I’ve probably gushed about my amazingly useful stove-top smoker before, possibly to the point that I should just break down and go work for Camerons in advertising. They can pay me in smoked meat and exciting flavors of wood chips. I worried for a long time about smoking a brisket, though. I love brisket, but it can need a lot of TLC and added liquid to keep it from turning into a brisket brick. Smoking, or any other dry cooking, just seemed like a dangerous idea.
I did it anyway. And it was awesome.
The trick seems to be, as always, the marinade. I didn’t use anything particularly acidic, just made sure to marinate the meat in the refrigerator for about twenty hours. Since we plan a whole week of meals ahead of time, that really wasn’t hard to remember; we made the marinade after dinner one night and pulled it out the next night after work. Couldn’t be easier.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds brisket (this was leftover from the 6-pound flat we got for Rosh Hashanah)
1 1/2 cups beef broth or stock (or one bottle beer)
1-2 T Worcestershire sauce
2-3 T mustard (this Dusseldorf mustard may have changed my life. It’s unbelievable.)
about 1 T brown sugar
1-2 T salt
a generous sprinkling of paprika
several cloves of garlic (which I forgot.)
You may notice that these amounts aren’t exact. I don’t measure when making marinades; I just add a pile of favorite flavors that I think will work together straight out of the bottles. It seems to work.
I like to trim most of the fat from my brisket, because I don’t like the texture and don’t need the calories. I left more than usual this time because in the smoker, the fat will melt and run off into the drip tray. When braising, that fat just sits there on the meat and congeals. Blech.
Start the marinade by standing a big zip top bag up in a saucepan or giant ramekin. Add the broth or stock or beer.
Pour in the Worcestershire sauce.
Then the mustard.
Time for a bit of sugar.
Lots of salt.
And finally the paprika. Toast up some garlic cloves and toss them in, too, if you have them.
The meat goes in last, then fold over the bag and pop it in the fridge for a day or so. At minimum, I would make the marinade in the morning before work and have this for dinner the same night.
When you’re ready to cook, sprinkle some wood shavings into the bottom of the smoker. I used the bourbon-soaked oak chips. Yum.
Add the brisket on the rack. I threw on some more kosher salt, because salt is my favorite.
Almost close the smoker lid and heat the burner over medium-high.
When you see a wisp of smoke come through the crack you left open, slam it shut and let it smoke for about an hour and a half.
When it’s done, open up the smoker and check with a knife to be sure it’s fully cooked.
The only other trick here is to cut the brisket properly. You’ll see some pretty well defined lines, and the temptation is to cut parallel to those lines.
Cut at a 60 to 90 degree angle to those lines instead, and make thin slices. This helps the meat fall apart more easily and seem more tender.
Serve with green beans sautéed in olive oil and homemade applesauce.
I’m not much of a carnivore, but I could eat this every night for a week and be happy. That little smoker is easily the best $30 I’ve spent on my kitchen. It’s quicker and easier than an outdoor smoker, and I can use it while living in an apartment. It’s fantastic.