Whether you’re hosting a graduation party or a baby shower, a well-cooked brisket can amp up your BBQ game easily. But, while many fail to achieve that perfect crisp, only seasoned BBQ lovers know that “low and slow” is the key to cooking a brisket.
The unique thing about smoking a brisket is that you can’t do it with any special smoked brisket recipe. Instead, you need to follow a whole set of instructions to bring out all the juicy flavors of your meat.
Plus, you can’t do tests and trials with a brisket; a little slip on any step and your flavorful and juicy brisket might turn into a tasteless piece of meat.
However, if you opt for good wood pellets, your brisket will surely turn out to be irresistible and rich in flavors.
Here are some steps you should follow to smoke the perfect brisket before taking charge of your party’s BBQ services.
Choosing the Ideal Beef Cut
When you go shopping for the brisket, you will find it in different types, cuts, and quality.
So how to know which one is better than the rest?
As brisket comes from cows, it is divided into two types of muscles – the flat and the point. Typically, it’s better to go for the whole brisket pack, having both muscles. That’s because if you buy and smoke only a single part, you will miss the full and natural flavor of the meat.
Comparatively, a whole pack will give you a robust flavor.
Moreover, always buy the beef 2-4 pounds more than the actual weight you’re trying to smoke. That’s because trimming the fat reduces two pounds of the meat already, and then smoking steals the other two pounds afterward.
Now comes the quality of the meat. The key is to examine the marbling on the meat closely. The quality grades come as:
- Select: being the lowest
- Choice: being the mediocre
- Prime: being the highest
If you want to buy the best cut of beef to smoke, go for the select or prime ones.
Trimming the Brisket
This is the step where you turn your brisket into an aesthetic sight. Trimming helps you eliminate all unnecessary edges and the hard fat that might become an obstacle for your juicy marination.
Here is how you can trim the brisket like a pro:
- Begin with a refrigerated brisket with the fat cap facing you, and remove any extra moisture from the area with a paper towel.
- Now start trimming with a sharp knife, preferably a 14-inch one, till you get an even 1/4-inch layer.
- Flip over the brisket and get rid of all unattractive fat and skin from the surface.
- Lastly, remove the huge chunk of hard fat that connects the brisket’s flat and point muscles.
How to Smoke a Beef Brisket Rich in Flavors?
Using different mixes of rubs on your brisket brings out the right flavors. So rub it generously and give it some time to set and absorb in the meat. Then, wrap it up and refrigerate for 12-24 hrs.
Also, you can season the brisket in various ways, and using injections is the most common method out of all. Even if you’re a beginner, you can easily ensure the taste and juiciness of your meat by inserting flavors in it with the injection.
But how to smoke a brisket without injecting flavors into it? Simply, you can just marinate it with the spices of your choice.
What is the Best Way to Smoke a Brisket?
Fat side up or down? Well, that’s the most heated argument every BBQ lover has been a part of. If you’re skeptical about it too, we would suggest you go for the latter.
That’s because if you keep the fat side up, the fat will melt and drip down from the cap, taking all the seasoning with it. Plus, your brisket will look more presentable if you keep the fat side down.
It will also prevent bark formation on the presenting side of the meat.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Brisket?
The art of cooking the best brisket narrows down to two things, the ideal texture and the flavor. And to be the maestro of this art, you have to look after your brisket during the entire smoking process.
So the first question popping up in your mind would be ‘how long to smoke a brisket?’, followed by ‘what temp to smoke brisket?’.
Well, actually, you can’t work on any standard technique since every cow has different kinds of meat.
That’s why cooking times may vary from 8-16 hours, according to the size, temperature, and grade of your brisket.
However, you can implement a general rule of thumb and decide your cooking time between 30-60 minutes each pound.
For instance, a 16 lbs brisket cooking at 270°F typically takes 10-12 hrs. The overall process, starting from trimming to cooking, will take around 18-20 hrs.
