Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Smoked Beef Brisket with Caramelized Onions & Jalapeños (Electric Smoker Style)

Ever since I broke down and bought a CharBroil electric smoker a few weeks ago from Lowe's, it's finally been an absolute joy and a breeze to smoke meats. Sure, it's not old school, but there's no need for tending a fire 10-12 hours, adding wood chunks/chips as needed throughout the smoking period, and guesstimating on how to maintain a constant (typically around 225F) ambient temperature. Been there and done all that, despite the fact that smoking was always supposed to be Gilbert's job but always ended up being mine because he either pooped out, got grumpy after 6+ hours, or heat stroked cuz he thought smoking meat at high noon under full sun in mid-August was a totally kosher and sensible idea. Most importantly though, since neither one of us are aiming to be pit masters, an electric smoker is a fab and easier alternative to traditional smoking that still yields scrumptious results. There are two ways I like to season beef brisket: first is with my own spice blend of chile powder, brown sugar, cumin, cayenne, paprika, mustard powder, oregano, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder; second is just with plain ol' salt and pepper, which is traditional Texas-style. Great sides are grilled onions and jalapeño and/or bell peppers, potato salad, and cole slaw. Since the meat is well-seasoned, I typically don't serve it with barbecue sauce, but if that floats your boat, then go for it. Leftovers are great in sandwiches and can also be vacuum-sealed and frozen. 

12-13 lb. beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat, but leaving most of the fat cap on


Kosher salt and coarse-ground black pepper, OR

Spice Seasoning Blend

2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tsp. oregano leaves
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. mustard powder

4 cups Hickory, Apple or Cherry wood chips (Mesquite is, IMHO, too strong)


Grilled/caramelized onions (2 yellow onions, 1 small red onion, thinly sliced & sautéed in 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt and pepper until nicely browned)

Grilled/caramelized jalapeños (10 jalapenos, seeded and cut into rings, sautéed in 3-4 tbsp. olive oil with a pinch of salt until just starting to brown)

Classic American Potato Salad http://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2012/08/classic-american-potato-salad.html

Prepared Horseradish Sauce (store-bought is fine)


1. Make the grilled/caramelized onions and jalapeños, if using, ahead. Ok to cool to room temperature or refrigerate (just take out of frig and let come to room temp before serving).

2. If using the spice seasoning blend, combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.

3. Rinse the beef brisket and blot dry with paper towels. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and season well on both sides generously with either just salt & pepper, or the spice seasoning blend. Wrap tightly with foil and refrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. 

4. Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before smoking. 

5. Soak the wood chips in water 10-30 minutes. 

6. Place the soaked wood chips in the metal wood chip container and place in the smoker (ours is on the bottom right). Fill the metal water container with water up to the fill line and place in the smoker (ours in on the bottom left).

7. Plug the meat thermometer into the upper right hand side of the smoker. 

8. Preheat the smoker to 225F. This may take up to 45 minutes, depending on your smoker.

9. Place a baking pan on the lower rack to serve as a drip pan (to catch any drippings from the meat).

10. Place the meat, fat side up, on the upper rack of the smoker. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the brisket and set the internal temperature to 190F. 

11. Close the smoker door and smoke about 10-12 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 190F (your smoker should notify you when that happens). Let the meat rest in the smoker about 10 minutes. 

12. Remove the meat from the smoker (silicon/heat-proof oven gloves are called for here) and place on a baking sheet. Wrap the meat in foil and let rest for 20-30 minutes. 

13. Remove the foil and slice the meat into 1/4-1/3" slices. Serve with grilled onions, jalapeños,  horseradish sauce, potato salad and/or cole slaw on the side. 

Topping Ideas for a Brisket Sandwich:

Shredded iceberg lettuce
Sliced ripe tomatoes
Grilled onions
Grilled jalapeños
Grilled mushrooms
Sliced red onions
Dill pickle slices
Sliced avocados
Horseradish sauce

Our CharBroil 1,000 watt, 40" electric smoker.

Hickory wood chips soaking in water. Presoaking the wood chips is not necessary for the electric smoker, but we like to do it anyways. 

 For the spice blend: mustard, onion powder, oregano, cayenne red pepper, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, ground cumin, and chili powder.

 A 12-1/2 lb. 1855 GF Swift Black Angus Beef Brisket from The Naughty Pig http://www.naughtypig1.com, our local butchery here in Murrieta. Go broke or go home. It doesn't pay to go cheap when it comes to brisket unless you want to end up with some tough chewy stuff. 

 Trim any excess fat from the brisket, but leave at least 1/4 inch of it on the cap.

 Rinse and blot the brisket dry with paper towels.

 Rub all sides generously with salt and pepper or the spice rub. 

Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.

The brisket was rubbed with the spice blend, wrapped in foil, and refrigerated overnight. 

For the caramelized onions: 2 yellow or white onions and 1 small red onion, thinly sliced. 

Saute the onions in 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until caramelized. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Seed the jalapeños.

Cut the jalapeños into thin rings.

Saute the jalapeño rings in 3-4 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.

Caramelized onions.

Lightly browned and softened jalapeños.

Remove the brisket from the oven after it reaches 190F and has rested in the smoker for 10 minutes. Wrap in foil and let rest an additional 20-30 minutes before slicing. 

Slice the brisket against the grain into 1/4" - 1/3" slices. 

Serve with caramelized onions, jalapeños and potato salad on the side.

 In a sandwich with toasted buns, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced red onions, grilled onions, grilled jalapeños, dill pickle slices, and horseradish sauce.

As for the rest of the brisket slices. we vacuum-sealed and froze them for a rainy day. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Indeed a beautiful post, I know Electric smoker is very important, I myself love it & that's why I have recently purchased one of the best electric smokers around, because once I put my money on it, I need it to work for years.

    By the way, Keep up the good work.