How to Smoke a Brisket
You don’t have to beg your grandmother to come over with her secret brisket recipe anymore! Today we bring you one of the easiest and most delish smoked beef brisket recipe in hand. Now you can smoke a restaurant quality brisket right at your own backyard!
Smoked brisket has always been there at family barbecue parties but most of us don’t know the real secret of the delicious juicy recipe. It’s the perfect crowd pleaser and great for picnics, cookouts and parties!
Without further ado, let’s catch up on the best smoked beef brisket recipe out there.
How to Smoke a Brisket?
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 7 hours | Serves: 8 – 12
- 1 (12 – 14 pounds) whole packet of brisket
- 1-½ cup of beef broth
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1/3 cup of kosher salt
- 1/3 cup of coarsely ground black pepper
- Once you have gathered all the ingredients, set the temperature of the utensil to 225 °F and preheat for 15 minutes. Make sure to keep the lid closed!
- For the rub: combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, kosher salt, chili powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. You must season your brisket over all sides.
- Place the brisket, placing the fat side down on the grill grate. Cook the brisket till it reaches an internal temperature of 160 °F for about 3 – 4 hours.
- When the brisket finally reaches an internal temperature of 160 °F, remove it from the grill. Double wrap the meat in aluminum foil and pour in the beef broth to the foil packet.
- Put ]the brisket back on the grill and continue cooking till it reaches an internal temperature of 204 °F for about 3 more hours.
- Once done, remove it from the grill, unwrap the foil and let it rest for another 15 minutes.
*The cooking time may vary depending on the set and ambient temperatures.
How to Pick the Best Brisket Cut
Shopping for the perfect cut of beef brisket might be a little unnerving, but there are several things that you should look out for just to be sure that you have got just the right cut for smoking.
- What kind of brisket should you buy?
Beef brisket is available in two cuts that is separated by one layer of fat.
The first cut, which is also known as the flat cut, are all muscles with a little to no fat on the sides of the slice. This cut has the deckle (fat) removed which causes the brisket to achieve a flat shape.
While making a beef brisket for your family (not for a party or picnic), you can go with a flat cut brisket that’s much smaller and trimmed to perfection. That’s how you can save cost without having to pay a ton for the meat that all of you will not be able to finish and end up with a lot of leftovers.
The second cut is also known as the point cut, which contains higher fat content and is much more delicious. The marbled fat causes the cut to be more rounded in shape and is more chunkier as well.
How Much Brisket to Pick for Each Person?
A good 14-pound of beef brisket can easily feed about 25 or more people at a BBQ party. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to buy a huge brisket if you’re hosting something casual with a limited number of people.
How Can You Trim Brisket?
Trimming the brisket is a very delicate task. If you want to trim off the layer of fat on the brisket, you have to be very careful about it. Although we would definitely recommend you to leave the layer instead of trimming it as it gives off an extra flavor that you are going to love! But if you are planning to eat healthy, a good trim should do the job.
You may find that a lot of grocery stores sell pre-trimmed briskets that would make up for a perfect family dinner. However, they can be a little bit pricier for which you would instead prefer to trim it yourself.
When you are planning on throwing a party, go for a pointcut and try to retain back the fat, leaving it untrimmed. In this way, allow the fat to slowly render and then release its amazing flavors inside the brisket.
However, if you have an excess of fat on your brisket, you can choose to trim a little bit of the fat, so that you won’t have excessively flabby pieces of briskets. Granted that they are mouth-watering if done the right way!
Make sure to trim the fat cap equally and get rid of all the messy bits for ultimate results. If you are not very experienced with brisket or it’s your first time doing it, you don’t really need to go an extra mile and trim it to perfection.
A Few Pointers For Smoked Beef Brisket
Undoubtedly, smoked beef brisket has got to be one of the effortless large meat cuts that are a popular crowd-pleaser. What you need to do to make the whole smoked beef brisket is to keep an eye on the oven temperature. Let the smoking to do its job for the rest of the part.
Beef brisket is something that you can set and stop thinking about while it cooks. Nonetheless, there are quite a lot of tips that we have listed. If you follow them diligently, you’ll know how to smoke beef brisket flawlessly every time.
- Always control the temperature: Avoid significant spikes and drops of the temperature. It’s all about temperature control and your understanding of the cooker; knowing kinds of stuff like where the hot spot and sweet spot is for meat placement.
- Use the right meat: Why does this matter? The cut and choosing the right variety absolutely need to be all perfect! Otherwise, it’s barely going to be a brisket. So, make sure to get the right cut, and in tune, don’t forget to check for the quality of the meat. Always avoid a dry brisket as it won’t have the richer final taste. The fresher, the better, the juicier your brisket will be
- Cook till fully done: You might have the question in mind “how long to smoke a brisket?” Know that brisket is something that you can never cook on time. That’s because it has got a lot of variables that are controlling its doneness. Consider your brisket is a bit bigger than others or you are facing trouble controlling the fire. In such cases, there’s no fixed time to smoke the brisket; you’ll need to cook until your satisfied with it.
- Always rest after cooking: Once you are done cooking the meat, you will need to rest it. When you rest the brisket, make sure to remove it from the smoker and wrap it in a foil. In this way, the muscle fiber relaxes and allows for moisture retention.
Do not skip the resting step of the meat and serve it piping hot. Even after you have smoked the brisket perfectly, the moisture retention method still cooks the meat very gently internally. This provides a much more tender result.
Which Wood Chips To Use When Smoking Brisket?
