Should You Season Brisket Overnight? The most common reason individuals wind up with substandard brisket is because they try to expedite some aspect of the process.
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While most people understand the importance of smoking brisket low and slow, not enough people understand how early they should season their brisket – and how much time they should give it to develop flavors before exposing it to heat and smoke.
Should you leave the brisket to season overnight? Absolutely! The greatest brisket flavors on the planet are basic and plain, but they really shine when given enough time to enter the meat and mingle with one another. You should absolutely season your brisket at least six hours before putting it in the smoker, and ideally, you should allow your spices get to know one another overnight.
Why Should You Season Brisket Overnight?
The main reason you should use an overnight rub on your brisket is because it permits the salt (which should always be included in a seasoning rub) to permeate deeper into the meat, attracting additional spices with it.
Should You Season Brisket Overnight
As soon as the salt touches the surface of the brisket, it begins to suck moisture from the meat.
That moisture will rise to the surface of your brisket (you can actually witness your brisket “sweat” a couple of hours after you’ve applied your spice rub), partially dissolving the salt but also dissolving some of the seasoning components.
Then, when the salt has done its thing, that liquid will be drawn right back into the meat itself – if given enough time, at least – and you’ll end up with more flavorful, moister, more tender meat than you would have had otherwise.
If you rush through the dry rub process, you’ll wind up with surface-level spices and flavoring that never truly penetrates past the crust or bark of a well-done brisket.
And because that bark will turn incredibly black and smokey (as long as you cook low and slow, as we recommend), it will dominate all of your spices and seasonings. The outcome will be quite disappointing.
You’ll be in a better position if you can get your rub on your meat 24 hours before you want to smoke it.
Simply dry rub every inch of the brisket, set it on top of an exposed wire rack in your refrigerator, and let it lie overnight (or for a day) before pulling it out a couple of hours before putting it in the smoker.
That will allow the salt plenty of time to perform its job, drawing spices and tastes into the meat and breaking down some of the proteins along the way.
If you follow my advice, you’ll wind up having the finest brisket you’ve ever tasted!
When creating your spice rub, keep it simple.
It’s difficult to disagree with the famed barbecue expert Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas, when it comes to what you should season your brisket with.
Aaron is widely considered as the world’s finest authority on brisket. His restaurant is so well-known that visitors queue up hours before it opens, braving the Austin heat for a taste of the beef (and other barbeque) he cooks.
And, in Aaron’s opinion, you really don’t need much to liven up a nice piece of beef.
Franklin BBQ’s briskets are all rubbed down with nothing more than salt and pepper the night before (lots of pepper).
If you want to try something a little more adventurous, you could absolutely add brown sugar, garlic and onion powder, and even even paprika or dry mustard.
Some folks prefer to add red pepper flakes, chili powder, and other spicy seasonings to their rubs before slathering it all over the brisket and chilling it overnight.
At the end of the day, if you’re dealing with a beautiful piece of beef, less truly is more (which is rule number one when making brisket).
Keep it simple, let the meat and smoke shine, and you’ll never be disappointed – especially if you’ve given salt enough time to work its magic!
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More Techniques for Making the Best Brisket You’ve Ever Had!
If you’re seeking for more ideas and tactics to prepare the finest brisket you’ve ever tasted, keep the following lessons in mind:
Great Brisket Begins with World-Class Beef — Aaron Franklin (the aforementioned legend) sources his meat from some of America’s top ranchers, the sort of ranchers who can ensure a cut and consistency of beef that is second to none.
Even if you don’t have access to the same ranchers (or the same amount of meat), you’ll want to get as near to a premier packer as possible. Local restaurant supply businesses may be able to assist you!
Trim Your Brisket Carefully – It’s never enjoyable to chop away portions from pricey cuts of beef, but if you want to cook truly good brisket, you’ll have to do some trimming. You don’t need to shed all of the fat (1/4 inch or so on the fat cap is enough), but you do need to get rid of a good portion of it.
It’s also a good idea to remove any membrane, deckle, and “silver skin” from the brisket. Those are the components that, no matter how low and slow you cook it, will not break down, destroying an otherwise excellent piece of meat.
Dial in Your Temperatures — When it comes to smoking brisket, practice makes perfect, and the most essential thing to practice is being able to dial in your temperatures and then maintain them for lengthy periods of time.
If you have 10 pounds of brisket, for example, you’re looking at a 12.5 hour cook (or more) – and you’ll need to be able to maintain 225°F to 250°F from start to finish if you want edible brisket.
That will require a lot of experience, a lot of maintenance on your smoker, and meticulous attention from beginning to end. Brisket must be babysat for the greatest results!