How To Smoke A Brisket In An Electric Smoker – Step By Step Guide

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When it comes to smoked meat, nothing can beat perfectly smoked beef brisket. The deliciously smoked brisket is quite different from any other cut of meat. Beef brisket seems more expensive and making it for the first time also scares a lot of people. You don’t need to be scared anymore because you can smoke appetizing brisket in an electric smoker with some of the easiest steps without compromising the taste of it.

In this article, we’re going to present a step-by-step guide that you can follow to get your desired cut of beef brisket. Follow all the instructions provided in 11 easy steps to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker

Step By Step Guide About How To Smoke A Brisket In An Electric Smoker

Step 1. Prepare Beef Brisket


The important step before preparing the beef brisket is to choose the right-sized brisket. Beef brisket is a stringy muscle, you get from the lower breast area of the cow, below the shoulder. It takes time to cut and low heat this piece of meat.

  • Always look for untrimmed or packer cut of brisket for smoking.
  • There should be a uniform white fat cap present on your brisket that doesn’t expose the meat and doesn’t have undesirable scratches on it.
  • A uniform flat and thick brisket will cook evenly and it won’t dry fast.
  • The next thing you should keep in mind is the size and shape. Selecting the right size depends on some people in your family for whom you’re smoking this brisket. So ½ pounds will be sufficient for a single person.  will be sufficient for a single person. You can also go for 12 or 16 pounds for the medium-sized smoker.
  • There shouldn’t be any stiffness in beef brisket when you try to balance it in your hands. The more it will bend, the lesser connective tissues it will have.

Step 2. Pat It Dry

After taking out the packed untrimmed meat from the package, do not wash it under the faucet. The reason is that washing meat will spread bacteria on the faucet, sink, and all around the kitchen that can even lead to various illnesses, known as “Cross-contamination”.

To avoid this kind of risk, pat dry your brisket by using paper towels to remove any red stuff. That red stuff isn’t blood, rather it is meat proteins & water that oozes out of the meat piece.

You shouldn’t concerned about germs and bacteria because the maximum cooking temperature will kill them. So, there’ll be no germs and bacteria spreading at your place.

Step 3. Trim The Fat


Here comes the most significant step in the process of how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker and that is trimming the fat from brisket.

The beef brisket will end up with a fatty taste if you won’t trim the extra fats. Remember, trimming excessive fat can also dry your brisket. So, keep the level of fats in check.

We’d recommend at least ¼ inch of fat on the top layer of meat to retain moisture inside by preventing evaporation. Too much fat will block the marinade from penetrating inside the meat.

To do it, take a narrow boning knife with a curved knife, then trim the entire fat cap until you get a ¼ thick layer.

  • Trim it when a piece of meat is cold because it is easier to trim as the fat cap is softer.
  • Remove hard and uneven layers.
  • Trim the square corners, flat cut, thick meat and smoothly round them off to prevent the edges from drying and will also give a good shape to brisket.

We recommend you to watch this video before timing your brisket

Step 4. Get A Brisket Rub


Season it:

To prepare your seasoning use a mix of kosher salt and black pepper. You can also use garlic salt, cumin powder, dried oregano, paprika, and brown sugar. In stores, barbecue rubs are also available. You can easily get from there. Check the taste of your seasoning that if you like it or not.

Rub it up:

Prepare and sprinkle the dry rub of spices over your brisket. It will help you to get a delicious smoky flavor with a good crust. Try to tap all over the brisket to ensure the rubs sits perfectly.

Don’t Overpower it:

You are seasoning your brisket only to improve the smoky taste in meat. So do not overuse spices and disrupt the real flavor.

Step 5. Preheat Your Electric Smoker

  • After seasoning keep your brisket in the refrigerator and then remove it two hours earlier to smoke so that it can warm up to room temperature.
  • Now preheat your favorite electric smoker at its maximum temperature and then bring it down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for perfect cooking.
  • Use dry wood chips, if you want to control the fire because an excessive amount of them will lead to more black smoke production.
  • Hickory, cherry, mesquite, oak, and apple are some of the best flavors in wood chips to enhance the flavor of smoke that is going to add to brisket.

For sweet and mild flavor, you can go with apple or cherry wood chips

If you want strong flavor, mesquite wood chips will be ideal for you. You can even add sweet cherry or applewood chips to balance the flavor.

For savory and sweet flavor, we’ll suggest you mix cherry with hickory wood chips.

Step 6. Smoke Your Beef Brisket:


This is the time to smoke the beef brisket in the electric smoker you’re waiting to eat for so long.

Place meat inside:

If there is a temperature probe in your smoker, insert it inside the meat and place it on the rack of the smoker. Place the fattier side in a position that it faces up because in this way fat will melt and keep the brisket moist.

Put the fattier cut in front of the fire and leaner cut towards smokestack. As there is more fat in the fattier cut it won’t dry even if it is too close to the fire. This will make the smoking process easier and fill your beef brisket with taste.

