I have documented a 15 lb brisket that I rubbed down with Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) and then cooked overnight in an electric smoker. I set it up for 225°F, used a smoke generator called the AMNPS to keep the smoke flowing for about 10 hours and went to bed with no worries. I chopped it up when it got finished, added some of Jeff's Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) and re-smoked it to add some additional smoke flavor throughout.

Do not overlook the electric smoker when it comes to smoking meat during cold weather, when you have a lot going on and can't be right there to watch it every second or just because you like the easier, less work method.

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recipe-ad-rubI love using my original rub recipe on brisket as it creates such a nice crust on the outside. After the brisket was chopped, I seasoned it even more with the Texas style rub recipe.

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Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16-18 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 200°F
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite and/or Pecan
What You'll Need
Trim and Score the Fat Cap

Lay the brisket on the countertop on a cutting board.

I sometimes place mine down in a large foil pan to contain the mess.

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I have found the best way to handle large briskets is to not mess with them too much. Score the fat, add some seasoning and place them in the smoker just like that.

Why score the fat? Well, I thought you'd never ask!

I've been doing this for years now and I initially started doing this to give the smoke, rub and juices a way to get down to the meat without removing the fat and allowing it to still protect the meat.

To score the fat cap, I make cuts through the fat down to the meat in 1 inch increments.

2015-IMG_6370

Mustard and Rub

Once the fat cap is scored, it's time to add some mustard and my original rub (purchase recipes here) which will give us a great crust and excellent flavor.

Add mustard and rub to the bottom side first (the side without the thick fat cap)

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Flip it over to fat cap up..

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Prepare the Smoker

You can use whatever smoker you have available but don't underestimate the convenience of an electric smoker when the weather is very cold or you are limited on time and not have the luxury of tending a fire for hours on end.

Another favorite smoker of mine that is super convenient and allows you to set it up and get some sleep while the brisket is cooking is the pellet grill. I have the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill and the Traeger Lil' Texas elite and both of these work really well.

Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F for about 16-18 hours depending on the thickness of your brisket.

Smoke the Brisket

Place the brisket fat cap up (see my comments in the Notes/Comments area below) directly on the grate and maintain 225°F for however long it takes to reach 200°F or as tender as you like it.

Apply smoke for at least 6 hours but longer is usually better as long as you maintain light, hazy smoke. Mesquite and/or pecan are both great options.

I recommend placing a pan under the brisket, if possible, in order to catch the tasty juices as they render or melt.

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To properly test a brisket for doneness, poke it with a probe, toothpick or other sharp object and see what kind of resistance you feel.

It should have very little resistance and should feel like a knife going into room temperature butter.

Note: I sometimes wrap the brisket in foil or Kraft paper once it reaches 160°F to speed things along and help to power it through the stall that you will no doubt experience at around 155-160°F.

I wanted really good bark on this one and left it untouched and unwrapped for the entirety of the cook time.

Using a Thermometer

I recommend a Thermapen for instant temperature reading ( 2-3 seconds) and/or a remote digital meat thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks for constant monitoring of the temperature of the meat while it cooks.

Rest the Brisket

Once the brisket is finished cooking, you can wrap it in foil (if you didn't already wrap it) then in several thick towels, place it in an empty ice cooler or cambro and hold it for 3-4 hours. This will allow the brisket to continue to tenderize without cooking it further and in most cases, yields a better brisket than one that is simply sliced or chopped as soon as it is done.

In the case of this brisket, we are going to chop it up and introduce more smoke to the chopped meat so it only needs to be rested for about 30 minutes on the countertop to allow it to cool down just a little. Resting it longer won't hurt it though if you want to do that.

See how my original rub recipe (purchase recipes here) creates a perfect crust?

The Texas style rub recipe (purchase recipes here) is also very tasty on brisket if you prefer a rub that is savory only.

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If you were able to catch the juices, pour them into a quart jar or something similar and place the jar in the fridge. The fat will solidify at the top after about 1 hour and once that fat is discarded, you are left with some really tasty juices.


Here's a tip from Pete in the comments section below:

“Drain all of the juices into a Ball canning jar. Put on a fresh lid and ring and tighten them securely. Put the jar into the fridge UPSIDE down.
After an hour or so, take the jar out of the fridge and take the lid off. All the fat is now on the bottom of the jar, so you can just pour out the juices and leave the fat in the canning jar.
A minute of so in the microwave and the fat will melt enough to be easily discarded.”


