Brisket Cooked Overnight using a Traeger Pellet Smoker
Busy with work and family – CHECK!
Family and friends over for dinner – CHECK!
Want to cook a full brisket packer – CHECK!
Cooking a full brisket and have it be ready for dinner can be a challenge. I know there are a ton of people who will only cook on a stick burner. It’s a conversation like religion or politics. Everyone has a belief and no one is wrong. You can cook a great brisket on a pellet smoker or stick burner.
But I’m a technology geek and love being able to see exactly the temp of my smoker and the meat I’m cooking at a glance of my phone. Knowing that my smoker is running at a consistent 180 degrees overnight allows me to have a good night sleep and still cook a pro-level brisket.
So, let’s get going on my overnight brisket method and “recipe”. I put recipe in quotes because I love and try to adhere to the Central Texas method of cooking brisket.
I start getting by brisket ready several hours before I cook it. Trimming takes at least 15 to 30 minutes depending on how much needs to be trimmed and your comfort level. This means I start trimming and getting everything ready around 7 or 8 at night the day before we intend to eat the brisket.
- Pick your brisket – get a full packer. That is the flat and point. I’ve gotten great briskets at both Costco and Sam’s Club. I like to get 16 to 18 pound briskets. They have good marbling and have yielded great results.
7 to 8 pm the day before
- Trim your brisket – trim your brisket when it’s cold. The warmer it gets the harder it is to easily trim the fat. Matt Pittman from Meat Church Barbecue gives a great tutorial.
8 PM the night before
- Season your brisket – again this is like religion. There are a ton of options here, but i like the Central Texas method. 1/2 Kosher Salt and 1/2 Cracked Pepper. I use the large container of pepper from Costco but there are lots of others out there that work just fine. Liberally coat the entire brisket with your rub. Brisket is a big cut and it would be really hard to put too much on it so don’t skimp!
- Load your smoker with pellets – I’ve used both Traeger Beef Blend and and the Costco Traeger Blend. Both provided great smoke flavor and I really couldn’t tell the difference…
9 PM the night before
- Preheat your smoker to 180 degrees – I also add a water pan with 1/2 water and 1/2 beer
10 PM the night before
- Put your brisket into the smoker – put in your temperature probe into the thickest part of the flat (usually in the middle of the brisket)
- Super Smoke – if your pellet smoker has a super smoke setting use it.
- Go to bed!
6 or 7 am the day of eating
- Check your temp – Your brisket should be around 140 to 150 degrees but as is with any barbecue your temps will vary.
- Raise your smoker temp to 250 degrees until your brisket hits 160 degrees.
- Wrap your brisket – when your brisket hits 160 degrees pull your brisket off the smoker and wrap it in either heavy duty aluminum foil or butcher paper. Here’s a video from Aaron Franklin about wrapping your brisket.
- Continue cooking your brisket – at 250 degrees continue to cook your brisket until it hits 200 degrees.
- Test doneness – when your brisket hits 200 degrees start using your probe thermometer for doneness and tenderness. I use a Thermapen MK4 but not for temperature but for how it feels when you probe the meat. In several places I put the probe into the meat to see how it feels. Right through the the aluminum foil or butcher paper push the probe into the meat. When it feels like going into warm butter you’re done. If it doesn’t slip right in then continue to cook your brisket. It usually doesn’t take that much longer but every 10 to 15 minutes probe the meat for tenderness.
- Rest your brisket – To allow juices to stay in the meat and keep it warm until you’re ready to eat, we’re going to keep the brisket in a cooler with towels over it. Pull the brisket and put it in a cooler with several old towels on top of the brisket. You can keep the brisket in the cooler for several hours (I’ve done up to 4 hours).
- Cut it up and enjoy – pull the brisket from your cooler and get ready to cut it up and enjoy. Don’t cut it all up unless you’ve know you’ve got people to eat the whole thing. Brisket dries out pretty quickly after cutting it so only cut what it really needed. 1/4 inch slices from the flat and 1/2 inch from the point is what most people recommend. Here’s a video on how to cut your brisket.
- 16 to 18 lb full packer brisket
- Kosher salt
- Cracked pepper
- Heat smoker to 180 degrees
- 10 pm – put brisket on smoker
- 6 to 7 am – raise temp to 250 degrees
- When brisket hits 160 degrees wrap in foil or butcher paper
- Cook to 200 degrees or until meat probe goes into the meat like warm butter / no resistance
- Keep brisket wrapped and put it into a cooler with towels over the brisket to rest and keep warm until you’re ready to eat – up to 4 hours
- Remove from cooler, cut and enjoy