How to Get Bark on Brisket in Electric Smoker


The deliciousness and palatability of a well-smoked brisket can be depicted from the bark and a smoke ring! The crust (outer layer) takes some skills to master and a few tips to carry out to get the suitably textured bark on the brisket.


Two major ways can be adopted to have bark on the smoked brisket:

  1. There must be a thick but not too hard fat layer on the brisket, and the rub should be applied to the layer. 
  2. Secondly, do not wrap the brisket too early or too late otherwise, the brisket will get extra soft. Moreover, if you smoke the brisket without covering or wrapping, the brisket will get hard and dry. In turn, even the smoked brisket will be dry from the inside as the inter-fat layer between the muscles does not melt properly. 

But even most of the professionals complain about the crust softening while preparing the brisket. Do you wonder why your brisket bark is soft? The simplest answer to this question is due to steam. 

Steam will get your brisket bark extra soft if wrapped in foil too early. Thus, we suggest to wrap the brisket just after the crust has been developed and wrapped before slicing. 

To get to know how to get bark on brisket in electric smoker; we’ve concluded all the details below!

The Science behind the bark

The bark is a hard crust surface on the top of the brisket, formed during the meat’s smoking. The most important factors to let the bark form on the brisket come out to be the proper rubbing of spices and sugars and adequate wrapping of the meat. 

Smoked Brisket with Dark Bark

When you’re smoking the meat, two of the significant chemical reactions occur in the background. 

  1. Polymerization 
  2. Maillard reaction

But to understand it correctly, let’s break the facts into simpler terms. Once you start smoking the brisket, either in the electric smoker or the other one, the water-soluble ingredients will get dissolved in the smoke as the heat evaporates. 

This way, the salt and spices will seep down the layers of meat, contributing to the smoke ring and the fine-textured bark. The smoke binds with the spices (rub) on the crust of the brisket, resulting in the darkening of the bark. 

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Pre-Cooking Tips for getting bark on a brisket:

Getting a bark on a brisket becomes easier when you focus on the little details. To help you out in this regard, let’s have a look at a few important tips that will help you achieve your cooking goal. 

How to prepare meat to get a good bark?

Cut wisely: 

The surface area of your meat plays a significant role in preparing the meat for bark, as more surface area will lead to more rubs and spices on the crust and more taste. Use your cuts wisely to seep the rubs into the inner layers of meat. 

Fat layers must be in order:

Excess fat sitting on the crust can harden or soften the bark of the brisket if not used appropriately. Hard fat is not considered optimum as it can add too much moisture to the brisket or sometimes does not even process completely. 

Dry rub:

Use the sugar-based rubs as the sugar plays a vital role in providing delicious flavor. One of the bark’s essential ingredients, sugar, adds to the taste by the slow-melting process. 

Are you looking for appropriate rubs to intensify the flavor? Pit Barrel Cooker has got you all the range of rubs! 

Smoking tips for a good bark

Do you want a fine-textured bark on the brisket? Here are some pro-level tips that you must practice getting a good bark on the brisket in electric smoker. Let’s delve into further details!

Temperature plays a key role:

Smoking at the right temperature is what will serve you a good brisket. For example, if you’re smoking the brisket at a very low temperature, the rubs will end up getting the saucy topping, while at a very high temperature, the bark can darken too much, giving off a burnt feel. 

The ideal temperature for preparing the bark in brisket is about 200 to 250°F.

Wrap appropriately:

The right level of steaming for your brisket gets you a fine-looking bark on the crust. Wrapping your brisket while smoking in the electric smoker is vital but at the right time. 

If done rightly, the steam can add moisture to the inter-muscle layers and create a mouth-watering bark. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is my brisket not getting a bark?

There can be multiple reasons why bark is not getting dark! If the temperature is too high, there is a chance of charring the meat. Contrarily, if the temperature is low, bark will not form as the spices will evaporate. 

Do electric smokers make bark?

Electric smokers can produce bark, but the darkening and texture are mild as compared to wood smokers. Moreover, you’ll not get the appropriate soot while smoking the brisket in an electric smoker. 

How do I get more bark on my brisket?

A simple rule implies here; the more the surface area, the more the bark on meat will be. Moreover, consider getting the shoulder or brisket portion, as it is easier to produce bark with a flat surface. 

Moreover, cut the meat in the right direction and consider rubbing it with proper spices. 

How long does it take to form a bark on a brisket?

Bark formation is a time-consuming process. Hold and cook the meat at a mild temperature for a long time in the smoker. A large brisket will take up to 12 hours or more to get the darkened bark on the brisket. That’s how to get bark on brisket in electric smoker!

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Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.