What does El Diablo Mustard and Brisket have to do with each other? Well, El Diablo Mustard asked me to develop a recipe with their fine mustards and I’ve always used mustard when I grill brisket, so the fact that they offered to pay me to come up with a recipe was a no brainer. And they make some amazing mustards. For me, there are two absolute musts for a perfect brisket — good mustard and the Texas crutch. More on that last one in a minute. As for the mustard, dad turned me onto that years ago. Here’s a post from 2010 where he made a mustard brisket on the worst grill you will ever see on this site.
Let’s face it, brisket is intimidating. It’s a tough piece of meat that needs hours in the smoke and heat to be tender and delicious. We need every advantage we can get to make it perfect. And the fact that this cheap, tough cut of meat is no longer cheap, it’s an even bigger disappointment when we screw up a brisket.
So let’s get to the recipe and the method.
El Diablo Mustard Brisket Ingredients:
El Diablo Mustard
Your favorite BBQ rub
There are a couple other items I highly recommend having to properly grill brisket. An aluminum pan large enough to fit the brisket inside, aluminum foil and a probe thermometer. You can get buy without the first two, but the last one is absolutely necessary. Grilling brisket without a probe thermometer is like driving a car without eyes.
Let’s start off with the meat and this glorious brisket flat which weighed in at just over seven pounds:
There are basically two parts to a brisket, the flat (pictured above) and the point which was attached to the flat.
Pro Tip ~ Buy brisket whole (called a packer), saving the extra cost per pound to slice it into the flat and the point, slice it yourself and cook each one separately as they will take different times to cook depending on size.
Now, let’s let that El Diablo Mustard work it’s magic on the brisket:
I put the brisket flat into a two gallon plastic bag and hit each side with lots of that great mustard:
Then into the fridge:
How long to leave it in the fridge? I put this one in on Wednesday and smoked it on Sunday. You could go a whole week if you wanted, but 12 hours is enough too. The longer the better. See, the vinegar in the mustard helps to break down connective tissues, which will make the brisket more tender. And since we slice this in thin strips, with only a little of that glorious outside flavor on each slice, I want a mustard with some serious flavor and El Diablo brings the heat, literally. Their medium heat mustards are pretty potent. Don’t worry. This is not going to be a fire hot brisket. The meat to surface area ratio is so high that we’ll only get a hint of that flavor. If I use a plain yellow mustard, I’m not going to get as much of the residual flavor at the end of the process.
Take the mustard slathered brisket out of the fridge and the bag and wipe off some of the mustard with paper towels. We want to leave enough mustard for the rub to stick to which will help make a great bark and bark is good:
I placed the fat cap down, salted and applied the BBQ rub to the other side and then placed it into my aluminum pan fat cap up:
Then I hit the fat cap with salt and the rub:
Fat cap up or fat cap down is always a hot debate for brisket. Some say it doesn’t matter. Some say it does. If I were to mop this I would go fat cap down so the mop can baste the meat and not the insulating fat layer. But I’m not going to mop it, so fat cap goes up to baste the meat as the fat melts away.
Now, prepare the smoker for indirect or two zone grilling. In this case, my Grill Dome:
I prepared my Grill Dome (which is a kamado style grill) by placing the charcoal and smoke wood (pecan) in the bottom, a place setter in the middle and the brisket on the grill grates on top. The place setter (or plate setter) deflects the heat around the brisket and the aluminum pan will do some of that as well. In other style grills, place the coals and smoke wood on one side and the brisket on the other. Target temperature for this brisket is 350. That is not a misprint. We’re going high heat on the brisket. It’s really more like medium heat, but that doesn’t sound as good.
Here is the brisket on the grill:
Close the lid and come back in an hour. Here we are 60 minutes in:
At this point I added some pecan shells to the fire for some added smoke.
And here we are at the two hour mark. You can see some of the pecan shells on the grill grate:
At the three hour mark, it’s time to bust out the Texas crutch:
Your aluminum foil probably looks better than this, but mine travels for grilling classes and demos and gets knocked around in the back of my car so much so that I have no idea where the box is. I’m going add some liquid to the aluminum pan and then cover the top with foil. What the Texas crutch does is allows the brisket to steam, hyper-accelerating the breakdown of the connective tissue to make that brisket super tender in lightning speed. Some will ask why not continue to smoke it. Because after three hours of 350 degrees (and a slight spike to 400 for about 30 minutes from the pecan shells which have lots of oil in them and can burn caught on fire), it’s not taking on any more smoke flavor.
I covered half the pan with the foil and added liquid. A beer does the trick nicely:
Then cover the other half and close the lid. I expected this cook to take around 6 hours to get to an internal temperature between 195 and 205. If you watch the temperature climb with your probe thermometer and it seems to level off after rising steadily, don’t sweat that. It’s called the stall. And what happens is the meat sweats. You read that right. Just like you and I sweat to cool our bodies down, the meat sweats fat that cools the meat down and the temperature stalls until it sweats enough out that it can’t cool itself anymore. The stall usually starts around 160–170 degrees and can last more than a hour with very little temperature rising. Don’t sweat the stall!
I decided to check my brisket at the 5.5 hour mark, I hit it with the probe thermometer and it was already at 208! Yikes! No worries. I didn’t ruin it by overshooting my window by three degrees.
Time for the crutch again. I wrapped the brisket tight in foil and placed it in the microwave:
Close the door on the microwave and walk away for at least an hour. I’ve seen some wrap foiled brisket in towels. You could also place it in an unlit oven or an empty cooler. Brisket can stay in this state for hours. I’ve left one in the microwave for more than three hours before before slicing and serving.
After an hour my stomach couldn’t take it anymore. I opened up the foil and let it rest for about 20 minutes:
That blackened stuff on the outside is not burnt meat, it’s the bark. Like the bark of a tree. Great bark is the key to great brisket. I get the best bark with great mustard.
Here it is sliced:
Pro Tip ~ Always slice meat against the grain. It will be much more tender than if you sliced along the grain
It was so tender, I could cut thick slices and it melted in my mouth:
The flavor of the rub and the mustard was there as well as the smoke. I didn’t need to add anything to this other than bread to hold it together. It was outrageously good. My wife, who ironically doesn’t like BBQ, not only sampled it but had multiple pieces of the El Diablo Mustard Brisket.
Good luck with your brisket and let me know how it comes out.
Mustard also does magical things to chicken. Hence the title of this post, Mustard Magic Chicken.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email
- 1 brisket
- El Diablo Mustard
- Your favorite BBQ rub
- Place the brisket in a plastic bag, slather each side with El Diablo Mustard and seal the bag
- Place the bag in the fridge for 12 hours to 1 week
- Remove from the fridge and the plastic bag and wipe off some of the excess mustard, leaving enough for the rub to stick to
- Coat the meat side with salt and the rub
- Place in aluminum pan and coat the fat cap with salt and rub
- Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with a target temperature of 350 degrees
- Smoke for three hours and then pour a beer in the aluminum pan and cover with foil (Texas crutch)
- Smoke until the brisket hits 195–205 degrees
- Remove from the aluminum pan and wrap tight in foil and place in an unlit oven, microwave or cooler for at least an hour
- Remove from the foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes
- Slice across the grain and serve