Often you see smoked brisket recipes and there's a lot of trimming, injecting, wrapping, and who knows what else just to get it ready for the smoker. This is followed by hours on end in the smoker while you mop it every few hours, flip it over now and then and sing to it to keep it happy while it morphs into a beautiful hunk of beefy goodness. Those things are all fine and wonderful and I do it myself from time to time but sometimes you have other things to do and you don't have a lot of time to spend with the small details.

Can you still smoke a brisket and have it turn out juicy and delicious even if you don't do all of those things?

I propose a toast to the “no fuss, no muss” brisket where you don't trim, mop or mess with the hunk of meat until it is done cooking. It's as simple as adding spicy mustard and some of my rub (purchase recipes here) and then bathing it with heat and smoke until it is cooked to tender.

I used my original rub recipe on this one but you can also use the Texas style rub recipe if you want a savory only seasoning on the outside of the meat with no sweet notes. Both are delicious and the option is yours to choose.

Please note: the Texas style rub recipe is included free when you order the original rub recipe. If you are a previous customer and did not get the Texas style recipe with your order, please request the recipe using our contact form.

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Helpful Information
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 16-20 hours (varies based on size and muscle/fat ratio)
  • Smoker temperature: 225°F
  • Meat finish temperature: 195-205
  • Recommended wood: Pecan or Mesquite
What You'll Need

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This no fuss smoked brisket is great with my original rub or my Texas style rub alike depending on whether you prefer the original sweet and spicy on beef or a more savory seasoning with no sweet notes. Both are destined to please your taste buds greatly 😉

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

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Step 1: Score the Fat (optional)

This step is optional but I think this is something that is pretty important and it only takes 30 seconds to do it if you have a sharp knife and don't worry about straight even lines.

Scoring the fat gives the juices and the rub a place to pool up without running off and helps the final flavor tremendously.

Lay the brisket fat side up on the cutting board.

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Cut diagonal lines through the fat down to the meat.

When you are finished, it should be a crosshatch pattern of sorts.

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Step 2: Mark the Grain (optional)

It's hard to tell which way the grain runs once the brisket is finished cooking so a quick and easy way to tell is to mark the grain ahead of time. This is optional and can be skipped but it is helpful later when you get ready to slice.

With the brisket laying fat side down…

Notice the direction the meat fibers are running and make a cut at the corner edge of the brisket about half way through the meat right across those fibers.

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By only cutting half way, the meat stays attached, there's no waste but you can still tell which direction the slices should be cut later so they are the most tender.

Step 3: Mustard and Rub

Add some spicy mustard and rub it all over the top and sides of the brisket.

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Pour on some of Jeff's original rub or the Texas style rub (purchase recipes here) if you want a savory only seasoning. (be generous)

Spread the rub/mustard paste all over the top and sides of the brisket.

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Flip the brisket over and add the mustard and rub to the other side as well.

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The brisket is now ready to smoke.

Step 4: Smoke

Fire up, plug in, do whatever it takes to get your particular smoker going and pre-heat it to 225°F.

I used an electric cabinet style smoker for this brisket which is why you will not see a smoke ring on the edge of the meat. The wood chips placed into an electric smoker produce plenty of smoke flavor but most times do not produce the pink or red ring around the surface of the meat.

For ease of use and complete hands off experience, an electric smoker is a great way to go. To make it even more hand off, acquire an Amazen Pellet Smoker which uses pellets to produce smoke for up to 11 hours straight once you set it up.

Other great smokers that are easy to use and are able to be used as “set it and forget it” smokers are the pellets smokers such as the Traeger and the Bradley smoker which auto feeds wood pucks while maintaining the set temperature.

Once the smoker is holding the proper temperature, place the brisket directly on the smoker grate with fat side up and let the smoking commence.

I highly recommend using a remote digital meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 or the “Smoke” by Thermoworks so you won't have to open the door and lose heat to check the temperature.

When the brisket reaches 160 degrees you can wrap it in foil if you want to but since this is a no fuss brisket cook, I recommend leaving it alone until it gets completely done.

When the brisket reaches 195°F, it is getting close. Stick a probe or a toothpick into the meat and when it feels like it's going into hot butter with almost no resistance, it's done.

Step 5: Rest

Have a cooler ready with towels, newspaper, etc. and when the brisket is finished cooking, lay the brisket down in the foil lined bottom area of the cooler.

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Pull the foil over the top of the brisket and cover with a couple of thick towels, newspapers or whatever you have to help insulate it.

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Leave the brisket in the cooler for 2-4 hours before slicing. The longer you leave it in there, the more tender and juicy it will become

Step 6: Slice and Serve

When you are ready to serve the brisket, take it out of the cooler and place it on the cutting board.

Remember that mark you made to show you the direction of the grain? Slice the brisket about the thickness of a pencil along that line.

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Serve the beefy goodness with a couple of delicious side items and accept the slaps on the back graciously.

