This will cover why it is that your brisket ends up dry after cooking it. We will go into some detail on what is going on, break down some things to know about the brisket, and what can be done to fix it if it is cooked dry. A dry brisket usually has to do with one main thing that can’t be helped, but it certainly can be fixed.
Before a brisket is finished packing for a sale, it is graded on its quality. Lower quality brisket (the cheaper ones per pound that are graded as “select”) will possibly make the brisket dry in some sections after it is finished cooking. This can happen even though the brisket has been cooked to its proper temperatures and times. The reason for this is that the brisket is lacking the intramuscular fat to prevent it from drying out.
This means that selecting the higher grade brisket to cook with is a good idea if you want to prevent certain dry parts of the brisket after cooking. A brisket can easily dry out if it just doesn’t have enough fat in the meat itself when it is cooked.
If you have cooked a brisket and it is dry, soaking the dryer portions of the brisket in the brisket’s own juices can help to add moisture to the meat. Also, cooking the brisket with additional flavorings in juices, can also help the brisket to come out more juicy after it has been cooked properly.
However, if the dryer portions are being soaked in the brisket’s own juices, then it should be noted that this cannot be done in a refrigerator or at room temperature. The juices will harden into a solid (because it is the brisket’s fat) if it cools off. Soaking it in salt and water (brined), will allow the brisket to soak in the refrigerator without the contents it is soaking in solidifying first. It is recommended to slice it brisket and then put the slices in the liquid.
Any juice flavoring will work (like broth), as long as it doesn’t solidify before it can do its job. When the cooked brisket is soaking in the juices, it should be submerged fully in the liquids.
A brisket can also be brined in salt and water hours before it is cooked, to help make the meat more flavorful and tender after it is has finished cooking. Some individuals also inject their brisket with broth before cooking it using a meat injector, to add more moisture to the end product.
Knowing Your Brisket
When dealing with brisket, it is also important to know what it is that you are cooking. This helps you to better understand how to fix or prevent certain portions of the brisket that may end up dry. The brisket had two main parts called “the flat” and “the point”.
The point is the thicker end of the brisket when it is left as a whole. It has a pointy end that has a hump on it. This part of the brisket is usually the part that isn’t dry, but rather juicy, when the brisket is cooked correctly. It isn’t the part of the brisket that people are usually referring to as being dry. If for some reason this portion of the brisket is dry after cooking, then it means that the cooking was surely done incorrectly. It has been either undercooked or overcooked.
The flat of the brisket is the thinner portion that looks flat. If the point and the flat were separated from the brisket, it would be a large flat looking piece. This portion of the brisket is usually the part that people refer to as being dry. It has two things working against it when it is cooked along with the rest of the brisket as a whole: It is the thinner portion of the brisket, and it also contains less fat than the point of the brisket.
Meat that doesn’t contain much fat in it is more prone to dry out easier if it is cooked too long at too high of a temperature. For this reason, some experts will separate the point from the flat and trim and cook it separately. This is the portion that is often brined, injected with broth, or cooked in additional juices.
Because the flat is thinner, it is also easier for the heat to penetrate through the meat and dry it out. This means that if it is cooked along with the thicker portion of the brisket, then it may dry out by the time that the brisket is finished cooking.
Cooking The Brisket
Also, the brisket is usually wrapped in butcher paper and aluminum foil during its cooking process. This also helps to keep the brisket from drying out. Putting juice flavorings in the wrapping with the brisket during cooking, also helps to keep it from drying out.
Basically, what ever moisture that is in the brisket will seep out of the meat when it is cooked and end up at the bottom of what ever the brisket is cooking in. Enclosing this moisture in a wrapping will keep the water in the brisket from evaporating and escaping. It will still come out of the brisket, but it can circulate back on the brisket if it is wrapped correctly.
Besides wrapping a seasoned brisket up, the pan that the brisket is cooking in can be covered with aluminum foil to keep any moisture from escaping in the pan, as a top to cover it, while the brisket cooks. Even though some individuals do not cook their brisket in any juices or broth, it is definitely a good thing to do so. It will add more flavor and decrease the chance of the brisket drying out. Beef, vegetable, or other food broths will do fine, even chicken broth. It doesn’t have to be beef broth.
The ideal cooking temperature is around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. A typical sized brisket can finish its cooking in less than 6 hours without it drying out at this temperature. Some briskets can even cook and finish in about 3 hours, but it depends on the size of the brisket and what portion of the brisket is being cooked. The best way to check a brisket is to use a food thermometer to make sure that the brisket is cooked correctly.
Though some say that the internal temperature of the brisket should reach around 195 degrees Fahrenheit, it is still generally better to go with a temperature around 180 degrees Fahrenheit internally. The internal temperature may still rise by 10 degrees after it is cooked, and it leaves some room for corrections to cook it longer if necessary, without risking overcooking the brisket and drying it out.
Also, deep frying the brisket is another solution to fixing a dry brisket, especially if you are cooking the flat portion.
When the brisket is stored, it should be kept cold of course, but also kept covered or sealed in a container to keep it from drying out. The brisket will look dry, even if it was juicy and tender, after it has been stored cold and covered. However, upon cooking it or reheating it enough, it will become juicy again. The fats have just solidified while the brisket became cold. Once heated, the brisket will look as it once did before.