How to Cook a Beef Brisket in an Electric Smoker: A Step-by-Step Guide for Tender, Juicy BBQ

As a backyard barbecue enthusiast, I’m always looking for new challenges to test my skills And smoking a beef brisket in an electric smoker is right at the top of any pitmaster’s bucket list! Getting brisket cooked just right – with a crispy bark on the outside and moist, tender meat inside – takes some finesse But have no fear – this step-by-step guide will walk you through exactly how to cook perfect brisket in an electric smoker.

Why Cook Brisket in an Electric Smoker?

Electric smokers provide a consistent, even heat that’s ideal for low and slow barbecue. Maintaining a steady 225°F for 8-12 hours is effortless with an electric model, unlike unpredictable charcoal or wood smokers. The enclosed design traps smoke and moisture for finger-licking brisket without constant monitoring.

While purists may prefer stick burners, electric smokers deliver competition-worthy brisket with much less hassle. You get the same smoky flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture with a set-it-and-forget-it smoker. I’ll take juicy, tender brisket with only the press of a button any day!

Step 1: Choose the Right Brisket

When selecting a brisket, you want lots of marbling – those streaks of fat running through the meat. The more marbling the more moist and tender the finished brisket. Look for a nice thick fat cap on top as well. Around 1/4-1/2 inch is ideal.

Shoot for a full packer brisket around 10-12 lbs. Try to find USDA Choice grade or higher. Prime has beautiful marbling if you can get it. Grass-fed can work but tends to be leaner

Inspect the brisket and make sure the fat cap is still intact. You want that fat to baste the meat while it cooks. An untrimmed full brisket has the flat (or first cut) and point (second cut) still connected.

Step 2: Prep the Brisket

Before cooking, trim off any dried or hard fat around the edges. Leave that thick fat cap in place though! It melts down during smoking.

If needed, score the fat cap by cutting slits across it. This helps the rub penetrate deeper. Apply a generous coat of dry rub all over the brisket, getting into every nook and cranny.

Refrigerate uncovered overnight – this “dry brines” the meat for extra flavor and tenderness. Pat dry right before smoking to help form the coveted bark.

Step 3: Preheat the Electric Smoker

Assemble your smoker according to the manual and preheat to 225°F using your preferred wood chips – I like hickory. Allow at least 30 minutes warmup time so the temperature stabilizes.

Add a drip pan filled with water to the smoker to provide moisture. This helps regulate temps and prevent drying out.

Step 4: Smoke the Brisket

Place the seasoned brisket fat-side up on the middle rack, allowing for ample airflow underneath. Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the flat, keeping the probe tip centered.

Close the smoker and don’t peek for at least 3 hours! Every time you open it, heat and smoke escapes. Let it do its thing undisturbed early on.

After a few hours, start checking periodically until the brisket hits 160°F internal. This takes about 1-1.5 hours per pound, so 8-12 hours for a full packer brisket is common.

Step 5: Get Through the Stall

Around 155-165°F, be ready for the dreaded smoker stall. Evaporative cooling causes the temp to plateau as moisture releases from the meat.

Power through the stall by wrapping tightly in butcher paper or foil when it hits 165°F. This steam-cooks it past the stall quickly.

Step 6: Finish Strong

Continue cooking until the brisket reaches 203°F, checking often near the end. When done, it should feel buttery soft when poked. The probe should slide in with little resistance.

Remove brisket from the smoker and let rest 30-60 minutes wrapped up. This allows juices to redistribute and makes slicing easier. Slice against the grain and serve!

Electric Smoker Brisket Tips & Tricks

Beyond the basic steps, these tips will take your brisket game to the next level:

  • Apply a 50/50 mix of salt and pepper or use a savory brisket rub. Simple is best!

  • Spritz with apple juice or beef broth hourly after the stall. This moistens the crust.

  • Wrap in paper at 165°F, then foil at 185°F to power through stalls.

  • Use a water pan and refresh water halfway through smoking.

  • Cook until probe tender and slides in like butter around 203°F.

  • Rest well before slicing – at least 30 minutes, up to 1-2 hours.

  • Slice against the grain on an angle for tender cuts.

  • Chop up the point for burnt ends! These crispy morsels are the best part.

  • Save the fatty trimmings to make tallow for amazing brisket cornbread.

Troubleshooting Issues

Smoking brisket can definitely go wrong if you’re not careful. Here are some common problems and how to prevent them:

Problem: Brisket comes out dry and tough.

Solution: Let it cook until really tender and look for 203°F internal temp. Wrap earlier to get through stall.

Problem: Bark is soft instead of crispy.

Solution: Don’t wrap too early – wait until 165°F. Dry brine overnight.

Problem: Overly smoky, acrid flavor.

Solution: Make sure to use good quality wood chips. Keep smoker under 250°F.

Problem: Smoker temperature spikes cause bitterness.

Solution: Keep smoker closed as much as possible. Use a water pan.

Problem: Unrendered fat leaves brisket greasy.

Solution: Trim excess fat before smoking. Cook fat-side up for even rendering.

Make a Full Barbecue Feast

A good brisket needs some fixings! Round out your barbecue meal with these classic sides:

  • BBQ Baked Beans – Sweet and tangy.

  • Cole Slaw – Cool and creamy.

  • Potato Salad – Starchy and satisfying.

  • Mac and Cheese – Oozy and indulgent.

  • Corn on the Cob – Grilled with butter.

Don’t forget slices of white bread, pickles, onions, and barbecue sauce to complete the experience! A cold beer or sweet tea pairs perfectly too.

Smoked Brisket ( Masterbuilt Electric Smoker)


How do you keep a brisket moist in an electric smoker?

After two or four hours of cooking, you can lightly spray your brisket with water, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, or apple juice. You can do this every 30 minutes or every hour, based on preference.

Should I wrap brisket in foil when smoking?

Wrapping brisket locks in the delicious and tenderizing natural juices of the meat. Once you’ve smoked the brisket, you wrap and start braising it. Some people think you get more smoke flavor but the meat soaks up all the smoke up until the stall time.

How to smoke beef brisket in an electric smoker?

Let’s talk about how to smoke this beef brisket in your electric smoker. Set the electric smoker temperature to 250°F, and let the Masterbuilt come up to temperature.

What is the healthier substitute of brisket?

Brisket is high in fat. Instead of brisket, lean meat like chicken, turkey and fish will be a good option for healthy lifestyle. Chicken is good source of protein and has very less fat. Omega-3-fatty acids are good for healthy heart, which we used to get from fish.

How do you cook a brisket in a Masterbuilt electric smoker?

Cook the brisket until it reaches about 150-160°F internally. At this point you can leave the brisket in the Masterbuilt electric smoker to continue cooking or remove it and wrap it in butcher paper or foil to speed up the cooking time. Carefully remove the brisket and place on a large sheet of butcher paper or aluminum foil.

How do you smoke brisket in a smoker?

Place the point end of the brisket towards the heat source of your smoker. This has more fat so won’t be at risk of drying out. Set up a wireless digital thermometer, with one probe in the meat and one in the smoker chamber. Make sure your drip pan is in place to help capture run-off and reduce flare-ups.

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