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 Weber pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. For instance, on a Weber, you need to be more careful with grease management to avoid a potential grease fire, and a lot of grease can come off a brisket while its cooking, so we’ll discuss that. Right, let’s get into this!
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Table of Contents
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- Cooking Time: Generally 8 to 12 hours
- Weber Recommended Temp: 225 to 250 F
- Brisket Internal Temp When Done: Around 200 F
- Best Pellets For Brisket: Mesquite or Hickory pellet blends
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.
Weber SmokeFire Recommended Approach For Smoked Brisket
As a Weber SmokeFire owner, you are probably aware of the issues that the Gen 1 models, in particular, experience with grease management and the potential risk of a grease fire.
Therefore, where this post differs from my smoked brisket articles for a Traeger, Pit Boss, Camp Chef, or a Z Grill is with a Weber SmokeFire, always place a water pan under the brisket to catch the grease.
As such, the video I’ve decided to include with this article is from Darren of Fire & Water Cooking, as Darren completes the cook on his SmokeFire EX4 with a water pan to collect the grease.
In the video above, Darren follows the advice from Weber to use the supplied scrapping tool to clean the grease inlets of ash before he starts the cook. Second, Darren places a water pan under the racks.
Weber sells their ‘Wet Smoke Kit‘, which is an additional piece of metal to support the water pan. But really, you can just do what Darren has done in his video and place the water pan over the Flavourizer bars.
Personally, as you will see from the end of Darren’s video, I would be fitting two water pans under a brisket of that size to catch the grease but also for further heat deflection.
The only other problem I have with Darren’s video is he doesn’t let his brisket rest before cutting into it, and that’s a big no-no, as we’ll discuss below. Right, first, let’s talk meat grades.
1: Higher Grades Of Brisket = Better BBQ
You can only afford what you can afford, but it should come as no surprise that a higher quality piece of meat is going to produce better BBQ, but how do you determine a higher quality piece of meat?
Well, you could go off the price, but you could just be getting ripped off. No, what you need to look for is what grade on the USDA grading system has the brisket been given?
The lowest grade is a USDA Select brisket, next is USDA Choice, and finally, USDA Prime. The higher the grade, the higher the price, but what is actually being graded?
Well, its the extent of fat marbling within the brisket. The more fat within the muscle fibres, the higher the grade and the higher the price, but why?
I’m sure you have heard the phrase ‘fat means flavour‘, and the reason is that fat in between the muscle fibres as they cook keeps them moist and tasty.
There is actually a grade of beef brisket above USDA Prime, and its a Wagyu brisket, which is a type of beef cattle originally from Japan. However, there are now farmers in the US Northwest rearing Wagyu cattle.
Based on the principles of the USDA grading system, a Wagyu brisket would come several grades above a USDA Prime brisket, but if you check out the link above, they are also pretty expensive.
If you can afford a USDA Prime/Wagyu brisket in terms of prep, I would personally stick to a basic Texas-style salt and pepper rub approach.
If you are smoking a USDA Select/Choice brisket, then to avoid the meat drying out during the long, low and slow smoking session, you may want to consider additional marinade injections/basting.
2: How To Prepare Beef Brisket For Smoking
In Darren’s video above, you don’t see him trimming the brisket at all. Well, don’t presume that’s going to be the case with your brisket, so here are a few pointers.
You will want to go over the surface of the brisket with a sharp knife removing any large chunks of hard fat and connective tissue. These large lumps of fat will not render down completely during the cook.
On the fat side of the brisket, you want to make sure the depth of fat is around 1/4 of an inch. That way, you should get consistent cooking/smoking results.
Going around the edges of the brisket, trim off any really thin bits of meat, again to get a consistent end result, as any thin bits of meat will be overcooked by the time the main brisket is ready.
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.
When Applying The Rub, Do It Liberally
If the surface of your brisket is a little dry, just give it a quick spray with water or apply a little mustard or olive oil etc. Otherwise, your rub may not actually stick to the brisket.
When applying the rub, you want to apply it liberally, a nice and extensive layer of the rub will not only help the brisket taste great, but it will help the bark form to give you texture on the outer layer.
In terms of what rub, well its dealer’s choice. You could, for your first brisket, just go for the classic 50/50 sea salt and black pepper Texas-style rub, but there are loads of other options.
All beef rubs are going to have a salt and pepper base, but they also add other ingredients to change it up. Some add onion powder, some add paprika, some add chilli powder etc.
There is pretty much a BBQ rub out there to suit anyone’s personal preferences. Then again, to go really personal, you’ll prepare your own BBQ rub.
Either way, a good liberal coating of rub over all sides and edges of the brisket is needed to produce the best end result possible. Right, let’s talk pellets.
3. The Best Weber Pellets For Cooking/Smoking Brisket?
When it comes to choosing the best pellets for your smoked brisket, you have a choice to make. Do you want a bold smoke flavour or something sweeter?
