Should You Dry Brine Brisket? (Brine in 6 Simple Steps)

Like most meat, brisket is prone to losing moisture when cooked. Meat typically loses about 30 percent of its weight while cooking.

The muscle fibres contract when heated, thus squeezing out moisture. Fortunately, you can limit the moisture loss by dry or wet brining the brisket first.

  • Soaking the brisket in a brine of kosher salt and cold water is a form of wet brining.
  • Applying dry rubs is a form of dry brining

Find out below exactly how to dry or wet brine your brisket.

What Is Brining? 

The concept of soaking pieces of meat came before refrigerators were around. They were used to preserve meat by bathing it in a kosher salt brine solution.

Nowadays, this process is primarily used to enhance the texture and taste. Brining is the process of soaking or rubbing meat in a special concentrated brine solution. This solution contains various ingredients such as kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, and other spices. The goal is to moisturize and tenderize the meat.

Benefits of Brining 

By soaking any type of meat in salt mixtures or a solution of salt water, the moisture in the meat will be retained. During this long smoking process, the water within the brisket will evaporate onto the surface.

The surface slat helps the brisket reabsorb the moisture and provides the texture you’re looking for. We’ll provide you with a basic brine recipe but feel free to experiment with different seasonings in the salt solution to make the flavors suit your taste buds.

What Is the Difference Between Wet Brining and Dry Brining? 

Before you learn how to brine your beef brisket, it’s important to understand the differences between wet brining and dry brining.

A wet brine is a solution of sugar, kosher salt, spices, and other flavourings.

It’s great for making your meat moist and tenderizing the meat. However, it does require more space, equipment, and cooking time. Whereas, dry brining is quicker and less labour intensive.

The basic idea of dry brining involves rubbing your choice of meat with a mixture of spices and surface salt before cooking it. Unlike wet brining, dry brining consists of only dry components, and you won’t need to store the meat in the fridge overnight.

Consequently, the inner moisture of the meat is retrained but it also seasons the meat as well as drying out the skin. This helps to get crisper skin when cooking.

Se the breakdown in differences between brines and marinades here.

How to Dry Brine Brisket 

Dry brining gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll receive the extra dose of natural flavor without the time consuming process of wet brining.

1. Make Your Brine

We like to use a 1/2 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt for every pound of meat you are cooking. Do not replace table salt with kosher salt, that’s because kosher salt has a coarse texture, which is more suitable for drawing out moisture.

Also, due to the structure and size of the grains, it’s much easier to customize the level of saltiness. 

2. Prep The Meat and Rub

Pat the meat dry and make sure to get in on the crevices. Then rub the entire surface of the brisket with the brine. Ensure the entire surface is thoroughly covered and check in on all nooks and crannies for complete coverage. 

3. Place in the Fridge

Place the meat over a rimmed baking sheet on top of a wire rack set. Set the tray on the bottom of the refrigerator and let it sit for at least two hours. If the brisket is larger, we recommend letting the meat sit longer. 

4. Cooking The Brisket

When it comes time to cook, take the brisket out, and pick of the best brisket binders to use like mustard, oil or hot sauce then apply your rub.

We like to use all kinds of spices like black peppercorns, rosemary springs, crushed garlic cloves, and onion slices.

This lets you dress up the brine and give your brisket an irresistible aroma. While the brisket is cooking I like to use apple juice to spritz the brisket every 45 minutes, if your looking for more ideas of what to spritz brisket with you can try beer, apple cider vinegar or apple juice.

Place the brisket in your smoker or grill and let it cook. Once the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 204°F remove it from the smoker and place in a cooler.

You Can Also Brine Turkey and Chicken

Brining isn’t just for brisket. You can brine all sorts of meat. See how to brine a turkey here, it will ensure you have a moist bird with crispy skin every time. I also like to brine my chicken wings its give them the best flavor and the skin comes out crispy everytime.

Brining is an absolute must if you’re trying to add an extra depth of flavor to your brisket. Traditional wet brining can be a logistical nightmare when you’re working with a big piece of meat like a brisket.

Who has giant food-safe buckets lying around or space in the fridge for that? Dry brining will save you time and space in the fridge. Not to mention, the meat maintains its natural juices while also providing better browning and crispier skin.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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