No doubt, brisket is one of the toughest cuts of meat to cook. The fact that this primal cut is large and fleshy does not help matters.
This means you have to slice the meat into several lean pieces and use slow cooking methods to break down the tough collagen, and ensure all parts are cooked appropriately.
When cooked properly, brisket is extremely delicious – one or two bites of this scrumptious BBQ meat are never enough.
Nonetheless, as much as brisket is delicious, you’ll always remain with a few chunks of leftover meat to contend with. To avoid wastage of food, you have to store your brisket in the refrigerator and reheat it later when you need a bite.
Today, we are going to highlight some of the best ways to reheat brisket without drying it. At the end of this write-up, you’ll be able to:
- Store your leftover brisket safely in the refrigerator
- Keep your brisket moist
- Reheat your brisket appropriately
How to Store and Freeze Leftover Brisket?
1. How to Store and Freeze Leftover Brisket?
We know you are probably wondering why we have to go through this first. However, reheating brisket properly depends on how well you manage to keep the leftover meat fresh.
With this in mind, it’s important to store your brisket the right way to get the best results when reheating.
Some people prefer to slice their brisket before storing while others store it whole in the freezer without touching it.
2. So what are the benefits of pre-slicing your brisket?
Slicing the meat allows you to reheat individual slices, rather than the whole brisket. This can prove useful if you intend to serve a small portion of your meat.
Moreover, an unsliced brisket occupies more space in the freezer, thus causing a huge hindrance as far as storing other foods is concerned.
However, you have to be extra careful when reheating, lest the meat dries out – the sliced pieces tend to lose moisture quickly, which increases the likelihood of the brisket drying out when reheating.
Then again, you have to keep high standards of hygiene in the kitchen to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.
3. Does post-freeze slicing have any benefits?
For starters, your brisket will look fresher and healthier when reheated as a whole and then sliced afterwards. Notably, a whole brisket tends to retain a lot of moisture, meaning it is less likely to dry out during the reheating process.
Moreover, freezing the whole brisket reduces the chances of contamination since less surface area is exposed.
The only inconvenience caused by storing an unsliced brisket in the refrigerator is that you have to reheat the whole meat at once even if you need just a few pieces. Besides, it takes quite a long time to heat the brisket compared to reheating slices.
4. Keeping your brisket moist
Whether sliced or unsliced, the good news is that you can keep your brisket fresh and moist for as long as you want, until the next reheating session. Here are some tips on how to keep your brisket moist.
We have six different methods you can use to reheat your brisket. All these options depend on how you stored your brisket, and how fast you want it warmed.
Some methods tend to be faster, but require extra care not to dry out the brisket. Conversely, other reheating techniques are slower but deliver desirable outcomes.
Well, let’s dig a little deeper …
So what is the best way to reheat brisket?
1. How to Reheat Brisket in the Oven?
Using the oven is one of the fastest and safest ways to reheat your whole brisket. Considering the shorter cooking time, the oven won’t expose your brisket to high temperatures. This means the chances of drying your brisket are very minimal.
Moreover, by reheating your brisket in the oven, you will be able to retain all the flavor and freshness of the meat. You may also add additional cooking juices to the leftover au jus, for a more delicious outcome.
Here are the steps on how to reheat brisket in the oven
1. If the brisket is frozen, you’ll first need to use a defrosting tray to defrost the food. Alternatively, you may choose to remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to adjust to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
3. Transfer the thawed brisket to a food pan or a deep baking tray.
4. Pour cooking juices or two cups of reduced apple cider and BBQ sauce into the tray or pan, and then cover the tray with a foil. The juices will keep the brisket moist and prevent it from drying out.
5. Place the covered baking tray in the preheated oven and slow bake for 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 160° Fahrenheit
2. How to Reheat Brisket in a Grill or Smoker
Reheating your leftover brisket in a pellet smoker grill is similar to warming it in an oven, but this time, it takes longer. The good thing about reheating in a smoker is that it not only warms the brisket, but also gives it a delicious smoke flavor. If you only have an electric grill available, it would still be fine because reheating food on your cooker is easy. Just know that the flavor the food will be different depending on the tools you use.
In fact, your guests will never notice they are eating reheated leftover meat. However, you have to do it right to make sure the brisket does not dry out or lose its original flavor.
