How to Reheat Brisket? Ideal Approach to Keeping Smoky Flavor Alive

How to Reheat Brisket: An Ideal Approach to Keeping the Smoky Flavor Alive

Brisket, who doesn't love it? Tender and moist smoked meat is a favorite among BBQ lovers. But as much as you like it, it can be a hard task to store all the leftovers because, as we know, an adequately sized brisket weighs almost 20 pounds before trimming or smoking it. So that's a lot of BBQ meat to have in one meal. 

And you must be thinking about what to do with the massive amount of leftover cooked meat with no easy way to consume it. One thing that people do is tossing the leftover brisket in the freezer and hoping for the best.

However, the aftermath flavor of the brisket can be very unsatisfying. The reheated brisket has a very leathery and dry taste to it. So, what should you do to keep the delicious and smoky flavor packed in the meat? Fortunately, the whole process is quite simple to carry out with a little planning and preparation.


In the following article, we will talk about some of the best methods and procedures that will help you to cook the brisket ahead of time and still retain its exquisite taste.

How Far Ahead in Time Should You Cook the Brisket?

Usually, a lot of people are conscious and wary about serving brisket, which has been prepared in advance mostly for family gatherings or parties. You might be concerned that the brisket will be tasteless and leathery or will fall apart and lost its consistency as you slice it.

This can be very disappointing because usually, it takes 17 hours to smoke a brisket, so it certainly makes sense to cook the meat earlier if you can. In this way, you'll be able to plan the party at peace without checking the timer on the grill now and then.

Now the question is, how far ahead can you cook the brisket? And what is the best method to reheat and store it without the meat being dried out?

For How Long Will the Brisket Stay Fresh?

The freshness of the brisket entirely depends on how you keep it. It can last from a few days to a few months if you store it well, and you'll be able to enjoy the smoky brisket before it becomes tasteless.

But a cooked brisket will keep fresh when it is wrapped around tightly with plastic and kept in a freezer or refrigerator. If you plan to eat your brisket in a day or two, you can pack it in the fridge after it has been cooled down.

However, the USDA advises on freezing or consuming cooked meat by three days so that you're safe from potential food poisoning. So, you can freeze the brisket if you are not ready to have it in the next few days.

But as long as the brisket is securely wrapped and used in 3 months, the reheated meat will taste just as good as a freshly smoked brisket.

How to Properly Refrigerate Brisket?

When it comes to refrigerating, there are a couple of rules that you should maintain. The steps will help keep the flavor intact and prevent any contamination, which could result in illness.

  • The first thing to do after taking the brisket off the smoker is to refrigerate it. Usually, people refrigerate the brisket within two hours of making it, because the more the meat stays at room temperature, the higher the chance it has of attracting bacteria or an unpleasant virus.
  • What refrigeration does is prevent the meat from getting spoiled. However, it can also cause the brisket to dry out. So, to stop this from happening, you must vacuum-seal the meat or roll it up tightly with many layers of durable plastic wrap.
  • You need to wrap it securely and not leave any spaces so that the air inside the fridge doesn't get in the brisket. While packaging it, you can either seal it with the juices that were accumulated on the resting period or store the fluids separately.
  • If you store the juices separately, you might have to add some liquid or broth when you reheat the brisket because it'll be a little bit dry after You had kept it without the juices.

When Should You Slice the Brisket: Before or After?

A significant dilemma you go through when you store a frozen and precooked brisket is whether to slice it before or after. From here onwards, we're going to focus on the advantages and disadvantages that come with slicing the meat before or after freezing it.

• Slicing It Before

A question may come to mind of why you should slice the brisket before freezing it. The answer is because it is highly convenient. Think about it, if you don't want to eat all the leftover meat at once, proportioning it in slices will undoubtedly make things easier for you.

But this entirely relies on how you wrap the slices. So, if you store all the portions together, it will be hard to remove the pieces apart, and ultimately, you'll have to thaw the whole package for just taking out a few slices.

If you want a couple of slices, we suggest that you freeze the portions separately on a sheet tray and keep them in a plastic sack. In this way, the pieces will freeze instantly and remain separate from other slices.

• Slicing It After

The option of freezing the whole brisket is the one that we recommend the most. This is because the texture and taste of the reheated brisket will be superior to the taste of the warmed slices.

However, it can be a little daunting to freeze a big chunk of leftover brisket. The primary focus is to make sure to freeze the whole brisket as quickly as possible to decrease the chances of the creation of ice crystals.

