How To Smoke A Brisket In An Electric Smoker: Everything You Need To Know

Are you looking to smoke a delicious, juicy smoked brisket for your friends and family but don’t have a traditional smoker? No problem. You can easily smoke a brisket in an electric smoker and have everyone thinking you’re a BBQ pro. 

If you are planning a barbecue party with your family in your backyard, then an electric smoker is an ideal option for you. Electric smokers are super convenient – just turn on the power button, add wood chips for flavor, and let it do the work for you. You’ll be slicing into a perfect brisket in no time.

All you need to get started is a good cut of brisket, your favorite spices or BBQ rub, wood chips for smoke, and an electric smoker. In a few simple steps, you’ll have a mouthwatering smoked brisket. What are you waiting for?

 It’s time to fire up that electric smoker, sit back with a cup of coffee and let the electric smoker do the rest of the work. In this blog, we have mentioned everything you need to know on how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker. So, let’s begin: 

 How to Select a High-Quality Brisket?

For the best results, you need to start off by choosing a high-quality brisket. The three prominent grades ranging from lower to higher are select, choice, and prime. You need to consider some factors before buying a brisket such as the amount of fat, floppiness and of course the size of the brisket. 

The size must be somewhere between 8 to 12 pounds especially when you are looking to feed a crowd. When it comes to choosing a brisket, most pit masters prefer a brisket that is heavily marbled for more flavor and tenderness. 

For the best bark and smoke ring, choose a packer brisket with the fat cap still attached. The fat will melt during smoking, penetrating the meat and making it deliciously juicy and tender. If the fat cap has been trimmed down to 1/4 inch or less, that’s still workable—you may need to spray it with oil to prevent it from drying out.

Untrimmed briskets often require some trimming before cooking. Use a sharp knife to trim off any dried, hard fat and any thin or loose areas of the meat. Try to leave as much fat as possible during trimming. The remaining fat will render down during the long, slow cooking, giving you a rich, flavorful result.

Season the brisket thoroughly on all sides with your favorite seasoning or rub at least 12 hours before smoking. An hour before putting the brisket in the smoker, dry it using paper towels. It will help the flavorful seasonings and spices stick to the meat better, resulting in a flavor-packed bark as it cooks.

How to Prepare a Brisket for Smoking? 

1. Trim Your Brisket

Now for the fun part—prepping your brisket! The key here is trimming off excess fat and seasoning the meat thoroughly.

Start by cutting away any loose pieces of fat on the surface. Use a sharp knife to trim the fat cap down to about 1/4 inch thickness. Don’t remove it entirely, as it will melt during cooking, and keep the brisket juicy.

Next, use your fingers to loosen the thick fat seam that runs lengthwise in the center of the brisket. Carefully cut it away, being sure not to cut into the meat. Remove any hard fat deposits as well.

2. Prepare Your Seasoning

 Prepare a simple rub with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Generously season the whole brisket, especially the thickest parts, and rub it into the meat with your hands. Allow the brisket to rest at room temp for 30-60 minutes so the flavors can penetrate.

For extra flavor, you can also inject the brisket with a flavorful marinade using a meat injector. The marinade will distribute throughout the brisket as it cooks, adding more moisture and taste.

Finally, lightly oil or spray your smoker racks and place the brisket fat side up. In an electric smoker, the heat source is below the brisket, so starting fat side up will allow the fat to melt into the meat. Flip the brisket only once during cooking.

With some trimming and a flavorful rub, your brisket is ready to start smoking low and slow. The patience will pay off—in about 10-12 hours you’ll have a deliciously smoky treat!

Setting Up Your Electric Smoker

To get your electric smoker set up, there are a few key steps to follow:

1.    Season the Smoker

Seasoning your new smoker helps eliminate manufacturing oils and residues to prepare it for cooking. Run it empty on high heat for 2-3 hours. Let it cool, and then wipe down the interior with cooking oil. Repeat this a couple of times before your first brisket.

2.    Soak the Wood Chunks

For the smoking purpose, you can use hickory, oaks, or mesquite wood chips. Soak your preferred wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Drain, and then fill the wood chip tray of your smoker. The soaked chips will produce smoke for a longer time. Replenish as needed to keep a steady stream of thin, blue smoke.

