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Double Smoked Chopped Brisket

This double smoked chopped brisket was cooked overnight in my electric smoker so I could go to bed with no worries while it cooked. I chopped it up when it got finished, added some of Jeff’s Texas style rub and re-smoked it to add some additional smoke flavor throughout. Best smoked brisket ever!

double smoked chopped brisket finished
Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16-18 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: ~200°F (93°C)
  • 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.

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Mustard and Rub

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

Note: You can also use the Texas style rub if you prefer beef to be savory only.

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

Set up your smoker for cooking at 225°F (107°C) using indirect heat 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 (107°C) for however long it takes to reach ~200°F (93°C) 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 brown or peach 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.

Foil also works for wrapping but the bark on the brisket will not be as good as it could be.

I wanted full 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 (1 second readings) 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 Kraft paper or 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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) creates a perfect crust?

The Texas style rub  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.

Be sure to use the bigger, fattier point end to make some burnt ends

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 .

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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  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;)

Print

Double Smoked Chopped Brisket

This double smoked chopped brisket was cooked overnight in an electric smoker while I slept and it may have been the best one yet!

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 hours
  • Total Time: 18 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Low and slow
  • Cuisine: Barbecue

Ingredients

Instructions

  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
  3. Preheat smoker to 225°F (107°C)
  4. Place brisket fat side up on smoker grate
  5. Place pan under brisket if possible to catch juices
  6. Apply smoke for at least 6 hours
  7. Smoke cook brisket for about 16 to 18 hours or until it reaches 200°F (93°C) in the flat
  8. Remove brisket from smoker when finished and cool for 30 minutes on counter
  9. After cooling, separate flat from point
  10. Remove fat cap from top of flat
  11. Chop remainder of flat and put meat into a foil pan
  12. Add half of defatted juices back into chopped meat
  13. Place pan of chopped brisket back into smoker for 30 minutes
  14. Add more of the defatted juices if needed and season with Jeff’s Texas style rub to taste
  15. Serve immediately with warm barbecue sauce on the side

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14 Comments

  1. The canning jar idea for separating fat from juices is a cute idea, but you can do the same by purchasing a fat separator cup and you don’t have to wait an hour to see results. LOL

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 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. Jeff,

    Love your emailing mailing list! I have one question for you about the amazing smoke device that you listed. https://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

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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

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