How to Smoke Brisket in an Electric Smoker

You'll be pleasantly surprised by the smoky flavor and tenderness of a brisket cooked this way. 
sliced smoked brisket cooked in an electric smoker

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You often hear that you “can’t smoke a good brisket in an electric smoker”.

While it’s true that you can’t quite match the smoky flavor from an offset, you can still achieve amazing tender smoked brisket.

My electric smoker brisket recipe follows the same steps you would with a traditional smoker, with just a few slight tweaks.

And if you’ve never smoked a brisket, I’ll guide you through trimming, seasoning, smoking, and slicing your brisket. 

Choosing the right brisket

Look for a brisket with a good amount of marbling, which will help keep it moist during the smoking process.

A brisket that weighs between 8-10lbs is ideal since you won’t have as much space in your electric smoker for the brisket to lay flat.

The brisket I used was around 10lbs and after trimming came to about 8.5lbs.

You could also opt to use just the brisket flat or point to ensure it fits properly. 

Selecting the right wood 

With an electric smoker, you’ll need to use wood chips, not chunks. The only drawback is you will have to add more wood every 30-40 minutes during the smoking process.

Because brisket is such a large piece of meat, it can really take on a lot of smoke, and stronger flavors like hickory go well with beef.

Don’t be afraid to mix in a little fruit wood or pecan to create your own custom blend, and check out our guide to the best wood for smoking brisket for more ideas.

Setting up your smoker

Setting up an electric smoker is easy and takes no time to prepare. I used a Cusinart COS-330, but the method will be virtually the same on a Masterbuilt or any other electric.

If there is a water pan, fill it up and load your wood chip tray as well.

a tray of water and a tray of wood chips in an electric smoker

Take a foil pan and place it underneath the rack where you will be smoking the brisket. This is to catch all the drippings and keep your smoker clean. You could start the smoker up now, but I like to fire it up after I’ve finished trimming and seasoning the brisket.

Smoking your brisket 

1. Trimming 

Trim your brisket by removing most of the fat and silver skin off the top side. Use a sharp trimming or boning knife.

Trim any fat from the edges and flip over to the bottom. 

trimmed brisket in a metal baking dish

The bottom will be entirely covered in fat. On the fattier point side, I trim off all the fat and on the leaner flat side, I leave about a quarter inch. 

2. Seasoning 

Before smoking, it’s important to season your brisket. You can use a pre-made rub, which I did for this cook. I used Smoke Kitchen Beef rub. You can also make your own using a blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. We have a great recipe here.  

seasoned brisket in a metal baking dish
If you have the time, season your brisket the night before you smoke it and place it in your fridge. The seasoning will penetrate deeply into the meat giving you more flavor all the way through. 

Apply the rub generously to both sides of the brisket, making sure to gently massage it into the meat.

3. Preheating

Preheat your electric smoker to 250°F.

Add your favorite wood chips and make sure the water pan is full.

Place a foil pan underneath where you will be smoking the brisket. 

4. Smoking

Place the brisket fat side down on the smoker grates and close the lid.

Resist the urge to check on the brisket too often, as this can cause the temperature to fluctuate and affect the cooking time.

Use a good internal thermometer to track the temps. Many of them have Bluetooth or WiFi and can connect directly to your phone for a hassle-free experience. 

brisket in the electric smoker with aluminum tray underneath

There are two acceptable reason to be opening the lid to the smoker.

  1. To spritz with water or beef broth when the brisket is looking dried out
  2. To add more wood chips.

In the words of Aaron Franklin, “If you’re looking, you ain’t cooking!” 

cooked brisket in the electric smoker

5. Wrapping the brisket

When the brisket has formed a good bark and reaches an internal temp between 165-180°F it’s time to wrap.

cooked brisket on butchers paper

I prefer wrapping in butcher paper over foil as it allows the beef to breathe better, thus preserving the bark. I also find that foil-wrapped briskets have a pot roast taste to them. 

brisket wrapped in butchers paper in the electric smoker

When you do wrap, it’s a good idea to spritz the inside of the butcher paper with a little water or beef broth.

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Sometimes I add beef tallow when wrapping for extra moisture and flavor.

Place the wrapped brisket back in the electric smoker and continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F. This can take another 4-6 hours, depending on the size of your brisket.

6. Resting 

When the brisket is done, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for at least an hour before slicing. I like to rest my briskets in a cambro or cooler

brisket wrapped in butcher paper in a cambro

7. Slicing 

Once your brisket has rested, it’s time to slice and serve. Be sure to slice against the grain for the most tender and flavorful meat. We have a guide here to make sure you’re covered. 

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Smoking a brisket in an electric smoker does take a bit of work, but with patience and by following these steps, you can produce delicious results.

sliced brisket

Serve with your favorite sides

Other electric smoker recipes

sliced smoked brisket cooked in an electric smoker

How to Smoke Brisket in an Electric Smoker

A guide to smoking a classic brisket in an electric smoker
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 882kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat your smoker to 250°F. Add your wood chips and make sure the water pan is full, and place a foil pan underneath where you will be smoking the brisket.
  • Trim the fat and silver skin from the top of the brisket and leave a quarter inch of fat on the bottom underneath the flat.
  • Season all sides of your brisket with bbq rub.
  • Place the brisket into a preheated electric smoker until the bark is formed and it has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
  • At this point wrap your brisket with butcher paper tightly and place it back into your smoker until the internal temperature reaches 195-205°F.
  • Rest the brisket in a cooler or cambro for at least 1 hour, then slice and enjoy immediately.

Notes

What sort of wood should I use? When it comes to using wood for an electric smoker, start with wood chips, not chunks. The tray that holds the wood really is designed for wood chips as they will ignite much faster and burn steady. The only drawback is you will have to add more wood every 30-40 minutes during the smoking process. 
What flavor wood should I use? Because brisket is such a large piece of meat, it can really take on a lot of smoke and stronger flavors like hickory go well with beef. Don’t be afraid to mix in a little fruit wood or pecan to come up with your own custom blend. 

Nutrition

Calories: 882kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 118g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 352mg | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 1878mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.03g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 11mg
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