Thus, you can adjust your cooking time, depending on the weight of the brisket.
How to Smoke a Brisket on a Pellet Grill?
Using a good pellet grill is the most flavorful and easiest way to smoke a brisket. It not only keeps the temperature steady but also facilitates you with lots of up-to-date features.
Plus, you can even infuse different smoke flavors, like oak, apple, or maple, to the grilling of your brisket for the additional splash of taste.
Here is how you can smoke a brisket on a pellet grill.
- Trim, marinate, season, and coat your brisket with rub as per your preference. Now, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for 12-24 hrs.
- Next, preheat your pellet grill to 225°F with a closed lid for 15 mins.
- Now it’s time to place the brisket on the grill. Keep the fat side down and smoke until the internal temperature becomes 160°F (usually takes 6 hrs).
- After that, take the brisket and wrap it in multiple layers of foil.
- Place the wrapped brisket again on the grill and cook it until the internal temperature hits 200°F (may take 3-4 hrs).
- Lastly, remove the brisket and let it rest for at least 60 mins. Now, cut it into perfect slices and enjoy!
How to Smoke a Brisket in an Electric Smoker?
One of the biggest downsides of an electric smoker is its relatively narrower temperature range than the pellet grill. But despite that, you can easily achieve a temperature of around 270°F in a quality electric smoker, with the meat being flavorful.
You can follow these steps to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker easily.
- After the preparation of your brisket, preheat your smoker to 225°F.
- Carefully transfer the brisket to the smoker with the fat side down, especially if the heat source is from the bottom.
- Place a water pan in the smoker to lock the moisture in the smoker’s chamber.
- Now, close the smoker door properly, and keep it shut for 3 hrs.
- After 3 hrs, open the door and spray the brisket with water or beef stock. It will make the meat more tender and delicious.
- You can respray every 30 mins until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 190°F.
- Your brisket is now cooked!
- Remove it from the smoker and let it rest for a good 10-30 mins before you slice it down.
How to Smoke a Brisket on a Charcoal Grill?
Charcoal grills are the best ways to attain the perfect smokey flavor through good-quality charcoal.
If you prefer charcoal grills over anything, we recommend you add a handful of soaked wood chips (hickory or mesquite) on the top of the coal.
After that, follow these steps:
- Preheat your charcoal grill to 225°F, while preparing the brisket on the other side.
- Place the brisket on the grill and keep the lid covered.
- Remember to put a drip pan filled with water underneath the meat to keep the temperature stabilized.
- Watch the temperature every hour and make sure that it stays near 225°F.
- Once the brisket’s internal temperature reaches 150°F, add ½ cup of apple juice to it (optional) and then wrap it with two layers of foil.
- Now, cook it again at 225°F until it looks done.
- Let it rest for some minutes, and then cut it down.
How to Slice the Brisket Properly?
Either you smoke your brisket on a pellet grill, electric smoker, or a charcoal grill, you have to leave the meat at rest for 1-3 hrs before slicing it down. It keeps all the flavors and the juices of the brisket intact in every part.
The ideal method is to cut against the grain to get that perfect texture and tenderness in the mouth. Otherwise, it will turn out to be rubbery or chewy.
You should slice the point into ¼-inch pieces.
Most importantly, the point’s grain of the brisket is present in a different direction than the flat’s grain. So keep that in mind while cutting your perfectly-smoked brisket.
How To Make Smoked Brisket Made Easy for Beginners
How To Make Texas Smoked Brisket Properly
When you’re cooking to serve guests, the quality, tenderness, and flavor of your brisket all matter a lot. Consider this as your lucky day, as this detailed guide is going to save you big-time from now on.
Of course, if you cook a good amount of brisket, you will definitely have leftovers. The good thing is you can easily reheat your brisket and enjoy the same taste the next day as well!
Just cook the leftover brisket in its juices (or add some other flavors) till the temperature reaches 140°F. Then, remove it from the grill, and it will smell and taste like it’s just freshly smoked.