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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.