How to Brine a Brisket – Everything You Need to Know!


Brining a brisket is the best way to ensure that it’s juicy and flavorful, and does not come out dry and tough from your smoker.

Brine solution can be applied to the meat as dry brine, wet brine, and injection.

Brined Brisket

However, we prefer brining a brisket with the clean and easy use of a dry brisket. And to help you out with your smoking process, we’re here to let you in on our tricks!

How to Make a Brine Solution – Recipe

The foremost step to brining a brisket is of course preparing a dry brine for it.

You must be familiar with the fact that a brine solution is mostly concentrated with salt. 

This salt basically helps the evaporated moisture and juices from the brisket to be reabsorbed in it. Hence ensuring that the juices are retained and your brisket comes out moist and tender.

So, for a dry brine, you simply need ½ a teaspoon of kosher salt for each pound of brisket. You can add other spices to it as well.

On the other hand, you can use the following ingredients as a guide for the wet brine recipe. The amount varies depending on the size of your brisket, and also your personal taste. These ingredients are good enough for one 5 to 7 pounds brisket

  1. ½ cup kosher salt
  2. 1 cup brown sugar

Dissolve these two in 6 quarts boiling water. You should also add other spices for an enhanced flavor.

Let the sugar and salt boil for a while, and then go on to add 6 cups of ice in them to let the solution cool.

Also Read:

How to Dry Brine a Brisket – Step-by-Step Guide

Once you have the kosher salt on you, you have the liberty to decide whether you want to add any rubs to it or not.

This means that you can either choose to add rubs right before your smoking process or simply add them in the brine to let the flavor sit overnight.

  1. Pat your brisket with a paper towel to absorb any moisture from its surface.
  2. Rub the salt onto the surface of the brisket until it has worked its way into every corner.

You need to carefully make sure no part of the surface is bare.

  1. Place your brine-covered brisket on a wire rack set, inside of a rimmed baking sheet. This is to ensure that no moisture is allowed to set on the brisket’s surface.
  2. Put the wire rack set in your refrigerator.
  3. Let it rest for at least 2 hours, but it’s best to allow it to rest overnight, between 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Once it has rested enough, it’s ready to be smoked. 

This is the step where you apply rub on it before putting it to smoke, in case you didn’t already add it to the brine.

How to Wet Brine a Brisket – Step-by-Step Guide

Once the wet brine solution is ready, you should let it rest until it has chilled greatly. 

Later on you can proceed to use it for your meat.

  1. Place your brisket in the brine solution, just enough to submerge it completely.
  2. Place the container that contains the solution and submerged meat into the refrigerator.
  3. Let it sit for about 1 hour per pound of brisket, so about 5 to 7 hours in this case. It’s best even in this case to let it sit overnight for around 12 to 24 hours.
  4. Remove the brisket from the solution after it has rested enough.
  5. Observe the surface for any visible amounts of brine on it. If there’s a substantial amount, you should rinse your meat once to get rid of it.
  6. Pat it with a paper towel to dry the surface.
  7. Your brisket is then ready to be smoked!

How Long Should You Brine a Brisket?

A brisket should be brined for at least 2 hours when it comes to dry brining.

However, for wet brining, you should let the meat sit in the solution for 1 hour for each pound of it.

In either case, the best option is to refrigerate the brining brisket overnight, that is about 12 to 24 hours.

But it’s also important to make sure you don’t brine it for too long. Yes, that is a possibility!

If you let your meat sit in the brine solution for too long, it will not only become overly salty, but also give your brisket a spongy texture.

If you cannot smoke your brisket right after you have brined it overnight, you should take it out of the solution, and either rinse it or pat it dry of the brine, according to the need.

Then you can continue refrigerating this meat for as long as you want, without risking over-brining it.

Tips & Tricks

If you’re a beginner chef, you might assume that table salt can replace kosher salt. If you think so, you’re absolutely incorrect!

Table salt is not an alternative for kosher salt. Only the latter should be used for dry brining, and even wet brining.

This is because kosher salt has the ability to stick to meat, and also distributes more evenly on the meat surface.

It is also less dense than table salt because of its large grains, which means 1 teaspoon of kosher salt is not as strong for your brisker as a teaspoon of table salt.

Wrapping it Up

Brining a brisket is by far one of the most important steps in the journey of its smoking.

If you’re looking to avoid dry and tough meat and enjoy a good juicy, tender, and moist brisket to yourself, our help should be of great use to you.

Happy smoking!

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Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.