One of the true joys of owning a smoker is learning how to prepare different types of meat. There are many options out there, of course, but it rarely feels like any of them are quite so important as the standard beef brisket. An amazing meal when prepared correctly, it actually takes a fair bit of work to ensure that you’ve got the process of making a smoked brisket down.
While there’s always going to be some trial and error involved in making a smoked brisket that’s perfect for your tastes, there are still some steps that you can take to prepare a brisket that’s going to be a perfect foundation for your own experiments. If you’re looking to create the perfect smoked brisket in your electric smoker, you’ll definitely want to follow the smoked brisket recipe below.
Preparing Your Brisket
Choosing the Right Cut
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making a smoked brisket is that the quality of the meat is going to have a huge impact on the final product. As such, you’re always going to want to be picky with the cuts you choose, usually emphasizing the presence of a thick fat layer in the meat. This will help to not only improve the flavor profile of the brisket, but it will also help to keep the meat moist while it’s being smoked.
Likewise, it’s important that you spend some time looking at the composition of a good brisket, as being able to pick the right cut out at the butcher’s shop or the grocery store is going to be a huge part of your process. You’re going to need to know the muscles that make up the cut so that you can start with a good base.
When you’re looking at beef brisket, you’re actually looking at a cut of meat that’s mostly made of two major muscles. One of these muscles is long and slender and is known as the flat, which is the layer that typically has the thick fat cap at its top. The other muscle is at the end of the cut, separated from the flat by a layer of fat, and is known as the point.
When you’re looking at coking a brisket, you’re probably going to pay more attention to the flat. After all, it makes up most of your cut of beef and it tends to be more popular than the point. With that said, there’s definitely a fair layer of fat to be had in the point, and figuring out which part of the cut you’re actually going to want to cut is a big choice that you’re going to have to experiment with until you find the option that is right for you – unless, of course, you’re just going to buy and cook the whole beef brisket.
Timing is everything when you’re working with brisket, so make sure that you start your preparation the night before. Though we’re going to talk about preparation, it’s important to remember that giving your brisket time to rest before you start to smoke it is going to have a huge impact on your final product.
You’re going to start your beef brisket prep with a bit of trimming. This needs to be done before you do anything else, so hold off on the marinating or seasoning until you get this step done. Your goal here is to ensure that you leave the right amount of fat so that you get the taste profile you want out of the finished product.
As you might expect, this is another spot in which experience means quite a bit. You’re going to have to make a very precise decision here, as too much fat means that you’re not going to get the flavor you want while too little fat means that you’re not going to get the moisture that you need during the smoking process. As such, you’re either going to want to go into this knowing that you’re likely to make a mistake or you’re going to want to follow a very precise recipe when making your first cuts.
You’re going to need a good knife to trim the fat of your brisket and not just any brisket is going to do here. You will need a strong, reliable knife that’s about seven to eight inches long, and it will need to be a knife with which you’re comfortable working. Raw brisket is an incredibly tough meat, so you’re going to need to make sure that you are working with something that’s both sharp and durable.
Don’t feel bad if you have difficulties with trimming at first. It’s labor intensive and can go wrong easily, but you’ll quickly learn how this process works. In time, you’ll be able to trim your brisket without a second thought.
Applying Your Rub or Marinade
Next up is the process of seasoning your meat. While there are certainly people who will tell you that a good cut of meat should be able to stand on its own, you really don’t want to leave anything to chance. Your goal here is to use a dry rub that’s going to enhance the flavor of the meat without overwhelming the natural flavors of the brisket. This smoked brisket recipe tells you how.
There are dozens of great pre-made seasonings and dry rub, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot make your own. A home-made seasoning is a great way to ensure that you get the taste that you want, but it’s recommended that you do your experimentation when you’re working with smaller cuts. It’s incredibly easy to go overboard when you’re creating your own rub, but choosing a a simple set of flavors that will work well with the meat is really the way to go.
Applying the rub, however, is easy. Make sure to cover the beef brisket well so that you get the flavor enhancement all over, and don’t be afraid to use a little more than you might initially assume you need. You really do need a good coat to get the flavors to stand out.
Using a marinade is likewise an optional step, but it’s another one that will help your brisket turn out well. Make sure to marinate your brisket the night before you cook and after you’ve applied the rub. A good overnight soak will lend plenty of flavor to your meat.
