Tender, juicy smoked briskets are the stuff of legends. You, your family, and your friends have had enough of the brisket and then some. Still, left with a few pounds of meat?
Read on as we will teach you the perfect way to store, refrigerate, and reheat your juicy brisket that comes with a guarantee of no leftovers!
You'll learn... What's better a vacuum or zip lock bag?
And what heat should you reheat the brisket?
Storing and Refrigerating your Leftover Brisket
To ensure the integrity of your leftover brisket, you first need to know the right method to store it. As seasoned pitmasters, we have devised a guide of masterful tips for you to store and refrigerate your leftover brisket. Proper storage of leftovers is the essence of achieving a succulent brisket every time you reheat it!
Tip #1: Vacuum Sealed or a Zip-Lock Bag
The life of a vacuum-sealed brisket in a refrigerator is much longer than a plastic bag or container. A well-sealed brisket allows you to keep the bacteria away by ensuring your storage is airtight. You next question might be "how long can i keep vacuum sealed brisket in the fridge". If your fridge stays between 34-36 degrees, you can keep it for two weeks, some people leave them for up to two months.
In case you don't have a vacuum sealer, you can then use a zip-lock bag to store your leftover brisket. Although your brisket won't be airtight but pushing out as much air as possible out of the bag, you can preserve your brisket without too much of a hassle.
Tip #2: Tag It
You should always, and we always mean, label your brisket bags. Storage bags must be labeled with the package contents and the date you store them in the freezer. A brisket lasts a maximum of three months in the freezer before it starts to lose its quality.
Tip #2.5: Psst! Want to Know a Secret?
Here's a secret tip for our avid readers straight from the pitmasters! Keep your meat moist by adding a small juice to the brisket before you put it in the freezer. Things will get messy, so let the liquid soak in before you place the brisket in the Zip-Lock bag.
Tip #3: Be Cool
The brisket should be allowed to rest properly! Hot brisket slices stored in the freezer lose their juices. This process also ensures that your brisket doesn't dry out when you reheat them. Want to have it all the next time you reheat them? Then, be cool and wait it out.
Having learned how to store and refrigerate our brisket efficiently, it's time we move onto the more significant battle of reheating it. Our only problem? A reheated brisket tastes nothing like the delicious smoky brisket you were enjoying the day before. Although there are over five ways to reheat a brisket without drying it out, we will share the best one for the love of brisket.
Reheating Brisket in a Smoker
If you are like us and strive for perfection, then time and money shall not be an issue as there is no better way to reheat your leftover brisket than using a smoker for a flavorful, and if done right, it won't dry out. Here's a list of steps that we should keep handy while reheating our brisket.
Step #1: Thaw It
Whether it is beef, fish, mutton, or any other protein, you should always allow it to defrost like any other protein before reheating. The brisket should be allowed to rest for at least an hour after taking out of the freezer. Once the brisket has thawed, then proceed to wrap it in tin foil.
Step #2: Smoker Setting
Your smoker should be at a temperature of 225°F while utilizing the 2-zone setup. A 2-zone setup requires you to have charcoal placed at one side (hot zone) while cooking your brisket on the opposite side (cold zone). Through this process, the meat can slowly come up in temperature without being exposed to direct heat.
Step #3: Time to Cook
Once the smoker has been preheated at the desired temperature of 225°F, then put your foil-wrapped brisket on the cold zone of the smoker. Continue the process by letting the brisket cook to an internal temperature of 155°F.
Step #4: Unwrap the Delicacy
Now for the final hurdle before your brisket can be devoured. We need to unwrap the tin-foil and put the brisket in the hot zone for around 5-10 minutes. Keep a stern eye on the meat to make sure it doesn't burn over direct heat.
Step #4: Serving
Before serving your brisket, check the internal temperature of the brisket with a food thermometer. The ideal temperature would be 155°F, as mentioned previously. Serve your brisket with your favorite side dish of coleslaw, baked beans, dinner rolls, and the list goes on!
While a smoker is both expensive and time-consuming, it is the most effective way to reheat your brisket without ruining the flavor. Juvenal, a famous Roman poet, rightly said, "Those things please more, which are more expensive," and this saying rings true in the case of using a smoker for your brisket. Smoker provides a smoky, succulent brisket that tastes the same as the first time it was cooked!
What the Experts Say
You need to know. It would help if you left this in the Cryovac, so you’re gonna take it out of the fridge while it’s in the Cryovac. You’re gonna let it warm up at room temperature for about an hour.
The first method is on a stovetop, in a pot of lightly simmering water. Suppose you have an immersion circulator as we have here; that works great. You can set that 165 degrees. If you do not have an immersion circulator, it’s not that big of a deal.
