I’ve previously produced my article on what I think is the best method to smoke a brisket on a pellet grill/smoker. This article is going to be more specific about smoking a beef brisket on a REC TEQ pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. Below we’ll look at a rub and Texas crutch approach (foil wrap) followed by a rest and serve. However, we’ll also look at a marinade/Au jus method recommended by REC TEQ founder Ray. Right, let’s get into this!
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- Cooking Time: Generally 8 to 12 hours
- REC TEQ Recommended Temp: 225 F
- Brisket Internal Temp When Done: Around 200 F
- Best Pellets For Brisket: Ultimate blend or Cheery blend
I’m no BBQ expert, my expertise is how pellet grills/smokers work and the range of makes/models on the market. When it comes to how to cook on a pellet grill/smoker, I’ll be referring to the professionals.
REC TEQ Recommended Approach For Smoked Brisket
RECTEQ (formally REC TEC) produce a wide range of pellet smokers, from the tiny Bullseye all the way up to their large BFG and commercial pellet grills/smokers.
Whichever model you own, cooking a solid smoked brisket is an objective for many. As a result, over the years, REC TEQ has provided various recommended approaches for smoking a beef brisket.
The latest of which is the video below from Chef Greg, which is a solid approach which should satisfy the taste and texture most people are looking for from their smoked brisket.
The only part of the video above that I probably disagree with is the relatively short resting time that Greg recommends of around 30 minutes, but we’ll get into that later in the article.
What is a bit odd is that Chef Greg doesn’t reference the ‘Extreme Smoke’ setting of the REC TEQ, and when smoking a brisket, its probably one of the best times to use it, so we’ll discuss that too.
Towards the end of the article, I’ll also reference a video that co-founder Ray produced way back in 2015 of resting/serving a brisket in a beef Au jus (Au Jus just means broth/gravy).
1: Choose Your Grade Of Beef Brisket Carefully
Ok, so let’s start with the brisket itself to understand what you’re actually buying. Also, how its grade/quality can impact the end result and how you might want to amend your cooking approach.
When you purchase a brisket, it will have a USDA grading of either Select, Choice or Prime, but what’s the difference? Is a Select brisket a lighter weight brisket than a Prime brisket? Nope.
The grading is rating the extent of fat marbling within the meat. The more fat marbling, the higher the grade. So a Select brisket has less fat marbling than a Choice or Prime brisket.
More fat marbling does a couple of things, it aids the flavour of the finished cooked meat, but it also helps to keep the meat moist during the cooking/smoking process.
Wagyu beef, originally from Japan, is now being reared in the US Northwest. When it comes to fat marbling within beef, you’re not going to do any better than a Wagyu brisket.
However, you’re also going to have to pay quite a lot more for a Wagyu brisket, quite a bit more than even a USDA Prime brisket in many cases.
You can only afford what you can afford, and a USDA Select brisket can still make an excellent meal. You may just want to approach the cook differently to a USDA Prime/Wagyu brisket.
For instance, personally, if I have a USDA Prime/Wagyu brisket with extensive fat marbling, I would proceed with a simple salt & pepper rub and let the meat do the talking for flavour.
However, with a USDA Select brisket that may be at risk of drying out during the cook, I would probably go with a marinade injection/basting or maybe the Au jus method shown by Ray below.
2: How To Prepare Beef Brisket For Smoking
No matter what grade of brisket you have purchased, its highly likely you’re going to need to trim it at least a little before you start to apply your chosen rub.
In the REC TEQ video above with Chef Greg, they do quickly show the brisket being trimmed at the start of the video, and that may tell you all you need to know, or maybe not.
As Greg references though, they have previously produced a brisket trimming video. Therefore, I’ve included that video below. Enjoy.
The main objective when trimming is to remove any large hard lumps of fat, as any fat on the brisket which is more than a 1/4 inch in depth is unlike to render down properly during the cook.
