This post contains affiliate links.
Ah, to spritz a brisket or not, that is the million-dollar question. When I first started smoking meat, I had learned that you should spritz your meat every hour to help retain moisture. I stuck with a simple half and half mix of apple cider vinegar and water. But being the scientist I am, I started to question if spritzing a brisket even helps? I spent many hours researching the internet and conducting polls to try and get a definitive answer on whether or not you should spritz a brisket when smoking. Here is what I found.
Should You Spritz Brisket?
Studies have shown that spritzing brisket while smoking can help enhance the flavor. The added moisture on the surface from spritzing a brisket, better allows smoke to adhere to the brisket enhancing the smoky flavor. Spritzing a brisket while smoking can also prevent the surface of the brisket from burning or drying out.
Arguments Against Spritzing Brisket.
With that said, spritzing your brisket might not always be the answer. Through my research I have seen many common arguments against spritzing your brisket.
Longer Cook Times: When you spritz a brisket, you are adding moisture to the surface of the meat. This added moisture help keep the brisket cool. It is the same process as our body producing sweat to cool us down. This will slow down the cooking process greatly. Not to mention, every time you open the smoker to spritz, you are losing heat and adding to you cook time.
Messes With The Flavor: Many of the spritz people use are acidic in nature and can leave behind an acidic or bitter taste. Many people have also mentioned that the spritz can dull the flavoring of the meat. Many people don’t want to worry about the flavor being ruined so they don’t bother with spritzing.
Brisket Is Naturally Fatty: Many people claim brisket doesn’t need spritzed simply because there is already so much fat that keep the meat moist. Between your rub, good smoke, and the fat, you never have to worry about your brisket turning out bland.
Like many topics in the meat smoking world, there is no right or wrong way. It comes down to personal preference. The best thing you can do is try it both ways and determine which you like best. You can read below to learn everything you need to know about spritzing your brisket.
Does Spritzing Work?
At first many people thought that spritzing a brisket would help retain moisture in the brisket. While this myth has been debunked, spritzing a brisket can still help. The biggest role spritzing plays is enhancing the smoky flavor. When wood is burned, it releases certain vapors that penetrate the surface of the meat giving us that distinct BBQ flavor. It has been said that those vapors are more attracted to wet surfaces, meaning spritzing your brisket will help attract more of those vapors to your brisket.
To test this theory, I grabbed two cotton pads. One I left untouched, and the other was soaked in water. I fired up the smoker and set both cotton pads in the smoker for 30 minutes.
As you can see from the results above, the wet pad is significantly darker indicating that it did indeed attract more smoke. I decided to run this same experiment with two beer cans. You can see below that the beer can with condensation is much darker.
Looking at these results we can conclude that a moist surface does attract more smoke. This indicates that spritzing your brisket can help enhance flavor.
What Should I Spritz Brisket With?
Apple juice and apple cider vinegar are commonly used as a brisket spritz. Create a 50/50 mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar and spritz your brisket when it starts to look dry. Other popular brisket spritzes include beer, whiskey, Worcestershire, water, and soda. Get creative and try different mixes until you find something you like.
When it comes to brisket spritz recipes, the sky is the limit. I have seen some crazy combinations, but the table below will show you some of the more popular spritz options. Note that ACV is short for apple cider vinegar. Experiment, and find something you like.
More Brisket Spritz Options
If those are too boring for you, here are some of the more adventurous spritzes I have seen people use:
- Beef broth
- Reds hard apple cider
- Tiger sauce & garlic
- Orange juice
- Apple juice/whiskey
- Apple juice, ACV (apple cider vinegar), bourbon & Worcestershire sauce
- ACV, apple juice, & cherry juice
- Melted butter
- Grape juice
- Black Raspberry Sparkling Ice
- Guinness & Beef broth
“I use water only. It doesn’t leave spots of bitter taste from where my spritz has accumulated. Its easier and I don’t have to worry about my briskets coming out tasting weird”.Owner and pitmaster of Smoked Seduction in Livermore, CA
How Often Should You Spritz Brisket?
You should spritz your brisket only when the outside surface of the meat starts to look dry. Spritzing your brisket too much can break down the bark and cool the meat drastically increasing cook times. Be sure to keep the lid closed as much as possible and only spray when necessary.
Do You Spritz Both Sides Of Brisket
There is no need to spritz both sides of your brisket. Leave the brisket on the grate and quickly spray the exposed parts of the brisket. You want to leave the lid open to the smoker as little as possible to prevent heat loss prolonging cook times.
Does Aaron Franklin Spritz His Brisket?
Who better to ask for advice on briskets than Aaron Franklin, one of the most well know, if not the most well know, brisket masters in the game. Aaron has won many awards and own a BBQ restaurant in Texas which sells out by lunch daily. Needless to say he knows a thing or two about smoking briskets.
Aaron Franklin does spritz his briskets when they start to look a little dry on the surface; however, he tries to avoid opening the lid of the smoker often as it causes the smoker to lose heat and prolong cook time. Aaron Franklin teaches to only spritz when needed.
Should I Spritz or Mop Brisket
Mopping and spritzing are essentially the same thing. They both involve putting a thin liquid on the surface of the brisket to enhance flavor and prevent the surface from drying out. A mop applies the liquid with a mop whereas spritzing applies the liquid with a spray bottle.
You should spritz your brisket instead of mopping your brisket. Both spritzing and mopping are the same process, but mopping is much messier. Because mopping does not add any extra benefit and spritzing is much easier, we recommend you use a spritz.