Last Updated on: 20th January 2023, 09:35 pm
Raw brisket consists of some amount of fat and moisture in it, which is evaporated during smoking.
So the brisket shrinks in size and the amount of edible meat is reduced at the end of the smoking process.
So it’s important to know how much weight your brisket will lose after smoking to ensure you have smoked enough brisket for your guests.
It is really important to keep in mind the shrinkage of the brisket before placing it in the smoker to make sure you don’t have to repeat the smoking process.
The reason is that smoking is a prolonged process, and it will take several hours to complete.
So you need to smoke enough brisket at once to serve your guests.
How much weight does a brisket lose when smoked
As per a general rule, briskets will shrink by one third of their original size after smoking.
It means if you need 10 pounds of smoked brisket to serve your guests, then you need to smoke 15 pounds of raw brisket
There are various variables that can affect the shrinkage of the brisket during smoking.
It is a simple estimation to make sure that you
Shrinkage of the brisket during smoking
Brisket is one of the finest cuts of meat, which can be really delicious if smoked effectively.
It usually comes from the lower portion of a beef cow.
So it is one of the toughest cuts of meat that you have to smoke.
According to the USDA, raw brisket is approximately 70% water.
So when the temperature of the brisket is increased during the smoking, the moisture evaporates .
stall usually occurs when the internal temperature of brisket reaches around 160 Fahrenheit. you can also read our guide on brisket stall here .
This evaporation results in a shrinkage in the size of the brisket.
The evaporation usually occurs when the brisket hits the stall.
During stall phase, the temperature of the brisket won’t increase until most of the brisket’s moisture has evaporated.
This evaporation results in a shrinkage in the size of the brisket.
You need to keep shrinkage in mind when deciding the amount of brisket to smoke.
Usually, you need to serve about 1/4 to 1/2 pound of smoked brisket per person .
So you need to take into account the shrinkage factor and buy more brisket than you might need.
There are several factors that influence brisket shrinkage, but after smoking, the brisket will typically lose 1/3 or 30-40% of its original size.
You should preferably smoke more brisket than required to stay at the safe end.
Factors affecting the shrinkage of the brisket
Brisket shrinkage mainly depends on the moisture present inside the smoker and the temperature at which you are smoking your brisket.
The brisket’s shrinkage can vary depending on these factors.
Moisture present inside the smoker
It is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when deciding how much your brisket will shrink upon smoking.
Generally, smoking falls into the category of dry cooking, and it will result in the evaporation of a higher amount of moisture.
If the moisture content inside the smoker is higher, then less moisture will evaporate from the brisket.
In addition, the moisture present in the smoker will deposit on the surface of the brisket and sink in to increase the size of the brisket.
On the other hand, if the moisture inside the smoker is low , then the internal moisture of the brisket will evaporate at a higher rate.
This evaporation will result in the brisket drying up and an increase in shrinkage of the brisket.
The temperature of the smoke
The temperature at which you are smoking your brisket is also important for determining the shrinkage in the size of the brisket.
If you are smoking at a relatively higher temperature, then the brisket will shrink more than if it were smoked at lower temperatures.
Beating the stall
Smoking is usually done at a lower temperature, but the internal temperature of the brisket will continue to increase gradually over time.
Once the briskets’ internal temperature reaches the boiling point of water, evaporation starts.
This phase of evaporation is known as stall.
This phase is really important for determining the shrinkage of the brisket.
There are two different ways to beta stall, and both of these result in different brisket sizes after smoking.
The first method is to just increase the temperature of the smoker and power through the stall.
Although by doing this you can beat stall, it can result in a loss of a higher amount of moisture and an increase in shrinkage of the brisket.
On the other hand , wrapping the brisket is also helpful in beating the stall.
By wrapping, the moisture of the brisket is retrained and, after a while, it sinks back into the brisket.
So wrapping helps decrease the shrinkage of the brisket.
Can you avoid the shrinkage of the brisket during smoking?
Shrinkage of the brisket is inevitable no matter what you do.
You can avoid brisket shrinkage by doing anything.
Although you can reduce the amount of shrinkage by following the tips above, Below, Shrinkage determines the doneness of the brisket.
If your brisket doesn’t shrink after smoking, then it means it is not done yet.
Brisket usually contains 70% moisture.
Brisket will keep cooking even when its removed from smoker due to carryover cooking and may shrink in size. so you need to set a specific range for resting your brisket. here is a guide on how long you need to rest your brisket.
When the internal temperature of the brisket increases, the moisture present inside the brisket evaporates out and results in shrinkage.
When the brisket reaches the stall phase, the moisture begins to evaporate.
But the brisket needs to reach around 203°F to be considered cooked.
So your brisket will lose at least some amount of moisture when smoked.
Tips for minimizing shrinkage in the size of the brisket when smoking
As discussed above, the shrinkage in size of the brisket is necessary for its cooking.
But we are going to share some tips that can help you decrease the shrinkage in the size of the brisket when smoking.
You can deviate from some of these if you want.
Wrap the brisket during the stall
Although it might sound unnecessary, wrapping the brisket has a huge impact on the shrinkage of the brisket during smoking.
If the brisket is not wrapped during the stall, then the moisture will keep evaporating during smoking and result in shrinkage of the brisket.
If the brisket is wrapped in foil or butcher paper, then the moisture evaporated during the stall will be retained within the foil.
it is usually better if you wrap your brisket in a butcher paper. it is porous and will allow the smoke to sink in. you can read our guide on wrapping brisket in butcher paper here
After a while, the moisture will drip onto the brisket and sink back into its muscles.
In this it will help you reduce shrinkage.
Spritzing or mopping
Spritzing and mopping are yet another way to reduce the shrinkage of your brisket while smoking.
By spritzing the brisket during smoking, you basically maintain the moisture of the brisket and avoid it from drying out.
which helps you decrease the shrinkage.
The 3-2-1 smoking method
Smoking is a prolonged process which may take several hours.
The moisture present inside the brisket will keep evaporating gradually and result in a decrease in the size of the brisket.
That’s why the 3-2-1 method becomes effective in avoiding the shrinkage.
In the 3-2-1 method, you basically first smoke the brisket for 3 hours, then wrap it and put it back in the smoker for 2 hours.
After that, unwrap the brisket and place it back into the smoker for an hour.
By doing this, you will smoke the brisket while retaining the size at the same time.
The size of the brisket usually decreases by 30–40% when smoked.
This shrinkage in size is necessary for the cooking of brisket.
You can reduce the shrinkage by following the tips mentioned above.
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