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***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

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Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

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Printable Recipe

Smoked Brisket – No Fuss Method
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Author: Jeff Phillips
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10
My easy no fuss, no muss method of making smoked brisket where there is no trimming, injecting, flipping or mopping. Rub it down, smoke it, slice and serve!
Ingredients
Instructions
Step 1: Score the Fat
  1. Lay the brisket fat side up on the cutting board.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch pattern through the fat down to the meat.
  3. Make the cuts about 1 inch apart.
Step 2: Mark the Grain
  1. Flip the brisket over so that it is fat side down.
  2. Take notice of the direction the meat fibers are running.
  3. On the corner edge, make a cut halfway through the meat across those meat fibers.
  4. This is to mark the grain direction so you will know how to slice it once it's finished cooking.
Step 3: Mustard and Rub
  1. Apply a thin coat of spicy mustard to the top and sides of the brisket.
  2. Sprinkle Jeff's original rub or the Texas style rub onto the area coated with mustard.
  3. Flip the brisket over and repeat the mustard and rub on the other side.
Step 4: Smoke
  1. Setup and preheat smoker at about 225°F.
  2. Place the brisket on the smoker grate fat side up.
  3. Allow the brisket to cook for 18-22 hours or until it reaches 195-205°F in the center of the meat.
Step 5: Rest
  1. Once the brisket is finished cooking, place it in the foil lined bottom of an empty cooler.
  2. Cover top with foil.
  3. Place towels and/or newspaper over the brisket to help insulate it.
  4. Leave in cooler for 2-4 hours to tenderize.
Step 6: Slice
  1. Remove brisket from cooler and place on cutting board.
  2. Slice into pencil thick slices across the grain using the grain marker cut into the corner as a guide.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

13 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. TSHobbes September 11, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    We were having people over for my daughters birthday so I decided to smoke a brisket. I had done one before using a different recipe and had good results. But this time around I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try.

    I was able to get a 13 lb. packer at the local grocery. I brought it home and trimmed the fat down to the 1/4 inch range. After that rather than using mustard as the binder I used some BBQ sauce and then covered it in rub. I started it at 7:30 Saturday evening so it would be ready for an early dinner on Sunday. I ended up taking it out of the smoker at 3:30 pm on Sunday with the internal temp at 194. I would have liked to leave it in a bit longer but wanted to let it rest for at least an hour before I cut into it.

    There were 10 of us with plates ready. Once it was sliced we all dug in. When it was over there were only a few slices left. I got nothing be raves. Will gladly use this recipe again and again.

  2. BobK August 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    I’ve smoked brisket several times now on the Green Egg but with little success. While the meat was medium tender there wasn’t much taste or the meat consistency. Just about every article I read about smoked brisket they rave about it being the “king” of meats. I used the rub, smoke it for hours, wrap it in foil and add beef broth, then keep it wrapped in foil in a cooler for another couple hours after I take it out of the Egg. The results are just okay.

    There are a lot of different opinions as to final temperature. Some say 185 deg, others 190 deg, and one well known pit master said 200 deg. Some say to just check for tenderness. They all love the finished product but I can never rave about my briskets. What am I doing wrong?

  3. Chris April 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    You said to place the brisket on the grate with the fat side up. How does it stay juicy and how can I collect juices if it’s not in a foil pan? Do I cook it part of the time in a pan and part of the time on the grate? If yes, which order will give the best results…first on the grate or in the pan? Great site.

  4. Pablo March 12, 2016 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Hi.

    Just wondering how long do you think it would take a small 4 lb brisket to reach 195f at 225f? I want to plan my start time.

    • Jestmike March 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      In my Horizon 16″ offset smoker donning 225 to 250 it took “about” 1 hour 15 minutes/pound.

    • Rito May 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      I just did a 4lb flat this weekend using the Flat for Nacho’s method (In the pan with beef broth) on a 22′ Weber Smoky Mtn and I put it on a ready fire at 8:30 a.m. at 230°. Then knocked the heat down to about 180° at 2:30 and let it just sit until about 5:30. It was very tender. It wasn’t your usual ‘smoky’ comp style brisket but it didn’t go to waste either! More like a mildly smoked pot roast.
      Hope this helps.

  5. Jeremy February 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Just curious about how
    Long per pound my brisket is just over 6 lb?

  6. Ryan S. January 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Jeff – With this being a full brisket including the flat and the point, where would it be best to measure the temp? Should we be putting the probe into the thickest part of the meat to reach 195 (more where the point is)? I’m concerned that if I wait to get that part of the brisket to 195, then the thinner flat part might be overcooked? Maybe I am just thinking about it too much. Let me know your thoughts when you get a chance. Love the site!

  7. Dan January 10, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Tried this last weekend. I put it in the Bradley around noon on Saturday. When I went to check it before going bed, the smoker was only getting to about 125*. The outside temperature was only around 5*. When I checked it the next morning, it was still cold and the smoker was not able to keep up very well. I pulled the brisket and put it in the oven until the meat hit 205* – about 3 hrs. I then put it in an ice chest with a bunch of towels around it. It stayed in there until about 4:00 when we decided to check it out. Wow, it was still plenty warm and the wife and I agree that this was the best brisket we have ever had. Very moist, good flavor.
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and suggestions.

    Dan

  8. Mark Boothroyd January 8, 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

    How long should I keep the smoke going? Until it reaches 160?

    • Jeff Phillips January 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      My rule of thumb is to add smoke for about half of the estimated cook time. This usually means about 8 hours or so for brisket. Adding smoke until it reaches 160 is also a good way to measure it. You can then wrap it in foil at that point or even finish it in the house oven if you need to.

  9. don nealious December 31, 2015 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Looks like the fat side is down when doing the scoring from the photos you posted. Am I wrong?

    • Jeff Phillips January 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Scoring is done to the fat cap in the “up” position;-)

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