Use accessories:

Make sure to fill the water pan with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. We’ll suggest using 3 tbsp of vinegar in half of the water pan.

As heat will dry your meat, the water pan will compensate for that moisture and keep your meat tender and juicy.

Now let your smoker do its job and close the door to avoid heat escape.

After every single hour, water pan and fill it again with water and vinegar. Don’t forget to refill wood chips in the smokebox whenever required.

Don’t open the lid:

If you want to get delicious and fully smoked brisket, then avoid opening the lid again and again to interrupt the process. You’ll only allow heat to escape from the smoker and your food will take a longer time than usual.

You can use a digital thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the meat without opening the smoker.

These thermometers are thin and can be inserted into the meat so you can monitor temperature through the glass door.

Spray on the brisket to keep it moist:

It will take almost 3 hours to break down and absorb smoke flavor in brisket. After those 3 hours, you can spray vinegar, beef stock, or apple juice on brisket for moisture. Keep it on repeat after every hour till your beef brisket get a fine layer of crust.

Step 7. Monitor Accurate Temperature


At about 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit, beef brisket will be cooked perfectly. To keep on checking the temperature you can use a digital meat thermometer.

 You can also rely on meat probes if your unit includes one. It will set the exact temperature and when a certain temperature will reach, your smoker will stop the cooking process.

Brisket temperature and electric smoker temperature are two separate things. You’re not going to mix them as an electric smoker must be balanced at 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while the internal temperature of the brisket should be almost 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let’s check out our guide about how to use an electric smoker properly

Step 8. Wrap Your Brisket


Then comes a certain point that we call stall when the temperature of brisket doesn’t increase anymore due to excessive evaporation and brisket start cooling down.

To handle this, you can wrap brisket right after reaching its temperature at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For this purpose, you can use aluminum or peach butcher foil.

It will keep your meat tender and also boosts up the smoking process because these foils help in smoke penetration into every piece of meat while keeping the juiciness at peak. Peach butcher foil is better than aluminum but you can use any available to you.

After wrapping the brisket, keep it inside the smoker until it reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note: A 12 pounds brisket will take almost 10 to 12 hours for the whole process. It also depends on the thickness of the brisket. You can’t perfectly estimate the timing for it but you can consider 1 hour for every single pound, such as 10 pounds will take 10 hours.

While the unwrapped 12 pounds of brisket will take only 5 or 6 hours to cook.

Step 9. How To Know It’s Ready?

  • By piercing the temperature probe inside meat will help you to measure the internal temperature. Once the temperature reaches 195 to 200 degrees, your food is ready then.
  • You can also get to know about it by checking the tenderness of meat instead of using a temperature probe if you don’t have any.
  • Insert a wooden skewer into it and try to feel its tenderness and consistency. When you feel something like that, take out your food.

Step 10. Cool It Down And Slice It


As your brisket is ready, now let it rest for at least an hour before slicing it. This time will be necessary to cool it down and absorb all the juices evenly in the meat.

Let it rest until the temperature falls up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit otherwise if you hassle in cutting it, all juices will come out on the cutting board and it won’t make you happy.

For slicing it, take a long knife and start cutting long slices from the lean side of the brisket.

To maintain its tenderness, slice brisket against its grain. The best way is to slice the flat side against the grain. To check how tender your brisket is, hold a slice in a vertical direction. If the slice falls due to its own weight then your food is overcooked or if you cannot pull it easily then your meat is undercooked and tough.

Keep the thickness of the lean part about 5mm or 3/16 inches and the fat side should be almost 9mm or 3/8 inches.

Step 11. Serve it


When you slice the brisket, it will start drying out soon. So, we’d recommend you slice only before eating. In this way, you won’t lose its juiciness.

If you plan to eat it later, then it’s better to keep the whole piece without cutting it into slices.

Traditionally, brisket is served with different kinds of pickles, side sauce, butcher paper, and white bread. You can serve it with barbeque sauce for additional flavors.

Important Tips For Smoking Beef Brisket

Now as you’ve discovered the whole procedure of smoking a brisket in an electric smoker, here are some extra tips for you to bring your family’s dinner party to the next level.

  • Consider giving focus on the internal temperature of the smoker and meat rather than time elapsed in the smoker.
  • Do not load your beef brisket with spices, rather keep the marinade simple.
  • Find out the best kind of wood chips as per your taste requirement.
  • Always use dry wood chips because otherwise, they will lead to the production of black smoke by adding a bitter taste to your meat.
  • Most of the times beef brisket takes almost 12-15hours to cook but this can vary according to the weather conditions.
  • If you are not well aware of how to cook a perfect beef brisket then you can follow a good recipe to take the flavor to its maximum level.

Make sure to clean your smoker after enjoying the delicious brisket

Lightupbbq was started by Freddy Zeus, an environmental engineer and a professional chef who has been around the world learning the craft of cooking.

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