Smoked Beef Brisket is a very easy recipe, but the most important details lie in the process used to produce a succulent, melt in your mouth, brisket. All you really need are salt and pepper, a quality meat thermometer, and time. Smoking meat low and slow is a process that just cannot be rushed!
To me, Smoked Beef Brisket is the pinnacle of smoked meats at any BBQ joint I visit. It’s the cut of meat I use to judge a restaurant on the quality of their BBQ products. Cooked perfectly, it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy. Poorly done and it’s dry and tasteless.
Let’s be honest. Smoking a brisket for the first time can be intimidating but you can achieve perfect results every time using a fairly simple and straight-forward process rather than a rigid recipe.
For this, we will cook by internal temperature instead of time. This ensures a perfect piece of meat every time. For me, that means my trusted remote digital thermometer. We’re looking for a final internal temperature of 190 degrees F to 205 degrees F.
How long that cooking process takes depends on the temperature of your smoker, how many times you open the door, the size of your brisket, and even whether you have a grass-fed or grain-fed piece of meat.
Other factors will depend on your method of smoking. I have much success with our Digital Electric Smoker. It’s easy to use and requires much less fuss that both gas or coal. It uses woodchips and achieves the same woody, smoky flavor.
Let’s talk brisket. Brisket comes in many shapes and sizes. I was able to find whole beef brisket recently for $3.49/lb – so keep an eye out at the meat counter! You know I snapped up that incredible find!
If you want to cook a whole (10-14 lb) brisket, you may have to request one from the butcher or try the meat counter at the local club store like Sams or Costco. I was lucky enough to find one at my neighborhood market. I’m cooking just the flat half of my brisket today, but honestly, I’m really looking forward to smoking the fatty point end of my brisket later this winter when my family is in town. Because beef brisket is full of connective tissue, it requires a low-and-slow temperature during the smoke to really break down the muscle into tender, juicy goodness.
That bark… that bark was incredible. Hard to believe the flavor you achieve with only simple things like time, smoke, salt, and pepper. Ah-mazing!
Found this very well-done and extremely handy infographic from Jack at BROBBQ that I wanted to share with you. Check it out:
Do you have a favorite smoker technique you use on your smoked meats and briskets? I’d love to hear from you! Tell me all about it below.
Try one of my other smoker recipes. Check these out!
- Homemade Linguica Portuguese Sausage
- Smoked Pork Butt
- Sweet BBQ Rub Recipe
- Grilled Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Wings
Smoked Beef Brisket
- 1 (6-8 lb.) beef brisket
- Kosher salt & ground black pepper
- 1 cup apple juice or cider (for basting the meat)
- For a 6 to 8 lb. brisket, plan for about 8 to 12 hours of cook time. A wireless probe thermometer is critical for brisket since we cook by internal temperature rather than a strict time.
- Trim the fat cap to about 1/4 -inch across the top then coat brisket liberally with salt and pepper.
- Remember to allow plenty of time for cooking as the cook time really depends on the size of the brisket, cut and whether it is grass-fed or grain-fed beef.
- Load your wood chips into the hopper and set the electric smoker to 250 degrees F.
- Place brisket fat side up on the grill grate, insert thermometer probe. Add a pan below to catch the drippings (helps save on clean-up, too).
- After 3 hours or when internal meat temperature reaches 160 degrees F, baste the meat once per hour with apple cider or apple juice to keep it moist.
- Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F.
- Remove brisket and allow it to rest tented in aluminum foil for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy, and is sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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