Smoking a brisket can be an intimidating task, especially for someone who has not done it before. If you are thinking of doing it, now is the time to give it a go! If you are worried that you will do it wrong, we are here to extend a helping hand.
In this article, we’ll talk about the best wood for smoking a brisket. We’ll help you make the right choice depending on the flavor profile that you wish to achieve. As a bonus, you will also learn some handy tips and tricks to smoke a brisket like a pro.
Our Top Picks for the Best Wood for Smoking a Brisket
If you are clueless about the right wood to pick when you are smoking brisket, we got you covered. Below are some of the top choices that you might want to consider.
Considered the most versatile hardwood, you can rarely go wrong when you choose oak for smoking brisket. It has a mild smoky flavor that will complement the natural flavor of the brisket. A good thing about oak is that it has a long burning time. This means that you do not need to supervise it. You don’t need to constantly refill the smoker with wood.
This is a classic choice for smoking brisket. It has a strong and savory flavor, which makes it a great choice if you want the taste of the brisket to be more pronounced. It also has a hint of nuttiness. The flavor will be reminiscent of bacon. However, you have to be careful to avoid overdoing it. When you smoke the brisket longer than necessary, it will be bitter.
Similar to hickory, mesquite also has a strong smoky flavor. It will result in a pungent and earthy taste. Do not choose this wood if you do not like intense flavors. For an authentic Texas smoked brisket, mesquite in an unmatched option. One of the problems with mesquite, however, is that it is a quick burning wood, so you might need several refills.
This may not work for everyone, so be careful when using pecan for smoking brisket. It has a sweet and rich flavor, as well as a strong aroma. It has a nutty flavor. To minimize the strength of pecan, some people combine it with other woods, which is a great balance.
If you are new to smoking, this is another good choice of wood. It is easy to experiment without worrying that you will overdo it. Because of its subtle flavor, you can also use it for pork and chicken.
Sweet and light – these are the common characteristics that you can expect when using cherry for smoking brisket. This is a great choice for those who prefer subtle flavors. If you want a stronger taste, you can combine cherry with maple or oak.
Tips and Tricks for Smoking a Brisket Using Wood
Aside from choosing the right wood, keep in mind these useful tips when you are smoking brisket.
- It all starts with the right choice of beef. Spend if you must if this means that you will enjoy a premium meat. Grass-fed beef is your best bet. Also, do not forget to look at the marbling, which dictates the fat content of the beef. This will help to lubricate the meat as it cooks. It will provide the moisture needed so that the meat will not end up dry.
- Fat is not always a good thing. While it can help in marbling and making the meat juicy, some fats will be useless. With this, you need to trim the excess fat before you smoke the brisket. Remove the skin and the fat that sits on the surface of the meat.
- Season the meat before smoking. This will provide rich flavors. Start by coating the brisket with olive oil. Then add salt, pepper, garlic, and other seasonings depending on the flavor that you want. Go easy on the seasoning.
- Before you smoke the meat, make sure that you pre-heat the smoker. Ideally, you should do this at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When smoking the brisket, the technique is to go low and slow. Smoking takes patience. Pay attention to refilling the wood depending on what you are using.
Choosing the best wood for smoking a brisket is an important part of the process. This will dictate the overall flavor of the meat. Pick one based on how mild or intense you want the smokiness to be. Among others, some of the best woods to use when smoking brisket are oak, hickory, mesquite, pecan, maple, and cherry. For the best results, take note of the tips mentioned above.