Why mustard is the best binder for brisket?

Brisket is the holy grail of smoked BBQ meat and many pitmasters spend years perfecting their recipes. Some choose to use a binder, and some don’t. Using mustard as a binder is a gold standard as far as binders go, but is it really the best binder for brisket?

Well, yes it is! Maybe that’s biased but there is yet to be a better binder used by competition BBQ cooks. That should tell you all you need to know but this article explores all the facts on why using mustard is the best binder for brisket.

What is a binder?

The two most common binders used are olive oil and mustard but it is not uncommon to see other people use other binders such as ketchup.

A binder of any sort is used to cover the whole surface of the meat. Covering the entire surface of the meat allows for an even sticky surface for seasoning rubs such as SPG to stick to. As the rub is applied all over in an even coating this ensures an even bark formation. As no patchy areas of the meat are left exposed with no seasoning rub a maximum flavor brisket is produced.

Typically binders used are not strong flavors and can add a subtle extra flavor to the meat.

Which mustard to use a binder on brisket?

Standard smooth yellow American mustard is the best binder for brisket. Strong mustards such as French and Dijon mustards can add too much flavor to the brisket. It’s best to avoid whole seed mustards as the not only does the rub have less sauce to stick to, the grains can interfere and ruin seasoning rub flavors.

Although mustard of any strength goes hand in hand with beef it can become overpowering when slathered all over brisket.

Do you need a mustard binder for brisket?

No, a mustard binder is not essential on brisket there are other binders such as olive oil which work in the same way without interfering with the flavors of smoked beef.

It is not essential to use a binder at all on brisket. A good lathering of SPG will stick to a brisket nicely without a binder. A binder is just a good way of properly covering the meat, injecting as much extra flavor as possible, and helping develop a great bark.

Why choose mustard as a binder?

Mustard is the best binder for brisket because its perfectly balanced flavor can work with any flavor rub. Mustard has no additional salt which is usually the starting point for almost any rub.

Salt upon salt can become overpowering on any food, not only that is not good to consume too much.

Mustard on a binder is not for everyone however if you like Texas crutch your brisket to push through the stall, mustard will be the binder you should trust. The use of mustard will result in a softer bark exterior to brisket which you will be a custom to wrapping the meat.

Why don’t some like using mustard as a binder?

If you enjoy a crispy bark on your brisket, mustard may not be the best choice of the binder for you. Much like wrapping a brisket to push through the stall will also soften the bark. Mustard as a binder on brisket tends to result in a much softer bark. This can’t be rectified by putting back in the smoker without risking drying out the meat.

If this is you then olive oil or no binder at all will be a better option.

Final say

Still, sitting on the fence? Even if you just try it once, using mustard as a binder for brisket will not disappoint. Mustard can be an acquired taste but stick with mild strength smooth yellow mustard and you can’t go wrong.