Secrets to Perfect Brisket on Your Gas Grill!

by Matt

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I've actually had pretty good luck smoking brisket on a gas grill. A few years ago, I was away for a weekend and found myself without a smoker. I was craving some smoked brisket and had plenty of time to kill. So, I decided to turn the gas grill into a smoker.

Now, I'm here to share my tips and guide you through the process of smoking a brisket on your home gas grill.

a Stainless Steel Gas Grill Set on a Wooden Deck, Surrounded by Lush Greenery, with a Smoke Tube Accessory for Smoking Meats.

Equipment and Preparation

Let's make sure we've got everything we need. After all, the best way to smoke a brisket is to be well-prepared!

Gas Grill Setup:

Choosing the right grill is important when it comes to smoking a brisket. You'll want one with multiple burners so you can cook it nice and slow using indirect heat.

What does that mean with indirect heat grilling? Well, instead of blasting the brisket directly with heat, we leave the burners off underneath it. This gives us a gentle, even temperature that'll make the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender. We aim to keep the grill between 225-250°F (107-121°C) to stop our brisket from drying out..

Even if your grill has its own thermometer, it's always a smart idea to have a separate one handy, just to be extra sure about the temperature. I haven't checked my inbuilt thermometer in years. I just stick with my trusty bluetooth thermometers.

Smoking Box/Aluminum Foil Hack:

You might think, "Do I really need a fancy smoker to get that delicious smoky flavor?" The good news is — you don't! All you need is a smoking tube for the wood chips.

If you don't have a smoking tube, you can easily make your own with some aluminum foil. The key is to get the wood chips smoldering slowly, so they release lots of smoke for your brisket.

Chef'sTemp digital thermometer displaying various meat temperatures on a smoker grill.

Preparing the Brisket

Let’s get into the steps to start smoking your brisket on a gas grill.

Selecting the Brisket

Picking the right brisket is important if you want that perfect, melt-in-your-mouth result. Look for one with nice marbling — that's the white streaks of fat running through the meat. USDA Prime or Choice brisket is the best. All that fat melts as it cooks, making the brisket extra juicy and packed with amazing flavor.

Here’s a checklist for brisket selection.

  • Well-marbled
  • USDA Prime or Choice grade
  • Good balance of fat and meat

Trimming and Seasoning

One of my favorite parts of BBQ. I really enjoy the preparation stages. This is how I go abouts preparing beef brisket to be smoked.

  1. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels
  2. Trim the fat. You don't want too much fat on there, about a ¼ inch thick layer is perfect. This helps the meat stay nice and juicy while it smokes.
  3. Season generously. Use a blend of salt and pepper, or your favorite dry rub. Make sure your rub has salt in it – if not, add some extra salt yourself.

Once I have seasoned my brisket I generally throw it back into the fridge for at least 30-60 minutes. This allows the salt to draw out moisture then be reabsorbed back into the meat. A quick dry brine. 

Raw Brisket on a Cutting Board Ready for Seasoning, Showcasing Intricate Marbling Ideal for Smoking, Indicative of Flavor and Juiciness.

Smoking Process

Alrighty, now that we have our brisket all trimmed and seasoned its time to get smoking.

Setting up the Grill

The key to smoking on a gas grill is to cook the brisket slowly, without blasting it with direct heat.

Here's how to set up your grill for that.

  1. Get all the burners going on high heat.
  2. Once it's hot, turn off the burners on one side of the grill.
  3. That’s where your brisket will go.
  4. The lit side of the grill will create the heat for smoking.
  5. Try to keep a consistent temperature around 225°F.

You might need to adjust the knobs a little to keep things steady. And here, a quality gas grill, like the Grilla Grills Primate Gas Grill and Griddle, can make this step a breeze.

Brisket Grill Placement

For optimal smoke exposure and heat distribution, place the brisket fat-side down, closer to the indirect heat. This positioning protects the brisket from getting too hot and keeps the meat moist and tender. For nice even cooking, I would advise rotating the brisket every hour or so. A gas grill will create more heat on the side closest to the burners.

Monitoring Temperature

Temperature management is another key aspect of how to smoke a brisket. Invest in a good meat thermometer and place it in the thickest part of the brisket. Ideally, you're looking for two key temperatures:

  • Wrap Temp: 160-165°F degrees. Once the meat reaches this temperature, it's time to wrap it in butcher paper or aluminum foil to lock in moisture and power through the stall.
  • Finish Temp: 200-205°F degrees. This is your end goal.

Managing Smoke

Getting that perfect smoky flavor is all about managing your wood chips. Start by soaking your favorite kind — hickory and oak are classics for brisket, but fruitwoods like apple or cherry can add a nice sweetness.

Soaked chips smolder longer, giving you a steadier smoke. You'll either need a smoker box or you can wrap the soaked chips in a foil pouch with a few holes poked in the top.

Place this on the lit side of your grill for the best smoke. To keep that smoke going strong for the first few hours. you'll want to add fresh wood chips about every hour.

Here are two pro tips:

Don't overdo the smoke. Too much can make your brisket taste bitter.

Experiment with different wood combinations to find your perfect flavor.

Smoking brisket takes patience and attention to detail, but the results are so worth it. With a little practice, you'll be a master at making that melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly smoked brisket.

Pit Boss Smoker Tube on a Grill, Releasing Smoke for Flavor Infusion.