Here' the juice that I caught.. it's going to be used to juice up the finished product just before serving.

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Once the brisket is rested and cooled down a bit, use a sharp knife to separate the flat part of the brisket from the bigger, thicker end or the point. Use your best judgement to find that imaginary line and simply separate the two.


Note: Here are instructions on how to make burnt ends and bacon wrapped burnt ends out of the bigger, fattier end called the point.


Remove the fat cap from the top by sliding your knife parallel to the brisket top between the fat and the meat. It will naturally follow this path if you allow it.

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Chop it Up

Using a cleaver or other hand chopping device, chop the meat into pieces but don't overdo it. Ideally, you will have some chunks as well as some smaller pieces all mixed together.

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Place the chopped meat into a foil pan, mix in about half of the defatted juices with about 3-4 TBS of my Texas style rub (purchase recipes here).

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Smoke it Again

Place the pan of brisket back into the smoker at 175 – 200°F with smoke for about 30 minutes.

The idea is to add smoke.. no further cooking is needed or required so lower is better and this helps to prevent the chopped meat from drying out.

Stir it around a couple of times during the re-smoking process for better smoke coverage.

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Serve it Up

After smoking the meat for about 30 minutes, add a little more of the defatted juices, a little more of the Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) if it needs it, and serve it up!

Use the chopped brisket on sandwiches, tacos, burritos, nachos, in chili, in beans, etc..

Notes/Comments:

Why score the fat?

Well, I thought you'd never ask!

I've been doing this for years now and I initially started doing this to give the smoke, rub and juices a way to get down to the meat without removing the fat and allowing it to still protect the meat.

What determines how long a brisket takes to finish?

You may have heard me, or other folks, say to cook brisket and other large roasts for 1.5 hours per pound and while this will usually get you in the ballpark for normal sized briskets, it is not accurate for larger briskets.

This is because it is the thickness of the meat that determines how long it takes instead of the actual weight. Many times a 15 lb brisket such as the one I cooked will be longer and/or wider but no thicker than a 10 lb brisket and therefore will cook in about the same amount of time.

Do you have to use mustard to help the rub to stick?

Nope, you can use almost anything that is a little sticky and will help the rub to stick. I just happen to like the viscosity of the mustard and the crust it helps to create.

You can also use things like:

  • Oil
  • Molasses
  • Mayonnaise
  • Honey
  • Worcestershire
  • Hot sauce
  • Fruit spreads
  • Etc.

Fat Cap Up or Down? 

There are many schools of thought when talking about fat cap up or fat cap down and in my opinion this is related to the type of smoker that you use.

In some smokers the heat comes from below, does not have  a good baffle and the fat cap is placed in the down position to protect the meat from radiant heat.

In other smokers where the heat comes up the sides and does not hit the meat directly, the fat cap is placed in the up position to allow it to melt and keep the brisket basted during its many hours in the smoker.

I recommend you try it both ways, and go with what works best for you and your smoker.

Adding Barbecue Sauce to the Chopped Brisket

I do not recommend adding barbecue sauce to  the brisket before serving. Sauce is best served warm at the table so folks can add that in as desired.

Obviously, you can serve it up how you like, pre-sauced or not and since there are very few (if any) rules in backyard barbecue, if you and/or your guests like it that way, then go for it;)

What is the AMNPS?

We first featured this new device back in 2010 and it has since found a worldwide market in smoking meat for it's ease of use and ability to provide smoke for hours on end.

It is a simple metal box that looks like a maze. You feel it with pellets, light one end and, like the cherry on a cigar, it burns very slowly from one end to the other providing smoke for up to 11 hours depending on which model you get.

There is also a model now that is shaped like a tube. It takes up less space in the smoker and is great for smokers with limited capacity.

Check out the inexpensive and hard working AMNPS on amazon

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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

