So you’ve decided to tackle the beast that is smoking a brisket. Good for you for going after one of the more challenging cuts to perfect. When trimming, try to trim as uniform as possible, to get that nice and even smoke ring, and this helps a more accurate temperature read.
Before we get into temperature and smoke times, lets discuss dry rub. First, I start with a small line of mustard down the middle of the brisket. Rub it evenly around the brisket, so it is only a nice thin layer of mustard. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste it. The mustard simply acts as a binder, helping the dry rub stick to the meat, and helps in building a nice bark.
To get that thick black bark, I use only salt and pepper as a rub, and LOTS OF IT.(Code 3 spices also makes some great rubs that go delicious on a brisket). Be very generous when applying the rub. After applying the dry rub, and before starting the smoker, we need to think about what were going to use to baste the brisket while its on the smoker. I like using a spray bottle. It makes applying the baste sauce a little easier and cleaner. I use about 2 cups apple cider vinegar, and 2-3 cups lager (I usually go for Canadian or Heineken), and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a nice stir in the bottle to get it nice and mixed evenly throughout.
Now that we have taken care of the rub and the baste sauce, we can focus on the time and temperature. Brisket takes about an hour and fifteen minutes per pound. I like smoking with Hickory wood, but Oak, Cherry, or Mesquite make great options for smoking a brisket as well.
The key to a perfectly cooked, juicy brisket is 3 words; Low And Slow. Try and keep your smoker between 225-250 degrees. I tend to keep it closer to 250 but once wrapped, I lower it to 225. Smoke until the brisket hits an internal temperature of 165, basting every 45 minutes-one hour. The photo below is from my last smoke. The brisket featured is about 7 pounds, and had been on the smoker for 5 hours at this point. At this point, the brisket had been basted thoroughly about 6 times.
Once it hits 165, pull it out, double wrap it in tinfoil, and stick it back on the smoker until it hits an internal temperature of 195 degrees. At this point, it is time to pull the brisket off the smoker, and let it rest for an hour. I like to open up the tin foil at the top, so some heat is trapped keeping the brisket warm, but enough is released stopping the brisket from cooking more than another few degrees while resting.
After you have let it rest an hour, slice against the grain, about a pencil width thick. Enjoy your delicious brisket! Check out the photos below after letting it rest, and unwrapping the foil! I know the second photo looks a little yellow around the rub- I experimented a little bit by adding a little more mustard than I usually would, and added some grain mustard for added texture. Turned out great!