Love the taste of smoky grilled meat, but need to watch your cholesterol this summer? Here’s how you can enjoya healthy smoked brisket in your own backyard!
Whether it’s a rowdy family gathering for the July 4th weekend or just some well-needed R&R after a long work week, the smell of juicy brisket grilling low and slow on an electric smoker, marinated in tangy BBQ sauce – that’s good livin’!
If you’ve tried your hand at brisket before and been disappointed by your results, these simple pointers will turn your next smoked brisket into a triumph instead of a five-alarm fire!
Start with a Clean Electric Smoker
Be sure to clean your electric smoker before you slap down an expensive cut of brisket on that dirty grill. Otherwise, your brisket’s flavor will be tainted by leftover grime, soot, burnt food, and other debris. Yuck!
If this is your first time grilling brisket, you might find our electric smoker cleaning and maintenance guide helpful.
Choose the Right Cut of Brisket
Knowing exactly what to ask for and what to look for really is the first step to a delicious, healthy grilled brisket. Here are just some helpful pointers on picking the right cut.
Point, Flat, or Packer…
No, it’s not a list of NFL teams; the names refer to different cuts of brisket meat.
- A point cut, also referred to as the ‘point muscle’ of a steer’s breast, is the tougher, meatier portion of a brisket cut.
- The flatter end, or ‘flat cut’, however, contains less fat and is a thinner portion of the breast muscle.
- The packer cut is a whole cut, both point and flat together.
So which brisket cut is best for grilling?
The packer cut makes for a juicier serving of meat with an even distribution of fat. Those on a diet might prefer a flat cut because it’s got way less fat than the point cut, but much of the flavor is actually in the fat so…you know…just sayin’.
10 – 12 lbs. Your electric smoker should also be able to accommodate the brisket easily when the doors are closed. At an average ½ lb serving per person, you’ll have enough for at least 8 – 10 briskets and some choice leftovers.
Not sure what a healthy serving of brisket looks like? You mind find it useful to review the American Heart Association’s guidelines for healthy eating portions and servings.
For the best results, prepare and rub down the brisket at least one day before you grill it. Massage the salt and pepper liberally over the entire brisket, including the fatty parts, evenly. Wrap it in foil and leave it in the fridge overnight. Your mouths will thank you later!
Woodchips Impact the Flavor of Your Brisket
- Cherry wood or apple gives your brisket a mildly sweet flavor
- Mesquite wood is strong and gives your brisket that smoky wood flavoring. Use sparingly or mix with another sweet wood for a more balanced flavor.
- Hickory will give your brisket a crispy bacon flavor
- Add cherry or apple wood to any wood for an added hint of flavor
Smoke Your Brisket Slowly
Brisket needs to burn low and slow. It can take 8 – 12 hours to properly develop a juicy, caramelized bark on your smoked brisket. At 250F degrees,a quality electric smoker can get the job done in about 4-5 hours.
Keeping a constant internal temperature of 250F, try to avoid excessive smoking. When the internal temperature of your brisket reaches between 150F – 165F, your brisket is almost ready!
Wrap Your Brisket in Foil to Soak in the Juices, Cool the Meat&Stabilize Flavors
For the final step, let your brisket sit on the grill in FOIL for about 1- 2hrs at a reduced temperature of 175 – 200F. Then, remove and wrap in foil to cool for another hour or so and – voila! Brisket fit for a king!
Is Brisket Healthy?
There are actually 8 kinds of primal cuts for beef. The brisket is the breast, where the meat is fattier and thicker. Despite having more fat than other cuts, you’ll be relieved to know health experts consider it the good kind of fat.
Brisket cuts are high in oleic acid, a kind of cholesterol which actually lowers LDL’s (bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Grilled low and slow over a blue fire, the oleic acid-rich fat breaks down, releasing the marinated meat’s savory juices and rich flavor.
Of course, if you are on a low-cholesterol diet you’ll want to watch your portions. Check out our tips for enjoying a healthy brisket meal this summer!
Healthy Brisket Serving Tips:
- Do you really need that third helping just because it’s the July 4th weekend? Reward your hard work at weight loss by staying on track even when you’re having fun. Eat moderate portion sizes and drink lots of water instead of extra portions.
- Switch it up with whole wheat rather than calorie-laden white bread typically used in brisket sandwiches.
- Are you eating the meat or the condiments? Resist the urge to lather your meat in BBQ sauce and salt, particularly if you’re watching your weight or salt intake.
- Round out your brisket with lighter sides: try fresh vegetables and salads instead potato salad
- Alcoholadds calories
It’s always a good idea to review the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines, which establishes healthy food and nutrition standards for all Americans.
Happy barbequing everyone!