This smoked brisket is beef coated in a homemade spice rub, then slow smoked to tender perfection and thinly sliced. The ultimate barbecue beef that tastes like it came from a restaurant!
Slow cooked beef brisket is one of the very best things you can possibly make with an electric smoker. Serve your smoked brisket with a side of mac and cheese and corn on the cob, and watch the rave reviews pour in.
In my opinion, smoked brisket is the king of all the smoked meats. It’s melt in your mouth tender, full of rich flavor, and happens to be quite easy to make. The hardest part is waiting hours for the meat to slowly cook to perfection.
How do you make smoked brisket?
The first step in this recipe is choosing your brisket. There are two cuts that are part of a brisket, the point and the flat. The point is a rounder more tender piece of meat that has a fat cap. The flat is a leaner cut that is more uniform in shape. Often times in restaurants or a barbecues when you see those nice even slices of brisket, that is the flat cut.
There is also the best of both worlds option known as the packer cut, or Texas brisket, which has both the flat and the point sections of the brisket attached to each other. I prefer to use this cut. With the packer cut I can get those even slices from the flat cut that look so great on a plate and I can use some of that point meat to make some saucy burnt ends. If you make a brisket, do yourself a favor and use some of the point cut meat to make burnt ends.
To prepare the brisket for smoking ,the first thing to do is to trim off the excess fat. If you are using the point cut or the packer cut, you will want to trim down the fat cap. Even with the flat cut, you will want to cut down excess fat so that you can see the meat underneath the fat. The fat layer should be translucent. You want the fat to be somewhere between 1/3 of an inch to 1/4 of an inch. Do your best, it doesn’t have to be exact.
Next you want to completely cover the brisket in BBQ spice rub. I prefer to use my homemade spice rub, but you can also use your favorite store bought variety. After you cover the brisket in barbecue rub, cover it and place it in a refrigerator for 10 to 12 hours.
When you are ready to smoke the meat, bring your smoker to 250 degrees F. Place the brisket on a foil tray. Using a foil tray helps retain the juices.
Insert a meat thermometer into the brisket. Try to get the probe into meat and not into fat for greater accuracy. Leave the meat in the smoker until the interior of the meat reaches 170 degrees F. This will take several hours and the time will vary depending on the size and shape of the meat. For a 13 pound brisket, this could take 4-5 hours.
Once the interior of the beef reaches 170 degrees F, remove the brisket from the smoker. Wrap the brisket in foil or peach butcher paper. Foil will work, but the best brisket is smoked with peach butcher paper. Wrapping the brisket in peach butcher paper allows the beef to hold in its juices while allowing the smoke to permeate the meat. You’ll also get nicer, more flavorful bark with the butcher paper.
After wrapping the meat, place in back in the smoker until the internal temperature is 200 degrees F. This can take quite a while. For 13 pound brisket, this part can take 9-10 hours. If you find yourself getting impatient, you can bump the smoker temperature up to 275 degrees F for the last couple of hours.
How do you know when smoked brisket is done?
Once the brisket reaches 200 degrees F, remove it from the smoker and let it rest wrapped for at least 10 minutes. Then unwrap it and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
Cut the meat into even slices. If you notice excessive juice pooling when you cut the brisket, you can let it rest for a few more minutes. Serve the brisket with barbecue sauce. You can use this recipe for a homemade barbecue sauce for extra flavor.
What is the best wood for smoking brisket?
Generally I like to use fruit wood, such as apple or cherry, to smoke brisket. Fruit wood imparts a mild and slightly sweet flavor that doesn’t overpower the meat. However, brisket can also be smoked with hickory or maple wood.
How long do you smoke a brisket?
As with most smoked meats, time is not as important as reaching the correct internal temperatures. The time to reach those temperatures will vary based on the size and shape of the meat. However, for a 13 pound packer cut brisket it could take 4-5 hours of unwrapped smoking and up to 9-10 hours of wrapped smoking.
Tips for smoked brisket
- Use a packer cut with both the flat and point cuts of the brisket.
- Set aside some of the brisket for burnt ends.
- Use peach butcher paper to wrap the brisket.
- Use an electric smoker for easy temperature control.
This is a great recipe for a crowd because it serves a lot of people! You’ll be sure to get rave reviews from family and friends when they try your brisket.
More smoker recipes
- Trim the excess fat off the brisket. You want to remove most of the fat cap if you have a point or packer cut. Other excess fat should be removed to 1/3 or 1/4 inch until you can see the beef through the fat.
- Completely cover the brisket in BBQ rub.
- Cover the meat and refrigerate it for 10-12 hours.
- Preheat the smoker to 250 degrees F.
- Insert a meat thermometer (into the meat, not fat) and place the meat in the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. This may take 4-5 hours.
- Once the meat reaches 170 degrees F, remove the meat and wrap it in foil or peach butcher paper. Place the meat back in the smoker until it reaches 200 degrees F. This may take 9-10 hours. If you want to increase the speed of cooking, you can increase the temperature to 275 degrees for the last couple of hours of smoking.
- Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F, remove it from the smoker and let it rest covered 10 minutes. Let it rest uncovered another 5 minutes.
- Slice the brisket. If you notice excessive juice pooling when you cut the brisket, you can let it rest for a few more minutes. Serve with BBQ sauce.