You can put a pot on the stovetop, low flame, low heat, and bring the water to a light simmer. It’d be handy, if you’re doing in this method, having a thermometer that you can temp the water, somewhere in the 165 to 175-degree range is perfect. We’re just gonna put it in the water.
Two hours later, we’re perfect.
So the second method is essentially the same thing we did here. You’re giving it a warm bath, but we’re gonna do it in the oven. If you have a deep roasting pan, you can take the brisket in the Cryovac still. You keep it in the bag. Put it in there, and all you have to do is cover it with hot water, just ‘till it’s covered.
So we’re gonna take the pan with the water in it, put it in a 275-degree oven for two, a minimum of two hours until it gets to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
The third method, which is the least preferred method, but if for some reason, the bag was broken or someone accidentally cut it open, and not understanding what they’re supposed to do, you can take the brisket, you cut it out of the Cryovac. Then you can put it in the same roasting pan. You have to have a rack to suspend it off the bottom so you can put it in the roasting pan on a rack. You put a little bit of water in the bottom and cover it really tightly in foil.
In this method, you’re gonna do the 250-degree oven. You can put a couple of a pat of butter on top of it, inside here as well. It’s a nice little trick. It’ll be about two hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Okay. Now that you’ve reheated your brisket to a 165 degrees internal temperature, you’re gonna pull it out, and we’re actually gonna set it on the counter. And we’re gonna rest it, just like you would rest a steak or any other large cut of meat.
We’re gonna let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes so that it cools down a little bit.
Let’s talk about the knives we’re gonna use for this.
Here at the restaurant, we use a 12-inch, scalloped slicing knife. You could use the kind of like a bread knife or even use a turkey carver. What you’re gonna want, a large knife, because it’s a large cut of meat. You’re gonna be cutting across.
And again, scalloped with a little serrated, is what works best for us, just because it can actually help you saw through the bark until you get into the nice tender meat, and then you can slice through it.
So now, you’re gonna notice that the brisket is actually gonna be wrapped in a Saran wrap. We triple-wrap them here at the restaurant and keep them nice and moist. So, you’re gonna have to cut it out of the Saran wrap.
So first, I want you guys to notice that the brisket is sitting right side up. And how you can tell is every brisket is gonna have kind of a hump on the top side of it. That’s how you know the brisket is sitting the right side up.
To remove the Saran wrap, we’re actually going to flip it upside down and remove it this way.
So we’re flipping it upside down. So now, using the tip of your knife, you’re gonna cut into it and just get through the Saran wrap.
So now we’re gonna show you how to slice the brisket. The brisket has two muscles: you have the flat, which is the lean side of the brisket, which should be this flatter part right here; you have a point, which is called the moist side of the brisket, or as we call here at the restaurant is the fatty part of the brisket.
The lean section of the brisket is gonna have more of a tighter grain, more like a sirloin with less fat marble throughout, and the point is gonna be more fatty and marbled like a ribeye would be.
So we’re gonna start slicing the lean side of the brisket. We’re gonna cut the lean side of the brisket in about quarter-inch slices. We’re gonna cut the end cut off.
Now this, people fight over. This is what we call the sugar cookie. It’s where it has all the bark and the fat and all the meat. It kind of comes together. This is delicious.
You’re gonna gently saw to get through the bark, and you can apply a little more pressure once you get through the bark.
So we’ve cut our lean brisket, and we’re getting close to the fatty part of the brisket. I want to show you real quick. Now you can see, you have the lean brisket here, and you can, another muscle starts overlapping on the lean brisket. So you can tell that you’re getting pretty close to it. So I’m gonna do a few more slices ‘till I get right up into the fatty.
You can now see that you have the lean brisket, and now you can see the fatty brisket across the whole length of the lean brisket on top. Now that tells me I can turn it the other way and start cutting my slices in the opposite direction.
So I’m gonna cut off this little end cut right here. Similar to the first cut I made on the lean part of the brisket. Nice, fatty brisket right there.
And then, we’re gonna cut these slices in three-eighths to a half inches slice. It’d be the equivalent of a Home Depot pencil or a carpenter pencil.
On this far end right here, if you separate these two, this is where the burnt ends are. So this is fatty brisket. It’s seasoned well; it has a lot of fat marbled through it. This is the best part of the whole cow right here. So cut this up into little cubes.
You can make friends with those.
Before We Go
A perfectly stored, refrigerated, and reheated brisket can guarantee that there will no more leftovers. After several tries and dedication, reheating a brisket on the smoker wouldn't be a chore anymore.
The leftover barbecue will no longer be a nightmare due to dry textured briskets! Turn your leftover brisket into a three-course meal by adding your favorite side of salad, corn on the cob, or dinner rolls. Become the master of your BBQ universe by following the above tips and steps to reheat a brisket that's both smoky and delicious every time as the first time!