Smoking a brisket is a time taking cooking method that requires patience, skills, and close monitoring to achieve the desired smoking results.
You can choose to smoke your brisket in different temperature ranges, but the outcome can be different for each one. Many people nowadays want to smoke their briskets at 200 °F, which seems to be a suitable temperature.
But beginners are normally curious about how long to smoke a brisket at 200 °F to get maximum tenderness, juiciness, and smoky flavors.
The smoking duration of brisket can depend on several factors, but you will get all the necessary information in this article.
How long to smoke a brisket at 200?
If you smoke your brisket at 200 °F, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound, which is almost the same duration as smoking at 225 °F. So, if you have a 10 lb brisket, you will need to spend around 20 hours of smoking to achieve the desired results.
If you regularly smoke a brisket, you must have an idea that there are a few other factors as well that set the exact smoking time.
For example, the temperature consistency, the brisket’s weight, the type of smoker you use, and the humidity outside.
Many brisket lovers smoke at 200 °F rather than 225, 250, or 275 °F. The reason is that this temperature range offers an ultimate slow cook process which is essential for melting down the tough connective tissues of the meat.
As a result, your smoked brisket comes out of the smoker tender, juicy, and flavorful with a melt-in-your-mouth experience. But remember that you must be very patient and monitor things closely if you want to get all these benefits.
Is 200 too low to smoke a brisket?
We don’t consider the 200 °F for smoking brisket too low because it provides the desired results, such as making it tender and juicy.
But at this temp, you usually need to spend a lot of time smoking your meat.
Moreover, when you smoke at such low heat, there are pretty strong chances that you can face a brisket stall while smoking. Although it is natural, it may not occur if you smoke it at higher temperatures like 250 or 275 °F.
Speaking of the stall, you may need to spend a couple of extra hours smoking the meat. But you can tackle the stall by wrapping it up and then smoking it again.
In short, timewise, 200 °F can be too low to prepare a brisket but does not compromise the quality and outcome of your meat.
Is it better to smoke a brisket at 200 or 225?
Whether to smoke a brisket at 200 or 225 °F depends on personal preferences, priorities, and your schedule. If you want to smoke an average-sized brisket in 8 to 10 hours, both of these temperature ranges don’t suit your plan.
Comparing these temp ranges regarding smoking duration, both typically require an even cook time per pound brisket, which is 1.5 to 2 hours.
Here’s one significant difference, while cooking brisket at 225 °F, you may be able to save up to 30 minutes per pound smoking compared to 200 °F due to the 25 degrees higher temperature.
Now, if we come to the brisket’s flavor profile, taste, tenderness, and texture, we don’t see the major distinctions, like one temperature makes your meat moist and the other fully dry.
However, we noticed a few slight differences. The lower temperature of 200 °F can make your smoked brisket too tender and juicy that it may fall apart.
On the other hand, when you smoke a beef brisket at 225, it promises an authentic taste and flavor with reasonable tenderness because we consider it the ideal temperature.
Last but not least, when you smoke meat with these heat settings, you will see a little difference in the outer layer and texture. For example, a smoked brisket at 200 °F may not provide as caramelized crust as one at 225 °F or higher.
How to smoke a brisket at 200?
As per our experience in the meat smoking field, 200 °F is acceptable for smoking a brisket. So, let’s come out of the debate and see how to smoke a perfect brisket with this temperature.
The quality of your meat is as essential as any other step in the cooking process. You must find a brisket with significant marbling and even thickness all around.
Our suggestion here is to buy and smoke a 10 lb brisket because it is an average weight and offers more authentic taste.
Also, there are four prominent brisket grades, select, prime, choice, and wagyu. We usually go with prime and choice grades as they are not fully loaded with fat and allow the smoke to penetrate the meat quickly.
After you have trimmed all the unnecessary fat from your brisket, it is now time to season it with quality and simple rub, and you can also try out your favorite BBQ sauce on it.
