I love watching football. College football to be more specific. After all, I did grow up in the South where football is practically a religion. I enjoy NFL, too, but pro games are more an afterthought to an awesome Saturday of college games. And one of my favorite things to do while watching a full slate of football games is to make Smoked Beef Brisket. Smoked brisket is a staple in Southern BBQ joints, and it’s always been one of my favorites!
A couple of years ago, my wife and I moved to upstate New York. This area of the country is great…but I really do miss my Southern BBQ! So whenever I have that craving, I head out to the back deck and make some of this Smoked Beef Brisket or perhaps some Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork.
Over the years, I’ve picked up a few key tips on smoking beef brisket home:
This Smoked Brisket is a classic backyard smoker recipe, and it doesn’t require much effort other than setting up the actual smoker. There’s not much that can beat a summer or fall day filled with the smells of smoked meat drifting through the air!
- Use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Lump charcoal is larger and provides a more consistent burning temperature.
- Use wood chunks. This tip is similar to the one above! Wood chunks burn much slower than wood chips, especially when cooking at lower temperatures like you use for smoking. Plus, you don’t have to soak them in water before putting them on! And don’t overdo it on the wood chunks. You want the meat to have a nice smoky flavor, but you don’t want to go overboard. 4-5 chunks of wood are usually enough.
- Use a probe thermometer. If you don’t have a probe thermometer, then now is the time to get one! Seriously. No matter what kind of meat you are smoking, it will probably be on the smoker for 8-10 hours. With a probe thermometer, you can just insert the probe when you put the meat on, and then you can easily check the internal temperature of the meat all day long. Plus, you don’t have to keep opening the lid of the smoker!
- Let the cooked meat rest. And let it rest for a while…like 1-2 hours. When the meat reaches the desired internal temperature, pull it off the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. Then place it in a cooler for 1-2 hours before attempting to cut/carve it. This will allow the natural juices to absorb back into the meat rather than drain away.
For a more detailed instructions on how to smoke brisket at home, check out this post for Smoked Brisket Tacos!
Did you make this recipe at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Smoked Beef Brisket
- 6-7 pound beef brisket
- 4-5 large wood chunks I prefer Hickory or Cherry for brisket
- Lump Charcoal
- Disposable aluminum pan large enough to hold the brisket
- ½ cup liquid beef or vegetable stock
Spice Rub Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F.
- Prepare the Spice Rub by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until well blended.
- Generously apply the Spice Rub to all sides of the brisket.
- Once the smoker has reached a stable 250°F, add the wood chunks directly to the coals. Put the grate in place and put the brisket on the grates with the fat cap (the fattier side) up. Insert a probe thermometer into the brisket, close the lid, and walk away. (Do check the temperature of the smoker occasionally to ensure it stays around 250°F +/- 10°.)
- When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 165°F, remove the brisket and place in the disposable aluminum pan. Mix the stock with ½ cup of water and pour it into the pan. Wrap the pan (brisket and all) with aluminum foil and place it back on the smoker.
- When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 200°-205°, remove the brisket from the smoker. (But leave it wrapped in the aluminum pan!) Allow the brisket to rest for 1-2 hours before carving.
- Slice across the grain into ½” slices. Serve as slices, or chop the slices into smaller bits and serve as a brisket sandwich.