Tips for Success

Having a successful BBQ brisket experience, particularly when smoking a brisket on a gas grill, requires a little dedication and a lot of patience. Knowing some tips and tricks along the way are sure to make a difference. Let's explore two crucial factors for a great smoke session: maintaining moisture and tackling the 'stall' period.

Maintaining Moisture

The biggest challenge with smoking a brisket is keeping it from drying out.

Here are two easy ways to make sure your brisket comes out tender and juicy.

Water pan: Put a pan of water on your grill while the brisket cooks.

The steam helps keep the air moist, which keeps your brisket from drying out.

Mop it up: Every hour or so, give your brisket a quick spritz with apple cider vinegar, water, or even your favorite BBQ sauce thinned out with a little water.

That keeps the outside of the brisket moist and adds a little extra flavor.

The Stall

One of the trickiest things about smoking brisket is the stall. This is when the brisket's temperature seems to get stuck somewhere around 150-170°F, and it just won't budge no matter how long you wait. Don't worry, this is totally normal!

It happens because as the brisket cooks, moisture evaporates from the surface, which actually cools the meat down. The best way to get past the stall is with the “Texas Crutch.”

That means wrap your brisket tightly in aluminum foil (sometimes with a little extra liquid added, like apple juice or beer). The foil traps the moisture, stops the cooling effect, and helps the brisket cook faster.

Trimming The Brisket

You'll need to trim off some of the excess fat on your brisket, but don't go crazy. Leave about a quarter-inch layer of fat on top — this helps keep the meat moist during the long cook. If you see any super thick patches of hard fat, you can trim those down a bit too.

Freshly Smoked Brisket with a Crusty Bark and Pink Smoke Ring, Sliced and Ready to Serve on a Wooden Board.

Finishing and Serving

When you're getting close to the end of your brisket cook, there are a few important steps to make sure it turns out perfect. We need to figure out if it's done, let it rest, and then slice it up the right way. Here are some tips.

Testing for Doneness

The best way to tell if your brisket is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. Stick it into the thickest part of the brisket — you're looking for a temperature around 200-205°F.

For some folks, a slightly lower temperature of 195°F is perfect, it all depends on how tender you like it.

Another good test is to poke the brisket with your thermometer probe. If it slides in easily, like going through warm butter, your brisket is ready to come off the grill!

But, don't worry if it takes a few tries to get exactly the texture you like. The more briskets you smoke, the better you'll get at knowing exactly when it's perfect.

Resting the Brisket

Once your brisket is off the grill, don't slice into it right away! Letting it rest for at least an hour (or even a few hours) is super important. Aim for resting your brisket until its internal temperature has dropped around 40-50 degrees.

Wrap it up in foil or butcher paper to keep it warm. You can even put it in a cooler to keep the temperature steady. Resting lets the juices settle back into the meat.

That means less juice running out when you slice it, and way more tender, flavorful brisket.

Slicing and Serving

Alright, the brisket rested and it smells amazing. Now it's time to slice it up! The trick is to cut across the grain — look for those long lines running through the meat and slice against them. That makes the brisket super tender.

Plus, try bending a slice — if it's cooked right, it should bend a little bit without falling apart. Now, let’s talk about the main part.

How do you serve?

Basically, there’s no rule, serve however you like. Generally, keep it simple with just the brisket and maybe some pickles on the side, or pile those slices on a bun with BBQ sauce and coleslaw.

Keep these points in mind:

Use a sharp knife: A dull knife will tear the brisket instead of slicing it cleanly.

Slice it thin: About the thickness of a pencil is ideal.

Don't slice it all at once: Only slice as much as you plan to serve right away.


So, there we have it. Smoking a brisket on a gas grill isn't as daunting as it may seem. It's all about getting the right temperature, knowing when your meat is perfectly cooked, and letting it rest. Remember, the key to a tender, juicy brisket lies in the cut against the grain.

And while a good barbecue sauce can certainly add some zing, a well-smoked brisket stands tall on its own. So, fire up that grill, get your brisket ready, and let's get smoking! Trust me, once you've mastered this, you'll be the star of every backyard barbecue. Enjoy the process, and even more, enjoy the results. Happy grilling!


What temperature do you cook a brisket on a gas grill?

Place the brisket on the gas grill where the heat is low and ensure the lid is shut to properly smoke the meat. Monitor the grill's heat at regular intervals, making sure it stays between 225 to 250 degrees throughout the cooking process.

Do you cook brisket fat side up or down on a gas grill?

Cook brisket fat side down on a gas grill. That helps protect the meat from direct heat and allows the fat to render, which helps bast the brisket for better flavor.

Should brisket be flipped while smoking?

No, there's no need to flip your brisket while it's smoking. But when using a gas grill, you should rotate your brisket to avoid over cooking. This all depends on the variance in your grill temperature. 

How long does it take to smoke a brisket on a gas grill?

Smoking a brisket on a gas grill, while rotating every 1-2 hours, typically takes around 10-12 hours. The brisket should register between 195-205 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.

Can you smoke brisket directly on the grill?

Yes, you can smoke a brisket directly on the grill. First, trim excess fat off the brisket and season it liberally. Next, place it on the grill at 225 °F and smoke it for 6 hours until it reaches 160 °F. Finally, wrap the brisket in butcher paper or foil and return it to the grill.

About the Author

Matt Barrell

Hi, Matt Barrell here. A BBQ and Smoked meat enthusiast. I love grilling and smoking meat, it is not just my hobby its my passion. My goal is to share my passion with as many other like-minded people as possible.