We recommend mixing kosher salt, brown sugar, and black pepper with onion, garlic, and mustard powder. It is a great recipe to smoke brisket, and many pitmasters and chefs admire it.
Lastly, many people immediately start smoking their seasoned brisket, which we don’t suggest. Instead, you should rest your seasoned brisket for a few hours to achieve a delicious taste.
You can also keep it inside the refrigerator overnight, and the outcome would be even better.
Setting Up and preheating the smoker
There are several types of ideal and best smokers available in the market. Some offer convenience, while other promises mouthwatering taste and genuine smoky flavors. Whatever smoker you use, here’s how you can prepare it for brisket smoking.
Begin the process by cleaning your smoker and ensuring there is no dust or debris from the previous cooking session, as it can mix up the taste of your meat with other foods.
In our opinion, seasoning the smoker racks with oil is beneficial in preventing the food from sticking. So, you can follow this technique before placing your brisket inside the smoker.
Lastly, set the temperature to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let it preheat. The preheating duration can depend on type to type, but generally, it takes around 40 minutes to get ready for smoking.
Placing the brisket inside the smoker
The next step is the beginning of smoking, in which you simply need to place your brisket inside the preheated smoker.
Here comes another famous debate, should you smoke your brisket fat side up or down?
Hundreds of thousands of people cook brisket, so they don’t have the same preferences. Therefore, some like to place their seasoned brisket in the fat side up position while others set it fat side down.
Here’s our point of view. We would like to place brisket fat side down because, during smoking, the fat cap will melt down without washing the seasoning you applied over it.
As a result, the drippings will fall on the coals and allow them to produce unique smoky flavors.
Of course, this is achievable through an offset or charcoal smoker because they use charcoal as the fuel source. So, we can conclude that if you cook beef brisket on a charcoal smoker, place it in the fat side down position.
Are you wondering when to smoke brisket fat side up? Well, it is also doable with any smoker that does not provide heat from beneath. In this case, the offset smoker is the most suitable choice again, which provides heat from the side or above.
Regardless of the smoker and the heat direction, fat side up may compromise the overall look of your smoked brisket, but the taste would be great. So, if you don’t care how your brisket looks, fat side up suits your smoking requirements.
Whatever side you choose to smoke, ensure to probe the brisket with a meat thermometer to monitor its internal cooking temperature while smoking. You can use both wired and simple thermometers.
Wrap Up the brisket and Smoke Again
During the first smoking round, when your meat reaches a temperature between 160 to 165 °F, we recommend you remove it from the smoker and wrap it inside butcher paper or aluminum foil.
A popular smoking method named Texas Style is helpful in different ways. It helps you trap the heat and smoke inside the paper and makes your brisket moist and tender.
As mentioned above, wrapping also decreases the chances of Brisket Stall and can also help accelerate the smoking process.
Once you have wrapped the meat tightly, place it inside the smoker and cook it again. This time the smoking process will continue until the internal temperature of your brisket is between 180 and 210 degrees.
Many Pitmasters come with a biased opinion that 195 to 205 °F is the ideal internal temperature of a smoked brisket. But in our opinion, this isn’t set in stone, and you can cook it with your desired doneness level.
Let your smoked brisket rest
Resting the smoked brisket is an essential step that you can’t overlook if you want it to provide the maximum tenderness and smoky flavors. First, let’s understand the resting mechanism and why it is so important.
Those who cut their brisket right after the cooking process compromises all the juices that took hours to develop. The reason is that after smoking, all the moisture and juices move toward the central part of your meat, and the other parts remain dry.
Therefore, when you allow your brisket to rest for the required time, all of its juices redistribute all over the meat, making it juicy from the bottom to the center.
This is why you must allow your brisket to rest if you want to serve something special to your guests.
But how to rest a smoked brisket?
There are several ways to rest a beef brisket, such as a countertop, cooler, faux cambro, and steam cabinet. We usually go with the cooler technique because it offers satisfying and desired results.
