Smoked Brisket on the Fly

Ever wonder if you could decide to smoke a brisket at the very last minute and have it turn out? Yeah, me neither, because I just assumed it couldn’t be done. I found out yesterday I proved myself wrong.

Frozen, very small 3lb brisket. No marinating, no sitting overnight letting the rub soak in. No trimming of fat (forgot). Recipe for disaster.


  1. Defrost quickly in warm water in the sink (still sealed, of course). Took about an hour.
  2. While it is defrosting, prep the smoker (in this case, a Weber bullet) and soak the wood chips (I started with apple, finished with hickory).
  3. Apply layer of yellow mustard, then a liberal coating of Wood Chick’s dry rub (we have a bag of it always at the ready).
  4. Smoke to 165 (with the temperature varying wildly between 185 and 250 because I was distracted). Took about five hours to get there.
  5. Wrap in double-layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, just to shorten the stall.
  6. Back in the smoker until 195. Took about 90 minutes, partly because I was even more distracted and let the temperature approach 300.

Results:  My best brisket effort yet. Great flavor, extremely tender. Sliced across the grain and no BBQ sauce was used or required.

I cannot, however, recommend this approach all the time. I benefited certainly from a small brisket. Anything larger than that and I’d’ve been eating at midnight or the next morning.


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