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Brisket is such large cut of meat that unless you are smoking for a large crowd, there are bound to be leftovers. So how exactly do you get those leftovers to be just as good as it was fresh off the smoker? After researching online, using my personal experience, and talking with my local BBQ shop, this is how you can store brisket so it’s just as good the following days.
What Is The Best Way To Store Leftover Brisket?
The best way to store leftover brisket is to vacuum seal it whole. Vacuum sealing your brisket removes the air which would otherwise spoil your meat faster and decrease freshness. Vacuum sealing your brisket will help you store it longer, preserve the fats and juices, and increase overall freshness.
The video below is a great resource on how to vacuum seal your brisket. Notice in the video he does slice the brisket into smaller pieces for easier packaging; however, he is still storing his brisket as whole pieces. This helps retain moisture and freshness.
What If I Don’t Have A Vacuum Sealer?
If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer, you can still seal your leftover brisket almost entirely air free using the method below.
Simply place your brisket in a zip lock bag and seal the bag leaving the corner of the bag open. Then place the bag in a container of water and let the water push the air out of the bag. Once you get to the top of the bag seal the bag completely.
however you decide to store your leftover brisket, the best thing you can do is remove as much air as possible. This will help ensure your brisket stays the freshest.
Should You Slice Brisket Before Refrigerating?
You should not slice brisket before storing it in the refrigerator. When storing brisket, it is best to store it whole. Slicing brisket not only releases valuable juices and moisture but also increases the amount of surface area exposed to air reducing freshness.
This is important, because as air is introduced to cooked meat, a chemical reaction known as oxidation takes place reducing the freshness and quality of the meat. Brisket in particular is especially prone to this and you will often see pitmaster’s lay brisket face side down in between slicing to prevent this oxidation from taking place.
When storing brisket, we want to reduce the amount of air in our storage container as well as the amount of surface area exposed to the air, therefore it is best to leave brisket as whole pieces when storing it.
How To Store A Cooked Brisket Overnight?
If you are looking to store a brisket overnight for serving the next day, your best might actually be holding your brisket instead of refrigeration. While you can certainly refrigerate your brisket and reheat the next day, brisket is best when served fresh.
Using an oven, warming cabinet, or a DIY Cambro, you can easily hold a brisket for upwards of 12 hours. This will ensure maximum freshness and flavor. For more information on holding brisket, check out my latest article, Brisket Done Too Early? Here’s How To Hold it!
How Long Is Cooked Brisket Good For In The Fridge?
According to the USDA, leftover brisket can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days at 40° Fahrenheit or below. You can further extend that amount of time by vacuum sealing it. A properly vacuum sealed brisket can last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How Long Can Brisket Sit Out Before I Have To Store It?
According to the USDA, cooked meat can sit out for approximately 2 hours before it needs to be consumed or stored. Leaving cooked brisket out longer than 2 hours can cause your brisket to enter the danger zone where bacteria growth is increased.
How Do You Store Brisket After Cutting It?
We recommend storing brisket whole; however, if your brisket is already sliced, the best way to preserve it is vacuum sealing it or removing as much air as possible. Additionally, you can add the leftover juices to the package to help retain flavor and moisture.
Storing Leftover Brisket In The Freezer
Should You Freeze Brisket Whole Or Sliced?
When storing brisket in the freezer, it is best to keep the brisket as whole as possible. Slice the brisket into chunks based on serving size but do not completely slice the brisket up. Leaving the brisket as whole as possible will help it to retain freshness and moisture.
Best Way To Store Brisket In The Freezer?
Much like storing brisket in the refrigerator, the best way to store brisket in the freezer is to vacuum seal it. Not only does this help preserve your brisket for longer, but it also helps prevent freezer burn and increases the amount of time you can store brisket in the freezer.
If you aren’t able to vacuum seal your brisket before freezing, we recommend using the water method above. Another option, one less recommended, is wrapping your brisket tightly in aluminum foil. In both cases, we are trying to remove as much air as possible and create a barrier to keep moisture out.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Brisket?
You can store brisket conventionally in the freezer for 3-6 months; however, for best results, brisket should be consumed within 2 months. Vacuum sealing brisket before freezing can greatly extend the amount of time you can store brisket in the freezer. Vacuum sealed brisket can last 1-3 years in the freezer.