Making Brisket on the Traeger is a great way to make a tender, juicy and delicious brisket. Traeger brisket is easy to make and results in that perfect fall-apart smoky barbecued meat you’re hoping for.
Why You’ll Love It
- Super Easy: Making a brisket on the Traeger is super easy. All you have to do is season the brisket so that the smoke flavors settle in, then slow cook it on the smoker until you reach the desired temperature. Cook your baked potatoes at the same time for a full meal.
- Smoky & Delicious: We’ve made brisket many different ways, including in the Instant Pot, but you really can’t beat this version because of the wonderful smokiness and tenderness of the meat with very little intervention from you.
- Great for Leftovers: Briskets are large and take a long time to cook, so you want to get the most out of it. Use those leftovers to make tacos, chili, sliders, and salads.
» Wondering what side dish to serve? Check out What to Serve With Brisket.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is what you will need to make a brisket in the Traeger:
- Whole brisket: The hero of this dish is the brisket. The cut is tough, thus perfect for slow cooking. If you can, buy a Prime brisket which will be more tender and marbled than Choice.
- Homemade BBQ Rub: Paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, mustard powder, salt, pepper. This rub is one that we use for all of the BBQ meats we make.
- Smoky bourbon BBQ sauce: You don’t need BBQ sauce on this bbq brisket. It’s great all on its own, but we like to add the delicious smoky flavor of this homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce.
What Pellets to Use for Smoking Brisket?
You’ll also need pellets for your Traeger. Traeger pellets come in many different types that you can choose from. I like to use cherry wood pellets, hickory, or mesquite. Try these Bear Mountain cherry wood pellets from Amazon.com.
- Cherry pellets give a much lighter, fruity flavor to the meat, but it also gives the best color and bark, which I love. For more bold flavor, you can mix with one of the two below.
- Mesquite pellets deliver a bold punch of flavor that shines in grilled chicken and other poultry.
- Hickory pellets provide a bold, assertive flavor that enhances BBQ pork ribs.
» Read up on the 4 Best Smoker Grill Combos.
Tips for This Smoked Brisket Recipe
When making Traeger brisket, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Trimming the extra fat off the beef brisket is crucial for ideal cooking. Trim the fat so that about 1/4th of it remains on the brisket. This fat will add flavor to the brisket and aid in cooking.
- The fattier the meat cut is, the juicier the final product will be. Skimping on fat isn’t the best idea for super tender, delicious brisket.
- If you use a thicker chunk of meat, it will take longer to cook, so always use a meat thermometer to monitor the progress.
- Using butcher paper instead of aluminum foil will give you more smoked flavor.
- The more you let it rest after applying the rub, the more flavor it will get. So, try to let the meat rest for at least 3 to 4 hours up to overnight.
How to Make Homemade BBQ Rub
A perfectly balanced dry rub does wonders for the flavor, but also seals in the juices and keeps the meat from drying out.
We use this dry spice rub on everything, because it’s packed with flavor and adds a perfectly balanced punch of spice to every bite. The spices that go into this rub all work together to create a great flavor profile.
What you’ll need (you can find the quantities for each in the recipe at the bottom of this post):
- Brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Mustard powder
How to Make Beef Brisket in the Traeger
Step 1: Season
Mix the seasonings in a bowl. Season the brisket using all of the seasoning mix. Wrap the brisket and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, take the brisket out of the fridge to bring it up to room temp.
Step 2: Preheat the Smoker
When you’re ready to cook, start the grill on smoke with the lid open for 5 minutes for the fire to get established. Check the model of Traeger you have. Some require the lid open for this step and some require it to be closed.
Set the Traeger temperature to 225°F(107°C). Preheat with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes to bring it up to the proper temperature.
Step 3: Smoke the Brisket
Place the brisket, fat side down, on the grill. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part. This will help you know when the brisket is ready without you having to open the grill multiple time, which can affect the cooking.
