How to Get Bark on Brisket in Electric Smoker

Do you want to get that delicious caramelised bark on your brisket? Getting that crust on your brisket is no easy task, especially when your using an electric smoker. 

However I have done some extensive testing with my electric smoker set up and have put the steps below that will ENSURE you get bark on your brisket EVERYTIME!

What Is Bark?

Brisket bark refers to the flavorful and crispy outer layer that forms on a slow-cooked or smoked brisket.

The bark is a result of the Maillard reaction, where the sugars and protein in the meat and rub undergo chemical changes due to prolonged heat exposure. The bark adds a rich combination of smoky, savory, and caramelized flavors, enhancing the overall taste and texture of the brisket


5 Ways to Get Bark on Brisket in Electric Smoker

Below are my five ways of ensuring you get that tasty bark on your brisket

Choose the Right Brisket

The quality of the entire brisket will determine its ability to form a flavorful bark. With too much brisket fat, it might not crisp up. If there are too much connective tissues, then it won’t be very tender.

Use a Dry Rub

The dry rub will help to dry out the brisket surface, just be sure to use a binder like mustard first. The ingredients will create a chemical reaction to achieve a crispy bark. This is especially true if you have kosher salt in the rub, as kosher salt will help the development of bark. Brown sugar, black pepper, and garlic powder are other good ingredients for a dry rub.


Use Dry Wood Chips

While electric smokers don’t need wood chips, many of them have an optional wood chip tray. If you use wood chips, use dry ones. You may even want to let them smoke for a bit to dry them out before adding the meat.

This will result in clean smoke and a delicious indirect heat source. The smoke can also interact with the bark and enhance it. This is because it dries out any liquid that would prevent a nice crunch.

The black smoke will impact the color of the bark. Some people agree that wood chunks work better than wood chips for bark formation.

While the wood chips will add an extra layer of smoky flavor, they are unnecessary. So this is an optional step.


Empty the Drip Pan

If you are using a drip pan, empty it frequently. Otherwise, the smoker will give off more steam than smoke. When you remove the excess liquid, there will be less steam. It is worth keeping your brisket drippings as they can be used for all sort of recipes.

The steam can make the bark a bit soggy. So reducing the steam will improve the development of bark.

Why Doesn’t My Brisket Have Bark?

There are a few reasons why your brisket might not have a decent bark. Maybe the rub had the wrong ingredients. While many ingredients are tasty, some won’t result in crispy skin.

The absence of smoke can also prevent the bark from forming.

The smoke helps to dry up any liquid which can lead to a crisp skin. Without the smoke, this may not happen.


Should I Wrap My Brisket?

You probably shouldn’t wrap your brisket if you want a fine-textured bark. The wrap will retain heat which decreases the cooking time. This can keep the meat moist.

It also prevents too much smoke flavor from penetrating the brisket. It can result in soggy skin, though. If you want a crunchy bark, then you should probably skip the wrap.

Some people will wrap the brisket in foil when the bark forms. Most people will wrap the brisket once the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

While many people use butcher paper, it tends to result in a moist bark. Butcher paper may not be the best option when you want a crunchy bark.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Crisp Bark on Brisket?

Brisket cooks at about an hour per pound. The bark will form throughout the cooking process. A 12-pound brisket will take a little over 12 hours to cook. It will take about that long to form a bark.

The smoking process is complete once the brisket reaches 204°F, then you can pull it from the smoker and rest it in a cooler until it reaches 180°F. You can use a temperature probe to monitor the internal meat temperature.


Be Understanding of the Electric Smoker

While electric smokers can cook brisket with a nice bark, it won’t be the same. If you’re used to a pellet grill, you may not be impressed with an electric smoker. While you can achieve a bark, it might not meet your expectations. That doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious!

If you use an electric smoker to cook your brisket, have lower expectations. The brisket won’t have the same smoky flavor you get from a pellet grill. So don’t expect it to.

The smoking process is different for each type of grill. However, the results are usually delicious. While the cooking process for a brisket with a nice bark can be long, it’s worth it. The development of bark requires some patience.

Fortunately, it will be so delicious that everyone will appreciate the effort! Find a juicy brisket recipe and use our tips for the perfect piece of meat. When you smoke an entire brisket for your friends, they’ll be drooling.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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