3.    Maintain a Consistent Temperature

Set your smoker to 225-250 F. This low, steady heat is key. An electric smoker with good insulation will hold the temperature well. Regularly monitor the internal temperature and make minor adjustments to the thermostat if needed.

4.    Add a Water Pan

A water pan in your smoker will help maintain humidity and temperature. Fill a disposable foil pan with water and place it below the grates, changing the water periodically as it evaporates. The water absorbs and distributes the heat, creating a moist cooking environment.

5.    Place the Brisket

Finally, place your seasoned brisket fat side up on the grates in your smoker. For best results, choose a packer brisket with a nice fat cap. The fat will melt into the meat as it cooks, keeping it juicy.

With some patience and monitoring, an electric smoker can produce a delicious smoked brisket. Maintaining the proper temperature, wood chips, and humidity will lead to succulent, flavorful results.

What Is The Right Temperature To Smoke a Brisket?

Maintaining the Right Temperature

The key to perfectly smoked brisket is maintaining a consistent temperature in your electric smoker. During the entire smoking, you need to maintain the temperature of your smoker somewhere between 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep the temperature lower, the brisket won’t cook. On the other hand, if you keep it higher, it can result in over-drying. 

  • Check on your brisket every 30-60 minutes and make adjustments to the temperature as needed.
  • Don’t open the smoker door frequently, only when checking the temperature. Each time you open the door, smoke and heat escape which can prolong your cooking time.
  • Make minor vent or chip adjustments to lower or raise the temperature. The vents control the airflow in the smoker which impacts the internal temp. Adding more chips will also increase the heat and smoke.
  • Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 F, it’s ready to come off. The meat should feel very tender when pierced with a fork.

Producing Smoke

Electric smokers use wood chips to produce smoke which infuses the meat with flavor. For brisket, mesquite, hickory, and oak chips work well.

  • Add a handful of chips to the chip tray every 30-45 minutes to keep a steady flow of thin, blue smoke in the smoker.
  • Don’t over-smoke the brisket or it can become bitter. Thin smoke is better than thick, billowing smoke.
  • Soak the chips in water for 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker. Soaked chips will smolder longer, producing more smoke.
  • If at any point the brisket is getting too smoky, open the vents or door slightly to release some of the smoke before it becomes overpowering. You can then reduce the number of chips for the next addition.

With some practice, you’ll be producing perfectly smoked and tender briskets in no time. The key is finding the right balance of temperature, smoke, and patience. Low and slow, that’s the tempo!

Determine The Tenderness of Your Brisket- When its done

Check for Tenderness

The only way to make sure your brisket is ready to come off the smoker is to check if it’s tender enough. For this, you can use a meat probe to insert into the thickest part of the flat muscle. When the probe slides in and comes out of the meat very easily then you are good to go with your brisket. 

As a rule of thumb, probe for tenderness once the brisket reaches 195-205°F internally. At this stage, the collagen in the meat has broken down enough to make the brisket deliciously soft and supple. Be very careful while probing the meat, as the juices will be extremely hot! The probe should have absolutely no resistance going into the thickest part of the flat.

Don’t rely solely on temperature alone. Brisket can continue becoming tenderer the longer it smokes, even after reaching the target temp. Keep probing every 30 minutes or so after 195°F to check how it’s progressing. You’re looking for that sweet spot where the brisket has maximum tenderness but still maintains its shape.

It’s always a good idea to start probing for tenderness earlier on, around 185°F, so you know how much more time the brisket may need to reach the level of softness you want. As it smokes, the brisket’s texture will transform from firm to spoon-tender. Be patient – it can take 8-12 hours for a full-packer brisket to become fully tenderized in an electric smoker.

When it comes to smoking a brisket, low and slow cooking at a consistent temperature is the key. Rushing the process won’t produce the same mouthwatering results. Your patience will be rewarded with a juicy, fall-apart tender brisket. Keep calm and smoke on!

Final Thoughts

In this blog, we have gathered everything you need to know on how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker. All you need to do is to fire up a smoker, add some wood chips, place your brisket, sit back, and let it rest for hours. When it comes to smoking a brisket, you need to be a little more patient. Low and slow cooking is the key to making a flavor-packed and tender brisket. Your patience is going to pay off in the end and it will be a rewarding experience for sure.

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