OK, so for todays post I am going to talk all about how to make a Smoked Brisket. There’s more to it than just smoking though. We are going to first make a brine, then dry rub and finally smoke the brisket with cheery wood. Feel free to use whatever wood chip flavor you prefer, but I find this works well.
Some people feel this entire process is a little daunting. Well no more then anything else you haven’t done before, believe me. If anything, it is more time consuming than anything. After you get a few items mixed you can sit back and let things marinate, and smoke. No heavy lifting there, right? And once you get this brining and rub down, you can apply it to all different cuts of meat and poultry.
Half the time I keep a portion of the meat for lunch meat. I allow it to cool, refrigerate to firm up and slice it nice and thin for sandwiches or in chunks for a type of corned beef scramble with onions and potatoes. The possibilities are endless.
First we need to fortify that beautifully marbled piece of beef with a brine. This ensures it is well hydrated for that long, low and slow smoke. For my Smoked Brisket – Brined, Dry Rubbed and Cherry Wood Smoked, we also use a dry rub for added flavor and to ensure a delicious crust, or bark.
To finish it off we are using Cherry wood chips for the smoking agent. This imparts a beautiful, subtle flavor of smoke. You can read more about different wood chips for smoking here in a past article post I wrote. Let’s get started!
Make sure to get a beef brisket with a beautiful fat top. This will melt during the smoking process and continuously keep the meat moist when rendering down.
You can keep it whole or slice into pieces. I slice in two for easy submersion in brining and later eating and slicing.
In a saucepan over medium heat toast the spices slightly to bring out their essential oils for several minutes. Don’t burn these, continuously shake the pan and the aroma will fill the kitchen.
Next, add the water, salt and both sugars and simmer for 10 minutes. You can find my recipe for Lemon Sugar in another post here or as an alternative simply use a vegetable peeler and take a 1 inch by 3 inch strip of lemon peel and add that and another 1/2 cup of sugar to the simmering pot.
In a tub that can be sealed, add the cold water and ice. Pour the hot brine liquid in and when cool enough add the meat. Make sure it is submerged and feel free to weigh it down if need be. Cover and refrigerate for 2 or more days. I wouldn’t do more than 5 days.
After the beef brisket has brined for several days remove and rinse under cold water. Dry off cover all over with dry rub mixture. Rub in the spice mixture in a pan, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Start your smoker and remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
Set your smoking chips up per manufacturer’s instructions. Place in the smoker set at 225° for an hour and a half per pound.
There are a lot of opinions on keeping the vent open or closed during the smoking process. For me seeing as the smoker has limited smoke, unless you want to keep re-loading with wood chips, I keep it closed the first hour, then open it up for ventilation and constant airflow. I’ve read that with time and temp the ability of meats to retain smoke diminishes past 140°F. So it’s usually a 2 to 4 hour smoke window for optimum smoke absorption.
Look at that deliciousness! Smoked brisket at it’s finest.
Carefully remove the smoked brisket from the smoker and allow to cool down and rest for 10+ minutes.
Feel free to discard whatever fat cap is still there and not rendered down completely. Slice across the grain and serve!
The remaining sliced Smoked Brisket is great for leftovers, lunch or used to make a hash with chopped potatoes and onions.
- 8 cups of hot water
- ½ cup of kosher salt
- ½ cup lemon sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 8 cloves
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp mixed peppercorns
- 5 lbs beef brisket
- 8 cups cold water and ice
- Dry rub:
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp coriander seed
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- Toast all seeds lightly in a sauté pan to extract essentials oils and toast slightly. Allow to cool.
- Bring water to a boil and mix all ingredients in a container large enough to allow meat to be covered in brine. Make sure sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Add the ice to cool brine down and submerge the beef brisket.
- Brine for two days or more if desired in refrigerator, covered.
- Mix rub ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Rinse off brined brisket. Shake off excess water and apply dry rub. Press rub mixture on to meat, allow to rest for two hours, covered and refrigerated.
- Soak your wood chips. Bring meat to room temperature. Place dry rubbed brisket in the smoker set at 225°F for an hour and a half per pound. Add the smoke chips or pellets per smoker manufacturer instructions. (See Note 1).