Preparing Your Smoker
Now that your beef brisket is ready, you can start looking at your smoker. It’s generally a good idea to make sure that you have a good smoking wood chips available to use, but what that means is largely dependent on the cook. Some people love hickory, for example, while others might go with mesquite. It is your personal tastes that are going to play the biggest role here. The only thing that is an absolute here is that you need dry wood chips that’s going to give you a clean smoke – otherwise, you’ll end up with a bitter taste in your brisket.
Now that you’ve got your wood chips, it’s time to start preheating. You’ll want to get your temperature up to around 225 Fahrenheit before you start cooking, as this will help you to cook your meat evenly.
Smoking Your Brisket In an Electric Smoker
Now it’s time to start cooking.
Take your meat out of the fridge while you’re preparing the smoker. Your meat needs to be out of the cold for about an hour, which will ensure that the meat gets back to room temperature before you start cooking.
Once your timer has gone off, you can put your meat in the smoker. No need to wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. The fat side should be up, which will allow the fat to melt into the meat and thus give it the flavoring and moisture that makes smoked brisket such an amazing meal.
As a rule, you’re going to want to make sure that you’ve got your meat facing the heat source with the fat side pointed towards the heat, which allows you to ensure that the fat won’t dry out and that you won’t accidentally ruin your meat. As an aside, it’s also an incredibly good idea to make sure that you keep your rack relatively close to the heat source while you’re cooking to avoid drying problems.
Unfortunately, you’re not just going to be able to time things with this cut of meat. Instead, you’ll need a wireless meat thermometer with a probe in the meat and in the smoker chamber so that you can continually monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. You’ll also want to keep plenty of water in the water pan, as doing so will help to ensure that there’s enough smoke in the smoker and that your meat doesn’t get too dry.
Once you start cooking your beef brisket, you’ve got to let it keep cooking, low and slow. Don’t keep disturbing your meat by opening and closing the door – you’ve got to rely on your wireless meat thermometer to let you know of the internal temperature and whether your meat is cooking properly.
How long is it going to take for your smoked brisket to cook? Honestly, it depends on the size of your cut as well as your smoker. As a rule, though, it’s going take at least three hours before you can even take a look at the meat again. Once you hit that mark, you can open up your smoker and check on your brisket while spraying it down with water and beef stock to ensure that it stays moist.
You’ll want to keep spraying down your meat with this mixture about once every half an hour until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. This will keep the meat moisture while also helping to create a crust, both of which will go a long way towards making your meal better. Once you’ve hit the 190 degree mark, you can finally take your brisket out of the smoker.
Unfortunately, you can’t dig in as soon as the brisket is out of the smoker. Instead, you’ll need to let it sit for around ten minutes so that you can allow the various juices to settle. It can be tough to wait, but that brief pause between taking it out and serving really can make a huge difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does it take to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker?
Honestly, the answer to this question is going to depend quite a bit on the size of your cut and its composition. Most experts will tell you that it’s going to take around four to eight hours to fully cook a good brisket, but your actual experience might vary depending on your smoker and exactly what you are cooking.
2. Do you wrap a brisket in an electric smoker?
Not necessarily. Though there are definitely some people who swear that you will need to wrap up your meat with aluminum foil before you can smoke it, you don’t technically need to wrap your brisket before you put it in the smoker. Though you can absolutely take a look at the arguments for doing so, most will admit that this is more of a preference than a necessity and that you should feel relatively safe cooking the brisket on its own, without aluminum foil wrap.
3. How do you make smoked brisket in an electric smoker?
Smoking a brisket in an electric oven is very straightforward. After preparing the brisket the night before, you’ll preheat the smoker to about 225 degrees and let the meat sit for about an hour. Once that’s one, you’ll place the meat in the smoker with the fat facing up. You’ll let the beef brisket sit for about three hours before you check it, and then check it once every half hour, spraying it down with a mix of water and beef stock until it reaches the proper temperature.
4. How long do you smoke a brisket at 225?
It depends on the size of the brisket. When you set your smoker to 225 F, you may be looking at smoking a small brisket for around four hours, while you might have to smoke a very large brisket for up to fifteen hours.