Close the lid and cook for about 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F(71°C). Try not to open the grill during this time. Every time you open the lid heat escapes and the temperature will go down. You want the grill to stay at a constant temperature for the best results.
If you want to avoid losing moisture as it smokes, you can add a tray of water to the smoker and also spritz the brisket with a little apple juice a few times during cooking. I didn’t do that the first few times, but you learn things as you go. Now I always spritz about 3 times while cooking the smoked brisket.
Step 4: Wrap
Remove the brisket and wrap it in butcher paper or tin foil to form a packet around the meat. Place it back on the grill at 225°F(107°C) until the internal temperature reaches 203°F(95°C), between 2 1/2 and 5 hours.
Step 5: Rest
Remove from the grill and rest the brisket, still wrapped, for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before slicing. It will start to cool off as it rests, but it will also redistribute the juices and become even more tender as it rests. Believe me, you don’t want to skip this step. You can put it on a baking sheet in the oven, or in a closed cooler so it doesn’t lose all of its heat.
After the rest period, remove the brisket from the wrapping and slice it. Serve with smoky Bourbon BBQ sauce.
How to Store & Reheat
Store: Once your brisket has cooled down to room temperature, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 2-3 months.
Reheat: For the best results, reheat your brisket slowly to retain its moisture. If refrigerated, you can reheat it in an oven preheated to 325°F (163°C). Place the brisket in an oven-safe dish, add a little beef broth to keep it moist, and cover it with foil. Heat for about 25-30 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Questions About the Recipe
Can we season the brisket with any other spice mix?
Yes. You can season the brisket with any spice mix you like. You can find premade brisket spice mix from the grocery store as well. Moreover, you can use spice mix like jerk seasoning as well.
What to serve brisket with?
You can serve brisket with several side dishes. It goes well with fresh salad, potato salad, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese etc. you can slice it thinly and make a sandwich out of it.
Can you store leftover brisket?
How long does it take to cook a brisket on a Traeger?
It can take quite a long time to cook a brisket on the Traeger and a lot of that depends on how big your brisket is. I’ve found that it takes anywhere between 7 and 10 hours at 225° F(107°C).
What Smoker to Use
The 7002C2E is a new model featuring a digital PID control board and advanced technology for even temperatures and consistent results. With the built-in dual temperature probes, a huge pellet hopper, pellet cleanout system, and pellet view window, your grilling experience will be enhanced like never before. See this grill and more on the Z Grills site.
Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste. The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking.
You can use any type of wood pellets you like. I prefer Hickory, which is great for naturally enhancing beef, chicken, pork, and veggies with full-bodied, bold flavor.
Side Dishes to Try
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Brisket in the Traeger
- 6 pound (3 kg) whole brisket trimmed
For the dry spice rub:
- 2 tablespoons (14 g) paprika
- 2 tablespoons (24 g) brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon (27 g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (6 g) ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons (6 g) mild chili powder
- 3 teaspoons (6 g) onion powder
- 3 teaspoons (9 g) garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) mustard powder optional
- Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce optional
- Mix the seasonings in a bowl. Season the brisket using all of the seasoning mix. Wrap the brisket and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.
- When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 225°F(107°C). Preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
- Unwrap the brisket and place it, fat-side down, on the grill. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part.
- Close the lid and cook for about 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F(71°C).
- Remove the brisket and wrap it in butcher paper or tin foil to form a packet around the meat. Place it back on the grill at 225°F(107°C) until the internal temperature reaches 203°F(95°C). Remove from the grill and rest, still wrapped, for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before slicing.
- Serve with smoky Bourbon BBQ sauce.
- Traeger Grill
- The fattier the piece of brisket you buy, the juicier the meat will be. Err on the side of fatty for a super fall-apart, amazing brisket.
- Smaller briskets will need less time to cook, but you still need to cook it to the same internal temp, so be sure to use a meat probe.
- Using butcher paper will allow the smoke to reach the meat, while tin foil doesn’t do that as well, so use butcher paper if you can.
Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.