Brisket Juicy At Slice Then Dried Out!


Tom Wray

New member
Just finished my first auto-temp controlled Brisket smoke on my WSM 22. Very happy with the results initially--beautiful bark, moist and fatty point end and first flat slices. ...

My problem developed as the served, sliced brisket sat at table. Our first forkfuls were luscious....But we enjoyed a leisurely meal, and returned for second and third helpings of the brisket love, the slices cooled to room temperature and hardened and dried out.

Any tips on how to keep sliced brisket moist and hot at table? Without a catering steam table set up? Anyone have tips on plating and serving Brisket slices with an au jus?

Here are the highlights of the smoke, it was straight outta Aaron Franklin's Brisket Manifesto:

--BBQ Guru Pit Viper auto set WSM to 275 throughout smoke (Aaron's preferred temp)
--Mesquite wood chunks
--full water pan (as per Aaron Franklin)
--double butcher paper- wrapped at 160 internal temp
--finished in oven set to 300 to get Brisket thru stall
---pulled from oven at internal temp 203
---rested wrapped in heated cooler for 1 hour before slicing

Note--I did not inject brisket, only spritzed it twice during the 12 hour smoke, then again at the wrap

Appreciate any tips! Thanks and Happy New Year!
I'm glad you at least enjoyed some of it :). I'm a brisket novice, no means an expert, but did you pull it from the oven and drop it immediately into the cooler to hold it? If you did, it's possible that it kept cooking. And if that happened, you should consider resting it on the counter for a span of time (possibly half an hour or so) and then hold it in a cooler until ready to serve. I suppose the length of your leisurely meal could also play a contributing factor. Happy New Year!
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The cooking method I use is pretty much identical to yours, though I am never able to get brisket done in time to eat it the same day. I end up reheating it in a steamer before serving, and have not had any problem with the meat drying out. You could try placing the meat in a steamer next time and see if that helps.
I only slice what I serve. Then, if seconds are in order, slice some more. Once everyone is happy I vac seal, freeze, and reheat by placing in boiling water. It comes out like the minute it came off the cooker: tender and juicy. I also place the au jus in ice cube trays and freeze it into cubes and then place in a freezer bag. When ready, I simply throw a few cubes in a small pan and gently heat. Spoon the au jus over the sliced brisket. Cheers!
If your gonna hold it a long time for multiple servings then a makeshift steam table is in order. All the good deli's hold and serve brisket all day using that.
For counter top serving I would keep in unsliced in a cambro or warm oven and brush it with au jus as sliced.

The cut surface begins to oxidize and the meat begins to dry out immediately upon slicing. Either slice only what's needed and wrap the remainder tightly, or slice and wrap so the slices are held together tightly. This is why at most restaurants serving brisket, they slice only when the order is placed.
I do the same as Dwain and haven't had any problems at all. The vac sealed ones reheated in hot water come out just like freshly cut.
Chris is spot on. Slice as needed. Another thing you can do is place the exposed chunk of cut brisket face down on the cutting board to conserve moisture.
Sliced brisket starts to dry out when it cools. If you warm the slices CAREFULLY in the microwave they will moisten up a little. Easy to mess up in the microwave though.
Thanks, Excellent point, yes I did just that. By resting I'm guessing you mean open the foil/paper wrap, let the heat escape, then by holding you mean re-wrap it until ready to serve?
Love the idea of the steamer, I'm trying to save that crispy bark, and afraid the steam will soften it up....but the steamer warm up makes total sense to me. Thanks
Excellent suggestions, slicing at table...will do that next time. Love the vac sealing idea for leftovers, and then boiling water for reheat....and yes, love the jus in ice cube trays....Thanks!!
Thanks all for the advice

Thanks for the key advice on resting the brisket, allowing to cool for 30" or so, before holding until serving. Also the practical slice as you serve, not ahead of time. :blackkettle:
Wow! What great advice listed above. The only other thing I can offer is that I never do a Brisket that is not graded at Choice or above. Expensive cut which requires much effort. I have ruined my share of Selects over the years. Just my .02 and Good Luck! I too vac pac


On edit the Wife decided to get creative with the names.
Good luck, Tom. What you described above is exactly how I differentiate between resting and holding.

LOL @ your wife's naming scheme, Mike.