Traeger Smoked Brisket - Tender beef brisket recipe (2024)

By: Author Nicole Johnson

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Categories Beef, Recipes, Traeger Recipes

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Traeger Smoked Brisketis bold and beefy and makes the most out of this tough cut of beef. Serve this up for holidays, Sunday barbecue, or even a week’s (or more) worth of lunches.

Traeger Smoked Brisket - Tender beef brisket recipe (1)

Traeger Smoked Brisket

Smoking your brisket on the Traeger helps to infuse the brisket with incredible flavor from the wood smoke and all of the spices and seasonings you layer on. You won’t need to make a pit stop at your local barbecue joint with a recipe like this!

Many people are intimidated by brisket, but there are all kinds of tricks you can use to make sure your brisket stays tender and juicy. I am always looking for ways to master the grill, but with a straightforward, no-fuss approach.

While slow-cooking or oven-cooking brisket is a tasty option, nothing compares to a brisket cooked over a live wood fire.

This post was updated in September 2020 with fresh instructions and photos.

More Easy Traeger Recipes here!

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Smoked Brisket Shopping List

  • Beef Brisket
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic

More Traeger Beef Recipes here!

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How to make a Traeger Brisket

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Take your meat out of the fridge and trim off the excess fat. (If you are looking for a brisket trimming tutorial, check out this view on YouTube from Meat Church.) Let the meat come to room temperature.



We’re aiming for around 225° for this stage of the game.


Rub & Smoke

Rub your brisket with your SPG and put it on the smoker. Smoke until it reaches 180-190° internal temperature.



Wrap your meat with butcher paper (check out this tutorial from Chad Ward & Traeger on how to wrap a brisket) and place it back on the smoker. Cook until it is probe-tender, at about 204° IT.



Take your wrapped brisket and wrap it in a few bath towels, and then place it into a cooler. Rest for at least 1 hour before slicing. 2-3 hours is better, but a 1-hour minimum is acceptable.


Slice and Eat

Slice against the grain and enjoy! Only slice what you’ll be eating at that sitting. Keep the rest together for the best results with any leftovers.

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Traeger Brisket FAQ

Is corned beef the same thing as brisket?

While a corned beef starts out as a brisket, it is then brined and cured. If you were to make a corned beef to cook, you would get a totally different flavor as it is packed with spices.

Can you shred brisket?

Sure, but I’m not sure why you’d want to.

If you are going for a pulled beef, I’d recommend using a chuck roast instead, like in my shredded barbecue beef recipe or this smoked bbq beef sandwich recipe.
Brisket is best served sliced with all of the classic fixings. My favorite is to slap a thick slab of it into a hot dog bun, topped with my favorite barbecue sauce, and then a generous scoop of coleslaw.

What makes brisket tough?

Brisket is outstanding when cooked properly. Brisket is tougher and chewier meat compared to other cuts of beef.

When you cook it on the pellet grill, you need to cook it low and slow. If you pull the brisket off too soon, it’s gonna be a tough slab of meat.

When you go to slice brisket, and it’s tough, it means you need to cook it longer so it can break down the connective tissues and become tender and juicyas you want.Ideally, you want it to be “probe” tender, usually around 204-205°.

Can you freeze cooked brisket?

You can freeze any of your brisket that you don’t plan to eat within a few days. Use a Foodsaver for vacuum sealing or a freezer bag.

Bonus because the best way to reheat this will be in a hot-water bath or sous vide machine.

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Best side dishes for smoked brisket

  • Baked Beans
  • Cucumber salad
  • Cornbread
  • Coleslaw(great topper for sandwiches)
  • Corn Casserole
  • Smoked Potato salad
  • Traeger corn on the cob
  • Macaroni salad

Brisket is versatile, so you could pick a handful of sides and make it work.

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24 Incredible Traeger Recipes

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Recipes using leftover Brisket

Get creative and use up your leftover brisket in a handful of ways!

  • Beef Barley Soup
  • Brisket Tacos on the Blackstone
  • The Ultimate Grilled Cheesewith brisket and cheese toasted on buttery bread.
  • Quesadillasare another fantastic option.
  • Try my Beef and Mushroom Pockets. You could use sharp cheddar in there, too!
  • Create brisket enchiladasinstead of using basic roast or hamburger!

Or skip the variations, warm it up, and serve with your favorite sides. This brisket reheats like a champ. Same fantastic grilled flavors in every single bite.

I have a whole post dedicated to leftover roast beef recipes, and brisket is a perfect piece of leftover beef for this.

More recipes to enjoy!

  • Grilled Teriyaki Salmon
  • Hanger Steak
  • Fried Wontons
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Poor Man’s Burnt Ends
  • Tonkotsu Ramen
  • Country-Style Pork Ribs
  • London Broil
  • Recipes using Smoked Chicken
  • Grape Jelly Meatballs
  • Smoked Prime Rib
  • Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
Traeger Smoked Brisket - Tender beef brisket recipe (8)

Yield: 15 servings

Traeger Smoked Brisket - Tender beef brisket recipe (9)

My easy smoked brisket recipe is cooked on a Traeger Pellet Grill, and is one of the best meals I've ever had. Simple seasonings and attention to detail make for a piece of meat you won't soon forget.

