How Long to Smoke a Brisket at 250? Expert Tips for Juicy Results

how long to smoke a brisket at 250

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If you are a barbecue enthusiast, you probably know by now that smoking a brisket is a time-consuming but, if done right, rewarding activity. But the question is: how long to smoke a brisket at 250? While there is no exact answer to this question because many factors can influence the process. I will do my best to give you an idea of what to expect.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How long to smoke a brisket at 250?
  • Smoking at 250 vs. 225, is one better than the other?
  • How to tell if brisket is done?
  • And much more!

How long to smoke a brisket at 250?

The two most popular smoking temperatures are 225 and 250; smoking a brisket at 250 can help create a crispier bark on the exterior while still allowing a tender and juicy interior. These temperatures are popular because the brisket needs a slow and low cooking process to become moist and tender. You will need 1-1.25 hours up to a max of 1.5 hours per pound if you want to smoke a brisket at 250. Of course, different factors can affect smoking time, so let’s see what you need to consider.

What are the factors that affect smoking time?

brisket with bark
  • The size and thickness of the brisket

So if you have two briskets with the same weight but different thicknesses, the thicker one will take longer to cook. If you have a large and thick brisket, be prepared that it will take a long time to cook.

  • Smoking temperature

While smoking a brisket takes time and patience, the higher the temperature, the faster you can cook the brisket. But faster doesn’t always mean better. If you want to speed up the process, you can do a few things, such as wrapping the brisket.

  • Fat content
trimming a brisket

The fat content and meat quality also need to be considered before starting the smoking process. You must trim the brisket before smoking so that only the needed amount remains. Generally, you can leave about ¼ inch of fat on the meat. You don’t want to leave too much fat on the brisket because it will result in a greasy, unappetizing meal.

  • Smoker type

Different smoker types can affect smoking time, especially if the temperature is not constant. Offset smokers generally require more cooking time than electric or pellet smokers. It is easier to control an electric or pellet smoker, so you will have a more consistent smoking time.

  • Outdoor temperature

Weather conditions can affect cooking time, as on a rainy and windy day, the smoking time can become longer. Humidity in the air is also a factor to consider. On a windy day, try not to open the lid of your smoker too often, as it can cause fluctuations in temperature.

Smoking brisket at 250 vs. 225, is one better than the other?

sliced smoked brisket

There are differences between the two smoking temperatures, but you won’t make a mistake if you choose one over the other. Smoking at 225 degrees will be a long process, but the meat will become more tender and moist. Smoking at 250 degrees will be somewhat shorter but will produce crispier bark and a moist interior. Many people choose the higher temperature to speed up the long process of smoking a brisket.

So whichever temperature you choose, you won’t make a mistake; it all comes down to personal needs and preferences. Everyone has their tastes, so to me, there is no such thing as the best temperature to smoke a brisket. If you haven’t already, try both methods to see what works best for you.

In any case, be prepared that both methods require a lot of patience and time, especially if you want to smoke a larger brisket.

Read more>> What part of the cow is brisket?

How to tell if brisket is done?

The easiest and most reliable way of telling that brisket is done is by using a meat thermometer. An internal temperature between 195-205 F is what you are looking for.

Of course, there are other ways to tell your brisket is done. The texture can indicate that the brisket is ready to serve. You can use a fork to test the brisket. It needs more time to cook if it’s still tough and hard to pull apart. If it falls apart easily, it means that it’s ready.

tender and moist smoked brisket

Also, there are visual cues that you can check. Appearance is the most important one. The fat should be melted and have a dark, crispy bark.

Smoking time can also be one indicator. If you know the weight of the brisket, plus you have a consistent temperature of your smoker, you can estimate the time it will be done. After some experience, you can tell when the brisket is done, even without a meat thermometer; however, if you want the best results, I highly recommend using one.

When to wrap a brisket?

wrapped brisket

So do you need to wrap the brisket? No, it’s a question of preference. It speeds up the smoking process and retains moisture, making the brisket tender. On the downside, wrapping may not be your best option if you love a crisper bark.

If you decide to wrap the brisket, wait for the brisket “stall” to occur; usually when the internal temperature is at 160-170 F. You can wrap it in foil or butcher paper; thus, your meat will cook through the stall phase more quickly. Make sure to wrap it tightly to keep the moisture in and prevent the brisket from drying out.

Try not to wrap the brisket too soon, as it may not develop a crispy bark.

How long to rest a brisket?

Okay, so here we are; your brisket is finally ready; the question is, how long to rest the brisket? It depends on the size of it; the bigger, the more time you should let it rest. If you have a smaller 3-4lb brisket, you may get away with at least a 30-minute rest time. However, with the average size of brisket, you will need 1 to 2 hours of rest time. 

tender smoked brisket

Letting the brisket rest is important to let those juices redistribute in the meat. Cutting it right after it’s done will let the juices run out, resulting in dry meat.


What temp is low and slow for brisket?

  • The recommended smoking temperature for brisket is 225 or 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoking a brisket requires a slow cooking process to break down those connective tissues. Cooking the brisket at higher temperatures can result in a drier and tougher brisket.

Is 250 too hot to smoke a brisket?

  • Smoking a brisket at 250 degrees Fahrenheit is not a high temperature. In fact, it is one of the most popular smoking temperatures. You might even go for 225 F if you have a smaller brisket to smoke.

Can you overcook a brisket at 250?

  • Yes, you can overcook a brisket at 250. Although it takes a long time to cook a larger-sized brisket, you can still overcook it if the internal temperature exceeds 210 F. You want to avoid this because there is nothing worse than a dry and tough piece of brisket.

Can I smoke a brisket at 275?

  • You can smoke a brisket at 275; however, the cooking time will be shorter; thus, it will be easier to dry out the meat. To prevent drying out the meat, it is recommended to check it regularly, plus keep an eye on the internal temperature.

What is the secret to a tender brisket?

  • A low and slow cooking process can ensure a tender brisket. Since it is one of the toughest meats to smoke, you will need time to cook it to perfection. Also, choose a high-quality brisket with plenty of marbling which will help to keep the meat moist. After it’s done, don’t forget to let it rest, and your brisket will be tender and juicy.


Smoking a brisket is time-consuming, no matter which smoking temperature you choose. You can use many different tips and tricks to speed up the process or achieve different textures. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out which one works the best for you.

Smoking brisket at 250 is a great choice, resulting in a dark and crispy bark and a tender interior. If you follow these steps, you are sure to make a mouth-watering meal for your friends and family.


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Tom Wilmer

I'm Tom Wilmer, an award-winning pitmaster and BBQ judge. I share my passion for barbecue through my blog, BBQ Soldiers, offering recipes, tips, and smoker reviews. Let's grill together!

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