When you get your brand new electric smoker, chances are one of the first things you’ll want to attempt cooking is a brisket.
This traditionally slow cooking but delicious tasting cut of meat is best done with a smoker, but due to the cost of supplies and the uncertainty about how to do it best, many people put it off.
So, how do you smoke brisket in your electric smoker and ensure that it’s perfect every time?
Learning how to get the flavors and consistency just right requires two parts; preparing the meat and then smoking it. In the preparation of this meat, you need to choose the right cut and season it correctly, then getting it ready for the final stage where it’ll be placed inside your electric smoker and cooked to perfection.
Within this seemingly simple task, there are a few key factors that come into play, but after cooking your very first smoked brisket you’ll see that it’s not that hard.
This step by step guide can show you the entire process from start to finish, and find out what makes this popular cut of meat a match made in heaven for an electric smoker.
What Exactly is a Brisket?
Brisket is a specific cut of meat that comes from the lower chest or breast area of either beef or veal, with some variations on where the cut is performed depending on location.
Brisket consists of the pectoral muscles of the animal and it requires a very special cooking process because of its texture.
Brisket is usually prepared with time-consuming methods that allow the meat to tenderize and bring out its natural flavors.
Common ways to cook brisket include in a pot, made in the slow cooker, pressure cooker, and smoked.
It requires many hours of cooking but can often be left alone as it does, which is why it’s a preferred choice for people with electric smokers.
Before cooking, brisket is usually tough and stringy, so the longer cooking process helps to soften it.
If the meat is cooked for too long, it can become rubbery, and if cooked too short, it will still have the stringy texture to it.
Therefore, people put off attempting to smoke their own brisket in an electric smoker because of the need for exactness, but they don’t have to.
How Do You Prepare the Meat and Smoker to Cook Brisket?
The preparation process of learning how to smoke a brisket in your electric smoker is what takes most of the time and effort.
However, it’s essential to get these parts right to ensure authentic tasting smoked brisket that cooks without any errors.
These are some of the things you’ll need to do before moving to the smoking stage:
Choosing the meat
You’ll want to be able to handle the meat yourself to test its quality, and should be looking for one around 10lbs in size.
Quality meat will result in a better tasting brisket so look for one with a thick layer of fat and adequate marbling.
Hold the meat in your hands and balance it across both of them. If the meat bends more, this is a softer piece and will be ideal for cooking.
Prepare the meat
Before you move to the smoker, you’ll want to marinate the beef with a spice rub. For best results, leave it to sit in the fridge overnight, otherwise, 4 hours will be adequate.
Choose your herbs and spices, rub over the entire surface of the brisket, and then wrap in aluminum foil to refrigerate.
Choose your wood
A huge part of the smoking process is knowing what type of wood goes with what meat.
For a smoked brisket, the best options are mesquite, apple, cherry or hickory wood chips.
Mesquite is usually quite strong, whereas apple and cherry give a sweeter taste.
The Step by Step Guide to Smoking a Brisket
Smoking a brisket in the electric smoker doesn’t require a lot of work once the preparation is done.
Most modern smokers will have some degree of automation to them that ensures a thorough and even cooking process, but there are still important steps you have to follow.
- Take the wrapped brisket out of the fridge and leave it to sit in room temperature for around two hours.
- Once the meat is at the ideal temperature, fill your smoker with the desired wood chips and turn it on. You might like to add some charcoal to the smoker as well, depending on the flavor you’re aiming for.
- Turn the temperature of the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, but keep in mind that different smokers will deliver varying degrees in temperature. The internal meat temperature should be set to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the temperature probe into the brisket wherever it looks thickest and then place it on the middle rack.
- Start the smoker and add more wood chips as needed throughout the day. When it reaches 190 degrees, turns the smoker off and place it on warming mode until it’s ready to be served.
The key to a good smoked brisket is knowing the intricacies of this meat and the cooking process.
These are some commonly asked questions about smoking brisket to make your first time a little easier.
How Many Hours Does it Take to Smoke Brisket?
Depending on the cut and smoker, you can expect a 10-12lb brisket to be perfectly smoked within 8-12 hours.
This doesn’t include the time it takes to marinate and then leave the meat out to reach room temperature first.
Can You Stop Brisket From Drying Out?
There are a few things you can do to prevent the meat from drying out including using the water pan for moisture, wrapping the brisket in bacon as it cooks, and removing it early before it’s done and covering it in foil to leave in a cooler for 30-60 minutes to finish cooking.