Before going any further, it's important to make sure that the brisket you are about to buy is good enough for smoking.
Hands down, the best cut for brisket smoking is the "packer cut" brisket.
Essentially, this is a large two-muscle cut with all its fat cap.
This cut should be at least 11 pounds before trimming the fat.
Keep in mind that every person you are serving should get about 1/2 pound (or more) of brisket.
The next thing you need to take into account is the quality of the whole brisket.
Keep in mind that briskets of higher quality are more marbled than those of lower quality.
More marbling also means that the end result will be juicer and flavorful. If at all possible, pick a brisket of the Wagyu or Prime varieties as they are the fattiest and most marbled of all.
Finally, it's important to know the difference between a pasture fed and a grain fed brisket.
There will be a difference in flavor, but that is subjective.
Cooking-wise, the most important difference is that a pasture fed brisket will cook faster than a grain fed one.
The first thing you should do is to trim off the excess top fat, also known as "fat cap".
Use a sharp knife, and leave a 0.25-inch layer of fat on the meat.
This fat will keep the meat nice and moist during the extensive cooking process, so be sure not to leave any less.
To do this, you must first prepare a mixture of herbs and spices otherwise known as a rub.
The basic rub consists of a mixture of coarse salt and black pepper.
However, you can add to it anything you'd like.
For example, a few tablespoons of garlic powder can give your brisket a delightful little kick.
Sprinkle a few generous tablespoons of rub on the meat, rubbing it in vigorously so that it is evenly spread on both sides.
After this process, you can go immediately on to the next step.
However, it is recommended to let everything sit for anything between 20 minutes and 2 hours.
If you decide to do this, make sure to put the meat in the refrigerator during the process.
During this entire process, you should keep an eye on your powered thermostat in order to make sure that the temperature is optimal.
In addition, you should have a good understanding of your type of smoker or cooker
In particular, it's important to know where its hot spots are, how long it takes to reach a stable temperature and how well it is able to maintain said temperature.
Light up the wood so the device begins gaining temperature.
The best wood for fuel is a combination of charcoal and wood.
Hickory, pecan and oak are good options, but you can use whatever you want for the smoke flavor you want to get.
Get your smoker or grill to be running at 250 to 275 degrees.
Once it gets there, keep the temperature stable for a few minutes.
The goal is to keep it slightly higher than it should be until the meat goes in.
At this point, you are ready to put the brisket in the cooker or smoker.
Place it carefully on the top rack with the fat side up.
Make sure the entirety of the meat's bottom is making contact with the grill.
Once the brisket is placed, close the lid and bring the temperature down to 225 degrees.
You can use the grill's vents to help regulate the temperature. Leave the meat to cook.
Make sure to check the temperature of the grill at least once every hour, making sure it is as close to 225 degrees Fahrenheit as possible.
If you have done everything correctly up to this point, it should take about six hours for the brisket to be fully cooked.
When six hours of cook time have almost passed, the brisket should reach its plateau.
This is a term that is used to describe the moment when the brisket's internal temperature reaches around 150 degrees Fahrenheit and stalls.
If you are happy with the brisket's bark, it is now time to wrap it.
Add the half a cup of apple juice and wrap the brisket tightly using two large sheets of aluminum foil.
Once it has been wrapped, the brisket's internal temperature should start to slowly rise.
The goal is for it to rise to around 202 degrees Fahrenheit.
Typically, brisket cooks for anything between five and eight hours.
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
Once another six hours have passed, it's time to take the brisket out of the smoker or grill and leave it to rest.
Even though it may not seem important, letting the meat rest is a crucial step.
This process allows the hot and bubbly juices to settle down and redistribute, ensuring that the meat will be evenly juicy and flavorful.
Before slicing and serving the brisket, it is important to test it in order to find out if it's properly cooked.
Ideally, the temperature of a smoked brisket is about 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its internal temperature, however, should increase by 10 degrees if the piece of meat is thoroughly cooked, so take that into account.
At any rate, you can find out whether the brisket is well done without having to slice it by using the "feel" method: Simply stick a small fork in the brisket.
Finally, the time has come to slice the tender brisket for serving.
Slicing a brisket correctly requires a certain amount of knowledge and practice in order to be done correctly.