Smoked Brisket – Masterbuilt Smoker Recipes and Should You Cook Brisket Fat Side Up or Down

Are you looking for Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes or any model Electric Smoker Recipes for Brisket? We are sharing our recipe to smoke brisket in an electric smokehouse.

Step 1: Picking a Good Brisket

Out of all our electric smoker recipes, the brisket recipe is the most popular. This first step in our electric smoker recipes for brisket is picking out a brisket. The key to picking a good brisket is making sure you can fold the brisket in half. If you can do this, odds are the brisket doesn’t have a thick layer of connecting tissues at running through the whole brisket. There are several online videos on YouTube on how to pick a good brisket if you want further guidance.

Also, if you do not have a lot of experience cooking brisket it is probably a good idea to cook a brisket that is about 10 pounds or less. Cook time is also something to consider when picking a brisket. As a rule of thumb, you should cook your brisket about 1 to 1 ½ hours per pound.

Step 2: Applying the Brisket Rub

Beginners: If you are a beginner at smoking brisket, then we have included some rubs / spices you can use that will producing a mouthwatering flavorful brisket. If you are an experienced BBQ cook than see my advice below about electric smoker recipes for brisket. The best advice I can give a beginner with regard to spices is to keep it simple at first and as you smoke your 2nd, 3rd and 4th brisket begin to experiment a bit. I have had really good brisket that was only spiced with Salt and Pepper, as the smoke is really the most important factor.

How many hours in advance should I marinate my brisket? The answer is simply the longer the better. For example, if you plan to start smoking your brisket in the morning, then you should marinate the brisket before going to bed. However, the reality is sometimes we forget to marinate the night before or we are busy and cannot. I have made many briskets that were marinated right before I put them in the smoker and they still came out very delicious. If you do marinate your brisket hours before, make sure to refrigerate the brisket and wrap it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

Brisket Rub Recipe:

  • Pepper
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Brown Sugar (if you want of sweet flavor profile)

Since the brisket is such a large piece of meat it is very difficult to over spice, so don’t worry about the exact measurements.

Special Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes Tip: Before applying these spices, it is important to rub the entire brisket with either Mustard or Olive Oil. This will help with a) keeping the rub on the brisket during the smoking process and b) keeps the juices in the brisket. Don’t worry the yellow mustard has no tasted once cooked, and what you get is a wonderful smokey taste of the wood and the zest of the rub. While this is labeled as Masterbuilt Smoker Recipes, it is applicable to all smoker brands.

Applying the Rub: You can either mix (equal parts) of the above spices or do what I do is just sprinkle a layer of spice on the brisket. Once you have applied the brisket rub on one side flip your brisket and apply on the second side. Now that the brisket is marinated go ahead and use the aluminum foil or plastic wrap to cover it before placing it in the refrigerator. Below is a picture of what your brisket should look like after the rub is applied. Notice the generous coat of brisket rub: Smoked Brisket Rub Spices

Experienced Brisket Cook: If you have experience smoking brisket on a charcoal or wood pit then the best advice I can give you is to use the same rub you normally use. When I first started smoking meat with an electric smoker this was my main question. Can I use the same brisket rub, prep process, etc., – Long story short the answer is YES.

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Step 3: Getting the Electric Smokehouse Ready

If this is your first time using your smoker, make sure to follow the curating process. Pre-heat your electric smokehouse to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your smoker has hit 225 degrees you can place the wood chips in the wood chip box. Now there are several types of smokers and they all have different designs, so please see your manufacturer’s instructions on how/where to add wood chips.

More importantly, is what type of wood chips should you use?

Beginners: Personally, I grew up in an area where mesquite wood was plentiful. We used mesquite wood a lot when BBQing, so I generally use mesquite wood chips in combination with another type of wood. My general rule of thumb is if you are using a strong Smokey wood like mesquite or Oak then balance with a Mild to Moderate wood smoke, like Apple or Pecan. Below is one of the better wood chip guides I have found online.

Electric Smoker Wood Chips

For Brisket, you want to use Strong to Moderate wood types. We recommend using Mesquite and Pecan mix. Because Mesquite is so much stronger use twice as much Pecan wood chips as Mesquite chips. Apple also works well.

Experienced Brisket Cook: Like the advice regarding the brisket rub, the same is true for wood chips. Use the wood that you normally use on your wood smoker. If you use oak wood, then use oak chips. The above wood type guide should also provide some guidance if you want to try something new. The difference between a wood/charcoal smoker and an electric smoker is you will use a whole lot less wood.

How often do I put wood chips in the electric smokehouse? Replenish wood chips every 1 hour and 30 minutes. For a more smokey end result replenish every hour. Now if you are using a Bradley Smoker you do not have to worry about this as you just have to set the level of smoke you want – set it and forget it. – Here is a LINK to our review of a couple of Bradley smokers.

Step 4: Place Brisket in the Electric Smokehouse

Now that the smoker is up to 225 degrees and the wood chips are in, its time to put the brisket in the smoker. We recommend putting the fat side up, which will allow the brisket to remain tender as the fat melts during the smoke. The recommended cook time is 1 hour per pound.

Now this is my favorite part of using an electric smoker, GO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! I have smoked a brisket during a soccer tournament or while going with my wife to run errands. If you know you are going to be gone for longer than 1 ½ hours put extra wood chips in.

Let’s assume we are cooking a 10 lb brisket, so after 10 hours of smoking, you need to check the internal temperature. For Brisket this should run between 180 degrees to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. If you anywhere between those numbers your brisket is ready.

