Like most meat, brisket is prone to losing moisture when cooked.
Meat typically loses about 30 percent of its weight while cooking.
The muscle fibers 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 flavorings.
Many people wet brine turkey, fish, or even corned beef.
This process requires large amounts of salt and water, adding additional moisture to your meats.
It’s great for making your meat juicer and feels softer in your mouth. However, it does require more space, equipment, and cooking time.
Conversely, dry brining cooks faster and is much easier to learn.
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, along with the mouth-watering taste.
The process makes any skin such as pork cuts, pork ribs, fish fillets, chicken pieces, any other meat crisper and appetizing.
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 need to submerge the entire brisket into a large bucket.
And you won’t have to boil the salt and water solution as well.
1. 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. Pat the meat dry and make sure to get in on the crevices.
Then rub the entire surface of the brisket on the salt.
You could also sprinkle salt over it.
Ensure the entire surface is thoroughly covered and check in on all nooks and crannies for complete coverage.
If you’re brining directly onto the flesh of the brisket, we recommend a kosha salt-baking powder mixture.
This includes 2 tablespoons of baking powder along with the kosha salt.
However, you can also brine directly under the skin. In which case, we like to use a basic kosha salt dry brine.
3. Place the meat over a rimmed baking sheet on top of a wire rack set.
4. 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.
5. When it comes time to cook, take the brisket out, and apply a spice 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.
6. Place the brisket in your smoker or grill and let it cook.
Never rinse your meat after dry brining.
By rinsing it, the skin won’t end up crispy and brown, nor will it have the proper salt flavor.
This loses the benefit of dry brining in the first place.
If you decide to wet brine your brisket, you’ll use 1 cup of kosha salt per gallon of liquid that you use. Then you refrigerate the solution before soaking the meat in.
After soaking, leave it in the fridge overnight.
You Can Also Brine Turkey
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.
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.
You don’t need to be a seasoned culinary master or five-star chef to cook delicious barbeque briskets.
Use our simple method to add moisture and flavor to your meat!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
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 adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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