How to Cook Beef Brisket on a Pellet Smoker

How to Cook Beef Brisket on a Pellet Smoker
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Beef brisket is one of the meats that reigns supreme in the barbeque world. It is one of the most famously smoked meats in any barbeque competition, and most barbeque restaurants pride their entire reputation on their ability to smoke a beef brisket.

Beef brisket is also one of the toughest cuts of meat out there and needs to be smoked a long time to become tender and juicy. But knowing how to cook beef brisket on a pellet smoker will aide you in creating the best brisket around.

It can even cut down the amount of time needed to cook the beef and create less work in the long run. In this article, we will teach you how to cook beef brisket on a pellet smoker correctly and show you some tips and tricks along the way.

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Getting Started

Before starting the prepping and smoking process, you will want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row, and everything is ready to go. You don’t want to run into any problems like needing an ingredient or wood in the middle of the process, leading to a bad end product. So, make a checklist of all the equipment you need to get started.

This will be some essential equipment you need to get started with the smoker. A meat thermometer will be needed in addition to the thermometer used to check the smoker’s temperature. The bucket of water is in case of accidents or raging fires, and the spray bottle is to keep the brisket moist while it cooks as well as control some of the flames if needed.

You will want to choose a type of wood pellet that will benefit the beef brisket the most. Since beef brisket is a bold type of meat, it needs a strong and bold flavored wood to accompany it. Woods, like hickory and mesquite, are going to be the best choices.

If you want to add some other flavors, you can always mix some of the pellets with different types like fruitwoods. Apple and cherry will work well, or nut woods like pecan work well with mesquite and hickory.

Do you have an electric smoker? Check out our article How to Smoke a Brisket in a Masterbuilt Smoker.

Preparation

When you choose the beef brisket from the store, if the whole brisket is available, you want to spring for that. Most of the cuts will be pre-trimmed, but if you get one untrimmed, you will want to make sure to remove the fat cap from the top of the brisket.

This will help speed up the cooking process and allow the beef brisket to cook evenly. A great tip is not to remove all the fat as you want to leave a ¼ inch to keep the meat moist. Some stores will only sell brisket in pieces, the flat or the point. If possible, you want to avoid buying pieces.

Once you have acquired the beef brisket and trimmed it down, you will want to season it. It is best to go with a dry rub over a wet rub. A wet rub or marinade is better to use on pork products. Beef brisket will benefit better from a dry rub.

Most dry rubs used to season brisket are very simple and don’t need to be over-complicated like most other rubs for pork products and chicken. Many people like to use salt and pepper only, but you can go a little further to give it an extra punch.

  1. ¼ cup kosher salt
  2. ¼ cup coarse ground black pepper
  3. 5 tbsp. Garlic Granules
  4. 3 tbsp. Onion powder
  5. 2 tbsp. smoked paprika

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Depending on how big your brisket is, you can multiply the recipe to make sure you have enough. Rub the seasoning all over the beef brisket, starting with the sides. Make sure to get in all the cracks and crevasses and rub the seasoning into the meat to tenderize it. Place the seasoned beef brisket on a sheet pan until you are ready to place it in the smoker.

The Smoking Process

Get the smoker ready and filled with wood pellets. Turn on the pellet smoker and raise the temperature to 225 degrees. Place the seasoned beef brisket in the smoker, fat side down, or at least where you trimmed it from. Close the smoker and begin the smoke.

You will want to smoke the brisket for at least 8 hours to start. During the smoking process, you can keep checking the meat’s internal temperature if you like, but it is not necessary at this point. You can use a spray bottle and give the beef brisket a spritz every once in a while. You can fill your spray bottle with any marinade you like.

Most people use water with a little mixture of the rub seasoning. Make sure to maintain the pellet smoker at a temperature of 225 degrees during the first smoking process and keep the hopper full of pellets.

After 8 hours, remove the beef brisket from the pellet smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil completely. Some people like to use pink butcher paper if it is available to them. Using butcher paper will seal in the juices while allowing the smoky flavor to continue to penetrate the meat.  

Aluminum foil will be just fine to use, though as long as the beef brisket is completely covered and wrapped tightly, letting no moisture room to escape. Place the wrapped beef brisket back in the pellet smoker and raise the temperature to 275 degrees.

If you have a probe thermometer, place it in the beef brisket at this time so you can monitor the internal temperature of the brisket. If not, you will have to open the smoker every so often to check the brisket’s internal temperature.

Continue to smoke the beef brisket until the internal temperature of the point of the brisket reaches 205 degrees. Once finished, remove from the smoker and rest for 30 minutes, wrapped in the foil or paper. When ready to serve, unwrap the brisket and slice against the grain.

If you do not cut against the grain, the meat will become somewhat stringy and, in some cases, hard to chew.

Tips and Tricks

  • Most people use aluminum foil to wrap their beef brisket in for the cooking process’s last leg. But you can use pink butcher paper instead of aluminum foil if you prefer. Sometimes the aluminum foil can overcook the brisket and give a metallic taste to the already finished bark surface.
  • There are two sections to the brisket, the point and the flat. The flat section cut across the section into strips. The Point section is thicker, and the grain runs across the section, so it will need to be cut lengthwise. Some barbeque restaurants like to take the point.
  • When placing your brisket on your smoker always place the point end toward the hottest area of your smoker. The flat tends to dry out faster in the higher heat.
  • It is best to allow your brisket to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, wrapped in butcher paper or aluminum foil to slow down the cooking process and will enable the meat to retain all of its juices, so it doesn’t dry out once you start to slice it up.
  • When resting your brisket, a dry, empty cooler make an excellent place for your rest, and if you plan for a long rest, you can place it in a 175-degree oven.

Do you have leftover brisket? Check out our 7 Incredible Brisket Recipes.

Conclusion

How to Cook Beef Brisket on a Pellet Smoker is simple as long as you have the time to devote. Don’t forget our tips and tricks to help you take your brisket to the next level on your pellet smoker.

We hope that the details we provided help guide you on the path to making the holy grail of barbeque.

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FAQ

What temperature should beef brisket be smoked at to reach the fall apart status?

Most smokers will need to run between 265 and 275 degrees for 10 to 12 hours. Brisket should be cooked to an internal temperature of 205 degrees to be properly smoked.

Can the process of smoking brisket be fast cooked?

Brisket is going to benefit from a low and slow process and really should not be rushed. You may try it, but you will not end up with the same product as you did when you took your time and did it correctly.

Can you overcook beef brisket?

Yes. Even though beef brisket takes a long time to cook, cooking it too long or at high temperatures could result in a very dry and tough end product like beef jerky.