How to Smoke a Brisket on a Traeger Smoker

James Clark

Traeger manufactures a line of steel and cast-iron smokers that use compressed wood pellets for fuel. Wood pellets burn longer and release heat that can be controlled by the Traeger to slow-smoke thick cuts of meat such as a beef brisket. The brisket comes from the lower chest and belly of the animal.

Smoked beef brisket sliced thin for sandwiches.

The meat is typically about 2 inches thick with a layer of fat on one side. Seasoning the brisket before smoking helps seal in juices. The fat melts during the long smoke on the Traeger, helping to tenderize the brisket.

  1. Remove the brisket from the refrigerator and place fat-side up on a carving board.

  2. Score the fat with straight cuts of the knife, crossing the lines like a checkerboard. This helps the fat melt into the meat during the smoking.

  3. Prepare a seasoning rub to suit your taste. For beef brisket, a mixture of chili powder, paprika, garlic power, crushed cayenne pepper, black pepper and cumin makes a good meat rub. The proportions are strictly a matter of taste.

  4. Rub the seasonings into all surfaces of the brisket, including the sides, until all the meat is coated. Refrigerate in a covered dish overnight.

  5. Load the hopper on the left side of the Traeger smoker with wood pellets designed for barbecue use.

  6. Plug in the power cord for the smoker and click the "On/Off" switch to the "On" position. The auger coil inside the pellet hopper drives the pellets toward the burner.

  7. Dial the control knob on the left side of the Traeger to "Smoke" and open the cooking chamber on the right side by raising the lid handle.

  8. Place the seasoned brisket fat-side up on the cooking grates inside your Traeger. The fat will melt down into the meat. Close the lid over the brisket.

  9. Adjust the temperature setting to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature for smoking thick cuts of beef.

  10. Smoke the brisket for approximately 20 minutes per pound. A 6-lb. brisket would require about two hours of smoking, for example. Check the hopper once an hour to add more wood pellets, if necessary.

  11. Stab a meat thermometer into the brisket at the thickest point. When the internal temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the brisket is safe to eat. Prolonged smoking at this point may start to dry out the meat.

  12. Place the brisket on a serving plate while wearing hot mitts. Before carving, let the beef rest on the plate for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on its size, so the juices can redistribute throughout the brisket.