You know as a pitmaster If you manage to smoke the perfect beef brisket, you've made it. Personally, I think brisket is over-rated, but that's just me. I'm not saying that I don't like it or cook it, but I just don't think it's as amazing as everyone makes it out to be. When I smoke beef, I'd much prefer to smoke a beef rib rather than a brisket. 

If you've read a few blogs or watched a few youtube videos, you may be familiar with the term flat and point. For competition cooking, the flat and the point are separated. The flat is sliced into thin slices and the point is cubed and turned into "burnt ends" At home, I like to keep the point and the flat together. For me, I feel that the flat dries out way too easily so by keeping the point on, it keeps the whole thing moist, plus I think that getting that nice big fat vein in the middle adds such a great flavour. Fat equals flavour that's for sure!

If you're just starting out, I would recommend starting with a different type of meat such as chicken as it will be a much shorter cook and it is a lot easier. Whatever you do, don't tell everyone you've bought a new smoker and invite everyone around for brisket. Get to know you pit first and work up to smoking beef. You could cheat a little and use a gas smoker and get the smokey flavour by adding wood chips, but I personally use charcoal and wood in what is commonly referred to as an offset smoker or a stick burner

Once you're all set up, the key is to keep an eye on your smoker temperature as well as the internal temperature of the beef. There are so many variables as to how long it'll take the beef to be ready (how many kgs it is, the outside temperature etc) but below is a rough guide to get you started. 

Grab your thermometer, meat and smoker and you're good to go. 

Beef smoking times and temperatures

  Time Smoking Temp Finished Temp
Back ribs 3 - 4 hrs 107 - 121 C or 225 - 250 °F 96 C or 205 °F
Brisket 8-10 hrs 107 - 121 C or 225 - 250 °F 96 C or 205 °F
Short Ribs 7 - 8 hrs 107 - 121 C or 225 - 250 °F 96 C or 205 °F


beef brisketTips: Beef Brisket

Brisket smoking time is usually between 8-10 hrs. (Click here to see how to prepare Brisket for smoking).The brisket will stall. When cooking such a large piece of meat for such a long period of time, the brisket will reach an internal temperature and won't continue rising. This is known as the stall. To help push through it and get the internal temperature rising again, wrap the brisket in aluminium foil or pink butchers paper.  



Smoking Beef Ribs in an Offset-SmokerTips: Beef short ribs

Remove the membrane from the back of the rib to allow the smoke to penetrate, but also so you don't get any unchewable bits when you bite into it. Depending on where you buy your beef short ribs from, the butcher might either sell them all together in a rack, or they may have been individually cut. While having them individually cut allows you to rub the entire surface area of the rub to maximise flavour, I personally like to get them as a whole rack. 

How to measure the temperature?

To check the temperature, you should probably have to buy a good digital meat thermometer.  We recommend the EZTemp thermometer. It has 2 probes which allows you to stab one into the beef and the other at grill level on your smoker. The beauty of this thermometer is that you can set minimum and maximum alarms so that you get a reminder when the temperature of your smoker falls/spikes and also when your meat is ready. While gauges on smokers give you a guesstimate" of the ambient temperature inside your smoker, a digital thermometer. is more accurate. 

Remember, this is just a general guide. Other factors can affect how your meat is cooked in the smoker, such as:

  • The thickness of the meat
  • Whether the meat has been deboned
  • How much fat the meat has
  • How hot/cold it is outside and how well insulated the smoker is 
  • The type of smoker ( Click here to help you choose the best smoker for you)
  • Using wood charcoal, as well as the type of wood you use, affects the flavour of the meat.
  • Whether the meat was brought up to room temperature or not

To see some delicious recipes, Click here. To see how to cook a Slow Smoked Texan Beef Brisket, click here.

Want to get hands-on experience on how to prepare awesome BBQ from experienced pitmasters? Check out the dates for our upcoming BBQ Masterclasses and in-store demo's in our Sydney and Melbourne stores.

 Rhiannon Peterson   By: Rhiannon Peterson


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