As I went back through my notes (secret #1: always take notes when you smoke brisket and other meats--record what works and what doesn't), I found I made a few subtle changes to my usual method that took this brisket over the top.
In some parts of Texas, putting anything other than salt and pepper on a brisket is considered blasphemy. But to the dismay of more traditional pitmasters (and Spinderella) there's a whole host of folks around the country (and Canada!) who're using brisket to nefariously awesome ends.
Christmas can be Christmas without ham and without hurt feelings. "We can put aside our political differences, our problems and our baggage and we can be in the moment with the food," says O'Donnel. "There's something pretty powerful about that."
Everything about Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer delivers the same message: We won the lottery. We get to live authentic lives and cook real food and write books that are both creative and simple.