Smoked Brisket and Ribs: Match Made in Heaven?

Are you thinking about smoking brisket and ribs together? Here’s how to get it right, no matter the size of the meats and the recipe.

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Get ready to loosen up your belt buckles and fire up that smoker, y’all. Because today, we’re about to dive headfirst into a sizzling hot topic that’s sure to get your mouth watering. That’s right, folks, we’re talking about the great conundrum of meat smoking: can you smoke brisket and ribs together?

I know some of you will have strong opinions on this matter. Some folks swear by it as a time-saving and flavor-enhancing technique, while others firmly believe that each cut of meat should be smoked separately. But no matter which side of the fence you’re on, one thing’s for sure — the thought of juicy, tender brisket and fall-off-the-bone ribs cooking side-by-side on the smoker is enough to make any BBQ lover’s heart skip a beat.

So settle in, make sure you’ve got some Aspirin handy, and let’s explore the ins and outs of smoking brisket and ribs in one and the same cook.

Is It a Good Idea to Smoke Brisket and Ribs Together?

Well now, let me tell you about smoking brisket and ribs together.

It’s a topic near and dear to many a BBQ lover’s heart, and for good reason! You see, smoking these meats together can be a real time-saver. Smoking ribs can take four to six hours, while a big old brisket can take 12, in some cases 18 hours to get just right. And let me tell you, that’s a lot of time to spend tending to your smoker.

But the benefits don’t stop there, no siree. When you smoke brisket and ribs together, something truly magical happens. The flavors of the two meats meld and complement each other in all sorts of formidable ways. It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth that you won’t soon forget, and that’s likely to become the talk of the town at a cookout.

Now, I gotta be real with you all: as rewarding as smoking brisket and ribs together is, it certainly ain’t for the faint of heart. It takes some real know-how and experience to get it just right. You ought to be exceptionally good at temperature control to make sure both meats come out tender and juicy.

So if you’re new to smoking, it might just be best to start with one type of meat before taking on the challenge of smoking both together. But if you’re up for the challenge, and you’ve got the skills to pay the bills, smoking brisket and ribs together can be a genuine game-changer in your backyard BBQ game.

How to Smoke Brisket and Ribs at the Same Time

Now, if you’re ready to take on the challenge of smoking brisket and ribs together, let me give you some tips on how to do it just right.

Above all, you must have a plan. As I mentioned earlier, the brisket will take longer than the ribs to smoke, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. The amount of time it takes will depend on the size of the meats, the temperature of the cooking chamber, and the recipes you’re using.

For example, beef short plate ribs tend to take around 8, maybe 9, hours at a cooking temperature of 250°F. Pork baby back ribs take 3-4 hours, and pork spare ribs take 4-5 hours. A typical brisket takes 12 to 18 hours at this temperature, depending on the size. So, you’ll need to calculate the timing and know when to slide in the ribs.

Positioning your meats is also important. In a vertical smoker, I recommend placing the rack of ribs above the brisket. This way, the ribs will baste the brisket with their delicious juices as they cook, adding even more flavor to the brisket and ameliorating the bark beyond what words can articulate.

An illustration of smoker placement for smoking a rack of ribs and a brisket at the same time.

Consider whether you want to wrap the brisket or not (and, if so, how). An unwrapped brisket with an untrimmed fat cap will do just fine and soak up all the juices from the ribs. If you intend on wrapping the brisket, wrap it with pink butcher paper; aluminum foil won’t permeate the ribs’ drippings.

Last but not least, let’s talk about prep.

If you’re doing a dry rub with an overnight rest — which I highly recommend for the best flavor — you’ll need to make sure you have enough space in your fridge for both pieces of meat.

Finally, you’ll need to prep your wood and be ready to top up your smoker with fuel when the time comes. If you ask me, oak is good choice of wood that works well with both brisket and ribs. Whichever wood you end up using, the key’s to have enough. Adding a fresh piece of meat — the ribs — mid-cooking will cause the temperature to drop, so you’ll need to be ready to react, and react quickly.

Bottom Line

Well, let me sum it up for you all: it’s downright smart to smoke your ribs and brisket together! Not only will it save you some precious time, but it’ll also up your BBQ game and result in some mighty delicious flavors. Just be sure to season ’em up real good, plan your timing just right, and keep a close watch on that temperature.

You can bet your hats it’ll be worth it in the end.

By Sammy Steen

Sammy, Barbehow's editor, is a die-hard carnivore, barbecue whisperer, and self-proclaimed master of the grill.

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