HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Brisket Shrinkage

DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 09:23 AM

Will decreasing the temperature cause there to be less shrinkage? The recipe I use is 350 for 3 hours. Is there anything else to do that will decrease shrinkage when braising the brisket? I start with 5lbs and although it is delicious, it probably ends up being 3lbs.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. mcf RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 10:07 AM

    No, brisket just shrinks a LOT by the time it's tender enough to eat. I cook it at a lower temp after browning for longer than you do, have done 350 for 3 hours. No diff. When it's done, it's itty bitty. :-)

    29 Replies
    1. re: mcf
      DaisyM RE: mcf Sep 20, 2011 10:15 AM

      I just assumed that I was doing something wrong! I just asked the grocery to order me the largest brisket possible and the butcher said it would probably only be 5lbs. Does anyone get larger briskets or are you just roasting 2 at the same time?

      1. re: DaisyM
        valerie RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 10:23 AM

        I buy my brisket at Costco and I have never seen over 5 lb. pieces. They are usually somewhere between 3 and 5 lbs. I just make multiple pieces.

        1. re: valerie
          Emme RE: valerie Sep 23, 2011 09:52 AM

          we get at least 7 lb briskets at Costco FWIW...

        2. re: DaisyM
          paprkutr RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 10:28 AM

          Brisket just shrinks period. I buy a whole brisket that come up to 18 pounds. I have the butcher separate the top from the bottom and remove a lot of the fat. I then roast the whole thing. I freeze sliced with gravy. You might go to a butcher shop rather than a grocery. If you can't find larger you can do 2 or 3 smaller ones at the same time.

          1. re: paprkutr
            DaisyM RE: paprkutr Sep 20, 2011 10:40 AM

            Thank you. I'm going to roast two at the same time. Even though my roasting pan is huge I expect that I'll have to overlap them a bit. I hope this will still turn out tender.

            1. re: DaisyM
              paprkutr RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 10:43 AM

              Try roasting, then let sit overnight, slice put with gravy from pan and reroast for about two hours at about 300 and you will get really tender delicious brisket. I usually freeze at this point.
              What do you season it with?

              1. re: paprkutr
                DaisyM RE: paprkutr Sep 20, 2011 11:20 AM

                Yes, I do make it the day before. I know this sounds weird....but it is whole cranberry sauce, ketchup, and beer. It makes a very thick and delicious glaze. The only issue is that (I think) because of the sugar in the sauce you have to remove it from the oven before it cooks down too much, or it will burn.

                1. re: DaisyM
                  cleobeach RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 12:19 PM

                  More info please, that sounds delicious and I have a brisket in the freezer that needs to be cooked

                  1. re: cleobeach
                    DaisyM RE: cleobeach Sep 20, 2011 12:53 PM

                    Of course! I double the amount of beer, ketchup, and cranberry sauce. I suggest making it a day ahead and slicing. It freezes beautifully in the sauce. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    1. re: DaisyM
                      cleobeach RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 01:13 PM

                      thank you, thank you! I will be pulling my bisket out to thaw tonight and making this on Friday!

                      1. re: cleobeach
                        DaisyM RE: cleobeach Sep 20, 2011 02:25 PM

                        I hope you enjoy it!

              2. re: DaisyM
                valerie RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 01:33 PM

                I braise to 2 pieces together all the time. I have 2 suggestions. You could either put each piece in it's own smaller foil pan with braising liquid and tightly cover with foil, or if you put them together and they overlap, I switch the position of the pieces 1/2 way through cooking. This way they cook evenly. And if you do cook them together and they overlap, maybe cook and extra 30 minutes or so.

                1. re: valerie
                  DaisyM RE: valerie Sep 20, 2011 02:20 PM

                  That makes sense, thank you!

              3. re: paprkutr
                sbp RE: paprkutr Sep 20, 2011 10:43 AM

                I also buy "packer briskets" - 15-20 pounds, for smoking as BBQ or cured and smoked as pastrami. Separate the flat and point, and trim. Removing the fat prior to cooking shaves off at least 4 pounds. After cooking, probably another 5 pounds. Usually end up with a bit under 10 pounds.

                1. re: sbp
                  DaisyM RE: sbp Sep 20, 2011 11:16 AM

                  You make your own pastrami??? That's amazing! We only have pastrami once a year when we go to Katz's in NYC.

                  1. re: DaisyM
                    hohokam RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 12:18 PM

                    Making your own pastrami is actually pretty easy, and the results are deeply satisfying.

                    The hardest part of the process is assembling ingredients for the brine. Well, that and the waiting--2 or 3 days in the brine, 1 day out of the brine (in the fridge), and then a few hours in the Weber.

                    If you have the inclination, I encourage you to give it a go.

                    1. re: hohokam
                      DaisyM RE: hohokam Sep 20, 2011 12:54 PM

                      I think Katz's is one of the few places that actually makes their own pastrami. I'm impressed that anyone does this at home!

                      1. re: DaisyM
                        phantomdoc RE: DaisyM Sep 20, 2011 02:03 PM

                        Katz's pastrami is not brisket. They use the navel.

                        1. re: phantomdoc
                          DaisyM RE: phantomdoc Sep 20, 2011 02:23 PM

                          For those of you who haven't had a pastrami sandwich from Katz's....here it is...

                          http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re... It is worthy of a trip to NY just to have one.

                        2. re: DaisyM
                          scubadoo97 RE: DaisyM Sep 21, 2011 12:50 PM

                          You can cheat and used a prepared corned beef brisket and after soaking to remove excess salt, coat it in pastrami spices and smoke it, then steam it to finish. This is what I do most often when making pastrami.