One of the benefits of reheating a frozen smoked brisket and slicing it afterward is that the pieces will look as appealing as a newly cooked brisket. So, if you want to serve brisket that has been made in advance, especially for a party, you should freeze it whole and portion it just before the party for the best outcome.

Best Ways to Reheat Brisket

So, we have finally arrived at the most crucial question of all time: What is the best method to reheat brisket after it has been defrosted?

You might be aware that there are plenty of methods to reheat brisket, for instance, using an oven, a smoker, sous vide, or a crockpot. Each of these techniques will be briefly discussed below. So, you can choose the one that works best for you.

• Using an Oven to Reheat Brisket

This is one of the easiest and quickest methods to reheat a brisket. Although, one of the things you should keep in mind is to heat the meat up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts drying out. You can also cover up the brisket tightly so that the moisture stays intact and add meat broth for an extra boost.

The process is quite simple. At first, you need to preheat the oven up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, you should put the thawed smoked meat in the pan, preferably, deep rimmed bowl, or you can use few sheets of heavy-duty foil wrap to seal the brisket securely.

Furthermore, you can include any of the remaining meat juices to the wrap/pan. If there are no meat juices, you can also add in some flat beer, beef broth, fruit juice, or any other flavorful liquids.

Lastly, all you've to do is heat the brisket till the inner temperature arrives at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Then you can take the brisket out and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before you cut it. The rest of the meat juices can be utilized to enhance the flavor of the brisket, or it can be used as BBQ sauce.

• Reheating Brisket in a Smoker

Unlike ovens, it takes a little bit longer to reheat a brisket using a smoker, but it can be quickly done on the smoker or a grill. Cover the defrosted meat in a few sheets of aluminum foil, including the meat juices or broth.

In case you need a chunky bark, stop warming it at 155 degrees Fahrenheit and take off the foil from the meat and put it back on the barbecue or smoker until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Reheating Brisket in a Sous Vide

This method is pretty much new compared to the other ways. It might not be one of the quickest procedures to reheat a frozen brisket, but you can manage it better than other methods, and this also stops the meat from drying out.

To reheat brisket in sous vide, you need to know what it is and how it works. It is a water bath device that is controlled by temperature. So, you can choose the temperature that you want the food to be cooked in, and the machine will accurately control the water at that temperature.

Since the device is filled with water, you have to vacuum-seal the brisket so that the water doesn't get in and diminish the flavor of the brisket. First, you've to set up the sous vide and hold up till the water arrives at the ideal temperature.

The correct temperature for the water is around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the same temperature the brisket should reach. Second, gently drop the vacuum-sealed meat in the sous vide water bath to heat it till the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

This process can last from 3 to 7 hours, which depends on the thickness and size of the brisket. Lastly, remove the sealed brisket from the container, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then you can unseal the package, slice the brisket, and serve!

• Using a Crockpot to Reheat Brisket

Out of all the methods that we've mentioned so far, the crockpot is the least ideal among them. Using a crockpot to reheat the meat might turn the texture into a pot roast instead of a BBQ brisket.

The challenge of reheating brisket in this device is that they need a specific volume of liquid to work, and it also loses heat each time you remove the lid. But it can be tough to check on the internal temperature of the meat without removing the top.

However, if you have a thermometer to use in a crockpot, it will be an excellent way to monitor the brisket's inner temperature without having to open the lid.

So, to reheat the brisket in this device, you need to put in a cup of broth or meat juice in the crockpot. You might also need more than a cup, depending on the size of the pot and brisket. Next, you have to let it cook at a low temperature for about 2 hours and then check on the inner temperature.

If it reaches 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit, flip over the brisket, and resume cooking. Finally, when the internal temperature arrives at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the pot and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Later on, you can slice it and serve along with the meat juices in the container, which can be reduced to turn it to a demi-glace.

How to Reheat Step By Step

Conclusion: To sum up, don't hesitate to prepare the brisket ahead of time. With just a little planning and preparation, you can serve some tender and delicious slices of brisket in a party or a family gathering without being tied to the smoker.

Through vacuum sealing the smoked brisket, you'll be able to freeze the meat for three months and then quickly reheat it in your smoker, oven, or sous vide. A reheated whole brisket doesn't necessarily have to be leathery and dry or cooked up in a stew. 

You can enjoy a brisket that is as delectable as the day you prepared it when you start to store and reheat through using these procedures.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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