Brisket is one of the best cuts of beef for smoking. It is from the muscular breast area of the steer and is therefore tougher than other cuts of beef. It requires low and slow cooking, making it ideal for long smoking.
This cut of meat will do well in any kind of smoker. That includes electric, propane, and charcoal. Timing may differ for each. We’ll explore an electric smoker method here, using the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker but for example any Traeger, Pit Boss or Bradley smoker should also work fine.
There are two debates when it comes to smoking a brisket. One is whether to marinate it overnight or just apply a dry rub minutes before smoking it. The other is whether to allow the brisket to rest on a cutting board before slicing and serving. Or, should you wrap it in foil, then a towel, and stow it away in a cooler for a couple of hours to allow the juices to absorb back into the brisket before slicing? I am somewhere in-between on both sides of these issues, which is reflected in the recipe.
Dry Rubbed Smoked Brisket Recipe with Potato Salad
This recipe is for a 12 pound brisket. Cook time will vary depending on the size of the beef. A good rule of thumb is 50 to 60 minutes per pound at 225˚F. For a 6 pound brisket, cut the cook time and rub ingredient amounts in half.
- 12 pound uncured brisket
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup smoked paprika
- 6 TBS chili powder
- 6 TBS kosher salt
- 4 TBS cracked black pepper
- 4 TBS ground cumin
- 2 TBS garlic or onion powder
- 2 TBS dried oregano
- 2 TBS ground coriander
- 2 tsps cayenne pepper (alter to your liking)
- Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV)
- Mesquite or hickory wood chips
Total time:11 hour – Prep time:1 hour – Smoke time:10 hour – Serves:12 people
1. Remove the brisket from the package and pat dry with paper towels. Clean any connective tissue or silver skin from the lean side. Trim the fat cap down to approximately 1/4 inch thickness, leaving enough on for moisture and flavor. Place the brisket on a large sheet pan.
2. Mix all of the dry seasonings together in a bowl. Generously coat all sides of the beef with the dry rub, patting it into the meat. With the fat side up, cover the meat with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. (Make your side dishes while the meat marinates).
3. Preheat the smoker to 225˚F. Meanwhile, take the brisket out of the refrigerator and allow it to come slightly to room temperature but still cool.
4. Fill the water bowl or pan 1/2 way with the apple cider vinegar. Add the wood chips to the side tray.
5. Place the brisket directly on the middle rack with the fat side up. Insert the digital thermometer, if your smoker has one, into the thicker end of the meat. Close the door and set the timer for 10 hours.
6. Check the water bowl a few times and refill with ACV as necessary. Check for smoke every hour and refill the wood chip tray as needed.
7. Check the internal temperature of the meat after 9 hours. You are looking for between 190˚F and 200˚F.
8. Remove the meat to a cutting board and cover it and the board to seal with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest covered for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before slicing and serving.
Sweet and Tangy Potato Salad
- 2 pounds of red new potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 TBS of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBS yellow or brown mustard
- 1/4 cup of sweet pickles with a tsp of juice, chopped
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1. Place potato pieces in a pot of cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Then simmer until just tender, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and give them a quick rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.
2. In a large bowl, mix the liquid ingredients then add in the celery, pickles, and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
Serve this alongside your smoked brisket with other sides, such as corn bread and baked beans.
Brisket is a very popular Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, or Purim entrée. I attended my first Rosh Hashanah dinner about 15 years ago. The entire meal was a celebratory ritual steeped in the history of the Jewish religion and culture. It made me take a step back, take notice, and be thankful for every bit of food that I was fortunate enough to be served.
It was a long evening, but I enjoyed the pace at which we dined and enjoyed each other’s company. My favorite part was the slow cooked brisket. Well, maybe the apples (new fruit) dipped in fresh honey or the braided challah bread that we shared was just as good.
I asked my hostess how the brisket was prepared. She went into detail about letting it rest in herbs, spices, and aromatics and then braising it for hours. I asked if smoking it was acceptable. She said she didn’t see why not and decided she might try that next time. With further research, I discovered that smoked brisket is a holiday tradition in Texas Jewish culture.
You can find certified kosher brisket with the online and in some grocery stores and butcher shops. Serving it smoked with braised leeks, sauerkraut, and maybe some horseradish would be a nice twist on your holiday meal.