When it comes to perfecting a brisket, there’s a surprising number of things that you need to think about and get the perfect levels of. You have to make sure you are using the right amount of wood and charcoal, you have to make sure that the temperature remains exactly where it should be, and you usually have to make sure that the brisket doesn’t dry out.
With all the things that you have to keep track of, it can be easy to lose track of a few aspects when you are new to smoking and grilling meats. This can leave you with the all-too-common problem of having a dry brisket.
This is something that nobody wants to have happen, especially when you are preparing the brisket for a family gathering. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can try to do to salvage the brisket, if you believe that it is too dry to be served on its own.
You can either try to revive it, or you can salvage the brisket and use it in another dish. Understandably, you will probably want to try and revive the brisket as much as you can before resorting to making another dish entirely.
Reviving the Dry Brisket
This method is pretty simple, although it might not always work when the brisket is too dry to hold any moisture. You are going to want to have some broth and foil for this method, as well as a way to store the brisket and enough space to store it for a little bit.
Depending on your situation, you might want to keep the brisket at serving temperature, although if you do not need the brisket urgently, this method works fine with putting it in the fridge.
First things first, you are going to want to warm up the broth in a pan. While you don’t always have to do this if you are trying to prepare the brisket in advance, it will help the meat absorb the moisture a little bit more.
This step is especially important if you want to serve the brisket at its temperature and you only have a little bit of time to try and revive the brisket.
While you are working on heating the broth up, you are going to want to wrap the brisket in foil. You shouldn’t seal it up just yet though, as the next step will require you to pour the broth into the brisket in the foil.
If you are particularly concerned about leakage, or that the brisket won’t absorb the broth enough, you can consider using two layers of foil instead of one.
As mentioned, you are going to want to pour the warm broth onto the brisket. What this essentially does is introduce the moisture that your brisket has lost for whatever reason.
The reason why you should be using broth instead of another liquid, such as water, is that broth mimics the consistency and flavoring of the meat juices that your brisket no longer has. This will give it the best flavor, and your brisket won’t taste watered down if this method ends up reviving the brisket.
Once you have poured the broth over the dry brisket, you will want to make sure that you seal up the foil well. This is where you have to wait and hope that the brisket is not so far gone that it cannot absorb anything.
The point of this step is to try and force the brisket to absorb the broth and take it in as it would its own meat juices. If all goes well, this will rehydrate your brisket as if nothing was wrong in the first place.
If you really want to get fancy, you can add a number of spices to the broth that you are introducing to the brisket. If you want to try and make sure that the broth tastes as close to the brisket as it can, you will want to try and use the same seasonings that you used while you were cooking the meat.
Some people also consider using similar ingredients to the ones used in the rub. Knowing exactly what to put in the broth will take some experience, as well as some degree of trial and error.
Turning the Brisket into Something New
Whether you don’t want to try to revive the meat, or you tried that method and it didn’t work out well, there might come a time when you decide that you want to turn the dry brisket into something new.
You have a few different routes you can go down, depending on what you have in your kitchen, how much time you have, and what you’re in the mood for.
The most common way to turn your dried out brisket into something better is with chili. Not only is this a wonderful way to serve up a holiday meal, but it is also incredibly quick, simple, and easy to make.
You could try this Smoked Brisket Chili recipe by Vindulge.
This means that it doesn’t take a lot of supplies or cooking prowess to make it, which is something that is very important to factor in when you are working on a time crunch.
The main thing that you will want to focus on is cutting up the brisket into smaller chunks. It can’t really be chili if there are massive slabs of brisket just sitting in the pan.
While it is completely up to you to determine the size of the brisket chunks, smaller is typically better for chilies. This is also a good method for making use of your leftover brisket that turns out right, if you find yourself dealing with leftovers quite a bit.
Similarly, if you aren’t entirely a fan of chili, you could consider making a brisket stew. This one takes a little bit more time, since you will want to let the flavor of the brisket seep into the vegetables and other foods you add to the stew, so it might not be the best thing that you can do in a time pinch.
However, if you have plenty of time to salvage your brisket, stew is another excellent holiday meal that you can prepare. In the end, stew can make a wonderfully hearty meal for you, your friends, and any family that you have over.
If you are looking to make something that is less of a heavy meal and more something that you can eat as a basic leftover lunch, you might want to consider making brisket soup.
The soup will have a wonderful flavor to it, without all of the weight that comes with a big, hearty stew. Brisket soup is a wonderful alternative, and an excellent way to turn your dried out brisket into something that you can enjoy.
If you are in the mood to do even more cooking, you could even consider turning your brisket into a shepherd’s pie. This is another excellent way to turn something you don’t know what to do with into a traditional meal that will please just about everyone that you have over.
In many ways, a shepherd’s pie will go best with the smooth taste of brisket, depending on the type of smoke that you used to flavor it.
What Causes Dried-Out Brisket?
At the end of the day, no matter if you turned your brisket into another meal or you were able to successfully revive it, you still might be wondering why your brisket ended up being drier than it should.
In some cases, it can be caused by something to do with the meat, such as not having enough fat. Other times, it is caused by something that went wrong with the grilling or smoking process. Knowing what caused the dry brisket is important, as you probably don’t want it happening again.
In some cases, it might be due to the type and quality of the brisket. For example, flats tend to be drier than points. If you tried to smoke a flat, there’s a good chance that it will come up being dry.
Other times, it might be because you chose Select or Ungraded brisket, rather than Choice. Choice brisket is going to be of a much higher quality overall, and therefore much easier to work with.
Sometimes, a dry brisket can be caused by the conditions that it was cooked in. While all brisket is going to be slightly different, most people know that cooking brisket at too high of a temperature for too long is going to dry it out quickly. If you pull the brisket out of the smoker too soon, it could also end up being dry.
If you are new to smoking brisket, you should do a considerable amount of research to try and figure out the optimal temperature and time to cook a brisket at. Do keep in mind that there will likely be a lot of trial and error at first.
Another very common cause of a dried-out brisket is when the brisket hasn’t had the chance to rest. Resting a brisket essentially forces the steam to stay inside the meat, allowing the meat juices to thicken to the point where it cannot evaporate out of the meat.
Not allowing the meat to rest will dry out the brisket completely within a matter of hours, because the steam takes all the moisture with it.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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