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Does anybody brine brisket?

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euphorbioid

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I am planning on cooking a 15 pound brisket in a Big Green Egg. I have cooked several before that have come out pretty good. I am wondering if I could get a little more moist meat if I brined the brisket prior to cooking. I have cooked them for 15-18 hours and everybody has been happy, but there is always room for improvement.
Thanks,
Jan
 

rockbox

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No need to brine. If you do it right, the brisket will be moist on its own. If you brine it, it will become Montreal/Canadian smoked meat which is a mix between between corned beef and brisket.
 

Kyle

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I've never heard of anyone brining a brisket for BBQ purposes.
 

SpikeC

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I would think that a drip pan under the meat would do a lot to help with moisture. Maybe with beer or wine in the pan.
 

rockbox

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I am planning on cooking a 15 pound brisket in a Big Green Egg. I have cooked several before that have come out pretty good. I am wondering if I could get a little more moist meat if I brined the brisket prior to cooking. I have cooked them for 15-18 hours and everybody has been happy, but there is always room for improvement.
Thanks,
Jan

The whole 18 hour thing is overrated. There is no need to cook it that long. I think it stems from the whole Texas mentality of more is better. A bunch guys at a talegate bragging how long the spent fiddling with there smokers. You only need about 8 hours to cook a great brisket, and only 5 hours if you use the high heat method and the Texas crutch.
 

joec

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I've never brine a brisket for smoking or even to do in the oven. I do use a rub when smoking though but not in the oven.
 

goodchef1

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brine is used to impart flavor through osmosis, does not really add to a juicier end product. just baste throughout process with its drippings :)
 

Jim

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I rub my Brisket 12-24 hours before smoking, so yeah, a dry brine.
 

AnxiousCowboy

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I rub my Brisket 12-24 hours before smoking, so yeah, a dry brine.
agreed. Brines and cures are interchangeable, however, you will get stronger flavors by rubbing a piece of meat with spices, salt and sugar than you would by boiling the spices in a salt:sugar water mixture. If I am doing bbqs,, I would almost always dry rub (good for crust reasons too!) with spices salt and sugar... But if I am poaching a chicken breast, I am going to boil together some vegetables and whole spices, let it steep, cool, and brine. Off topic I know, but im in the rambling mood; when I am making a vegetable based brine like that, i will do something like this:

Boil down white wine with mirepoix, herbs (parleys, thyme, bay) and spices (black peppercorn, allspice, clove, fennel seed) to a sec
Add all the salt for your brine ratio (I use 2C salt per gallon) This is a lot of salt for this amount of vegetables. They will release so much of their liquid that they will cover themselves.
Add enough water to make this mixture a half gallon, bring to a boil, take off heat and add 1C sugar and steep half an hour
strain and add half gallon of ice

This is a brine for fresh meat not for curing hams or any other kind of salumi. I have left some chicken legs in this brine for almost a week and they weren't too salty, they were great.
 

Eamon Burke

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The reason people cook brisket here in Texas for 18-24 hours is because it's easier to manage a small amount of heat and keep it there than to turn it up and manage the brisket. At least you can see what's going on inside the fire.

Allow me to illustrate. You can cook a perfect soft-boiled egg in boiling water then standing hot water, and if you are talented/precise/lucky you will get a perfect soft-boiled egg. You can also monitor the water temp and keep it well below boiling for a LONG time, and the timeframe for doneness becomes much more forgiving.

My brother cooked a well-chosen brisket that wasn't even seasoned over coals for 22 hours, and it was hands down the best brisket I've ever had, to this day.
 

rockbox

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Eamon,

I don't agree. Its much easier dealing with a 5 hour brisket than 18 hour brisket. Brisket is one of the easiest things to cook. The problem is there is so much misinformation out there by people that don't know how to cook that it gets confusing. People like to embellish the cooking experience. The guys that essentially invented smoked brisket here in central Texas use 400+ degree smokers and cook their briskets for less than 5 hours.
 

mikemac

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I thought a wet brine brisket that was then smoked was a pastrami?
 

rockbox

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I thought a wet brine brisket that was then smoked was a pastrami?
Pastrami is smoked only for the flavor but is actually steamed to cook. Montreal smoked meat is brined then smoked until its done. The texture is quite different.
 

Jim

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Pastrami is smoked only for the flavor but is actually steamed to cook. Montreal smoked meat is brined then smoked until its done. The texture is quite different.
Hmmm.... How did you come to that conclusion?
 

rockbox

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Hmmm.... How did you come to that conclusion?
Which part?

Most of recipes I've seen for for Pastrami requires boiling for a few hours after smoking. The smoking does cook the meat but the boiling is what give Pastrami the different texture.

The Montreal smoke meat I learned while I was Montreal last month.

The texture part I learned from eating both.