                          1. re: scubadoo97
                            acgold7 RE: scubadoo97 Sep 21, 2011 12:57 PM

                            I do exactly the same thing. Comes out pretty good. Not Katz's, mind you, but then what is?

                            And if you use the whole packer cut, as woodburner does below, you'll get the point included along with the flat. The Point cut is pretty close to the Navel (some says it IS the navel, but I'm not getting into that debate) and it does taste pretty close.

                            And don't even get started on whether either is the same as the "deckle."

                            1. re: acgold7
                              scubadoo97 RE: acgold7 Sep 21, 2011 01:09 PM

                              I usually find a corned beef with a bit of point attached. I do remove this after cooking so I can slice it correctly. I usually eat this on the spot since the other family members are fat adverse

                        3. re: hohokam
                          paprkutr RE: hohokam Sep 20, 2011 12:56 PM

                          Would you please post your recipe? TIA

                          1. re: paprkutr
                            hohokam RE: paprkutr Sep 20, 2011 01:49 PM

                            This is pretty much it:


                            Because I like the meat to retain its pink color, I use curing salt in the brine, at a rate of 40g to 4000ml. Totally optional here, but if you don't use it, the meat will be uniformly grey after cooking.

                            1. re: hohokam
                              sbp RE: hohokam Sep 21, 2011 04:43 AM

                              That's the one. Pink salt is available online at Allied Kenco. Cheap. I usually brine for 5 days. I get very large briskets, and Ruhlman recipe is for like 5 pounders - also, don't want to risk grey center. Since that can make it too salty, I then soak for a day in fresh water. Dry, then smoke.

                          2. re: hohokam
                            ferret RE: hohokam Sep 20, 2011 01:39 PM

                            Ditto hoho. We've been smoke briskets and/or making pastrami at home for years. If you can smoke, you can make pastrami.

                            1. re: hohokam
                              woodburner RE: hohokam Sep 21, 2011 07:52 AM

                              So, I have to give you props on the patience to brine out the brisket before seasoning and smoking to pastrami. I smoke like a madman... but don't have the patience to brine it.

                              So...... I CHEAT ! I have found that if I get a nice whole packer brisket corned beef at Restaurant Depot, then soak in cold water for several swap outs (to get the excess salt out), then rub with rough cracked coriander seed, mustard seed and black pepper, then smoke to about 190 internal. I get a happy, happy product. Sort of a cross between Montreal smoked meat and pastrami, I think.

                              1. re: woodburner
                                hohokam RE: woodburner Sep 21, 2011 09:35 AM

                                I guess the wait for the brine curing seems like only a minor hardship, because my benchmark is the 7-8 days of waiting I have to endure when curing bacon. :-)

                            2. re: DaisyM
                              NJINBLACK RE: DaisyM Apr 28, 2014 03:45 AM


                    2. r
                      Rheta RE: DaisyM Sep 21, 2011 05:28 AM

                      I braise my brisket in an oven bag. I add beef broth and red wine and braise at 300 for three hours. About a five pound or so brisket. I've had less shrinkage using the oven bag at a low temp. I do the brisket a day ahead. After it's cooked I refrigerate overnight. Next day I remove the fat, slice and simmer the slices in the sauce for an hour or so.

                      1. Uncle Bob RE: DaisyM Sep 21, 2011 07:19 AM

                        I figure around 30% shrinkage on well trimmed flats....and 40-50+% on packers...depending how much trimming you do prior to.......

                        1. cowboyardee RE: DaisyM Sep 21, 2011 08:48 AM

                          I''ll point this out because it's an answer to your question, but you should note that though it's a fine way to cook brisket, my favorite is still traditional barbecue, which entails shrinkage:

                          Sous vide cooking can drastically reduce the shrinkage in a brisket. The lower the cooking temp and final internal temperature, the less the brisket will shrink (generally).

                          Using a jaccard can also have a minor but noticeable effect on reducing shrinkage, whichever way you decide to cook it.

                          1. chicgail RE: DaisyM Sep 21, 2011 09:42 AM

                            Going to try a crock pot recipe for brisket this year that starts the process the night before, courtesy of SmittenKitchen.com. I'm thinking of doing it a day before we're going to eat it so it has plenty of time to both cool and for the flavors to come together. I'm using two pieces of brisket. Anyone know how the slow cooker impacts shrinkage?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chicgail
                              cowboyardee RE: chicgail Sep 21, 2011 09:57 AM

                              Anyone know how the slow cooker impacts shrinkage?
                              Pretty much the same. A little less shrinkage than if you cook it at high temperature for a shorter time. But the biggest factor determining degree of shrinkage is the final internal temperature of the brisket, which is usually pretty much the same whether you cook in the oven, the crock pot, or the barbecue.

                            2. n
                              Nanzi RE: DaisyM Sep 22, 2011 09:45 AM

                              We have friends who cook competitively and they told us how to pick a packer cut brisket: you take the package and try to lay it over your arm, if it bends and lays over, it's good, if it is stiff pass it by for a more bendy one. We haven't had a bad one since we started doing this!!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Nanzi
                                mcf RE: Nanzi Sep 23, 2011 07:27 AM

                                Does it matter which side is up or down (possibly dumb question)?

                                1. re: mcf
                                  Rheta RE: mcf Sep 23, 2011 07:58 AM

                                  Fat side up. No such thing as a dumb question!:-)

                                  1. re: Rheta
                                    mcf RE: Rheta Sep 23, 2011 09:00 AM

                                    Thanks for the info... though I'm sure the procedure can draw stares. :-)

                              Show Hidden Posts