You can spritz the brisket with apple juice, apple cider vinegar, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, water, beer, and more!
Working with pitmasters from all over the country, I have had an opportunity to see how people spritz their brisket firsthand. I can pass on their recipes, techniques, and more.
In this post, I will give you a list of what to spritz brisket with, explain the process in greater detail, and more. Let's begin!
Yes, I know that this post is meant to deal with what you can use to spritz brisket. However, I wouldn't be doing my duty to you if I didn't explain the downsides of spritzing.
Personally, I never spritz my brisket when smoking meat. You don't have to just follow my lead, though, as there is scientific reasoning behind my choice:
The main reason that I don't spritz the brisket is because I don't want to mess with the bark. See, if you spray the smoking meat before the brisket bark has had time to set, the the herbs and spices can wash away.
This means that either the bark won't develop properly or you will end up with a patchy one.
So, if you do want to spritz your brisket, make sure to do it after the bark has become nice and crusty.
There is also the fact that when you are spritzing brisket, you are actually cooling the air directly around the meat. In turn, this slows down the cooking process.
Spraying the meat can add an hour or more to the smoking process.
Now, most people will spray brisket because they are hoping to keep meat moist. What Dr. Blonder, food scientist discovered, though, was that the spraying process doesn't actually keep brisket moist.
The temperature inside the smoker means that the liquid evaporates shortly after being sprayed.
A lot of people believe that in addition to adding moisture that the spritz liquids also infuses the brisket with a smoky flavor. They also imagine that the flavors of the spritz add extra flavor as well.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case at all. The brisket doesn't actually absorb too much flavor at this stage of the process.
In general, briskets take a long time to absorb any kind of flavor. This is why you have to brine it for so long. Thus, spritzing your brisket won't achieve the kind of effect that you are looking for.
The best way to know whether or not you should spritz brisket is to test this theory out for yourself.
Take two smaller cuts and prepare them in the exact same way. Make sure that they smoke at the exact same temperature - you can even smoke them simultaneously.
If you are wrapping the briskets, do it at the same time and use the same material as well.
The only difference should be that once brisket is spritzed with a spray bottle and the other is not.
After the cooking process is over and both briskets have had time to rest, cut into them and then have a taste test. This should help to clear things up for you.
Despite all of these arguments I know that there are plenty of pitmasters that continue to spritz their brisket. So, I am going to offer you a little advice on when to spray the smoked meat.
First off, if you are smoking Wagyu brisket, don't spritz this meat. For one thing, it is already quite fatty, making it unlikely to dry out, particularly if you keep the temperature low.
Furthermore, as you have spent a great deal of money for its exquisite taste, the last thing that you need is to mess it up with any kind of flavored liquid.
It is also unlikely that you will need to use a brisket spritz for a full packer brisket or a point cut. These tend to have marbling and a good fat cap.
The brisket flat, on the other hand, tends to be largely made up of lean meat that can dry out more easily. Thus, you can keep the meat moist by spritzing this brisket cut.
I would say that you should only spritz your brisket when you think that it is looking a little dry. This means waiting towards the end of the cooking process.
Also with a nearly finished brisket, the bark will have set and will be less likely to wash away.
If you need to wrap the brisket to raise the internal temperature, then spritz the smoked brisket just before or during the wrapping phase. Then cover with butcher paper.
Here are some of your top options:
This is arguably the most popular brisket spritz out there. As it has a tangy flavor profile, it works well with the flavors of the brisket as well as with that of the bark.
Now, apple cider vinegar can be a bit too tart for some. If you find that this is the case, then combine equal parts of vinegar, apple juice, and water.
Always taste this mix to make sure that the taste is to your liking.
Apple juice would certainly take the title as the second most popular option. Sweet with a little bit of tang, this juice complements the beefy flavors of the brisket.
Try to use fresh or whole apple juice whenever possible. Many commercial brands add a lot of sugar to theirs, making it overly sweet.
If you find this to be a case, add some apple cider vinegar to balance things out.
A lot of people don't want to mess with the natural flavors of the beef. If this is the case, then you can spritz your brisket with beef broth.
This way, the flavors are all kept in perfect balance. The only thing that I would suggest is to use a low sodium or salt-free broth for the best results.
While this is a rather popular spritz, I do have to warn you that Worcestershire sauce can boast a pretty strong flavor. This can counteract the other flavors of the beef and the bark.
Thus, I would suggest going easy on the sauce - water it down so that the flavor is milder. You may also want to spritz the brisket on a less regular basis too.
If you want to add a bit of sizzle to your brisket, then hot sauce is the way to go. Of course, no two hot sauces are the same. Some are spicier while others are tangier.
You may also find those with various undertones such as pineapple. Therefore, you should be certain to choose the hot sauce that complements the flavor of the beef and the bark.
If you are dealing with a thicker sauce then make sure to thin it out with some water or you will have a hard time spritzing it through a spray bottle.
Beer and barbecue go together like... well, beer and barbecue.
Beer is a great way to add a dark and malty flavor profile into the mix without going overboard. I have found dark ales to be the best option here, but go ahead and use any brew that you like.
I would advise against watering down the beer. As it is, the alcohol has a rather high evaporation rate.
Even I have to agree that butter goes with pretty much everything. It is also a tastier substitute to traditional vegetable or cooking oil.
Melt the butter and then immediately add in a little bit of water. This will prevent the butter from hardening up again.
I would suggest doing this in small batches, just before you spritz the brisket.
If you have worked hard on your brisket and bark, then the last thing that you want to do is to mess with that beautiful balance.
Due to this, you can spritz the brisket with plain water. This is a good option when you are only focused on creating extra moisture so that you don't dry out the brisket.
People have gotten pretty creative with spritzing meat. From whiskey to Dr. Pepper to various combinations, there seems to be no end to the options available to you.
I am all about experimentation so if something looks good to you, you should definitely give it a try.
My only advice would be to try this with smaller cuts. This way, if it doesn't turn out the way that you want, you won't end up wasting all that meat.
This process is pretty easy.
Simply make up your solution and pour it into a spray bottle.
Then, hold the nozzle several inches away from the brisket and spray. Do so lightly and avoid soaking the outside surface.
You don't need to spray the entire brisket. Just the parts that you can see. Only the portions of meat that are directly exposed to the heat source are really at risk of drying out.
I have seen people recommending spritzing your brisket every hour before it is wrapped - this is simply too much!
As I have already mentioned, try to spritz the brisket only once you sense that it is beginning to dry out. This should be towards the end of the brisket cook if you are smoking at a temperature of 225 F or 225 F.
By all means, wait until the bark has set before you start spritzing the brisket.
I would suggest spraying the meat only about every 90 minutes or so before it is wrapped.
Or, place the brisket on the butchers paper or aluminum foil. Then, spray with your chosen liquid. Next, wrap up the brisket tightly and then smoke until done.
Yes, Aaron Franklin does spritz his briskets sometime but only when they get quite dry. He also sprays the meat sparingly. He prefers using water, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, or hot sauce.
This depends on what your personal preference is. If you prefer sweeter, then the juice is a good option while if you enjoy a tangy taste, then the vinegar will be better.
You can also choose to combine the juice, vinegar, and water for a more balanced combination.
Well, there you have it - everything that you need to know about spritzing your brisket! Now that you understand both sides of the argument and have a list of liquids, you are a fully informed pitmaster.
Thus, you can plan out your next move while smoking brisket perfectly!