Have you ever heard of a tenderizing process for brisket known as ‘wet aging’?
While the method may be different from dry aging, the purpose and results are very similar.
Both processes rely on the enzymes in the marinade to work away at the collagen between the muscle fibres.
Hence, wet-aged meat and dry-aged meat aren’t all that different to one another.
In the end, the whole purpose of making aged meat is to improve its flavor and texture.
In this article, we’ll go over the process of wet ageing in greater detail, as well as how you can do it yourself. Continue reading to find out more!
Not Sure Why Brisket Can Be Tough?
While it’s true that brisket is a popular cut among BBQ enthusiasts, it isn’t the highest quality meat.
Brisket comes from just below that animal’s rib cage. This means that there’s a lot of muscle in this area.
This area is constantly in use during the entire lifespan of the cow. So, the meat becomes very tough because of all the protein strands and connective tissue built up.
However, this cut is great for slow cooking.
The low and slow cooking allows the connective tissue to melt into juicy delicious gelatin.
But of course, there are other ways to tenderize these cuts of meat. There’s the dry-aging process, physically pounding it, salting it, making tiny cuts all over the meat’s surface — and, of course, using the wet aging process.
What You Need to Know About Cryovac Packaging
If you often buy your brisket from your normal supermarket, you’ll notice that the briskets are wrapped in plastic. This air-tight Cryovac packaging is what keeps the meat fresh.
In order to wet age your brisket, you’ll need to vacuum seal the meat in this manner. This method does the most effective job of preventing bacteria from getting to or growing on the meat’s surface.
Vacuum-sealing meat for an extended period of time tenderizes it and increases its juiciness. Furthermore, Cryovac packaging allows you to keep the meat for a longer period of time.
Brisket should typically be refrigerated for no more than a week. And if you don’t intend to cook or eat it within a week, you’ll have to freeze it.
However, vacuum-sealing the meat will allow you to keep it in the fridge for up to two months!
Everything You Need to Know About The Wet Aging Process
If you choose this method for tenderizing your meat, you will undoubtedly require patience. This is because the protein strands in the brisket take a long time to soften and break down.
The meat will also require a controlled and suitable environment for the enzymes to properly do its job in tenderizing the meat.
Step by Step Guide to Wet Aging Brisket
Below are 8 steps that will guide you along the process of wet aging brisket.
Find out when the cut of meat was obtained. This is also known as the “kill date”. You will need to know this information in order to ensure that your meat maintains its freshness before you cook it.
There’s no point in wet aging your brisket, only to find out that that you’ve got some bad meat, that’s not fresh anymore, on your hands. Nothing’s worse than taking it out of the packaging to cook, only to be met with a bad smell indicating that the meat’s gone off.
Place the meat in the fridge as soon as you get home. You’ll want to keep it in its original Cryovac packaging. You will also want to check that the meat is truly sealed tight. There shouldn’t be any air bubbles or holes in the plastic.
You will need to ensure that the meat’s left in a low traffic area part of your fridge. It needs to remain undisturbed for the entire duration of the aging process. You should also check to see that the temperature of your refrigerator is somewhere between 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leave the meat in the fridge for 30 to 60 days. You can take the meat out to cook after the 30-day mark. However, we think that the sweet spot would be somewhere around the 45th day.
You should also keep track of the dates that have passed since the original ‘kill date.’ As a result, we recommend cooking the meat after it has been wet-aged for 45 days after the original animal was slaughtered.
Take the brisket out of the fridge somewhere in between the 30 to the 60-day mark. Then carefully cut the plastic wrap away with a sharp kitchen knife.
A lot of the juices from the meat will come out, so you’ll want to make sure that you have something under the meat. Don’t just cut it directly on the kitchen benchtop.
Preheat your smoker to around 225 degrees Fahrenheit and follow this smoked meat recipe for brisket.
Then dry the meat’s surface by patting it gently with some kitchen paper towels. Apply whatever marinade or rub you’ve prepared for the brisket. And if you don’t have a specific rub planned. Then you can also just cover the meat in some black ground pepper and a generous amount of kosher salt.
Place some Hickory wood chips into the smoker, then pop the brisket into the smoker.
Smoke the brisket for as long as it takes to reach an internal temperature of 204°F.
Then just leave it to rest for at least half an hour before serving
.We guarantee that everyone will be so pleased with the juicy and tender results!
We hope that you learned quite a bit about wet aging brisket. And we definitely recommend that you try this way of tenderizing your brisket.
It does require quite a bit of patience, but the outcome is definitely worth it!
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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