Below are the steps to reheating leftover brisket in a smoker:
1. Fire up your grill or smoker to 225° Fahrenheit.
2. Set up the smoker for 2-zone cooking by heating one side of the smoker and leaving the other side cold and flameless.
3. Wrap the thawed brisket in a foil and place it on the indirect zone (cold side) of the smoker.
4. Let the brisket reheat until the internal temperature of the meat is 155° Fahrenheit.
5. Now, unwrap the brisket and place it over the direct zone for 5 to 10 minutes.
6. Monitor the progress of the reheating process by checking the internal temperature of the meat regularly to avoid burning the brisket. Ideally, the temperature should be 160° Fahrenheit before serving.
3. How to Reheat Brisket Using Sous Vide?
Sous-vide is a low temperature slow cooking method, whereby you place your food in an airtight container and cook it in a water bath under controlled temperature for long hours until it’s ready.
This method can take up to six hours to reheat a few pounds of leftover brisket, depending on the thickness of the meat. From the look of things, Sous viding requires a lot of patience, and it might not be the ideal method for reheating your brisket if you are in a hurry.
Nevertheless, Sous Vide cooking remains quite popular, and you’ll never go wrong with this method. You have to toss the leftover brisket inside an airtight bag, meaning it will remain moist throughout the reheating process.
Besides, Sous Vide uses controlled temperatures, further reducing the chances of your brisket drying out or overcooking the meat.
Here are the steps on how to reheat your brisket using Sous Vide:
1. Place the leftover brisket in a vacuum bag or airtight plastic wrap.
2. Put the bag containing the meat in a Sous Vide container.
3. Fill the container with water and heat it to 110-175° Fahrenheit.
4. Leave the meat in the water bath until it reaches the same temperature as the water.
4. How to Reheat Brisket in a Microwave?
Using the microwave is another fast, viable option for reheating your leftover brisket. However, this method requires great caution since leaving the meat inside the microwave for too long could dry it out.
Microwaves work by vaporizing water molecules into steam, meaning the moisture inside the brisket will escape just as fast, leaving the meat dry, rubbery and tasteless.
However, it is not always a good idea to reheat a whole brisket in the microwave. This is because the method only works well with slices of brisket.
For these reasons, you should only use the microwave to reheat your leftover brisket as a last resort, or if you are in a hurry.
The following are steps on how to reheat brisket in a microwave:
1. Place the thawed brisket in a microwave-safe bowl or container.
2. Reduce the power of the microwave to 20 percent to prevent your sliced briskets from overcooking, burning or drying out.
3. Heat up the briskets in intervals of 30 seconds and check the internal temperature of the meat after each interval. Ideally, the desired temperature should be 140° Fahrenheit.
5. How to Reheat Brisket by steaming it?
Steaming is another easy way to reheat leftover brisket. The main advantage of using this method is that it keeps your brisket moist and juicy during the entire reheating process.
If your brisket lost some moisture during the initial cooking process, steaming can help restore and retain the juices. Moreover, this method helps lock in essential nutrients, thus keeping your brisket healthy and tasty.
We also loved the fact it is very easy to steam brisket, since you don’t need to monitor your meat regularly or use any special equipment.
With that said, let’s look at the steps involved when reheating brisket by steaming:
1. Put your thawed brisket in a steaming basket.
2. Fill a large cooking pot with water and bring to boil.
3. Place the steaming basket on top of the pot of boiling water.
4. Check the internal temperature of the meat and remove when it reaches 140° Fahrenheit.
Alternatively, you may use a food steamer to reheat your brisket. Simply place the brisket in the steamer and set the timer and temperature control to 140° Fahrenheit.
6. How to Reheat Brisket by boiling it?
Boiling BBQ meat might seem outrageous, but it’s also a practical alternative for reheating leftover brisket. Many BBQ enthusiasts may sneer at this idea – however boiling your brisket actually delivers delicious results.
Besides, it works just the same way as Sous Vide cooking, but in this case, no Sous Viding equipment is used.
To get the best results, you shouldn’t toss your brisket directly in a pot of boiling water. Instead, put it in an airtight, plastic bag before inserting the bag in a cooking pot filled with boiling water.
The reheated brisket will come out as moist and as tasty as ever, with no chance of drying out. You only need to use a thermometer so you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat to ensure it doesn’t exceed 160° Fahrenheit.
In a nutshell, here are the steps to reheating brisket by boiling:
1. Put your brisket in an airtight plastic wrap.
2. Fill a large cooking pot with water and bring it to boil.
3. Thereafter, place the wrapped brisket in the boiling water.
4. Monitor the internal temperature of the meat at 160° Fahrenheit.
5. Remove and serve when hot.
You don’t have to throw away your leftover brisket after every barbecue weekend. Instead, you can store them in a freezer and reheat them later. The best part is that all the above methods are easy to implement, as long as you have the required tools.