Oven Smoked BBQ Brisket

The weather lately has been very hit or miss, or more accurately… miss or miss. The house is a war zone, there’s tons of DIY remodeling (more like organized planned chaos), and post IRENE we’re still chasing off lots and lots of rain. There’s no shortage of water and flooding. Then the icing on the cake is Riley’s homeschooling. Some days he has me ready to pull out my hair. Best for him? Absolutely without a doubt! For me? Meh, both of my boys are mildly crazy, with a side of defiant and a dash of angry. They could be a bit less like me in a lot of ways. Oh the dream of calm, respectful children. So basically I’ve been teetering on insanity. When I can get chunk on board for shopping, I do. The great thing is that I don’t have to leave the house, or the comfort of my sweatpants. The negative: I end up with 20 pounds of sugar, ice cream, soda, sugar crunchies, potato chips, oh yeah and a brisket. It seems that I’ve gotten him hooked. 

Slow smoked Texas brisket is absolutely a dream come true. I’ve experimented, I’ve tweaked, I’ve learned a lot.  What happens when the weather is gross, or lets say someone is a little lazy and not feeling like dealing with the smoker? Well my dear the answer is oven smoking. Yes I said oven smoking, and no I did not burn my house down. (Yet) It was easy to do and anyone can do it. I used a cast iron skillet as my chip pot, and baked that marinated brisket low and slow. The outcome was phenomenal. I was almost expecting a heart breaking disappointment, you know one of those dry, bland Grammy style briskets? This was not one of them! If you choose to forgo the chips, I don’t blame you. Seeing as I happen to like the smell of smokey meaty goodness I did not at all mind that my house smelled much like a BBQ pit for almost a week. In my home the smell of pork and smoke pluck at our heart strings, no thanks Calvin Klein we want meat odor. When is Glade going to get with the program and make a bacon and apple air freshener? Wow! That would be awesome. Anyway, If you live in close quarters you’ll not dare make this…you’ll have everyone banging on the door begging for a taste! (or calling the fire department on you) Its pretty hard core. Its delicious and almost as good as a true smoked brisket. 
Oven Smoked BBQ Brisket 
This recipe is pretty straight forward. The secret to success is to remember that time is on your side. Rule #1, Marinate the meat over night in your spice rub. Rule #2, low and slow. If you really do not want to mess with your smoke alarm or rowdy neighbors you can substitute bottled liquid smoke. I’m not a huge fan of the stuff however it does really add a bit of flavor reminiscent of real barbecue. A tablespoon or so will do ya. (I opted for Worcester-shir-shir instead.) The super secret weapon I believe is actually instant coffee. It adds an earthy deep flavor that helps you forget the missing natural smoke flavor. Using salt, pepper, sugar and instant coffee alone would probably result in a bang up brisket. I’m not really known for simplicity though so of course I just couldn’t leave it at that. 
1, 4 to 6 pound brisket. 
Dry Rub-
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon instant coffee 
4-6 tablespoons brown sugar 

liquid smoke or Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Wood Chips & a heavy duty pan or disposable aluminum pan. (I used a cast iron skillet, they are practically invincible)
One day in advance: (or up to 3)
-Trim brisket of most of the fat if desired. I sometimes trim off most of it before cooking, other times I trim it off afterwards so that the fat bastes the meat while it cooks. I honestly can not make up my mind which is better. A little fat goes a long way, if you want to go somewhere in the middle leave about 1/4″ of fat cap.
-Using a fork prick the brisket all over on both sides. Rub the seasoning all both sides. Place in the refrigerator overnight. (8-24 hours) I allow mine to rest overnight uncovered. It allows the seasoning to really penetrate. If you do this you want to be sure not to contaminate anything else in the fridge. Use the bottom shelf, and keep other items away from it.
Preparing Your Brisket-
Preheat Oven to 275 degrees.
Remove brisket from the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature by resting on the counter 30 minutes or so. Add one or two tablespoons of liquid smoke if desired, I used Worcestershire Sauce. 

Prepare The “Smoke”
In a dry heavy duty pan over medium heat warm the chips until they are smoking. You do not want to soak them, dry pan, dry chips. If you do not have a cast iron skillet or a pan your willing to possibly sacrifice you can use an aluminum pie plate.  Turn chips until all are browning and there is a good amount of smoke flowing. I tried to make a foil tent with holes to help evenly distribute the smoke better, but this did not work so well. (I also tried roasting the chips with a layer of foil down on my pan to protect it. I had no luck but no worries no cast iron was harmed during the making of this brisket. My pan cleaned up A-ok.)
-Place the meat into the oven. Place smoke pan below it. I took the chip pan out one or two times to re-light the chips back up. 
-Bake for 4-6 hours. Approximately 1 hour per pound of meat. The most accurate way to tell if its done is to test it with a meat thermometer. Well done is 185 degrees. I typically prefer my meat pretty rare however with brisket… I’ve yet to remember it on time so well done it is, and done well at that! 
-Allow brisket to rest 20 minutes to an hour wrapped in foil. Slice off fat if you have not already. Slice and enjoy with your favorite sauce and sides. 

Check out this post for awesome sauce and authentic smokey Barbecue-