Most “big time” barbecue guys are going to tell you to not bother smoking small brisket flats because they will dry out on you. But hey, sometimes all you can find is a small flat. And sometimes you just might not want to spend your entire day fighting a full packer brisket until it gets tender.
I tell you what…you can make a seriously great smoked brisket out of a small brisket flat and it is pretty easy! Even better, you can smoke it on a simple Weber charcoal grill and won’t have to bust out a massive offset smoker.
Prepare the Brisket Flat for Smoking
I started out with a brisket flat that weighed about four pounds that have a nice looking fat cap. I left the fat cap intact to help keep this little guy moist.
I kept the flat juicy and flavorful by using an injection and a great commercial brisket rub.
Inject the Flat
A brisket flat is pretty lean on the inside and can turn out dry if you are not careful. To make sure this flat stayed juicy and had plenty of flavor I injected it with as much liquid as it would take.
Simple Brisket Injection
- 15 ounces low sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
I inject the liquid against the grain in a one inch grid pattern.
Season the Flat
After the brisket has been injected pat the surface dry with paper towels and then apply a dry rub. For the brisket rub I went with “The Most Powerful Stuff” from EAT barbecue. This rub gives me great color and has a nice spicy kick that pairs nicely with brisket.
After the brisket has been seasoned wait at least one hour before putting it on the grill to let the flavors soak into the meat.
Prepare the Weber Kettle for Smoking
When I cook packer briskets on my kettle I will often use the Slow N Sear but for a little guy like this I just use a charcoal basket with a split of cherry.
Use a paraffin cube, or a propane torch, to light the top corner of the charcoal bed. This arrangement will allow the charcoal to slowly burn from one side of the bed to the other and the charcoal will last for about two hours before more needs to be added.
I set the bottom vents to about halfway closed and keep the top vent completely open. This results in a grate temperature of about 275F on the indirect, cool side of the grill away from the charcoal.
Do not pay any attention to the thermometer on the lid of the grill as this will always read much higher than the grate temperature.
Smoke the Brisket Flat
Place the brisket flat on the indirect, cool side of the cooking grate away from the charcoal. Close the lid making sure that the top air vent is 100% open and located over the meat.
For planning purposes you should figure on about 1.25 hours of cooking time per pound of brisket. However, this is just a rough guide and you will need to let the brisket guide the cooking process.
You will need to refill the charcoal basket every two hours. This is an easy process as you just need to add another 20 unlit briquettes into the charcoal basket.
After you refill the charcoal basket you should flip the brisket over and rotate it so the side that was farthest away from the charcoal is now closer to the charcoal. This will help with even cooking.
At the four hour mark repeat the process of filling the charcoal basket and flipping the brisket.
After six hours of smoking the flat had taken on a nice bark and smelled amazing.
Ideally you want to cook a brisket to an internal temperature of about 205F and, more importantly, when your thermometer slides through the meat easily.
At the six hour mark this flat was at 195F and was tender but the thermometer did meet some resistance as I pushed it through the meat. I called it close enough to done for me as I did not want to fill up the charcoal basket for the fourth time.
FYI…There are a lot of different ways of smoking a brisket and figuring out how long it should take can get confusing. Check out this guide on how long to smoke a brisket to get more details.
I was delighted with the smoke ring, bark, moistness and flavor of this little brisket. I was also tickled that getting this guy cooked didn’t take all day!
Smoked Brisket Flat on a Weber Kettle
- 15 ounces low sodium beef broth For the Injection
- 1 tbsp Better Than Bullion Beef Base For the Injection
- 4 tbsp brisket dry rub
- 4 lbs brisket flat
- Add the beef base to the beef broth and stir to dissolve.
- Inject as much of the broth mixture into the brisket as the brisket will accept.
- Pat the brisket flat dry with paper towels.
- Season the brisket flat with the dry rub and let rest for one hour.
- Smoke the brisket at 275F for 6 hours until tender.