How to Cook Brisket on a Charcoal Grill?

Cooking Brisket over a charcoal grill produces smokey, delicious, and tender meat. Brisket is a meat cut from a cow’s breast or lower chest that is recognized for its rich, meaty flavor and tendency to become highly soft when cooked low and slow. Brisket cooking on a charcoal grill takes some planning, preparation, and attention to detail, but the ultimate result is well worth it.

We’ll go over how to prepare, cook, and serve Brisket over a charcoal grill, including the 4-2-10 brisket method and how to keep leftovers. This tutorial will give you the knowledge and skills needed to cook a great brisket on a charcoal barbecue, whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginning grill enthusiast.

Brisket on a Charcoal Grill

How to Cook Brisket on a Charcoal Grill?

Brisket can be cooked in various on a charcoal barbecue. Briskets should be cooked until they have a dark “bark” and are 190 degrees Fahrenheit within. To check the temperature, use an instant-read thermometer or a probe thermometer. Don’t be alarmed if the temperature is already a few degrees above the intended level because briskets will continue to heat up once they are taken off the grill. The meat should not be overcooked because this will produce dry, chewy meat.

Brisket may be cooked on a charcoal grill in a few simple steps:

  • Begin by removing any excess fat from the Brisket.
  • Season the Brisket with the spices and rubs of your choice.
  • Light your grill’s charcoal and let it burn until it’s covered with white ash.
  • Place the Brisket on the grill over indirect heat, with the coals on one side and the beef on the other.
  • Cook the Brisket for 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound on the barbecue or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Flip the Brisket every now and again, and add more charcoal as needed to keep the temperature consistent.
  • Allow at least 30 minutes for the Brisket to rest before slicing and serving.

Cooking times and temperatures vary depending on the size and thickness of the Brisket. Always use a meat thermometer to determine when it has reached the desired temperature.

How to Prepare the Grill?

To prepare a charcoal grill for brisket grilling, complete the following steps:

  • Gather your materials: A chimney starter, charcoal, and a fire starter are required (such as newspaper or paraffin starter cubes)
  • Fill the chimney starter with charcoal: The amount of charcoal you use will be determined by the size of your grill and the length of time you intend to cook the Brisket.
  • Place the chimney starter on the grill’s bottom grate and fill the chimney with a fire starter.
  • Light the fire starting: To ignite the fire starter, use a long match or a lighter.
  • Allow the charcoal to ash over, which normally takes 20-30 minutes. White ash should cover the charcoal before adding it to the grill.
  • When the charcoal is ready, use tongs to properly spread the hot coals on one side of the grill, which will be the direct heat area.
  • Replace the top grate and allow the grill to heat up for about 10-15 minutes before adding the Brisket.
  • You are now prepared to begin cooking your Brisket over indirect heat, which calls for the placement of the beef on the other side of the grill from the coals.

A grill thermometer can be used for more precise temperature control on your barbecue.

How Long Should you Cook Brisket on a Charcoal Grill?

Brisket cooking time on a charcoal grill might vary depending on its size and thickness, as well as the temperature of the grill. On a charcoal barbecue, it takes around 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound to cook a brisket. To ensure that the Brisket is correctly cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the interior temperature.

Briskets should achieve an internal temperature of 165°F before being declared safe to consume. It’s also necessary to know that cooking periods might vary based on things like the type of charcoal used and the distance between the coals and the meat. So keep an eye on the Brisket while it cooks.

How does the 4-2-10 Brisket Approach Work?

The 4-2-10 brisket method entails smoking the Brisket for four hours, covering it in foil or butcher paper for two hours, and then completing it for an additional ten hours on a barbecue pit or smoker. The purpose of this procedure is to make a brisket that is soft and juicy on the inside while also having a well-developed bark on the outside.

The Brisket is exposed to smoke for the first four hours of cooking to generate a delicious bark. After four hours, the Brisket is wrapped in foil or butcher paper to keep the moisture in and keep the bark from turning too dark or bitter. The Brisket is then returned to the pit or smoker for another two hours to let the flavors blend.

