People who have tried and tasted the smoked brisket know that there is nothing equivalent to it. The succulent and tender meat of a smoked brisket is just wow. I know there is a misconception that has grown overtime that brisket is difficult to cook and smoke. The main challenge is to keep its juicy and tender behavior while maintaining the flavor. This is where the question of how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker comes in.
I am a believer of smoking brisket slowly. It may take a bit of time but the end result is fantastic. Smoking the brisket over a longer time period is best way. It is due to the fact that brisket is a tough and stringy cut of meat. So, the conversion from tough and stringy meat to tender and juicy meat takes a long time.
Keep in mind that when done right, you’ll probably have the best meal of your life. If things go south, you’ll end up with meat equivalent to rubber. This is where electric smoker comes in. Electric smoker and brisket is an ideal combination for a good meal. Smoking a brisket in an electric smoker is an art. It will take a long time to smoke brisket but it will be worth it.
I have made this guide to help you understand the process of smoking brisket in electric smoker. I have covered everything in this guide from picking brisket to final cutting.
How to Smoke a Brisket in an Electric Smoker – Step By Step Guide
These easy steps will help you to a delicious meal of smoked brisket. Just follow these steps and you’ll be fine.
1. Picking the Brisket
Picking of brisket is the first and foremost step. You should keep these things in mind while picking a brisket:
- Brisket Size. Briskets have different shapes and sizes. The size of brisket depends on your needs. For a small gathering, a 5 lb. of brisket is fine.
- Marbling and brisket quality are directly related. Marbling is the dispersion of fat between the lean sections of beef.
- Flexible Brisket. Always find the brisket with more flexibility. More flexibility means less connective tissue in brisket. This will account for tenderness in the final meal.
- Point and Flat. Point is the fattier part of brisket while flat is the lean one. Packer cut is one when both point and flat are intact. If you opt for it, make sure to find a brisket with thicker flat.
2. Trimming the Brisket
Trimming of brisket is an important step in smoking of brisket. How your meat will end up depends on the amount of fat on it. If fat isn’t removed, you’ll get a fatty tasted brisket rather that smoky flavor which you’ll miss. Also, don’t trim too much as it will make the brisket dry.
How to Trim the Brisket?
- Trimming Equipment. You’ll need some trimming equipment like a sharp boning knife and cold brisket. It will easily remove fat chunks from brisket.
- Trimming of Sides. The sides of brisket are trimmed first by removing loose pieces of fat. You’ll find a thick fat layer between flat and point. This layer must be removed as its melting is very difficult.
- Leave some Fat. Don’t remove all fat. Leave around ¼ fat on the brisket to prevent it from drying.
3. Smoked Brisket Rub
Adding rub to brisket is very important. The rub I use is super easy to prepare. You need the following ingredients and mixing them forming a smoked brisket rub.
- Chili Powder = 3 tablespoons
- Coarse Sale = 1 tablespoon
- Brown Sugar = 1 tablespoon
- Dried Oregano = 1 tablespoon
- Garlic Salt = 3 teaspoons
- Cumin = 1 teaspoon
- Smoked Paprika = 1 teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper = 1 teaspoon
Check the rub before applying to brisket.
4. Preparing Electric Smoker
Always preheat your smoker before placing brisket in it. The meat will cook more evenly when the temperature is maintained at 225°F. To avoid black smoke, use dry wood. It will give a better taste to your brisket.
I personally prefer the mesquite wood chips for smoked brisket. Other good options are Oak and Hickory. These are the best wood chips complimenting the smoked brisket.
5. Place Brisket in Smoker
- Warm the Brisket. Take the brisket out of fridge. Warm it at room temperature. Keep it outside the fridge for 1 hours.
- Place the Brisket in Smoker. Next step is to place the meat in the smoker. Keep the fat side up while placing. This will keep the meat moist while smoking as the fat will melt. If you have smoker producing heat from beneath then place the brisket with fat-side down. Use drip-pan to reduce the flare-up risks. The point and flat will be places towards fire and smokestack respectively.
- Setting Water Pan. Place the water-filled pan on the smoker after the brisket is places in it. It will help keeping the moisture in the chamber as fire can dry-out it. The smoke penetration in meat will also improve.
- Keep the Lid Closed. If the lid gets opened, heat and smoke will escape. The cooking time will in turn becomes longer. Use a digital meat thermometer rather opening the lid to avoid heat loss and measuring temperature.
- First 2-4 Hours. It is the most important time as the brisket will absorb the most smoke flavor during this time. After every 30 minutes, apply beef stock, vinegar or apple juice using a spray bottle. This will help in developing a tasty crust around the brisket.
- Internal Temperature. Keep monitoring the internal temperature of brisket regularly. When the internal temperature reach 195°F, it means the brisket is thoroughly cooked.
6. Brisket Timing
An important question is that how long to smoke a 1 pound brisket? Well, there is no rule of thumb here as every brisket is different. You can take a chance of smoking brisket at 1 pound brisket per 1 hour. So a 10 pound brisket will take 10 hours probably but this is a rough idea only.
7. Perfect Internal Temperature
You should look for the brisket internal temperature of 195°F. You should know to keep stall in mind. Stall is a stage when temperature stops increasing and brisket cools down. There is where wrapping of briskets happen.
Wrap the beef brisket in aluminum foil when it reaches the internal temperature of 165°F. Cross check for no holes in sheet. It will speed the whole process of making smoked brisket.
8. Slicing of Brisket
Take a serrated knife for slicing the beef brisket. Take the knife which is capable of slicing the whole brisket in one go. You should cut the flat by going against the grain. Make sure not to scrape off the bark. The ideal slices have ¼ inch thickness. Don’t cut the brisket too early as it will make it dry out.
Moisture is very important considering smoked brisket. If you plan to serve it later than keep it wrapped and uncut.
Read More: Perfect Smoked Brisket Recipe
Some Smoked Brisket Tips by Our Expert
Our expert Joseph Red is gracious enough by giving us some tips on how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker.
- Normal belief is that there is only one way to have perfect smoked brisket and million ways to screw it up. It is not true as anyone can do it. What most important is to have a reliable electric smoker along with smoked brisket rub.
- Take internal temperature of brisket into account rather the smoking time that has passed. Yes, the entire smoking process will take about 8-12 hours.
- Pick the brisket with more flexibility. It means the brisket is well-marbled and have a bit of fat.
- Choose a proper seasoning rub that makes the brisket super delicious.
Smoking a brisket is all about practice, it can be tricky at times but practice will make it perfect. Keep in mind the performance of your smoker and your personal routine. Yes, the smoked brisket has a great taste, you can have it all day.