I consider brisket spritzing an obligatory step during the smoking process. It keeps the meat moist and creates caramelization.
I’ve been smoking brisket since I started my carnivore diet a decade ago. I wanted to find the best brisket spritz, so I experimented with apple juice, broth, beer, apple cider vinegar, and more. I also talked with expert pitmasters to get their tips and tricks.
Here’s what to spritz brisket with and why you should do it.
- You can spritz brisket with broth, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, beer, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce or water.
- The main reason you should spritz your brisket is to keep the surface of the meat moist and prevent dry patches.
- It’s important to mist at 45 or 90 minutes intervals, depending on the spritz you’re using.
7 Best Brisket Spritz Options
Regardless of which spritz you opt for, you need quality brisket. ButcherBox has a huge selection of beef cuts, including briskets.
There are several spritz options you can use to keep the brisket moist and enhance the flavor of the meat. Here’s a rundown of my favorite options.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the most commonly used brisket spritz. It has a tangy flavor that works well with the brisket taste; it’s affordable and widely available .
If it’s too acidic for you, mix it with a little water or apple juice to dilute it. Make sure to taste the mix before applying it to the brisket to check if it’s to your liking.
The vinegar’s acidity breaks down the spices in the rub, which helps form a crunchy bark on the meat’s exterior.
Note: Many BBQ newbies fear ACV will leave a strong taste on the smoked brisket. This isn’t the case. The vinegar cooks out, the same as when you cook with wine.
Pro tip: Mix ACV with olive oil, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and salt and pepper for more flavor.
2. Apple Juice
Apple juice is another good brisket spritz option because the sugar in the juice creates bark with even better caramelization.
The sweet flavor of the apple juice with a hint of tang pairs nicely with the brisket’s beefy flavors.
You can also use other fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pear, or pineapple. Liquids high in fructose caramelize well and create a brown, crispy bark. In case this is too sweet for you, you can dilute the juice with some water.
Beer is another great liquid to spritz your brisket with. It gives the meat an extra layer of flavor plus provides moisture.
Beer also gives the brisket a dark and malty flavor. It also creates better browning because it has sugar, which helps the caramelization of the brisket exterior.
Pro tip: Use dark ales instead of light ones, as their taste tends to be more complex.
You can make a beer spritz by mixing it with apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and water. Experiment with different portions to find what you like best. You can also add seasonings, especially salt and pepper.
Note: Don’t water down the beer because alcohol already has a high evaporation rate.
Also Read: Pulled Pork With Beer
4. Melted Butter
Melted butter is a good alternative to oil. It’s usually used as a mop sauce, but you can melt it down and spray it.
Melt the butter so it’s liquid, and add water until it’s thin enough to be used in a spray bottle.
Pro tip: Make sure to keep the butter and water warm so the liquid doesn’t solidify and clog your spray bottle.
Unlike fruit juices and beer, melted butter doesn’t add a strong flavor to the brisket but extra moisture.
5. Beef Broth
This is a great brisket spritz option if you’re worried your brisket will be too sweet or salty. Most other spritzes have sugar and salt or are highly acidic, which affects the meat’s flavor. The broth is a more neutral option.
Beef broth is low in fructose, so it doesn’t create sticky sweetness like apple juice and beer.
Beef broth is the best choice if you want to preserve the brisket’s natural flavors.
Also Read: Substitute for Beef Broth
6. Worcestershire Sauce
The Worcestershire sauce gives a strong and flavorful extra layer to the brisket. It helps the seasoning rub stick better to the meat.
It has a stronger flavor compared to other liquids you can use to spritz meat. Add some water to thin it out if you find it too strong.
You should spritz less often when using Worcestershire sauce. Spritz your brisket every 90 minutes (you should be spritzing brisket every 45 minutes with other liquids).
If you want to provide your brisket with more moisture but don’t want to change the flavor, use plain water.
This way, you can focus on imparting flavor to the brisket using an injection and rub. Using water preserves the brisket and bark and doesn’t change the balance.
Steps to Spritzing Brisket
Here’s how to spritz brisket step-by-step:
- Rub the brisket with seasoning and put the brisket on the smoker.
- Make your brisket spray and pour it into a bottle.
- Spritz the brisket after an hour and a half and repeat every 45 minutes to an hour to keep the brisket moist. This is a general guide and varies depending on the type of meat and the exact liquid you use.
Spray brisket by holding a nozzle a few inches away from the meat. Do it lightly to avoid soaking the smoked meat surface.
There’s no need to spray the entire brisket. It’s enough to spray the parts you see, as only the parts of the brisket directly exposed to the heat during the cooking process are at risk of drying out.
“You can wash the bark off by spritzing at the wrong time because you’re spraying the rubs off before they have a chance to set in. Brisket smoking is an 8 to 10-hour cook. There’s no reason to spritz before two to three hours.”
- Brisket Medic, YouTube Channel
You can use any spray bottle on hand. Some bottles have a function where you can use them both sideways and upside down, which makes the brisket spray easier to apply.
Note: Let the brisket cook for about an hour and a half to two hours before spritzing the brisket. Also, don’t spritz too much; your smoker can lose heat.
5 Reasons Why You Should Spritz Brisket
These are all the reasons you need to spritz brisket.
1. Better Bark
Spritzing brisket forms a better bark and helps the bark set. Brisket bark is a combination of spices fused with meat and fat.
A spritz high in fructose, such as fruit juice, caramelizes the meat’s surface, so you have better browning on the bark.
Thicker sauces, such as Worcestershire sauce, will leave some flavor behind, but you can use water or broth for a more neutral bark flavor.
2. Prevents Charring
Spritzing prevents dry areas on your brisket. Brisket is a large piece of meat, so some parts of it can get too charred. You add moisture when you spritz, which prevents dry areas.
3. Slower Cooking
Spritzing meat slows down the cooking.
Ideally, the brisket should remain at a low temperature for as long as possible so the brisket fat and connective tissues render.
The spritz cools down the meat and slows the cooking process, which gives it more time to render.
Slower cooking gives tough cuts more time to become tender, which is especially important for having a tender and moist brisket.
4. More Smoke Flavor
A wet brisket attracts smoke, which means extra flavor.
Smoke is attracted to moisture and cold, so a spritz results in smokier meat and a better smoky flavor.
This is particularly important during the first smoking phase, which is when brisket takes on a lot of smoke. You should be spritzing your brisket hourly so there’s always smoke around the meat.
5. Less Moisture Loss
Spritzing prevents moisture loss and meat from shrinking. However, this also depends on the wrapping and resting. Apart from spritzing, you should wrap the finished brisket in aluminum foil or butcher paper and let it rest for extra moisture.
What Does Aaron Franklin Spritz Brisket with?
Aaron Franklin spritzes brisket with apple cider vinegar. He spritzes every hour for extra moisture so the brisket doesn’t dry out.
Should I Spritz Brisket or Water Pan?
You should spritz brisket for the best flavors and moisture. However, a water pan is also a good option. Place the water pan in the smoker to keep the meat moist so it doesn’t burn out.