Smoking meat can sometimes be a difficult task. The temperature, type and size of the meat, the smoker, and the kind of wood all play a key role in making a good finished product. In this post, I will detail how I made this beautiful smoked brisket possible.
Let’s start with the smoker. I used a barrel type smoker, with a smokebox mounted to the side. The fire being in the smokebox means the meat is never exposed to direct flame. The barrel is also quite large, so the placement of the meat in the barrel is important. The closer to the smoke box the faster the meat will cook, further away will be slower. I cooked this brisket on the far side of the smoker away from the smokebox.
For the fire, I used a mix of charcoal and guava wood. Guava wood is a fruitwood found locally and has a mild smoke flavor. Other types of wood, such as apple and pecan, can easily be substituted for this recipe. I used a total of three sticks of guava roughly 16 inches long and two inches in diameter, spread out over the 4 1/2 hour cook time. The guava wood had been cured but was fairly fresh. Old wood or chips will need to be soaked in advance or they may burn too quickly.
For this brisket, the temperature in the smoker was around 300 degrees. I say around 300 because the temperature next to the smokebox was closer to 350. But this brisket was cooked on the far (cooler) side of the barrel with a temperature of 300 degrees. My smoker has a thermometer on the outside, which is helpful to gauge if your smoker is getting too cold and you need to add more coals or wood. To get a more accurate inside temperature reading use an oven thermometer. Move the thermometer around to discover hotspots, and find the best placement for the meat.
Brisket is a tougher, fattier cut of meat and needs long slow cook time. For this recipe, I used a third of a whole brisket. I chose a 3 1/2 pound, 6x12x3 inch portion. I smoked the brisket for 4 1/2 hours turning every so often to get an even cook. Brisket is done when the meat is tender to the touch but has a little spring back and is not falling apart.
The result of this smoke was a tender piece of brisket with a nice pink smoke ring. I sliced it thin and served it with roasted poblano salsa.
Smoked Brisket with Poblano Salsa
- 3 1/2 pounds Brisket piece
- 1 1/2 tbsp Mustard Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Aleppo Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 bunch Green Onion
- 2 Poblano
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Cilantro chopped
- 2 tsp Garlic minced
- 1/4 Red Onion minced
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Pepper
- 1 Lime juiced
- Mix all dry ingredients. Pat dry brisket and coat with dry rub.
- Heat smoker to 300 degrees. No higher than 350.
- Place on the cool side of a smoker. Cook for 4 1/2 hours, rotating/flipping every hour.
- When brisket is tender. Pull of the smoker and rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice and serve with poblano salsa.
- Roast poblanos and green onions in the smoke box with the fire.. The green onions will cook quickly and are ok to have a little char. Completely char the skin of the poblanos. Place both in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to steam and cool.
- When the poblanos have cooled enough to handle, place green onions on a cutting board and begin removing the skin, stems, and seeds from poblanos.
- Finely mince the poblanos and the green onions. Combine with the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate until ready for use.