The brisket is the champion meat for all cooks. It is also one of the most flavorful beef cuts.
We advise seasoning the brisket no less than six hours before cooking, but seasoning and leaving overnight is the better option. Seasoning the brisket overnight will penetrate the meat and enhance its magical flavor.
There are many benefits to seasoning the brisket overnight. It is not only for the flavor. In this article, we will cover the reasons why and give advice on brisket seasonings and rubs.
The Benefits of Preseasoning the Brisket Overnight
The primary reason to preseason the brisket and leave it in the fridge overnight is the salt in the seasoning. Salt should be the primary ingredient in the seasoning you add to the brisket.
Salt penetrates more through the meat than any other spice. The salt will work to draw moisture through the meat from within itself. Any other spices in the mix will follow through, adding extraordinary flavors.
The moisture will come to the surface, almost as if the meat is sweating. This process will take a couple of hours, and as it is working its magic, the moisture dissolves the salt and pulls the seasoning through the surface. It also dissolves the seasoning within itself.
Once the salt and seasoning are pulled into the meat, the moisture goes back inside the meat. If cooked low and slow, that is how the meat will remain juicy on the inside.
That is the secret to the magic, and it happens right before the eyes. It is something to see the process working.
The flavor is the true benefit because if you only add the seasoning or rub and cook it right after, the surface is the only thing that will have the flavor instead of the entire brisket. It will overpower the bark and will have too much of a smoky flavor.
The longer, the better to sit in the fridge pre-seasoned. We recommend 24 hours before cooking and sitting in the refrigerator. The entire brisket should be covered in the seasoning.
Related: Can you cook a frozen brisket?
As the salt does its thing, following the advice, you will be impressed as well as your taste buds. The other benefit is getting the seasoning out of the way.
You will have more time spent cooking the brisket the next day without all the stress of seasoning and cleaning the kitchen. It will all be done the day before.
Keep the Spices Simple
Brisket has the most profound beef flavor, and it doesn’t take much seasoning to add flavor. In fact, too much seasoning can take it away. Keeping the seasoning to salt and pepper is enough to make an award-winning brisket. Even professionals will tell their tales.
If you plan to add BBQ sauce to the brisket after it is cooked or within the last 30 minutes of cooking, salt and pepper will suffice. These are some ideas if you choose different seasonings.
These work the best:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Brown sugar
- Dry mustard or paprika
Here is another one people use when cooking brisket without BBQ sauce:
- Chili powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
These are all exotic flavors thrown into the mix, and it is up to the cook what they want for their taste buds. The work will be worth it if the entire brisket is covered.
Special Tips for the Best Brisket
Now that you know all there is to seasoning the brisket and how valuable it is to keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, we can look into special tips passed down from the pros who know all about brisket.
- Know how to choose the best beef: Make friends with your local ranchers and butchers from slaughterhouses. Restaurant supply stores can direct you to the right places for the best beef. Cattle that are kept strictly grass-fed, and not all the antibiotics and hormones added to their feed, have a much healthier and better beef flavor.
- Take caution on trimming the brisket fat: It is essential to trim the brisket fat, but leave a quarter inch so the fat can keep the meat moist while cooking. You also should remove the membrane, which will not dissolve in the cooking process.
- Keep up with the temperature: Low and slow is critical. It is all you will hear when discussing the process of cooking brisket. Holding the temperature close to 250 degrees Fahrenheit is the key. It takes about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes per pound. The safe side for a ten-pound brisket would be 12.5 hours.
- Keep the lid on it: Yes, we all want to get a glance at the brisket cooking, and at times, we all wish we had X-ray vision. Please, keep the lid on the grill or the door closed to the smoker or oven, whatever you decide to cook in. The more you open the cover, the more heat escapes, and you defeat the purpose of keeping up with the temperature.
- Never cut the brisket directly from cooking: The goal is to have an internal temperature of around 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You see, the meat will still be cooking on the inside when you remove it from the oven, smoker, or grill. You want to leave it to sit for no less than 20 minutes before cutting it. Cutting it before time will cause all the juices to flow out, leaving you with a dry brisket.
How long should you put the dry rub on a brisket?
A dry rub is unlike seasoning, where you just pour it on. They call it “rub” for a reason. You must rub the seasoning onto the surface of the brisket until it forms a paste that sticks to the meat.
It should take about 15 to 30 minutes for a good rub down to get the seasonings in the brisket really good.
Should you brine a brisket overnight?
Yes, for the best results, 12 hours or overnight is the perfect amount of time to brine a brisket. Brining the brisket will draw moisture to the surface and pull the saltiness inside the meat.
Doing it overnight gives you more time to cook it the next day.
How long should you marinate a brisket?
Marinades have vinegar, which breaks down tough meats like brisket and other meats that come from the cow muscles.
Overnight is good enough to marinade, but it should be done with caution because the low and slow cooking process is all you need to get the brisket fork tender.
Should I use injections when cooking a brisket?
It will certainly add flavor to the brisket, but using salt with seasoning will have the same effect because it draws the flavor from the moisture inside the meat to the surface and then pulls the seasoning back in through that same moisture as it sits in the fridge.