How to Smoke Brisket in 10 Easy Steps

Meat enthusiasts are always on the hunt for the perfect smoked brisket recipe. The reality, however, is that what may be the perfect smoked brisket for you, won’t be the perfect smoked brisket for someone else.

The fact is, everyone smokes brisket differently based on their texture and taste preferences. The best smoked brisket tips are the ones that take your personal preferences and needs into account.

Instead of following a subjective “best smoked brisket recipe” to smoke your brisket, consider using our guideline of 8 steps instead.

These smoked brisket tips will help guide you to make the perfect smoked brisket to suit your palette and needs:

1.    Pick Your Smoker

Before you can smoke a brisket, you need to invest in a quality smoker. Determine the qualities that are important to you and then pick your smoker accordingly.

If you are not sure which smoker will best suit your needs, read our product reviews that will walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of different models.

Cut of Brisket

2.    Choose Your Cut of Brisket

Brisket is available in two cuts; flat cut (sliced with less fat) and point cut (sliced with more fat). Flat cut brisket is the more expensive option because it has more meat. Point cut brisket, on the other hand, has more flavour due to its higher fat content.

3.    Determine How Much You Need

When purchasing your cut, you will also want to consider the volume or weight of meat you need to buy — are you feeding a family or hosting a dinner?

4.    Trim Your Brisket

 Once purchased, you will need to trim your brisket based on how much fat you want. The fat on your meat will influence the cooking time and flavour of the meat.

Flavors for Brisket

5.    Determine What Flavour to Add

There are various ways that you can impart flavour onto your smoked brisket.

Wood Chips: A wood pellet smoker calls for wood pellets to both cook and flavour meat. Various types of wood pellets impart different flavours. Common wood pellets are mesquite, pecan, hickory, and cherry.

Seasoning: You can season your meat with herbs or spices of your choice.

Marinade: A marinade is a type of seasoning that meat soaks in to absorb flavour.

Rub: A rub is applied to the outside of a piece of meat to flavour and texturize its exterior.

6.    Smoke Your Brisket in Foil or Au Natural

You can put your brisket in foil or butcher paper to help it maintain temperature and absorb flavours faster.

This is typically done to help a brisket continue cooking through the temperature stall phase, the phase when the brisket’s internal temperatures hits 150-160 degrees and plateaus.

If you’d rather a slower cook, you can put your brisket in as-is for more of a rustic taste.

7.    Get Cooking (Decide on Cooking Time & Temperature)

According to SixSistersStuff, the rule of thumb is to cook your meat at 200 to 250 degrees, at 1.5 – 2 hours per pound of brisket. The temperature and time will also be dictated by the fat content of your meat and your smoker.

Brisket takes longer to cook than other types of meat because, according to Cook’s Illustrated, brisket takes twice as long to become tender. For a faster cooking experience, you can smoke your meat at 275 degrees F.

Decide your preference, set your temperature, then put in your smoked meat when it hits your desired temperature.

smoked meat

8.    Resting Time

Because a brisket’s internal temperature will increase by 10 degrees after it’s taken off the grill, resting time plays an essential role in smoking the meat.

It’s during this resting time that a brisket finishes cooking, absorbs remaining liquid for tender texture, and cools down for slicing. You will typically want to let your brisket rest for at least one hour.

9.     Slice Your Brisket

You’ll want a cutting board that can withstand the temperature of a smoked brisket. Pick your cutting board based on size, material and durability.

When slicing your brisket, you’ll want to use a sharp chef’s knife that will allow you to make clean cuts. For optimal tenderness, slice your brisket against its grain — just be aware that there are two grain directions on a piece of brisket.

10.    Serve & Enjoy

This isn’t so much a step as it is the final hurrah. It’s time to serve and eat your smoked brisket. Dig in!

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