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lazyjacres 02-02-2008 01:59 PM

Aging Brisket
I have been doing a lot of research on aging brisket for competition, and most of the info on the internet always bounces back to dry aging.
I was talking to some peole that say they age their brisket in the cryo-pack (wet aging) from 30 to 50 days before a competition.
The aging process undoubtedly improves the tenderness of the meat, but I still have a couple of open questions.
Which type of aging (if any) do you use? Dry aging decreases the weight of the meat, and creats a crust on the outside, but supposedly wet aging does not add to the flavor of the meat as much.
What are the optimal temperatures for aging, wet or dry, and how long do you do you age your meat for optimal results?

Plowboy 02-02-2008 02:05 PM

I try to age no more than 50 days, but I try to shoot for 30-45. I've heard others shoot for 28 as optimal. Not sure why that's my target. Just is.

I've been told that you want to be between 32-45 degrees. Below 32 and you are freezing, over 45 and your brisket can start to spoil. I have a separate fridge in my garage set to 38 degrees that rarely gets opened. Your family fridge in the kitchen can experience temp swings as everyone is getting in and out of it.

Also, if the cryo is broken, your window for wet aging is closed. You want to start cooking that brisket in a few days.

I'm no meat expert, but this is what I've learned. Didn't know hardly anything about aging a year ago.

Merl 02-02-2008 02:47 PM

I try to purchase certified Angus beef (CAB). I ask the butcher for the date on the case box. That is one day after the kill date. I keep the briskets in the original cryo packaging. Do not open, do not fold, spindle or mutilate. Keeping it sealed is an absolute.

I place the meat package into brown paper bags to protect from light. I put in the refrigerator in the garage, which is rarely opened and I keep at 36-38 degrees. You must maintain less than 40 and over 32 degrees.

I keep for 35-40 days. Some say 28 days is perfect others 50 days. I do not like to go over 40 days. I did have one failure. When I open the package there is no odor. If there is an odor, then consider throwing it away, it may have gone bad.

When I use it, I use Butcher's marinade and inject the brisket about 6 hours prior to cooking. (Check out product at
I have done very well with this product. (8th, 5th, 3rd and a 1st) (87 at the royal, oh well)

Yours in Q

Plowboy 02-02-2008 02:58 PM

There should be some odor, Merl. It should disappear soon after opening the cryo. If the strong smell continues, you are correct to toss it.

lazyjacres 02-02-2008 05:03 PM

I have a Victory commercial frig in the garage. I just installed a digital controller and set the temp for a 3 degree swing between 34* and 37*. It seems to hold the temp perfectly, and I was going to shoot for 30 days to start.
The paper bag is an interesting thought. I don't use the frig for anything other than competition, so the light issue should be minimal. I may give it a try.

The_Kapn 02-02-2008 05:10 PM

Some great info on wet aging from a guy who knows.

We wet age CAB exactly per the good DOC's instruction have been really happy with the results.


watertowerbbq 02-02-2008 07:40 PM

I've never aged a brisket before. I've never tasted an aged brisket before. Does the aging really change/improve the taste that much? Are a lot of teams doing this? We've only competed in a couple of competitions and have never considered doing this, but maybe we should. Any thoughts?

chad 02-02-2008 08:22 PM


Originally Posted by watertowerbbq (Post 551808)
I've never aged a brisket before. I've never tasted an aged brisket before. Does the aging really change/improve the taste that much? Are a lot of teams doing this? We've only competed in a couple of competitions and have never considered doing this, but maybe we should. Any thoughts?

Yep, it does. And, yes they do. :-D It's one of those little "extras" that do make a difference.

Jeff_in_KC 02-02-2008 11:08 PM

I imagine dry aging is pretty good at adding flavor but honestly, I've never noticed a significant difference in flavor when wet aging. Usually, it's the tenderness that improves. Wet aging is by far the easiest of the two kinds. Thing is, I have noticed that wet aged briskets seem to be a lot easier to screw up and dry out when cooking. If I were dry aging, I'd just have my butcher do it for me. I know of at least one who will do it around KC but I'm sure there are more who would.

Plowboy 02-02-2008 11:41 PM

We'll all be cooking Wagyu beef anyway, right? :wink:

kcpellethead 02-03-2008 09:30 PM

One quick thing . . . . to properly wet age meat the temp must be between 35 and 39 degrees. Over 39 and you're unsafe. Under 35 and instead of aging, you're "prolonging" the product. Yes, you're aging it, but at a slower rate yet, and the range you can age at this temperatures gets muddy.

You MUST know the kill date to wet age brisket. DO NOT rely on a "sell by" date. If you don't know the date, don't do it. When you do open that seldom used, almost dedicated refrigerator where you stash your competition briskets for aging, glance at the briskets. When the gas bubbles are about dime size, you're usually about 30 days old. When they get to be nickle size, you're usually about 40 days old. When they get to quarter size, it's time to cook that brisket. I only mention the size of the bubbles because sometimes they appear before the days I reference. Properly tracking the days is the best reference for aging brisket, but watching what is happening in the package will save you from throwing away briskets. If the bubbles get bigger, you can be in trouble. You will then have to rely on an inspection with your nose when you open the packaging.

Also, there will be a "smell" when you open a 40 - 50 day old properly wet aged brisket. It will be a non offensive musky beefy smell that will dissipate in roughly four or five minutes. If there is any sharp or sour smell to the brisket, it's bad. You will absolutely know the difference. Please do not talk yourself into cooking a brisket that has a sharp sour smell no matter how faint. It's bad, plain and simple. It's not worth the risk.

Sorry this turned into several comments. I have aged briskets for about six years now. In all of that time, I have only had one bad brisket and there were circumstances out of the norm that told me it could be bad.


PigBoy 02-04-2008 08:04 AM

I buy my meat weekly at Sam's, for vending, by the case. I always check the pack date. Lately, the briskets seem to be getting older when I buy them. The last case was 5 weeks old when I got it. No offensive odor, cooked up fine. Did raise my sense of caution though.

hnd 02-04-2008 08:14 AM

you can easily dry age that brisket.

there are 3 things you need...

34-38* in temperature
65-75% humidity
air movement

obviously your fridge can take care of the first one.

find something that can gauge humidity and get it in there. if you are lower than 65, find a big sponge and put it in a tupperware container. fill up the container 1/2 way.

if you are using a larger fridge, take a small office fan and place it on the bottom shelf and the meat on a higher shelf. turn the fan on low.

let set for 14-21 days. trim the crust off (trim it off well it doesn't taste good) and there you have a dry aged brisket.

Roo-B-Q'N 02-04-2008 08:52 AM

So after reading the thread by Ray, and this one, do you include the pack date as part of the 50? If so and you can not find the pack date how do you proceed?

acorette 02-04-2008 03:41 PM


Originally Posted by kcpellethead (Post 552730)
I have aged briskets for about six years now. Rod


All right, 6 years seems a little excessive.... I don't think I'll be eating YOUR brisket if you age 'em 6 years.


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