How to Keep a Brisket Moist While Slow Cooking

Hispanic man next to barbecue
Properly setting up the grill helps keep moisture in the cooking environment. (Image: Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images)

There are several different low and slow cooking methods for a beef brisket. You can use a smoker, grill, oven or even a slow cooker large enough to hold the entire beef cut. The goal of low and slow cooking is to use low temperatures for longer periods of time to evenly cook the meat inside without drying it out. However, brisket cuts tend to have little fat marbling within and even the low and slow method of cooking can leave you with a dry brisket if you aren't careful. During the slow cooking process, employ one or more methods of keeping the brisket moist.

Step 1

Set up the cooking environment for moist heat. For a smoker or grill, this means laying charcoal or using flames on one side, perhaps the left, and laying a water pan on the other. Position a water/drip pan under roasts in the oven. Add 1 cup of water to the slow cooker.

Step 2

Position the brisket with the fat side up, so as fat melts in the cooking process, it bastes the meat.

Step 3

Wrap the brisket in bacon adding more fat to the meat to melt and baste the brisket during cooking.

Step 4

Massage a dry rub of black pepper, salt, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder into the surface of the meat to create a crust. The crust becomes more than a flavor addition, it creates a moisture seal.

Step 5

Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil if you are unable to use a water drip pan. This keeps all moisture escaping from the meat to remain close in the cooking process and baste the meat.

Step 6

Sear the brisket at a higher temperature for 20 minutes to brown the outer layer and lock in juices. If you are cooking a brisket at 250 degrees F, start the brisket at 350 degrees F, or brown it in a skillet at medium heat before putting it in the grill, oven or cooker.

Things You'll Need

  • Water

  • Oven safe pan

  • Bacon

  • Dry rub

  • Aluminum foil

  • Skillet

  • Meat thermometer

Tip

Dry rubs are made to taste. A basic dry rub includes one part of salt, one part of pepper, two parts of paprika, two parts of onion powder and two parts of garlic powder.

Warning

Don't check the brisket doneness by slicing it with a knife. This breaks any moisture seal and allows juices to escape. Instead, check the doneness by inserting a meat thermometer.

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