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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 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.
- 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
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.
Cut diagonal lines through the fat down to the meat.
When you are finished, it should be a crosshatch pattern of sorts.
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.
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.
Add some spicy mustard and rub it all over the top and sides of the brisket.
Spread the rub/mustard paste all over the top and sides of the brisket.
Flip the brisket over and add the mustard and rub to the other side as well.
The brisket is now ready to 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Serve the beefy goodness with a couple of delicious side items and accept the slaps on the back graciously.
Smoked Brisket - No Fuss Method
Step 1: Score the Fat
- Lay the brisket fat side up on the cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch pattern through the fat down to the meat.
- Make the cuts about 1 inch apart.
Step 2: Mark the Grain
- Flip the brisket over so that it is fat side down.
- Take notice of the direction the meat fibers are running.
- On the corner edge, make a cut halfway through the meat across those meat fibers.
- 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
- Apply a thin coat of spicy mustard to the top and sides of the brisket.
- Flip the brisket over and repeat the mustard and rub on the other side.
Step 4: Smoke
- Setup and preheat smoker at about 225°F.
- Place the brisket on the smoker grate fat side up.
- 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
- Once the brisket is finished cooking, place it in the foil lined bottom of an empty cooler.
- Cover top with foil.
- Place towels and/or newspaper over the brisket to help insulate it.
- Leave in cooler for 2-4 hours to tenderize.
Step 6: Slice
- Remove brisket from cooler and place on cutting board.
- Slice into pencil thick slices across the grain using the grain marker cut into the corner as a guide.
- Serve and enjoy!