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes Tip: After removing the brisket from the smoker, let it sit for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Resting the meat will allow the internal temp to drop and therefore maintain more of the juiciness in each cut of your meat. For beginners, this resting period step is very important – do not skip this! Note: Even though this was labeled as Masterbuilt Smoker Recipes, the tip is applicable to all smoker models.

Below is a picture of the finished product, no photo touch-ups necessary on this bad boy brisket. The picture of this brisket was taken while in the resting process. Now you have a good electric smoker recipe for smoking brisket. The next step is for you to get out there and try it! If you don’t have an electric smoker but are interested in purchasing one check out our Best Electric Smoker Reviews !

Should You Cook Brisket Fat Side Up or Down?


There are some topics in the world of barbecue that have never really been put to bed. Whether to cook your brisket fat side up or down is one of them.

If you are new to barbecuing, this may be a burning question that you have not been brave enough to ask out loud.

Or, it could be that there are so many conflicting opinions out there that you have given up on finding a straight answer.

Let’s get to the bottom of this.

What Is the Debate About?

Briskets have two distinct sides – one is covered in fat, and another is bare meat.

Aside from these two distinct sides, briskets are made up of two distinct muscles. The Point and the Flat. The pointed end tends to have a thicker covering of fat, while on the flat end the covering of fat is a little thinner.

Sometimes pitmasters will cut the brisket in half before they cook, but most times it’s best left whole.

But the real point of contention, is which way that fat should be facing. Up or down.

Why Cook Brisket Fat Side Up?

Advocates of cooking fat side up claim that the fat will “melt” into the meat, making it moist and juicy.

However, this is a myth.

The truth is that meat cannot absorb fat. Instead, the fat melts and runs off the meat into the drip pan, taking any seasoning you may have put on the meat with it.


To make matters worse, cooking fat side up won’t leave your brisket looking its best. The fat will not form a uniform bark like the bare meat would, leaving you with a not-so-appetizing looking brisket.

However, cooking brisket fat side up is not a complete no-no. If you use a horizontal offset smoker, or any other smoker wherein the heat comes from above, cooking fat side up is the way to go.

We will have a closer look at why under the section “Where is your heat coming from?”

Why Many Say Fat Side Down is Better

Most of the time, the fat side down team have got it right.

Because the fat is on the bottom, when it melts it will not wash the seasoning away, and the bark retains all the flavors you added.

Additionally, the smoke produced as the fat hits the hot coals will add a great flavor to your meat.

In most cookers, the heat comes from underneath the meat. Fat acts as an insulator. So as your meat cooks it is protected from the intense heat of the fire by the fat that does not melt away. As a result, your meat doesn’t dry out.

Also, the top of the brisket will form a uniform bark, leaving you with a brisket which looks great.

Where’s your heat coming from?

We have touched on this already, but when deciding whether to cook your brisket fat side up or down the determining factor really is the origin of the heat for your cooker.

Most of the time, the heat comes from the bottom (like on a Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet Smoker), so fat side down is the way to go.

But there are exceptions.

For example, horizontal offset smokers send the heat in from above. In that case, you want to use those insulative properties of the fat cap to shield the meat from the top. Thus, fat side up is the way to go.

So have a look at your smoker, determine where the heat is coming from. and you are most of the way to working out which way to sit your brisket.

It is still a good idea to check that the unprotected side of the meat is not drying out. If it is, you can always wrap the brisket in foil or butchers paper roughly halfway through the cook.

What The Pros Say About Fat Up or Down

You can find experts who sit on both sides of this debate. But now that we know that it largely depends on the type of cooker you use, this makes sense.

For instance, Malcom Reed of ‘How To BBQ’ likes to cook his everyday ‘eating’ briskets fat side up.

He explains his reason why like this:

malcom-reedMalcom Reed, Easy Smoked Brisket Recipe

At a contest I would cook brisket fat side down the entire time. But you have to remember with my competition briskets I’ve trimmed off most of the fat, and I’ve injected it with at least 16oz of liquid….

For this “Eating Brisket” we’re not worried about the extra fat or what it looks like after it’s cooked, so I’m going to cook it fat side up the entire time.

I want the final product to have a “beefy” flavor but not be enhanced or artificial.

We had a look at the smoker he used in the recipe, and it does appear to be a horizontal offset style smoker, so the direction from which the heat comes in has likely also had a role in this decision.

Similarly, Aaron Franklin, known for cooking a mean brisket, goes fat side up.

However, he also uses a smoker with a heat source from above. You can follow Aaron Franklin’s Brisket Guide here.

But the fat does have a flavor all of its own, and when it drips onto the coals it can impart that flavor to the meat. Meathead Goldwyn, of says:

“And what about the fat dripping into the fire and being resurrected as flavorful droplets mixed in with smoke? I save the fat cap and put it on the grate over the fire and let it drip away.”

Cooking your brisket fat side down will have a similar outcome, with the fat dripping directly onto the hot coals, and the resulting smoke flavoring your meat.

Wrapping It Up

So no, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question of fat up or fat down. But we have discovered some vital facts.

No, the fat will not penetrate your meat as it melts, but it will wash off your rub.
Yes, the smoke coming off the melted fat hitting the coals will flavor your meat.

And yes, the fat will act as an insulative barrier between the heat source and the meat, protecting it from drying out.

The long and short of it? Know your smoker, identify where the heat is coming from, and place the fat cap between the heat and the meat.

We hope you have found this article helpful. Do you have any additional questions or suggestions? Make sure you let us know in the comments section below. And if you did enjoy this article, be sure to share it!