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Dry brine brisket: Best method

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    Dry brine brisket: Best method

    I'm planning on doing a brisket Sunday and want to try dry brining. Looking over the dry brining directions, and other articles about salt, I can't seem to find a comment about how salt travels through fat. Now maybe I imagined reading something about it, but I thought I read that salt doesn't travel through fat very well (or at all) so there is no sense brining it. If it were a steak this wouldn't matter much since 85% of the top and bottom is meat, but on a brisket that ratio is 50%.

    So if I go to brine the brisket after trimming, should I put salt on the top or should I double down down on the salt used on the bottom? I figure I'll brine it tonight so it'll be ready to go early Sunday morning, unless anyone has a better suggestion.

    Salt is pretty much insoluble in fat. I just sprinkle on the meat side, going thicker on the thicker spots. 1/2 teaspoon table salt per pound.

    The salt-less rub goes ALL OVER.


    • 3DJ
      3DJ commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey Jerod, so would I double that for Kosher salt?

    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      I think that would be about right. Give it plenty tine to soak in.

    • bbantel
      bbantel commented
      Editing a comment
      I know its too late, but if I remember correctly, I think MH recommends table salt because its smaller and dissolves better/faster? I'd have to re-read to be exact, but I think that's the gist. All in all, I doubt it matters much. Otherwise, doubling kosher salt for table salts (Mortons) is roughly the right amount.

    If the fat cap is thin, some of the salt will get through. I salt all sides but trim the fat cap down to 1/8" or none at all. Check out Dr. Blonder's write up, especially the "Salt Marches On" paragraphs.


      Ah, but the trimmed down fat provides some good flavor itself, so I salt that too even though it's not going to penetrate. I used to do a dalmatian rub, now I just do the 2 parts separately


        Thanks Dave that was a good article. I salted it last night, but think I'll save the injection for another weekend so I can compare the dry brine and pepper rub with my traditional salt/pepper rub.


          Originally posted by Christobol View Post
          Thanks Dave that was a good article. I salted it last night, but think I'll save the injection for another weekend so I can compare the dry brine and pepper rub with my traditional salt/pepper rub.

          You bet. Let us know how it turns out.


            I realized with 11 pounds that I'd need to wake up in the middle of the night and being sleep deprived from work I decided to start the grill before bed (1am) and just try cooking it slower. So I went for 210 degrees, and allowed it to cook for 16 hours, at which point the internal temp varied between 185 and 190 depending on where I had the probe (I had three in it). I decided I needed to get the sucker done sooner so I bumped the temp up to 225 the last 2 1/2" hours, and once it hit 200 I pulled it off and let it sit an hour to rest.

            The flat was good, maybe very so slightly dry, but the point was so over done. While I could hold a slice in the air without it falling apart it was close to pulling apart on it's own. It was basically mush. Add that to the fact that I didn't know how much fat there was between the two muscles, and it was... a challenge to eat and really enjoy. The flavor as great, but unfortunately the lower low and slow seemed to be too much.

            In retrospect I should have kept the grill at 225, and just pulled it early in the afternoon rather than trying to plan the finish time by adjusting the temp.


              Yeah usually too much lower than 225 and the resulting longer timeframe can cause too much softening. A lot of guys go higher with briskets, 250-275 isn't uncommon. Especially if you're using a higher grade beef like Prime. I've read that some competition cooks go 300+.


                Just a thought, next time pull it early like you said and faux cambro? I was stunned how hot things stayed when I did it.


                • Christobol
                  Christobol commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's probably a good idea. I had no idea how long the brisket would take since the 6 pound one took 12 hours, the 7.5 pound one took 13 (slightly better temp control on the grill), and this one was 11 after trimming.

                  Next time I'll just run the grill at 225+ and pull it when it hits the right temp


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