How To Get A Tender Brisket Every Time

How To Get A Tender Brisket Every Time

How To Get A Tender Brisket Every Time

To many, brisket is arguably the best tasting cut of meat and the best barbecue dish out there. Brisket is flavorful, tender, juicy and mouth watering. Well, good brisket is.

How do the BBQ pit masters get it that way every single time? You don’t need to be a pro to master the brisket. We’ve gathered some tried and true tips and tricks on how to get a tender brisket every time.

Leave the Fat

Many skilled barbecuers say to leave all the fat, others say trim some of it off. Whether you trim it or leave it all on, having fat left on the meat is important. Fat helps baste the meat and keeps it from becoming tough and dry. So make sure your butcher leave some fat on your cut of meat. There is a fine line, certainly. Leaving too much fat can make your braising liquid greasy. But eliminating all the fat leads to less flavor. If you feel like your braising liquid has too much fat in it, skim it off the top till your desired amount remains.


Some brisket is braised in plain water. Water doesn’t add any flavor to your meat so using something else helps it become more flavorful and juicy. Using broth and/or a beer or wine will add additional flavors to your BBQ. If you’re adding alcohol to your braising liquid, be sure to let it cook for a few minutes on its own to reduce before adding any stock or water. Doing so will help lessen the intense taste that alcohol can give.

If you decide to sear your meat (not a necessary step, but one many experts take) and are cooking your brisket in an oven at home, brown the meat in a Dutch oven or a stove and oven safe dish. This way you can go straight from searing on the stove to braising in the oven.

Low and Slow

A major contributor in tender brisket is low and slow cooking. Cooking a tender brisket takes hours. Some pit masters say an hour and half is the perfect amount for tender brisket sliced for sandwiches. Others say that adding another hour or two will produce fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth brisket. There are no set rules here; it’s really up to you!

Add a Sauce

Sauces are good for more than additional flavor. They can help disguise a dry, tough brisket into a juicy, tender piece of meat. Use the braising liquid as your sauce base. Strain out any solids, skim any extra fat, and put it in a pot on your stove. Add a mixture of flour and butter to thicken it up. Finish it off with a splash of vinegar, sugar, herbs or some additional butter. Whether you’re needing to hide a dry brisket or not, preparing and providing a sauce is appreciated by many.

Cut Against the Grain

Be sure to cut the meat perpendicularly to the grain (muscle fibers). Doing so shortens the fibers, making it easier to chew. This helps the meat seem more tender. Cutting the meat along the grain will leave you with a chewier hunk of meat.


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