You may have cooked more than enough brisket for you to consume in one day. Or maybe you can’t pass up a great deal during the supermarket sale so you go ahead and buy a whole brisket thinking you can save it for a special occasion. So, the question is, is it okay to keep your cooked or raw brisket in your freezer?
You can store a fresh raw brisket in your freezer for up to 12 months and it will still retain its quality. In the same manner, cooked brisket can be kept in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Just be sure to have it properly wrapped, keep it in an airtight container, and store it in the freezer right away.
Still have more question? Continue reading for more answers to some frequently asked questions about frozen raw or cooked brisket.
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Is it better to freeze brisket whole or sliced?
Raw briskets are usually available as big slabs of meat. While it is perfectly okay to freeze a whole brisket, it would take a long time to thaw it when you need it for cooking. That's why it is recommended to slice the brisket before freezing. This way, you can just get what you need and it'll thaw out faster. You can also be sure that the rest of the brisket is properly stored in the freezer to maintain its quality.
Is it ok to freeze brisket before smoking it?
You can freeze raw brisket before smoking it. As long as it is stored properly in the freezer, it will retain its quality. However, you have to plan if you want to enjoy your perfectly smoked brisket. Frozen brisket will take some time to thaw, so you have to consider this.
How long can you keep vacuum-packed brisket in the freezer?
Vacuum-packing your brisket before freezing is the best way to ensure that the quality of the meat is retained. Make sure to freeze it right away after you've vacuum-packed it. You can be assured that the brisket will be in its best quality for 6 to 12 months. But even if it exceeds this period, the beef brisket will still be safe to eat as long as you've kept it constantly frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long does it take to thaw a brisket?
The amount of time needed to thaw a frozen raw brisket properly would depend on its size and how you’re going to thaw it. Here are 3 ways to thaw a frozen brisket:
1. Put it in the fridge
Assuming that your brisket has been frozen for a long time and is now rock solid, it will take you a good 5 days in the fridge to be able to thaw it completely and evenly. But if you were able to slice the brisket into pieces and stored them separately, you can just take the slices that you need and thaw them in your fridge. They will be completely thawed after 24 hours.
2. Put it in cold water
Say you have a brisket emergency and don't have 5 days to spare until you have to cook it, here's a faster way. Submerge the brisket in cold water. Don't remove the packaging. Change the water every 30 minutes so that it will continue to thaw. For your reference, it'll take you 2 to 3 hrs to thaw a 3 lb brisket.
3. Use your microwave
Check the manual of your microwave for thawing instructions and adjust the settings accordingly. Make sure you cook your brisket right away after thawing, as microwaving will cause some parts to warm and start cooking.
Can you leave frozen brisket out overnight?
The USDA warns against leaving frozen food out overnight. At most, you can leave a frozen brisket out for 2 hours. The higher temperature outside can cause the development of bacteria which can damage the quality of your brisket.
How do you reheat frozen cooked brisket?
There's a proper way of reheating your frozen cooked brisket so that you can still keep it moist and delicious. The method will depend on how you froze your cooked brisket and how much time you have until you want to eat it again.
But first, you have to defrost your frozen cooked brisket properly. Experts say it's best to thaw a whole brisket in the fridge for 2 days so that it will retain its moisture. Keeping it in the fridge will also ensure that your cooked brisket stays within the recommended temperature to keep it safe from bacteria.
1. Using the oven
This is the easiest and quickest way to reheat your frozen cooked brisket. Pre-heat your oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While waiting, arrange your brisket in a pan. Put the original juices at the bottom then cover your brisket with 2 layers of foil. If you've run out of juices, you can make another sauce. There are easy-to-make recipes online. Heat your brisket in the oven for an hour or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using the smoker
This process is similar to using an oven but it will take longer. Set your grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. When reheating, you have to use the 2-zone cooking setup. Have your brisket wrapped in foil and let it sit in the indirect zone while you're waiting for its internal temperature to reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then you remove the foil and put the brisket over the direct zone of the grill for 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you keep a close eye on your brisket so that it won't get burned. If you're using a gas grill, you can just put the setting on medium heat as you're reheating your brisket.
3. Using the water bath method
Most cooks love using this method because they say it's a surefire way of retaining the juiciness of your brisket and you won't overcook the meat. However, this method takes a lot of time. Just to give you an idea, a whole brisket that's 4 inches thick would take around 5 hours to reheat. But if you were able to pre-slice your brisket, it'll only take 2 hours to reheat it.
Your frozen cooked brisket should be vacuum-sealed. The water temperature should be between 110 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the brisket into the water bath until the meat and water have the same temperature.
Freezing is a good way to ensure that you maintain the good quality of your raw or cooked brisket. Just be sure to store it properly and it can stay in the freezer for months. Freezing is a good way to store your brisket so that you can still enjoy eating it later on and share this delicious meal with your family and friends.