Briskets have quite a rich and meaty flavor for which it can hold up to the smoky flavor and much flavorful wood chips when you put it on its smoker. Typically, hickory and mesquite are some of the most popular smoking briskets of all, but you can also consider some light burning fruit woods such as cherry for a fantastic smoked brisket flavor. Usually, these are the most common wood chips when smoking briskets:
Many of you might think that storing briskets is not a good idea since you believe the taste of it is the most flavorful when it comes straight out of the cooker. To some extent, that’s not entirely true. You can store leftover briskets in a sealed container inside the refrigerator for about four days, without it spoiling at all.
Pieces of briskets that you won’t get your hands on to for at least a week should be taken apart and frozen separately in a freezer.
Freezing Leftover Briskets
Brisket is the kind of meat that you can quickly freeze and reheat easily with a little care.
For best results, you need to vacuum pack the briskets and save it in a sealed plastic bag with every inch of air removed. Add the brisket to a dry bag – do not dip it in the sauce – for easy thawing.
The reason why we advised you not to add sauce is that it will cause the frozen brisket to thump up that will make it defrost unevenly.
Once you plan on reheating the brisket, let it defrost in the fridge naturally for a day or so and then gently reheat in order to avoid draining the brisket. Normally, a quick pan-frying of the leftover briskets with a little bit of BBQ sauce would be great. Chomp it off lightly and toss it over a sandwich. Yum!
Now that we got the basics covered, let’s move on to a little extra info.
The bark is the flavorful crust that forms on the exterior of the brisket. In order to create the bark, you will need a foundation on what it can form and what’s essential is the coarseness of the pepper that is measured by “mesh”. Look for a sweet spot between a 10 – 16 mesh (the lower the number, the more coarse it is going to be).
The cooker that you are going to be using says a lot about creating a bark, and undoubtedly, the wood-fired offset is the king of bark. If you can get a bark, you will want to do everything to preserve it. Or you can even wrap it in porous butcher paper during the holding phase to keep the bark intact, instead of steaming it back to a mushy state if you wrap it in a foil.
The Foil Lowdown
There’s a limit to how much smoke the beef brisket can absorb, for which after a few hours, many grillers may actually choose to wrap the whole brisket in foil, known as the Texas Crutch. Wrapping it actually helps with the notorious brisket stall stage, but then it also effectively steams the brisket to doneness. This creates a little variable flavor profile often taking a roasted quality.
Injecting the Meat
You may have come across that many of you might inject the briskets before cooking it with anything like broth. Well, we would say that you don’t really need to inject the brisket.
A lot of you folks, having a BBQ competition might inject briskets to boost its flavor but know that it has become much like the standard; there’s nothing innovative about injecting the brisket. The brisket itself is one of the most flavorful cuts on the entire steer, and you don’t need to inject it to make it tastier.
If you are considering injecting the meat in order to retain or add moisture, you are actually not cooking it perfectly. You don’t need to inject to add moisture, all you need to do is fix your cooking methods, and you are good to go.
6 Tips on How to Smoke Brisket at Home Like a Pro
With great joy comes smoked meat. If you are new to the backyard barbecue game, then fret not, we are here with some of our pro tips to make the best-smoked beef brisket at home. Follow these tips, and we’re sure you wouldn’t face any problems.
- Make sure that the smoker is really hot
We cannot argue enough about how important it is for you to preheat your smoker for achieving the perfectly smoked brisket. If you neglect this step, it will have a critical effect on your results. It’s imperative to create a smoky environment for the meat to get the acrid taste of the brisket.
- Keep the rub easy and straightforward
We know how much you love that extra flavors and are willing to do anything for it. But emptying your spice rack in this way might not be the best idea. While cooking briskets, keep the flavors simple with salt, pepper, a touch of cayenne and a few other spices. Of course, feel free to experiment your own spice blends, but make sure not to overdo it.
- Touch is just as important as the temperature
You must have kept a thermometer handy to check and control the brisket’s temperature every now and then. That’s good enough. But touch is also crucial. Start feeling the briskets when they hit about 185 °F, and you will see that your briskets are neither undercooked nor overcooked.
- Rest the brisket before you slicing them
Don’t immediately jump off to slice the big hunk of meat once it’s out of the cooker. Wait till it cools down and retains all the moisture. Wrap your brisket in butcher paper if you need to hold it for a while. The butcher’s paper will effectively soak the grease of the brisket and form a protective layer that will help keep the bark from drying out.
- Don’t be scared of mistakes
If it’s your first-time cooking briskets and it doesn’t turn out to be quite perfect, there’s no reason to despair! Learn from the mistakes, and you will be a pro in no time. Besides, there are some mistakes that you can quickly fix. Too salty? Balance it out with some pepper and other spices or even with a squeeze of fresh lemon for a zesty hint.
- Practice, love and practice
No matter how many times you might have cooked briskets, each time you cook, there has got to be something different about it. Cooking brisket is pretty straightforward, but preparing a great brisket might be a little challenging. Pay attention to the heat, meat, smoke and placement and a thousand other small things, and you will do just fine.
So, Now Can I Cook a Brisket?
Simply put, of course, you can! If you have read and perceived all that we have mentioned above, by now, you will have a successful brisket cooking experience. We are sure you will be able to cook a respectable brisket and can furthermore, focus on creating your own signature methods.
At this point, you can start to fine-tune your crafts. It could be moving and turning the brisket while cooking, experimenting the foil method, wrapping it with peach paper before you finish cooking, exploring some differences in resting time and much more. Since you don’t need to trouble yourself too much with the amount of spice and the rub, mastering the technique ensures 90% of the work done.
Most importantly, continue to try new things. You will gain a lot of experience, and that’s the most valuable tool of all. Sometimes you will find that your brisket won’t turn out to be the way you expected it to and hey, that’s completely natural. Get yourself used to dealing with the perils of the weather and learn how you can differently smoke beef brisket during days of winter to summer. You might also become friends with your neighbors who keep poking their heads when they smell smoke.