Who doesn’t love a juicy, tender rack of smoked brisket? With a crusty texture on the outside combined with the smoky barbeque flavor, smoked brisket is one of the most loved meats whether you’re hosting a family dinner or a day out with friends.
However, cooking up the perfect smoked brisket yourself requires skill and technique. If you get any of the aspects wrong, you can end up having to eat a tough, dried-out piece of meat.
Smoking a brisket on a pellet grill is easy if you already know how to smoke a brisket on a charcoal grill. But, if you’ve newly purchased an electric smoker, things can get tricky.
Electric smokers are fast and efficient when incorporating the ideal smoky flavor in your meat while cooking it perfectly. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use an electric smoker to get the perfect smoked brisket.
Step 1- Choose the Right Brisket
Most people don’t realize it, but the key to smoking brisket in an electric smoker while retaining all the natural flavors is choosing the right piece of meat. When you go out shopping for your next barbeque party, make sure to get your hands on the most tender brisket available.
If you can’t judge the quality of meat by yourself, consider asking your local butcher or getting assistance from the market supervisor. Nevertheless, an easy way to determine whether a brisket is tender or tough is by laying it out flat on your palms and holding it up.
Notice how much the brisket bends towards the ground from both sides. The more it bends from either side, the more tender it is.
Similarly, another aspect that makes a brisket ideal for smoking is a thick fat layer. The fat renders down during the smoking process and keeps your meat nice and juicy while it cooks.
Step 2 – Prep Your Beef Brisket
The next crucial step while smoking brisket in an electric smoker is to prep your brisket for cooking. By preparation, we do not mean simply marinating the meat and refrigerating it for further use.
Instead, before applying your delicious marinade or rub, start by trimming the brisket to ensure the right amount of fat remains on the meat. If you leave the fat layer too thick, the smoke won’t imbed into the meat as well as it should.
On the other hand, if you strip all the fat off your brisket, your meat will dry out and become tough during the smoking process. That’s why it is essential to trim out the perfect amount of fat to ensure the ideal smoky flavor you’re looking for.
At this point, it is crucial to use the best knife for slicing brisket to get through the tough, raw brisket easily. The knife should be at least seven to eight inches long so you can get through the fat layer in one go.
Step 3 – Apply a Dry Rub or Marinade
Nothing enhances the natural meaty flavor of a beef brisket than a tasteful blend of spices to compliment the smoky flavor. Some people prefer to marinate their meat only 3-5 hours before cooking it in an electric smoker.
However, you’ll get the ideal results if you let the meat sit in your preferred marinade overnight. You can use premade rubs to season your meat or make one yourself at home.
If you’re learning how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker, make sure the spices in your marinade are not too overpowering. If your rub is too spicy or too tangy, it will ruin the smoky flavor after cooking.
It is best to go essential by only applying black paper and rock salt or pump things up by applying paprika or garlic powder. Be minimalistic and let the smoke incorporate the deliciousness you want.
Step 4 – Smoke Your Brisket in an Electric Smoker
If you’ve already purchased the best electric smoker for your next dinner party, here’s where you get to use it. If you haven’t, you can choose one from our list of the best electric smokers and start using it right away.
First, take your brisket out of the refrigerator at least 2-3 hours before you start your smoker. Remember, you have to give the smoker enough time to heat up to room temperature.
Next, load your electric smoker with the wood chips of your choice. Usually, the type of wood depends on your meat cut and taste palette, but hickory is most popular when paired with beef brisket.
Once your smoker is loaded with dry wood chips, preheat it and wait for the temperature to reach 225°F/110°C.
When it reaches this temperature limit, allow it to settle for a while before placing your meat in. Settling the temperature or at least an hour will make for even cooking and adequate smoking of your meat.
If your electric smoker does not have an in-built thermometer, you can purchase a high-quality smoker thermometer beforehand to regulate the temperature.
Step 5 – Let it Cook
Once your smoker is preheated and ready for your brisket, place the meat in and let it cook. Place your smoker thermometer probe into the thickest end of the brisket to regulate the internal temperature while cooking.
The meat should cook at around 107 degrees Celsius. The best part about an electric smoker is that it will automatically stop cooking your brisket when it reaches this temperature level internally. After that, it will just keep the brisket warm until you want to serve it to your guests.
Remember, each electric smoker comes with different temperature settings. That’s why, even if you know the basic process for how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker, make sure to read the company’s user manual before you start using the smoker.
Whatever temperature settings your smoker requires, the rule of thumb is to let the brisket reach 107 degrees Celsius to make sure it is cooked perfectly and has the ideal smoky flavor.
Step 6 – Slice and Serve
And that’s it; your delicious smoked brisket is ready using an electric smoker. Take it out of the smoker and slice it up to serve your guests or yourself.
For this, you should use a serrated knife and cut against the grain on the flat side of the brisket. Keep your slices at least a quarter of an inch thick. Now, when you finish cutting the flat part, move on the point and cut against the grain on that part as well.
Serve it with mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or a fresh garden salad, and enjoy your meal.
Pro Tips for Smoking Brisket in Electric Smoker
Now that you know the basics about how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker, you’re probably ready to host the next family dinner party. If that’s your plan, here’s a list of tips that might come in handy.
- Be mindful of the internal temperature of your brisket while cooking it in the smoker, rather than recording the time elapsed in the smoker.
- Keep the marinade simple rather than loading your meat with spices.
- Conduct research on which wood chips go well with your piece of meat.
- Make sure your wood chips are dry; otherwise, they will produce black smoke that’ll give your meat a bitter taste.
- Usually, beef brisket takes around 10-15 hours to cook in the smoker, but it can vary according to the weather.
- If you’re not experienced with cooking beef brisket, try following a professional recipe to ensure good results while entertaining guests.
That concludes my guide for those who wonder how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker. While the process might seem easy initially, many aspects can impact how your brisket turns out.
These include the quality of your meat and wood chips, the brand of your electric smoker, and even the weather outside.
But, the best way to become a pro is through trial and error. Even if you ruin the first brisket you cook up; you can learn from your mistakes and create a perfect recipe that suits your palette.