Edit:

I saw some recipes for pastrami that did not require boiling. I forgot to add that pastrami usually has longer brining/curing period than smoked meat, which also effect the texture
 

Jim

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Which part?

Most of recipes I've seen for for Pastrami requires boiling for a few hours after smoking. The smoking does cook the meat but the boiling is what give Pastrami the different texture.

The Montreal smoke meat I learned while I was Montreal last month.

The texture part I learned from eating both.

Edit:

I saw some recipes for pastrami that did not require boiling. I forgot to add that pastrami usually has longer brining/curing period than smoked meat, which also effect the texture
I make Pastrami quite often and start with beef that I fully cure (corned) before rubbing it and BBQ'd/smoked it until it at least 195- 205 internal. I will hold it in a steam bath to serve. The famous Pastrami joints in NY do it this way.

My understanding, which I freely admit is limited, of Montreal meat is that it is only partially or lightly corned then smoked/BBQ'd.
 

rockbox

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I make Pastrami quite often and start with beef that I fully cure (corned) before rubbing it and BBQ'd/smoked it until it at least 195- 205 internal. I will hold it in a steam bath to serve. The famous Pastrami joints in NY do it this way.

My understanding, which I freely admit is limited, of Montreal meat is that it is only partially or lightly corned then smoked/BBQ'd.
I think you are correct. I think the biggest difference is the brining period. Montreal smoke meat tastes like corned beef with a BBQ texture. Very strange to me but delicious none the less.
 

Jim

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I think you are correct. I think the biggest difference is the brining period. Montreal smoke meat tastes like corned beef with a BBQ texture. Very strange to me but delicious none the less.
Whats that old saw? "BBQ is like sex, even when its bad, its still pretty good!"
 

rockbox

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I don't know about that Jim. I've been to places where people smother stuff in ketchup and called it BBQ. It was not very good.
 

Jim

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I don't know about that Jim. I've been to places where people smother stuff in ketchup and called it BBQ. It was not very good.

Quite True! I think the quote was about pizza anyway.:lol2:
 

chazmtb

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I am rethinking the low and slow method. I think for the next brisket, I'll do the 5-7 hrs smoke, and put it in the oven to finish at 300 degrees at internal temp of 190. The 250 degrees in the oven just takes too long.
 

WildBoar

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That I can I agree with. I lived off of those one dollar totinos pizzas in college.
dang, you are making me feel old. Kroger pizzas were $0.45 when I was in college. I don't think Totino's existed at that time. In fact, car tires and pizzas were all square, as the circle had not yet been invented.
 

mhlee

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I am rethinking the low and slow method. I think for the next brisket, I'll do the 5-7 hrs smoke, and put it in the oven to finish at 300 degrees at internal temp of 190. The 250 degrees in the oven just takes too long.
Bao:

I've been thinking the same as well. I've tried cooking a whole packer's brisket (flat and point) at 225 to 275 several times and it takes at least 12 hours and the results have never been that good; at that point, based on what I've read, nearly all of the internal moisture has essentially evaporated or cooked out of the meat, and the collagen has melted, giving the essentially dry meat some moisture.

Certainly, using plastic wrap or foil would help, but, I think with brisket, versus other meats, you're looking at a narrow window where the meat is moist (because of the melted collagen) and cooked through when cooking LONG, slow and low. Cooking fast would get the temperature of the meat up faster (to 180 or so), thus reducing the lengthy period of time for the water in the meat to evaporate or cook out, but getting the collagen up to a high enough temperature to melt.

I saw in one of the OLN barbecue competitions that Myron Mixon does a quick cook method. Also, I also recall reading that a number of famous Texas barbecue places cooking at temperatures over 300 and simply "cook until it's done."
 

rockbox

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I am rethinking the low and slow method. I think for the next brisket, I'll do the 5-7 hrs smoke, and put it in the oven to finish at 300 degrees at internal temp of 190. The 250 degrees in the oven just takes too long.

No reason to go into the oven if you are want to go 7 hours. Just get your smoker up to 325-350 and you are set. For five hours, then you can smoke until the brisket temp plateaus around 160-165 and then you wrap it in foil(texas crutch) and finish in the oven until the meat gets plastic fork tender. This normally takes 1.5 to 2 hours. If you like a nice bark, you can then put it back into the smoker to firm up the bark for 30-60 minutes.

I've heard of 3 hour briskets at higher temps but I have never tried. My Weber Smokey Mountain can't get much hotter than 350 once the fat start rendering.
 

rockbox

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dang, you are making me feel old. Kroger pizzas were $0.45 when I was in college. I don't think Totino's existed at that time. In fact, car tires and pizzas were all square, as the circle had not yet been invented.
I've been eating Totinos since the late 70's/ early 80's so you must be old. LOL
 

rockbox

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Here another little secret. Yellow mustard. Apply a thin layer of it all over your brisket before you put on your rub.
 
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