Beef Brisket – Smoked

Smoked Beef Brisket

One of my favorites is smoked beef brisket.  I love to eat and cook this fine piece of meat.

Find a good brisket and cut most of the fat off leaving about 1/4 inch on the fat cap side and less than that on the other.  If you have a whole brisket, you must remove the point to accomplish this.  The point, or “burnt end”, part of the brisket is removed in this recipe because that is for another time.  I always remove the point portion from the flat but both are smoked together.  There is another recipe for the point, we will discuss it later.

Apply a good rub on your brisket, wrap it in clear wrap, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will allow the seasoning to work into the meat. You don’t need a fancy rub just a bit of salt and pepper and maybe a little garlic powder will work fine.  I will let the secret out of the bag, I never add rub to my brisket, and my customers love it.  I think it’s best to keep it simple and find out what you like best.

It’s best to allow the brisket to rest at room temperature prior to cooking.  While your brisket sits out, start your fire and/or get your smoker ready.  Looking for a temperature around 230-250° F, put the brisket in the smoker, fat side up or fat side down doesn’t much matter.

Always check the temperature of the smoked brisket in the FLAT, not the point. The point will usually become tender before the flat, it’s thinner! Don’t be fooled by checking the wrong end!

Every hour or so I like to spray the brisket with apple juice.  Apple juice and wine or my favorite marinade.  Here again, if you don’t spray it with anything don’t worry, it will turn out ok.  You decide what you like best as your marinade or spray.

Smoke the brisket until it has a golden to dark brown outer color or bark.  Once the desired color has been reached, take the brisket out and place in the appropriately sized aluminum pan, add a little water and cover with foil.  Add back to the heat and watch the temperature closely, perhaps probe the thick part of the meat.  When temp. reaches around 200°, pull off heat and set brisket uncovered or tented for 20-30 minutes.

I like brisket cooked to around  200° F.  Anywhere from 185° – 205° F depending on your taste and future use of the brisket.

When holding a slice of smoked brisket in your hand it should pull apart with a slight tug.  That’s really good brisket! The guideline for brisket is about 1-1/2 hours per pound at 225°-250° F, but that is only a guide.

The Smoking Plateau  – after many hours of smoking the brisket it has reached a temperature of around 151ºF and gets stuck at that temperature – sometimes for hours on end.  This is normal for briskets and butts so don’t worry. Just wait it out – don’t change anything!   The heat is slowly breaking down the tough connective tissues in the meat and making it tender and delicious! I’ve seen briskets stick at this temperature or slightly higher for up to 4 hours without change!

About plastic wrap – I don’t like to use Saran Wrap it has a strong odor. I buy the restaurant grade plastic wrap it has no odor and comes in long, wide rolls of 3,000 feet. It’ll seal your smoked meats so none of the juices can escape! These plastic wraps will take temperatures up to 250ºF without melting but they will shrink around the meat holding in moisture.  Like I said before, I usually use the pan and foil method but this is another great way to cover your brisket and hold in that moisture.

Next, leave it in the plastic wrap and foil and let it rest wrapped in towels in a cooler for a few hours. This really makes it juicy and tender. Many purists object to this procedure. After an hour or so you will have much more meat juice, “au jus” to add to your dipping sauce or just pour over the slices before serving!


Enjoy one of the finest cuts of beef available – beef brisket.

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