Now, Weber pellets are blended pellets, therefore, take the Hickory pellets. They are not 100% Hickory wood its a blend of 40% Hickory with 60% Oak.
If you check out my article on the best smoking pellets, I’ve included over 24 brands, some of which are single wood-species pellets. Hence, let’s say you really like Hickory. Well, then you can get 100% Hickory pellets.
The point is, just because you own a Weber SmokeFire, don’t presume you can only use Weber pellets.
Just make sure the pellets you place into the hopper have a good density (a nice snap), and there are not lots of fines/dust in the bag. Ideally, sieve the pellets before placing them in the hopper.
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 8 to 12 hours or 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.
4. Starting The Cook & Smoke Infusion
When infusing smoke into food, its the first few hours of cooking a brisket when it is really important in terms of smoke flavour.
Therefore, any pellet smoker which has a dedicated smoke setting, its these first few hours when you need to be taking advantage of it.
Well, every Weber SmokeFire has a smoke setting and its called SmokeBoost, and you want to be using it for the first few hours of cooking your brisket at least.
SmokeBoost will run the pellet smoker at between 165 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is good because for this first initial stage of the brisket cook, you are looking to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
SmokeBoost will run for between 15 minutes up to 2 hours. However, you could also restart SmokeBoost if you wanted to use the feature for longer than 2 hours.
Your Weber SmokeFire will have come with meat probes, so take advantage of them and place at least one into the brisket, maybe several across the brisket if its particularly large.
You can use the Weber Connect app to track the internal temperature brisket from your phone, which is a very handy feature, and I would encourage you to use it.
Once the internal temperature of the brisket has reached around 160 degrees remove it from your Weber but don’t turn the smoker off, your brisket has not finished cooking yet.
5. Brisket Wrapping & Then Back On The Weber
Before the final stage of the cook, you will want to wrap your brisket in either foil or butcher paper. This will retain moisture and fatty juices while the brisket finishes cooking.
At this point, as shown in Darren’s video above, you could add some beef broth or tallow if you are concerned about the brisket drying out, which could be a concern with a USDA Select/Choice brisket.
Then its back on the Weber for the final stage of the cook, which will start to properly render down the fat and finish off the outer bark of the brisket.
Now, while your brisket has been wrapped, juices/fat may still be coming out. Therefore, keep the water pans in there under the brisket to catch as much dripping fat as possible.
You may also want to bump the temperature of your Weber up to around 250 degrees. I personally wouldn’t go much higher than this to avoid burning the edges of the brisket.
Once the internal temperature of your brisket has reached around 200 degrees, its time to take it off your Weber and shut it down.
However, please don’t think the cooking process is done.
6. Let Your Brisket Rest (This Is Important)
Where I would disagree with Darren’s approach to smoking a brisket on his Weber SmokeFire EX4 is that he pulls the brisket straight out of the smoker and starts cutting into it.
Don’t get me wrong. I know why because Darren states he had to rush to cook to get it ready for the family’s meal that evening, but ideally, its not the approach you want to take.
Ideally, you’ll pull the brisket off the Weber once it reaches an internal temperature of around 200 degrees, and you will then let it rest and slowly rest as well.
When the brisket has cooled to an internal temperature of between 140 and 150 degrees, most of the free juices will have been reabsorbed back into the brisket muscle fibres making the taste/texture the best it can be.
This could add several hours to the total cook time, especially if you let the brisket slowly rest in some towels or in a cooler. But you’ll just have the trust me on this, its well worth the wait.
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 Weber…
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 Weber method above.
I really cannot stress enough for your own safety, the safety of your Weber SmokeFire and also your brisket. Please use a water pan, maybe a couple of water pans under your brisket.
Also, as this is potentially a long smoking session, typically between 8 to 12 hours, your hopper is going to go through a lot of pellets. If you are experiencing hopper pellet flow issues, here are a couple of quick tips.
First, sieve your pellets of dust. Second, thoroughly clean the internal surfaces of the hopper with a cloth to remove any surface pellet dust and then wipe down the interior of the hopper with silicone spray.
This will help your pellets flow much more easily through the hopper, and importantly it should avoid issues mid-cook where pellets are not properly flowing through the hopper.
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?
Well, it depends on lots of factors really. How large is the brisket? What temperature are you cooking it at? What are the ambient temperature/weather conditions around the Weber etc
As a very general guide, you can use the following. For every lb of brisket you have, it will take around 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time.
However, a saying that is very true is ‘cook to temperature and not time‘. Therefore, you should always be cooking your brisket until you get to an internal temperature of around 200 degrees.
A final quick note on the infographic above, ignore the rest times, as they make no sense at all. As obviously, properly resting a 20 lb brisket would take longer than resting a 10 lb brisket.