Brisket is a cut that needs to be cooked just so. It’s not difficult but the correct process and tools need to be used to get the best results. The brisket is one of nine primal cuts of beef. It is cut from the pectoral muscles that contain a significant amount of connective tissue which requires extensive cooking to properly tenderize the meat. Brisket used to be a cheap cut of meat but has become quite popular (and expensive) now that people have not only figured out how to cook it properly but also because when cooked properly it is incredibly delicious.
How To Smoke Brisket
Cooking in a smoker low and slow is the best approach when dealing with tough cuts like brisket. The extended time cooking allows the tough meat to break down and become incredibly tender. Expect smoking a brisket to be an all day affair. There are 3 main phases to cooking a brisket: Smoking, Wrapping, and Resting.
Unless you’re a seasoned professional, which you likely aren’t if you’re reading this article, the hands down easiest way to smoke a brisket is with a pellet smoker. Pellet smokers are surprisingly advanced pieces of hardware for smoking. Many are extremely expensive but some truly awesome ones are down right cheap. The Green Mountain Grills – Davey Crocket for instance is an incredible smoker for just a few hundred dollars and can be easily stored out of the way when not in use. It’s ideal for tailgating or smoking in the backyard so don’t think it’s a one trick pony you’d only use for smoking brisket. Pellet smokers are designed to maintain a consistent temperature which is what you need to slow cook. It uses an auger to slowly feed wood pellets into the combustion chamber via a controller that monitors the temperature. Most pellet smokers come with a temperature probe that will allow you to precisely monitor the internal temperature of the meat. When smoking brisket you aren’t cooking for a set amount of time. You’re cooking to reach a specific temperature at the thickest point of the meat, which is where you’ll insert the temperature probe.
Set your pellet smoker to 225 degrees and be sure the temperature probe is inserted in the thickest part of the brisket. Sit back and wait for the internal temperature to hit 165 degrees. Be prepared that just before hitting 165 the temperature will stall its rise due to juices working their way to the surface of the meat and cooling it down. The entire process will take 8 hours or so if your brisket is about 12 pounds. This time will obviously vary depending on the size of your brisket. Once your brisket has hit the 165 degree mark it’s time to move on to the next phase.
Once your brisket has hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees it’s time to wrap that rascal. Pull out your brisket and wrap it with pink butcher paper. Some people use aluminum foil but pink butcher paper is far more effective at producing a pleasing flavor. This step is crucial for ensuring the brisket stays moist and doesn’t dry out. It will also help produce the most pleasing exterior bark. Place it back in your pellet grill with the temperature still set at 225. Be sure your temperature probe has been returned to the thickest part of the meat. You’ll continue cooking the brisket until it reaches a temperature of 202 inside the thickest point. Expect this second phase to take almost as long as the first. It will vary so be prepared to keep an eye on the temperature. This is where a good pellet grill comes in very handy. The GMG – Davy Crockett for instance has an app you can install on your phone and set it up to notify you when your brisket hits the desired 202 degree internal temperature. How awesome is that? If you’re not using a pellet grill with a temperature probe you’ll want to periodically check the temperature with an accurate thermometer probe like the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo. We’ve reviewed some of the best probes on the market and found it to be the best option although some more and less expensive options that are almost as good are available.
The last and easiest step can also be the most difficult if you’re impatient. Take your brisket out of your smoker and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. This gives the brisket time to reabsorb the natural juices back into the meat evenly to prevent the meat drying out. Cutting into it too early will cause too much of the juices to run out and ruin all of the time and effort you’ve just put into making the perfect brisket.
Summary: How To Smoke A Brisket In An Electric Smoker
Using an electric pellet smoker is by far the best and easiest way to smoke a brisket. Most good pellet grills such as the Green Mountain Grills – Davy Crocket are ideal for smoking brisket. The key is cooking consistently and knowing the internal temperature of the meat. Both of these tasks are ideal for most pellet smokers since they are specifically designed to maintain a consistent temperature as well as alert you via your phone when the exact temperature has been reached. Combine a pellet grill with the proper steps to make a good brisket and you have a solid method for producing perfect brisket consistently. Good luck and happy cooking.