Prep Time25 minutes

Cook Time12 hours

Total Time12 hours 25 minutes


  • 15-18 pound beef brisket
  • 1/2 cup Salt, Pepper, Garlic blend


  1. Take your Brisket out of the refrigerator and let sit out at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Trim off the excess fat.
  2. Preheat your grill to 225°.
  3. Coat the brisket with rub on both sides.
  4. Place your brisket directly on the grill surface, shut the lid, and smoke it for until the internal temperature reaches 180-190°. Wrap with butcher paper, and put back on the grill.
  5. Cook wrapped until the internal temperature of the brisket is 204-205°.
  6. Remove, let rest for 1 hour wrapped in the butcher paper as well as a couple of bath towels, and place it into a clean cooler.
  7. Pull from the cooler, unwrap, and slice.


Our brisket took about 13 hours until it was done. Yours may take more or less time. With brisket, especially, you really have to just go with it.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 797Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 291mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 79g

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Nicole Johnson


Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

Traeger Smoked Brisket - Tender beef brisket recipe (2024)


What is the trick to smoking a tender brisket? ›

Keep the fat side up so the juices can drip through the meat. Wrap in foil. Begin by smoking your brisket unwrapped so the fat, spices, smoke, and heat start to create the bark. For about half of the cooking time, wrap your meat in foil to preserve moisture and also steam the meat to make it even more tender.

How do you keep brisket tender when smoking? ›

Place the brisket on the smoker fat side up. Depending on your smoker, if the heat is coming from below, consider smoking fat-side down to protect the muscle from drying out too much. Place the fattier point of the brisket closer to the fire. The extra fat will help insulate it.

How do you make brisket tender on a pellet smoker? ›

Place the fat side of the brisket up, and let it cook for about 2-3 hours for the bark to set. Spray your bark every hour or so as needed. Continue cooking until the stall or until your brisket is tender and ready to some off the smoker.

How long does it take to cook a beef brisket on a Traeger? ›

Set your pellet grill to 225℉ and preheat, lid closed, for 15 minutes. Place brisket on the grill grate fat side down, and cook for approximately 6 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160℉.

Does brisket get more tender the longer you smoke it? ›


If you have more time, you can lower the temperature for a more tender, fall-apart texture.

At what temperature does brisket fall apart? ›

Brisket can be done in a range of 200-210°F (93-99°C), but as a general rule, it's safe to bet on 203°F (95°C). Brisket should be tender but not so tender it's falling apart. You should be able to slice it into pieces that can just hold together, requiring a little pull to come apart.

Why did my smoked brisket turn out tough? ›

Brisket contains a lot of connective tissue, which can make it tough. The type of connective tissue in brisket is called collagen. Cook the meat quickly and you get tough, dry meat. Cook a brisket slowly, with some liquid, and the collagen turns into gelatin.

What temperature is brisket most tender at? ›

The brisket is at its most tender when it reaches an internal temperature of around 195 to 205°F (90 to 96°C). However, the exact temperature for peak tenderness can vary based on factors like the cooking method, the grade of the meat, and personal preference.

What is the best temperature for juicy brisket? ›

The Ideal Brisket Done Temperatures

195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C): This is often considered the sweet spot for the internal temperature of brisket. When the meat reaches this range, it's usually tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor.

Why is my Traeger brisket tough? ›

Cutting your smoked brisket against the grain is absolutely essential. Cutting against the grain guarantees ideal mouthfeel and tenderness. If you cut with the grain, the meat may feel chewy and rough.

How do you make beef brisket less chewy? ›

Your biggest opportunity to improve this dish is to cook much longer. Generally at least 12 hours at 225 degrees F. If you want, you can begin on the smoke and then move to an oven to finish. The general rule of thumb is that you don't get much more smoke adhesion after hour 2 or so.

How do you keep brisket from getting chewy? ›

Microwaving is a convenient way to reheat it, but it's not the best option. Microwaving can dry out the meat and leave it chewy. Instead, use a cooker or oven to reheat your brisket.

Do you flip brisket on Traeger? ›

If You Ask Us, Fat-Side-Down Is The Way To Go

So, the next time you're cooking a delicious cut of brisket on your wood pellet grill, remember these tips: no flipping, basting, braising, and always cook fat-side-down.

Can you wrap a brisket too early? ›

Wrapping the brisket at this stage also helps keep it moist and tender by trapping the juices and preventing it from drying out. If you wrap a brisket too early, you may end up with a softer, less textured bark. If you wrap the brisket late, it may take a lot longer to cook.

Should brisket be fat side up or down on Traeger? ›

Should You Smoke Your Brisket Fat Side Up or Down? Ask almost any contestant on the competition barbecue circuit, including Traeger's own Chad Ward, whether to cook a brisket fat side up or down, and you will likely get the same unanimous answer: fat side down.

How to make a brisket fall apart? ›

To cook it until it's so tender it falls apart, you'll need to choose a joint like chuck and blade or beef brisket and either braise, slow roast or slow cook it for at least a couple of hours.

Should I rub a brisket before smoking? ›

Preparing a smoked brisket dry rub recipe is the first step you take in making a smoked beef brisket recipe. The rub flavors the brisket and readies the meat for the smoker.

When should I wrap my brisket? ›

Many pitmasters recommend wrapping the brisket once it reaches the desired level of smoke absorption or when it hits the "stall" phase, typically around 160-170°F (71-77°C). Wrapping too early may hinder bark formation while wrapping too late can result in excessive moisture loss.


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