This smoked beef brisket recipe is seasoned with an easy three spice dry rub. So, bring out your electric smoker and let it do all the work for you!
What Is Smoked Brisket?
Brisket is a hefty piece of meat taken from the breast of the cow. It’s one of the best cuts to smoke because of how well it responds to steady, low heat. In this smoked brisket recipe, “smoking” refers to a method of cooking meat over a fire, where the wood chips (and corresponding smoke) impart a delicious flavor deep into the meat. The slow smoking process will make your brisket melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Electric Smoker vs Charcoal Smoker
An electric smoker is a cooking device that uses electricity to heat up the wood chips and produce the smoke. Electric smokers are easy and convenient to use — all you do is set the temperature and load it with the wood chips of your liking. Unlike charcoal smokers, electric smokers maintain a steady temperature throughout the entire smoking process. This allows you to “set it and forget it”.
How to Smoke a Brisket in an Electric Smoker
All it takes to make this electric smoker brisket is four ingredients and a smoker. The total time may be 12 hours, but the prep time is only 20 minutes! Can you believe brisket is this easy?
- Trim, season, & marinate the brisket: Using a sharp knife, trim off any excess fat on the brisket and remove the silver skin. Mix the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder rub and pat it on all sides of the brisket. Allow the brisket to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prep the smoker: Prep the smoker by adding wood chips and preheating it to 225°F. Place the brisket fat side down into the smoker and close the lid. Smoke the meat until the internal temp of the brisket reaches 165°F (around 6-8 hours).
- Wrap the brisket: After the brisket reaches 165°F, wrap the meat in a large piece of butcher paper. This is also known as a method called “Texas crutch.” Place the wrapped brisket back on the smoker for an additional 6-8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F.
- Let the brisket rest: After the brisket is done, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for an hour before serving. Slice it on a large cutting board and chow down!
Hot tip: The general rule is that it takes one hour per pound at 225°F for brisket to fully cook. For more accuracy, invest in a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Brisket is done when the internal temperature reaches 195°F in the thickest part of the brisket.
Tips for Making the Best Smoked Beef Brisket
Below, find a collection of tips and tricks to help you smoke the best beef brisket.
- Purchase a good brisket cut: For the best taste, use prime grade beef for its intense marbling.
- Trim the brisket: Before smoking the brisket, trim off the “fat cap” and any excess fat and remove the silver skin. This makes the smoked brisket more tender and it allows the rub to penetrate deeper into the meat.
- Season generously: Pat down every side and crevice of the brisket with the spices before smoking. Brisket is a big chunk of meat that needs a generous amount of seasoning. For even more flavor, use onion powder, too!
- Wrap the brisket halfway through cooking: Wrap the brisket halfway through the smoking process to retain the moisture and protect it from direct heat. This also helps get past the “stall” which is when the internal temp seems to “stall” and not rise much. Peach butcher paper or aluminum foil are good wraps to use.
- Allow the brisket to rest: The brisket should rest for at least one hour before serving in order to lock in the moisture and juices.
- Slice against the grain: When cutting the brisket, slice against the muscle fibers instead of with them. This creates slices that are easier to chew and more tender.
Hot tip: Upon cutting into your smoked brisket, you may or may not notice a thin, pink ring just inside the outer crust (or bark). Don’t freak out — this is not undercooked meat! The ring is a completely normal natural reaction that sometimes occurs during the smoking process.
The Best Wood Chips for Smoked Beef Brisket
The flavor of your smoked brisket depends partially on the type of wood chips used. Here are our favorite types to use for smoked beef brisket. Feel free to use one or use a combination of chips!
- Cherry: For a fruity note, use cherrywood chips.
- Mesquite: If you love an extra-smoky, classic flavor, go with mesquite wood chips.
- Hickory: For a milder, but still smoky taste, hickory is the way to go.
- Pecan: Pecan wood chips add a uniquely sweet and nutty flavor (perfect in fall!).
Serving Smoked Beef Brisket
Beef brisket is the ultimate protein main dish to any meal. Serve it by itself with a few other sides, or make it into a delicious sandwich! We love to have a side or two of veggie options like this 5 minute asparagus or this Ukrainian purple cabbage salad. For a slightly pickle-y taste, make these quick pickled cucumbers. You can never go wrong with heartier sides like loaded potato skins or scalloped potatoes, either!
Storing & Reheating Brisket
Why make only one meals worth of brisket when it’s so easy to store and reheat it for a few other meals, too?! Here are our tips on how to best store and reheat your leftover brisket.
- Refrigerator: To store leftovers for up to a week, place them into an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: To store for up to three months, freeze the brisket in layers. Lay the slices in a single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then freeze for 2-3 hours or until the slices are fully frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to enjoy again.
- Reheating: For best results, reheat the brisket covered in the oven at 325°F along with a ½ cup of beef broth to keep the brisket moist. For a quicker reheat, use the microwave.
How long does it take to smoke brisket?
It takes anywhere from 12-16 hours to smoke a 12 pound brisket. The general rule is an hour per pound at 225°F.
How do you keep brisket moist and tender when smoking?
Keep the brisket moist and tender by cooking it low and slow. Additionally, wrap the meat in butcher paper halfway through to decrease the amount of direct heat on the brisket as well as create a “steaming” effect.
Why is my smoked brisket dry?
Smoked brisket may turn out dry if it didn’t marinate overnight or if it was cooked at too high a temperature.
Can the 3-2-1 rule be used for brisket?
The 3-2-1 rule is a traditional technique of smoking ribs that involves cooking the meat first unwrapped, then wrapped for a few hours, and finally unwrapped at a slightly higher temperature. It is usually not recommended to try this exact method with brisket.
More Smoky Entrees
- Smoked Turkey — Brined whole turkey made in the smoker
- Smoked Oysters — Spicy and buttery oysters made over a charcoal fire
- Cedar Plank Salmon — Light lemon and garlic flavor made even better with mild smokiness
- Trim any excess fat off the brisket and remove the silver skin.
- To create a rub for the brisket, combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Using your hands, rub all sides of the brisket generously. Allow brisket to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Add wood chips or chunks to the smoker. Preheat the smoker grill to 225°F and place the brisket inside.
- Close the lid and let it smoke until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 165°F (approximately 6-8 hours).
- Wrap the brisket into a large piece of butcher paper and place it back on the smoker. Continue smoking for about 6 more hours, or until the internal brisket temperature reaches 195°F.
- Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest for about an hour before serving.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!