Firstly, the resting period of your brisket depends on multiple factors, with the brisket’s weight being the most crucial one. Generally, 1 to 2 hours of resting is acceptable, and accomplish the task nicely. Here are the steps you need to follow.
Wrap your cooked brisket again in butcher paper or aluminum foil tightly and then place it inside a clean towel, cover it firmly too, and set it inside a regular cooler.
Ensure that your cooler has a lid (helpful in providing a good insulation environment) and enough space to keep your brisket.
Let the meat rest inside for an hour or two if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, a brisket can rest in a cooler for around 4 hours without compromising the quality and taste.
The resting process is also helpful in resolving the issue of undercooked brisket because the wrapping and cooler’s insulation help it cook further.
Temperature Maintaining Tips
If you are able to keep the temperature consistent during the smoking process of brisket or any other meat, you can wind up things within the expected times.
Let’s help you achieve this task by sharing some helpful pro tips that will allow you to keep the 200 degrees temperature constant throughout the smoking session.
Choose the right smoker
It is one of the essential things to look after before you plan to smoke a brisket, but why? The reason is that not all outdoor smokers behave the same way.
Some smokers are easy to use and offer precise temperature control, while others are relatively difficult.
For example, a beginner will find gas, electric, and pellet smokers more convenient because they usually provide control knobs through which you can easily maintain the temperature.
On the other hand, if you are a newbie, you may struggle to control the temperature of charcoal grills and offset smokers because they have vents and dampers.
So, we recommend you choose a smoker that suits your smoking experience and skills.
Use a separate thermometer
Relying on the built-in thermometer of your smoker is not recommended because it does not always show accurate results. Also, it can become a prominent reason for an under or overcooked brisket.
In this case, we suggest you buy a separate hood thermometer and place it inside the smoking chamber while your brisket cooks.
It will help you know the internal temp of the smoker during the smoke time, and you can make suitable amendments if required to keep the 200 °F temperature constant.
Stop opening the Smoker’s Lid
If you see, experienced chefs don’t open the smoker’s lid frequently because it results in escaping the heat and smoke from the cooking chamber. Due to this, the smoking period can prolong and fluctuate the smoker’s temperature.
On the other hand, if you calculate the smoking time first, keep the temperature constant, and don’t open the lid too much, it offers desired results and allows you to pull brisket from the smoker within the estimated time.
Use a water pan
Another beneficial tip is to use a water pan while smoking thick meats like brisket. During the smoking process, the water inside the pan absorbs the extra heat and releases it accordingly with time, allowing the smoker’s temperature to be consistent.
Moreover, it is also an admirable technique when it comes to making the meat moist, thanks to the steam produced by the water inside the smoker.
Smoking Durations for Brisket at 200 Based on Weights
See the estimated smoking duration for different-sized briskets if the temperature inside the smoker is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Brisket’s Weight||Smoking Duration|
|6 pounds||9 to 12 hours|
|8 pounds||12 to 16 hours|
|10 pounds||15 to 20 hours|
|12 pounds||18 to 24 hours|
Wrapping It Up
Smoking a brisket at 200°F can produce a delicious, tender, and juicy outcome if appropriately smoked for the required time.
But the exact smoking duration at this temperature depends on multiple factors, such as brisket’s weight and the type of smoker.
We have highlighted all the significant aspects you should consider when smoking a brisket at 200 °F to achieve extraordinary results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my brisket tough at 200 degrees?
Smoking a brisket at 200 degrees is entirely acceptable and provides good results. But if your brisket comes out tough at this temperature, it might happen because you did not provide enough cooking time.
How do you know when the brisket is done smoking at 200 °F?
The best way to tell whether the brisket is done smoking is to check its internal temperature. If it is between 180 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit, you have smoked itt and can now move on to the resting procedure.
Robert Gill, a BBQ enthusiast, and Senior Author at FaveGrills.com bring his extensive knowledge of BBQ equipment and exciting recipes to the team. With his outgoing personality and love for BBQ, Robert plays an essential role in the FaveGrills community, sharing his passion and expertise through informative articles and gear reviews.