Applewood Smoked Beef Brisket

A couple of years ago, I bought an electric smoker after using a charcoal one for several years. I experimented with several cuts of meat on the electric smoker but I was never really satisfied with the results. Everything I cooked in it tasted like bologna even though I cut back on the amount of wood chips I used. This past weekend, I decided to go back to the future and dig out my old cheap Brinkmann charcoal smoker.

I have always been kind of old school anyway, preferring to cook meats with wood anyway like the pioneers did before electricity was ever invented. After reading several online BBQ forums regarding the Brinkmann smokers, I found out that almost all of the users of the Brinkmann charcoal smokers recommended modifying it to work better so I decided to try that.

I started by removing the legs of the smoker and placing them on the outside of the smoker. By doing that, you can lift the whole smoker (that I placed over a paver stone and a couple of bricks) to add more wood. Then I drilled several holes in the charcoal pan to allow for better air flow.

In addition to the meat and seasonings, you will need a bag of hardwood lump charcoal, 3 cans of hard cider and about 3 pounds of applewood smoking chips.

Prep time- 2 days

Brisket cook and rest time – about 7 hours

Servings – about 6

The day before…

Soak the applewood chips in the hard cider and mix the rub seasoning.

Rub seasoning

  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

For this recipe I used a 3 pound flat brisket. You will also need..

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup apple juice

Score the brisket with a knife or razor. Rub the mustard and olive oil all over the brisket. Mix the rub spices together and rub them into the brisket. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day……

Poke holes in a foil grill bag. Drain the applewood chip liquid into the water pan and set the chips in the foil bag. Light the hardwood charcoal in the charcoal pan.

When the hardwood coals are white, add the bag of woodchips on top of the coals. Set the smoker shell on top of the coals and place the water pan with the cider in the middle. Set the brisket on the grate and cover it. Leave it alone and try to maintain a smoking temperature of 225 degrees without pulling the lid off for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 1/2 hours, add more hardwood charcoal if needed. Check the internal temperature of the brisket.

Note : The rule of thumb for smoking brisket is about 1 1/2 hours per pound. Due to past experience, I allowed for much more time than that. I probably checked the temp too often. I would suggest buying an internal temperature probe to keep from opening the lid too often and stalling the cooking process.checked the temp too often. I would suggest buying an temperature probe to keep from opening the lid too much and stalling the cooking process.

When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 160 degrees, place the brisket in a foil bag with the apple juice. Seal it tight and put it back on the smoker. Continue to cook until the internal temperature is 190 degrees.

When the brisket reaches 190 degrees, wrap a towel around the foil pouch and place it in a cooler to rest for one hour. Slice against the grain and serve.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Suggested music for your listening pleasure while smoking the brisket…..

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by the Platters from their album “Remember When” released in 1958.

“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple from their album “Machine Head” released in May 1973.

“The Tracks of My Tears” written by Smokey Robinson and performed by The Miracles from the album “Going to a Go-Go” released in June 1965.

“Little Green Apples” by O.C. Smith from the album “Hickory Holler Revisited” released in September 1968.

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Husband, Father, Grandfather, foodie. I have worked in various capacities of food service for 50 years. Baker, cook, manager, restaurant owner, personal chef and food sales / consulting. Recently retired. I love to cook and photograph food. My other hobbies include organic gardening, fishing, bicycling, reading, music and golf.

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