This is one of my favorite brisket recipes. It's not a quick process, but the meat is so flavorful and tender when it's done, it is well worth the wait. It also yields delicious leftovers that can be used to make so many great things.
Technique tip: Use a digital instant read thermometer to know when it's perfectly cooked and tender.
Swap option: You can use chuck roast or even pork or lamb shoulder in place of beef brisket.
Remove brisket from package and pat dry. Cut a long ways straight line cut down the fatter side of the brisket to expose the meat so you can easily see the layer of fat that sits on top of the meat. Trim the fat so that only 1/4 of an inch remains covering the meat, being careful not to cut too deep exposing the meat.2.
Next, wedge-cut the pocket of fat between the point and flat. This will help the brisket cook more evenly as well as help remove the excess fat that will not render during cooking. Flip the brisket over so the fat side is down, and with your knife at an angle, cut the large overhang of the hard fat to remove.3.
Once the brisket is cleaned and trimmed, season the entire brisket with the salt and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have gone by, completely smear the entire brisket with yellow mustard (the yellow mustard is great for enhancing the flavor and development of the bark, but also great for helping all the black pepper to stick to the meat). Once the yellow mustard is applied, cover the entire brisket with the café grind black pepper and allow the brisket to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.4.
While the brisket is marinating, preheat your oven or smoker to 275 F (if using a smoker, use oak or hickory wood and place a bowl or pan of water closest to where the heat source comes from; this bowl of water acts as a heat diffuser and adds moisture to the smoker chamber, which will result in a juicer final product). Once the oven or smoker is up to temp, place your probe thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the point and place the brisket fat-side-up in the smoker or on a roasting pan in the oven and cook for 4 to 5 hours.5.
After 4 hours, or when the internal temperature reaches the "stall" at 155 F, wrap the meat in butcher paper, place your thermometer probe back in, return to the smoker or oven and continue to cook for an additional 6 to 8 hours or until the internal temperature reaches between 195 F and 200 F.6.
Remove the wrapped brisket from the smoker and allow the brisket to rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the internal temperature drops to 155 F before slicing (if you don't let the brisket rest, it will immediately dry out if cut too hot).