The Brisket is unwrapped for the final ten hours of cooking to allow the bark to grow and obtain the final crust. During this final stage, the temperature is raised to bring the internal temperature of the meat to the required doneness.

It is crucial to remember that the 4-2-10 method is only a guideline, and cooking times, temperature, and doneness may vary depending on the amount and thickness of the Brisket, the type of pit or smoker used, and the desired final outcome.

How to Check the Doneness?

While cooking on a charcoal grill, there are numerous techniques to assess the doneness of a brisket:

  • Internal Temperature: A meat thermometer is the most precise technique to verify the doneness of a brisket. The internal temperature of a well-cooked brisket should be at least 165°F, while some pitmasters prefer to cook their Brisket to a higher temperature for extra softness.
  • The Probe Test: To verify the doneness of the Brisket, use a probe, such as a toothpick or a skewer. Insert the probe into the thickest portion of the Brisket; if the probe easily goes in and out, the Brisket is done.
  • The Bend Test: The bend test is another method for determining the doneness of a Brisket. Pick up the Brisket with tongs and gently bend it in the center. It’s done when the Brisket bends readily, and the bark splits.

Keep in mind that brisket doneness is a personal preference, and some pitmasters prefer to cook their Brisket at a higher temperature for extra softness.

Also, use a meat thermometer to check that the Brisket is cooked to the appropriate temperature, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

How to Serve?

There are various ways to prepare and serve Brisket, depending on your preferences and the situation.

  • The most popular technique to serve Brisket is to slice it against the grain. This technique results in soft, juicy slices that are easy to chew.
  • Some people prefer to chop their Brisket rather than slice it. This method produces a more casual, rustic aesthetic, which is ideal for sandwiches or tacos.
  • Pulling the Brisket is another method to serve it. This approach, which is wonderful for sandwiches, involves shredding the meat with two forks or your fingers.
  • Sliced and Reheated: For additional taste, slice your Brisket and reheat it in a pan with some beef stock or in the oven with some barbecue sauce.

Whatever way you serve your Brisket, allow it to rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving to enable the juices to redistribute, resulting in more tender and juicy meat. Brisket can also be served with sides such as coleslaw, potato salad, beans, or toast.

How to Keep Leftovers?

Here are some suggestions for preserving leftover Brisket:

  • Allow your remaining Brisket to cool to room temperature before storing it. This will aid in the prevention of bacteria growth in the meat.
  • If you haven’t already, slice or chop the Brisket into smaller pieces to make it easier to reheat and use later.
  • Package it as follows: To prevent freezer burn, place the Brisket in an airtight container or a zip-top plastic bag, expelling as much air as possible.
  • Label it: Make a note of the date and contents of the container or bag, so you know when you made it and how long it has been in the fridge.
  • Refrigerate: The Brisket should be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to six months.
  • Reheat: When you’re ready to consume your leftover Brisket, reheat it in a skillet, oven, or slow cooker with some beef stock or barbecue sauce if preferred.

It’s crucial to note that warming meat can cause it to dry out; try to reheat it gradually and add some liquid to avoid this.


Brisket cooked on a charcoal barbecue involves only a few basic steps: prepping the Brisket, seasoning it, lighting the charcoal, cooking it over indirect heat, flipping it sometimes, and resting it before slicing and serving. The cooking time for a brisket over a charcoal grill varies depending on the size and thickness of the Brisket, but it should reach an internal temperature of 165°F before it is regarded safe to eat.

The 4-2-10 brisket method entails smoking the Brisket for four hours, wrapping it in foil or butcher paper for two hours, and completing it for ten hours, to produce a brisket that is tender and juicy on the inside and has a well-developed bark on the outside. By slicing or cutting it, sealing it in an airtight container, labeling it, and gently reheating it with some liquid to prevent drying out, leftover Brisket can be kept in the freezer for up to six months or in the refrigerator for up to four days.