisket, its an excellent time to use it.
Likewise, if your model is Camp Chef Connect compatible, using the App along with the meat probes is the perfect time to use them with a long low and slow cook such as brisket.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you found the above information and videos useful on how to cook a smoked brisket on a pellet grill/smoker.
Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more. However, I’ve also produced an FAQ section below, which you may also find useful.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Brisket?
Ok, this question is similar to how long is a piece of string, and no one can give you an exact answer as the cooking time for one brisket will not be the same as for another brisket.
You can’t even say a certain weight of brisket will take an exact amount of time due to the many variables in terms of fat/density of the specific cut of meat, temperature swings of the pellet smoker etc.
Its only possible to give general guides on cooking time, and as you should have noticed from the information above, to smoke a good brisket, you are really going off its internal temperature, not time.
As a general ‘rule’, you should expect around 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time for every lb of brisket you have.
The above infographic from Traeger is a handy reference to have on smoking/cooking time, but the rest time is simply nonsense.
Really, you should also be resting based on the internal temperature of the brisket using something like a Thermopen.
To get down to 140-150 degrees, it will take the brisket several hours, especially if you go for the best approach of a slow resting process wrapped in some towels or using a cooler.