How to Smoke a Brisket on a Charcoal Grill | 10 Steps


Smoking a brisket on a charcoal grill is an art form. It takes practice and patience to get it just right, but the results are so worth the effort. With some careful preparation and a few tips from a barbecue expert, you can produce mouth-watering smoked beef every time.

In this blog post, we will share 10 steps that will help you smoke your next brisket on your charcoal BBQ.

Step 1: Prepare Your Grill

Brisket needs a long time to cook, which means you have plenty of time for preparation. Start by preparing the charcoal grill with clean coals and allow them to burn until they are ashed over.

This essentially just means that all the impurities from burning wood or coal have been burned off leaving behind only pure carbon. This is important because it will help to create a consistent cooking temperature and prevent your coals from dying out.

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Step 2: Get the Right Wood for Smoking

The next step in learning how to smoke a brisket on a charcoal grill is choosing the right kind of wood that you plan on using.

Oak, hickory, or mesquite are all great choices. You can also mix and match different types of wood to create the perfect flavor for your beef brisket.

Step 3: Preparing the Beef Brisket

To prepare a whole brisket you will need to cut away any excess fat. Then, season it with lots of spices that complement beef like salt, pepper, or garlic powder.

Once seasoned, place the brisket on a baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil to seal in all of that great flavor.

Step 4: Prepare Your Smoker Box

You can use any type of metal container as long as it is not made out of steel or iron because they will both rust when exposed to high heat (a smoker box is simply a container with holes in it).

Once you have your container, fill it up with about ½ handful of wood chips and place the lid on top.

Step 5 Add Charcoal to Maintain Heat

Start adding charcoal around one side of the grill to create an indirect cooking space where the brisket will hang out for a long time. It’s important to add more coals every hour, so you’ll want to keep some extra on hand throughout the smoking process.

Step 6: Place the Brisket in Smoker Box and Put it Over Indirect Heat

Put your seasoned beef into a large aluminum pan or foil roasting dish then place that onto the grill with only half of it over the coals. Put your smoker box on top and cover it with the lid so that the smoke can circulate around all sides of your brisket.

Step 7: Keep a Constant Temperature

The biggest difference between smoking meat on a charcoal grill vs an electric or gas grill is using indirect heat as opposed to direct heat. This means that the charcoals are only on one side of your grill and you place your meat over a pan that will catch all drippings.

The heat is not directly applied to the brisket, so it won’t burn or char. Instead, it cooks from all sides which helps retain moisture for an incredibly tender finished product.

Step 8: Add More Charcoal Every Hour

Add about 12-15 charcoal briquettes to each side of your grill and let them light. Once they are all lit, add some extra wood chips or chunks down onto the embers so that you get good smoke going.

You want to maintain an even flow of smoke throughout the cooking process for best results.

Step 9: Check the Internal Temperature

After about three hours of smoking, you can check the brisket’s internal temperature to see how it is coming along. Place the thermometer as deep into your beef as possible without touching any bones or fat and keep checking every 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius).

If you want the brisket to be cooked further, you may want to wait until the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees Fahrenheit (99 degrees Celsius).

At this point, your brisket will be ready to eat and you can slice it up with a sharp knife.

Step 10: Enjoy

Once the beef has reached an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius), wrap it in aluminum foil and place it back on the grill for another hour or two until it’s warm throughout.

Your smokey homemade brisket will be ready to enjoy with all of your favorite sides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Some Tips for Cooking a Perfect Brisket?

A few key points will ensure you have the best-smoked beef possible. First, make sure to trim all of your fat before placing it in the smoker box or aluminum pan so that nothing but delicious flavors touch your meat.

Second, be careful not to bite into any bones after it’s done cooking because those can still be tough and difficult to chew. Finally, remember that the best way to keep your brisket tender is through consistent heat throughout the entire cooking process.

How Do You Keep a Brisket Moist When Smoking?

Achieving the perfect smoked brisket is not an easy feat. If you want to keep your brisket moist when it’s done smoking, then there are a few tricks that you can use.

The first thing that you need to do is prep your meat and season it generously with salt, pepper, and garlic.

Once your brisket has reached an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius), wrap it in aluminum foil and place it back on the grill for another hour or two until it’s warm throughout. Now enjoy your delicious smoked brisket.


The art of barbecue is a passion for many people. It’s not just about cooking meat, but the time and care that goes into it as well. Smoking brisket on your charcoal grill can be an intimidating process if you don’t know what to do or how to prepare the meat beforehand.

We hope this blog post has helped by providing 10 steps that will help you smoke your next brisket on your BBQ with ease and precision each time. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll answer them promptly!

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.