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How to Smoke a Brisket in an Electric Smoker? Step-by-Step Guide + Tips

by Outdoor Cooking Pros August 07, 2021

How to Smoke a Brisket in an Electric Smoker?

Learning the proper steps to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker involves meticulous techniques that may appear complex in the eyes of a novice home cook. From browsing delicious recipes up to maintaining meat temp for a balanced fatty taste and smoky flavor, let our resident gourmets guide you into serving a delicious smoked brisket without any hassle.

Step-by-Step Guide 

Step #1: Choose a Brisket 

The success of your smoked brisket recipe depends on selecting the appropriate piece of meat. To ensure that the smoking process will go smoothly when you cook the brisket in electric smokers, our experienced chefs suggest balancing it in your hands. The more the meat bends, the tender it will be during the food prep. 

It’s also crucial to select a lump of meat with a thick layer of fat. Smoking brisket with a thick fat layer will keep the meat moist while maintaining the smoke flavor intact. 

Step #2: Prepare and Trim Your Brisket 

One of the initial steps you should know when learning how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker is executing the proper trimming technique. If you’re dealing with a frozen brisket, cool it down for at least an hour. After rinsing, take your beef brisket down the cutting board to perform a flat cut on its surface. 

Prepare and Trim Your Brisket

Although we want to remove other excess fat in the beef brisket, it can’t be too dry. It’s still best to cook brisket with enough fat. The one you should cut off is called the fat cap, a thick layer often covering one side of your beef brisket. 

Besides brisket trimming, make sure to peel the silver skin underneath your meat with butcher paper before washing and patting it dry again.

Step #3: Marinate/Season Brisket

You may not know it, but marinating comes with many benefits[1]. After all the fat-cutting preparations, it’s time to enhance the flavor of your trimmed brisket with your favorite spices. 

You can rub it generously with common ingredients found in the kitchen, like onion powder, garlic salt, black pepper, brown sugar, kosher salt, smoked paprika, or garlic powder.

Marinate/Season Brisket

While most people who cook smoked brisket tend to let the marinade sit for 3-4 hours, our resident gourmets recommend letting the brisket rest overnight to attain strong flavors. 

Step #4: Preheat and Prepare Your Electric Smoker 

Before placing your rubbed brisket inside, you need to load the wood chip tray and preheat the electric smoker until it reaches the internal temperature of 225°F. Let the heat settle for a good amount of time before proceeding to the next step. 

Step #5: Place the Brisket Inside the Smoker

After wood chips are done heating the electric smoker, you may now place the brisket inside the chamber. Lay the side with fat upwards to ensure moisture and fatty flavor. On top of that, remember to set your drip pan correctly to avoid unnecessary flare-ups.

Step #6: Wait for the Brisket to Be Ready

The last recipe for a great smoked brisket is patience. Using the digital meat thermometer, you can check the meat temperature from time to time without letting out any heat or smoke from the chamber. Depending on the cut of your meat, the cooking time will vary differently.

Wait for the Brisket to Be Ready

Must-Know Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Balance temperature and cooking time

The perfect brisket requires aligning the brisket’s internal temperature with the duration of your cooking process. Typically, your meat needs to reach 90°C to whip a perfectly smoked brisket. The duration will depend on how fast it’ll heat up, but we recommend wrapping it up with aluminum foil at 75°C to lock the heat. 

Tip #2: Don’t open the smoker while in use 

Setting up the right smoker temperature will keep the brisket warm and give enough time for the flavor to soak into the meat thoroughly. Wait at least 3 hours before opening the chamber and spraying a generous amount of bbq rub, beef stock, or apple juice. 

When concocting a bbq rub with cayenne pepper, you must also ensure that the meat won’t be overpowered with spiciness or tanginess to maintain the flavor of smoke brisket. To keep the brisket juicy and moist, don’t open the smoker until it reaches the internal temp of 90°C. 

Tip #3: Find suitable wood chips

Loading your wood chip box with the right pieces of lumber also affects the flavor of your brisket. There are different kinds of wood chips you can use, like cherry wood and mesquite wood. Although you’re free to experiment, our cooking experts suggest using dry wood chips to avoid black smoke that will lead to a bitter taste.  

Tip #4: Follow a tried & tested recipe if you have no experience

Whipping up a delicious brisket as a dinner cuisine isn’t an easy task. Besides getting the right internal meat temperature, there are many complex factors to its cooking process that may confuse a novice cook. Lucky for you, there’s no shame in seeking references, especially if you want to serve the best brisket on the dinner table. 

delicious brisket as a dinner


How long does it take to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker? 

Smoking a brisket in an electric smoker takes around eight hours for a 10 lbs piece of meat. However, the cooking time still varies depending on the cut of your meat. The temperature of your brisket must reach around 88 to 90 degrees celsius for the smoking procedure to be considered completed and successful. 

Do you wrap the brisket in an electric smoker?

Yes, you need to wrap the brisket in an electric smoker.  When the meat temperature reaches around 75°C or 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit, BBQ experts recommend wrapping the smoked meat with a foil after glazing it with your concocted sauce. This procedure is often done to lock the heat up.  

Is it better to smoke a brisket at 225 or 250? 

It’s better to smoke a brisket at 225 or 250 degrees, especially if you’re using a relatively small electric smoker. This temperature range gives the best result for as long as you execute the cooking process at a slow pace. The rule of thumb in this temperature range is 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound.

Should you dry rub brisket overnight?

Yes, you should dry rub the brisket overnight if you want a more flavorful taste. If you leave your meat with those spices in the refrigerator for at least six to twenty-four hours, it will give the ingredients more time to work their way into the brisket. The longer you leave it, the more flavor it will accumulate.


The steps on how to smoke a brisket in an electric smoker may appear intimidating, but in reality, all it takes is having the patience to pick the right ingredients and religiously monitor the meat temperature until it’s ready to be served. Lastly, always remember that rushing the process will only damage the flavor of the meal. 

Learn more about grilling with our guides below:

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