Here’s your philosophy quiz for the day. If you smoke a brisket without wood, is it really smoked? That the existential idea the folks at Chef Steps are putting forth with this technique for making smoke-flavored brisket—complete with a tell-tale red ring—cooked entirely in an oven, indoors, without using any wood whatsoever.
“Tired of the ho-hum stuff (and never one to shy away from a challenge), our kitchen crew set out to make a better brisket, with juicy, smoky meat and a sticky, satisfying bark. Just to up the ante, they decided to develop it without the aid of a smoker, instead testing recipes indoors and using liquid smoke and nitrites to evoke a smoky flavor and signature pink ring at the edge of the meat—both hallmarks of first-rate ‘cue.”
On visual appeal alone, I’d say they did a pretty good job. The brisket looks moist, with a great bark. As for flavor. Only they know for sure, but I imagine it’s a pretty good representation of smoked brisket. But again, I have to ask:
Is a brisket cooked without real smoke a brisket at all?