Brisket is the king of the BBQ kingdom and there's nothing you can say to change our minds.
It's our number one recommendation when new BBQers ask us what they should learn how to smoke.
We understand that smokers can be intimidating, particularly when it comes to trying to smoke an iconic cut of meat like the Brisket.
The good news is that cooking Brisket in an electric smoker is an easy alternative to a traditional smoker (and if you follow our guide it will taste just as good!).
Read on to learn how to smoke a beautiful, juicy Brisket in an electric smoker…
How Long Will It Take To Smoke A Brisket In An Electric Smoker?
We recommend smoking meat at 190 degrees (Fahrenheit) - this is a great blanket rule to stick to while you're getting to grips with your smoker.
At this heat, a Brisket will take an hour to cook for every pound that it weighs. The average Brisket will therefore take around 5 hours.
The more you load your smoker up with, the longer it will take to cook.
Dirty smokers also take longer to cook, we recommend cleaning your machine after every use. Some people claim not cleaning it adds to the flavor, but more realistically it leads to erratic cooking times and bitter-tasting meat.
Choosing The Meat
Let's begin with how to cut a Brisket.
When choosing your Brisket opt for one that has a thick layer of fat on it, and clear marbling in the flesh. This amount of fat means that it will melt slowly during the cooking process. Both adding to the flavor of the meat and keeping it moist.
A Brisket is made up of two muscles with a layer of fat between them. The first muscle is called 'the flat'. The flat sits under a layer of fat and runs the length of the Brisket. Under the flat there is another layer of fat, and under that, we find the 'the point'.
To cut your Brisket, use a serrated knife and cut against the grain, about a quarter of an inch into the thickness.
The flat will make up most of your Brisket. Make sure to score both sides before moving on to seasoning the meat.
Preparing The Meat
If you have the option we recommend cutting and seasoning the meat the night before you want to smoke it.
For best results, cut and season the meat before storing it in the fridge overnight.
The meat will soak up the brine, the flavors will penetrate deeper, and you'll be left with tastier, juicier meat.
The key to amazing tasting Brisket is to season it well.
There are many premade rubs out there - of varying quality. Many of our favorite BBq joints sell their own BBQ rub.
For us, a large part of the pleasure of BBQing is creating food on our own terms, for that reason we love to prepare our own BBQ rubs. Below is one of our favorite recipes, but feel free to change it and make it your own.
Here is our recipe for the best Texas Style BBQ Brisket rub:
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons smoked sea salt flakes
- 4 tablespoons garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon hot chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. After scoring the meat, slowly rub the whole mixture into the Brisket.
Leave to soak in overnight.
How to Smoke Brisket in an Electric Smoker
The next step is to prepare your smoker and then begin cooking!
Preheat The Smoker
The first choice when preparing the smoker is what wood chips you are going to use with this cut of meat.
There is no right or wrong answer, it mostly comes down to personal taste.
Our two favorite flavors of wood chips to use with Brisket are Hickory and Applewood.
Take the time to experiment with wood chips and find your personal favorite.
We don't recommend mixing types of wood chips.
The second choice is what temperature you heat your smoker too.
We recommend aiming to get the meat to 190 degrees (Fahrenheit). At that temperature, Brisket takes around an hour to cook per pound that it weighs. This makes the mathematics a lot easier.
To do this, allow your smoker to reach 225 degrees (Fahrenheit), it is important to make sure the temperature has stabilized before adding the meat, otherwise, it will not cook evenly.
Smoke The Meat
Finally, it's time to cook the meat.
Take your Brisket out of the fridge two hours before you want to begin smoking it. You only want to cook a Brisket once it reaches room temperature, not before that.
Place the meat fat side up (you want the fat to melt into the meat, keeping it moist) with the point facing the source of the smoke and heat (this is the thickest end of the meat, facing it this way will give it a chance to fully cook without burning the thinner end).
Set up a thermometer in the meat and place a drip tray under the Brisket (this will save you a lot of time when it comes to cleaning up). Finally, place a metal bowl full of water in the smoker (this will also help keep the meat moist).
Using the weight of your Brisket, work out how many hours you need to cook it (1 hour for every pound), for the first half or three hours (whichever is shorter) do not open your smoker.
The only time you should open your smoker after this is to spray the meat. You should do this every half hour. We like to spray our Brisket with beef stock, this gives it a crispy, extra flavorsome shell.
Once the meat has reached an internal temperature of 190 degrees (Fahrenheit) remove it. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before serving.