You’ll also want to trim around the edges of the brisket to remove any thin edges of the meat. The reason is, these thin edges will overcook/burn before the centre of the brisket is at temperature.
Quick Tip: You’ll want to trim the brisket when its cold straight out of the refrigerator. That way, your knife will cut through the fat more easily.
Applying The Rub Over The Whole Brisket
Now your brisket has been trimmed, its time to apply seasoning, not only for flavour but to aid the formation of the bark on the outer edge of the brisket.
There are lots of options when it comes to BBQ rubs for brisket. There must be literally hundreds of options out there, so let’s start simple with the classic Texas rub.
The original Texas-style rub is simply a 50/50 mix of sea salt and black pepper. Typically it would be coarse ground pepper to add some texture to the bark of the brisket.
If you want the convenience of a purchased rub, something like the REC TEQ Heffer Dust can work well with brisket, which contains chilli, garlic, onion and paprika along with the salt and pepper base.
Just go with a rub that suits your personal flavour preferences, as long as it has that core salt & pepper base, of course. When it comes to applying the rub, you’ll want to apply a good covering.
Apply the rub all over the brisket, flip it over to cover both sides and don’t forget to apply the rub around the edges of the brisket too.
If the rub is having trouble sticking, you can give the brisket a quick spray with water. Alternatively, you could rub in a little olive oil/mustard as a binder.
3. The Best REC TEQ Pellets For Cooking/Smoking Brisket?
As well as using a specific BBQ rub to impart flavour into your brisket, the smoke from your REC TEQ obviously also plays its part, so now let’s discuss pellets.
Probably the most common choice is to go with REC TEQ Ultimate blend, which is a mixture of white oak, red oak and Hickory pellets.
However, if you’re looking for an alternative bold smoky flavour, then REC TEQ Mesquite blend may be one to consider, but what if you are looking for a more sweet smoky flavour?
Well, for a sweet smoke flavour, you are probably better off going with either the Apple or Cherry blend. You may even want to mix the two together for a general fruitwood blend.
Of course, just because you own a REC TEQ, it doesn’t mean you can only use REC TEQ pellets. Check out my smoking pellets article, where I profile over 24 different brands of BBQ pellets.
Whatever type/brand of pellets you choose, try and sieve them before the hopper if you can to reduce dust. Less dust means a cleaner, more consistent burn with a more stable temperature.
Pellet Usage When Cooking/Smoking A Brisket
As stated at the start of this post, depending on how large your brisket is, the total cook time could be 8 to 12 hours or more. Therefore, you need to make sure you have enough pellets.
Generally, most pellet grills/smokers on a low and slow cook will consume between 1 to 2 lbs of pellets per hour. For a brisket cook, you could use between 8 to 24 lbs of pellets.
As REC TEQ pellet smokers are not twin-wall insulated, I would definitely recommend an insulated blanket to keep pellet consumption down during the colder winter months of the year.
4. Starting The Cook & Smoke Infusion
Its at the beginning of the cook where the majority of the smoke flavour in the finished brisket is going to be formed. Therefore, if you want a smoky flavour, you want more smoke.
Now, when a pellet smoker is running, its obviously always producing smoke. However, when you are dealing with a PID-controlled pellet smoker such as REC TEQ, there is less smoke than some other models.
The reason is tight PID temperature control means efficient combustion, and efficient combustion means less smoke. However, many pellet smokers also have a smoke setting.
With a smoke setting activated, the combustion process is deliberately less accurate to create more smoke. However, it also comes with wider temperature swings, so remember that.
On a REC TEQ, the smoke setting is called ‘Extreme Smoke’, and what it does is cycle the fan on and off to create additional smoke, as the pellets will smoulder as a result.
You can use the Extreme Smoke setting between 180 to 250 degrees. When smoking brisket, the recommended temperature, at least for the initial stage of the cook, is around 225 degrees.