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Printable Recipe

Double Smoked Chopped Brisket
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Author: Jeff Phillips
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10-12
I have cooked and documented a 15 lb brisket that I cooked overnight in an electric smoker. When it got finished, I chopped it up and re-smoked it for about 30 minutes to add some additional smoke flavor throughout.
Ingredients
Instructions
Prepare
  1. Score the fat cap down to meat in a crosshatch pattern – 1 inch increments
  2. Massage about 2 TBS of mustard and about 3-4 TBS of Jeff's rub onto the top and bottom side of the brisket
Smoke
  1. Preheat smoker to 225°F
  2. Place brisket fat side up on smoker grate
  3. Place pan under brisket if possible to catch juices
  4. Apply smoke for at least 6 hours
  5. Smoke cook brisket for about 16 to 18 hours or until it reaches 200°F in the flat
  6. Remove brisket from smoker when finished and cool for 30 minutes on counter
Chop and Re-smoke
  1. After cooling, separate flat from point
  2. Remove fat cap from top of flat
  3. Chop remainder of flat and put meat into a foil pan
  4. Add half of defatted juices back into chopped meat
  5. Place pan of chopped brisket back into smoker for 30 minutes
Finish Up and Serve
  1. Add more of the defatted juices if needed and season with Jeff's Texas style rub to taste
  2. Serve immediately with warm barbecue sauce on the side

 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

12 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. John Shotsky June 9, 2016 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Hi, Jeff,
    I have that Amazin smoker device too, and really like it. I’m almost exclusively using pellets now, which I have in many flavors.
    I have always scored my briskets too, but I go one step further – I stab it with a Rapala, a filet knife, all over, through the fat cap. I have about 1 inch squares, and stab through each of them. I smoke fat cap up, and when some of that fat melts, it goes right into the meat.
    I also salt my briskets a couple days in advance. Not rub, just salt. I add the rub on the day of cooking, after it is warmed up to room temperature. You can speed up a cook by putting the salted brisket into a plastic bag in hot water. It can take a LONG time to get it from refrigerator or room temperature before ANYTHING happens in the smoker. Water heats it far faster than air.

  2. Stacey June 13, 2015 at 10:44 am - Reply

    How long do you keep the meet in the cooler for tenderizing?

  3. SteveO May 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Great recipe, great site. I like using the dijon mustard for the beef but when it comes to pork I use honey slightly watered down with lime juice or sprite to make it easier to spread.

  4. joe April 11, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Jeff, quick question: when smoking one’s brisket, should one flip the brisket during the 6-8 hr smoke time, i.e. fat side up, then down, throughout the smoking duration? Thank-you!

  5. Jason January 29, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Jeff,

    Love your emailing mailing list! I have one question for you about the amazing smoke device that you listed. http://www.smoking-meat.com/amnps

    I purchased one of these but I can’t seem to keep it going for more then 10 minutes no matter how much of the pellets I start on fire. It seems that it always goes out too quick. I use a masterbuilt electric smoker, I haven’t been putting water into the water/trip tray as I thought that the smoker was getting to “wet”.

    Any thoughts about how to keep the amazing pellet smoker going? I’m not sure if I just received poor quality pelts when I ordered it or what the deal is.

    thanks!

    Jason

    • Jeff Phillips February 1, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      If you place the pellets in the tray when you first turn the smoker on, this gives it time to make sure the pellets are dry, hot and ready to burn by the time the smoker is up to temperature. Just before placing the food in the smoker, light the pellets and make sure you have a really good cherry going.

      From that point, it’s all about how much air it is getting.

      I have a similar smoker and I have to pull out the chip drawer a little and prop the wood chip chute on the side open to ensure it gets enough air. If I forget to do this, it will only last a few minutes before going out.

  6. Rich Lowe January 18, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Jeff, I always look forward to what your next recipe/technique will be but I’ve a tip for you today. Take that course chopped double smoked brisket to make your next pot of chili with. You’ll never go back to ground chuck again!
    Rich

  7. Tony C January 17, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Jeff, I recently purchased a Masterbuilt electric smoker w/digital control. It’s virgin. I bought it because I love smoked brisket.
    I’m curious if you’ve had any experiences with an electric smoker and tips for the process – time / temp / cap up or down, etc ?
    Thanks !

  8. Pete January 8, 2015 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Here is a hot tip for you Jeff. Drain all of the juices into a Ball canning jar. Put on a fresh lid and ring and tighten them securely. Put the jar into the fridge UPSIDE down.
    After an hour or so, take the jar out of the fridge and take the lid off. All the fat is now on the bottom of the jar, so you can just pour out the juices and leave the fat in the canning jar. A minute of so in the microwave and the fat will melt enough to be easily discarded.
    Love the website and your book.
    Good smokin’.
    Pete

    • Jeff Phillips January 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Great tip!

      • Mike Smollock March 19, 2016 at 8:13 am - Reply

        Jeff, I use a Green Egg smoker, when I use a drip pan my drippings develop a burnt, bitter taste? Any suggestions? Mike

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