Typically you want to remove and wrap the brisket with an internal temperature of around 160 degrees. You can use the REC TEQ App/meat probes to monitor the brisket.
I’m aware that Chef Greg in the video above recommends ‘wrap at colour, not temp‘, but that’s not exactly specific advice to follow. Though I know what he’s referring to in the bark ‘setting’.
5. Brisket Wrapping & Then Back On The REC TEQ
The reason you definitely want to consider wrapping the brisket mid-cook is to preserve its moisture/juices as the internal temperature increases, and the fat starts to render down properly.
You don’t want the majority of those juices just dripping out of the brisket. It not only reduces the quality of the end product, but it also makes it harder to clean the pellet smoker.
When it comes to wrapping the brisket, you can either do a foil wrap, as shown by Chef Greg in the video above, or you can use waxed butcher paper.
If you are looking for the bark to develop further and to provide more texture, then butcher paper is the better option, as it will still let the brisket breathe a little.
Then again, if you have a USDA Select/Choice brisket and you are concerned about the brisket drying out, then a foil wrap/Texas crutch may be the better option.
Once wrapped, you need to place the brisket back on the REC TEQ for several more hours until the internal temperature reaches around 200 degrees.
At this point, you will want to remove the brisket and let it rest. You could also consider the beef Au jus/broth to go with the brisket, as shown by Ray below.
6. Let Your Brisket Rest (This Is Important)
I’m happy that Chef Greg, in his video above, discusses the need to rest the brisket. However, ideally, you would be able to rest the brisket for longer than 30 minutes.
For a large brisket, the ideal resting time will be in hours, wrapped in a towel, or maybe even placed in a cooler. This will let the juices reabsorb back into the muscle fibres.
Once the internal temperature of the brisket is between 140 to 15 degrees, this is pretty much the ideal time to cut into it and prepare it for serving.
However, you don’t want the internal temperature of the brisket to be left below 135 degrees. That’s the danger zone for bacteria growth following FDA guidelines.
Serving Your Brisket With An Au Jus/Broth
So below, I’ve included a video REC TEQ produced (back when they were REC TEC) on preparing a beef broth to sit the brisket in as it rests.
The Au Jus that Ray prepared includes beef base along with Worcestershire sauce, a packet of Au Jus gravy powder and sufficient water to suit.
Whether you wish to try the above beef broth resting method is obviously up to you, but here are my own personal thoughts.
If I’m working with a high-quality Prime/Wagyu brisket, I’d just let it rest as is, in its own juices. However, if its a Select/Choice brisket, sure, I can see the value of this beef broth resting method.
Final Thoughts On Smoking A Brisket On A RECTEQ…
I was surprised that REC TEQ doesn’t reference the use of the Extreme Smoke setting for cooking a brisket. It’s definitely something you want to consider if you want as much smoke flavour as possible.
If you’re cooking a large/heavy brisket, you may very well want to do most of the smoking overnight, which is fine, just make sure you top up the hopper before you go to bed.
Once you get more experience, as referenced by Chef Greg, you may choose to wrap the brisket and end the cook based on the look of the brisket and a tender test with a meat probe etc.
However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend that approach for your first brisket, as you have no reference point. I recommend for your first brisket going off the internal temperatures stated above.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found the above information and videos useful on how to cook a smoked brisket on a pellet grill/smoker.
Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more. However, I’ve also produced an FAQ section below, which you may also find useful.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Brisket?
As a very general guide, you can use the following. For every lb of brisket you have, it will take around 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time.
However, remember, you should be cooking primarily based on the internal temperature readings as referenced above.
Then as you get more experience smoking briskets, you can factor in the appearance of the brisket and a tender test to decide when the brisket has finished cooking with a well-formed bark etc.
Personally though, I think Traeger dropped the ball when making the above infographic with the references to rest time.
It obviously doesn’t make sense that a small 10 lb brisket should be rested for the same amount of time as a large 20 lb brisket.