When cooked properly, a brisket can be tender, juicy, and delicious. We’ve all had an irresistible slice of brisket fresh out of the smoker. Doesn’t it just bring you back to a nice summer day at the park, with delicious brisket cooking on the grill?
But, life is not always a barbecue picnic and we cannot have fresh-off-the-grill meat all day, every day. We can, however, store brisket in the freezer and take it out anytime we want. The secret is how to reheat brisket properly.
Moisture, moisture, moisture
You may already know, the juice factor is what makes a good brisket. As it is, brisket is not an easy meat cut to work with – it has a lot of tendons, making the meat quite tough if not cooked properly.
A lot of moisture is lost when reheating, so to get the most out of your frozen brisket, knowing the right techniques to reheat it is key.
Do not even think about throwing that delicious hunk of meat in the microwave! Lest you prefer very hard and chewy meat, go right ahead. No? Then read on!
There are a number of ways that you can bring your brisket back to life, so pick out your most convenient method, using tools that you already have on hand. You may also want to try all four that we’ve listed here and discover what yields the best results for you!
- Steamer: Well, obviously. You may already have a vegetable or dumpling steamer in your kitchen arsenal, which would be perfect. Otherwise, you can get creative and come up with your own makeshift steamer using a metal strainer sitting on top of a pot. Just be sure the bottom of the strainer and pot form a nice seal for a proper steam.
For A Sous Vide
Disclaimer: this is more like a DIY, poorman’s sous vide, without the fancy contraptions. This method is definitely something that you may want to try if you are considering getting a cryovac machine or if you have your brisket sealed in a vacuum pack.
- Vacuum sealed meat: This method will only work with a tightly sealed pack!
- Pot of water: Depending on the size of your meat, be sure the pot is big enough and there is ample water to evenly submerge the whole pack.
In The Oven
- Foil: The secret to getting moist reheated brisket in the oven is wrapping the meat in foil. Heavy duty variants are recommended.
In The Oven 2.0
- Foil: This is always a must for any oven reheating.
- Meat thermometer: If you are feeling like fancy professional chef!
- Brisket juice: When you freshly cook your brisket, collect the meat juices and set aside in the refrigerator in a mason jar or other tightly sealed container.
- Baking pan
Reheat That Brisket
Take your pick among these four methods and see which one you like best. They are all super quick and simple and they’ve all worked pretty well for me!
- Thaw your meat. If your meat is frozen, then this is an essential step before any reheating can be done. Meat lovers often debate whether defrosting should be done in the refrigerator or over the sink. I find that either one is fine. Personally, I just do it over the sink as that is faster.
- Bring your water to a gentle boil. Then, add your meat to the top compartment of your steamer or the metal strainer. The steam created will heat up the brisket while providing it with much needed moisture. Heat until it is warm all the way through.
Sorta Sous Vide
- Bring water to boil in your large pot. As we said earlier, be sure the pot is big enough to accommodate the whole piece of meat, and there is enough water too.
- Throw in your sealed bag of meat. It’s literally easy as that. The process of vacuum packing also seals in a lot of the moisture, flavor, and tenderness of the brisket, so by gently reheating it in a boiling water bath, all that brisket goodness stays locked in.
The Technique I Use Most Oven
- Defrost your meat. As mentioned above, it’s an essential step.
- Preheat your oven to 200º F. Some sources also peg the ideal temperature at 250º F to 350º F. Finding out the ideal temperature for your own oven and meat simply takes experience. So be in for a little trial and error. A higher temperature means you can be enjoying your brisket much faster, but you also run the risk of drying it out in the heat.
- Wrap your brisket tightly in foil. The tightness of the wrap ensures that all that meaty goodness is sealed in and lets the brisket cook in its own juices. Some meat experts even suggest double-wrapping.
- Heat in the oven until the meat is warmed up all the way through. Depending on the size of the meat cut, this may take an hour or so. Be sure to keep an eye on your meat. If you leave it in the oven for too long, it may dry out.
- Defrost your meat. Again, top of the list of things to do.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Since you are going to be using a fancy shmancy meat thermometer, it is okay to put your oven on a higher temperature. You will know exactly when the meat is ready by checking its internal temperature.
- Cut your brisket into thin slices. You may also want to scrape off any fat, which is easy to do with a spoon, and trim off any other excess fat as well. When you do your slicing, be sure to cut against the grain.
- Arrange the slices in your baking pan. Get out the meat juices that you saved. Skim off the fats that have floated to the top. Pour the fluids over the sliced brisket.
- Wrap foil tightly around the baking pan. In this method, you once again have to create an airtight foil wrap. Be sure you seal in all the moisture and deliciousness.
- Deliver the foil-wrapped package into your hot oven. Because of the higher oven temperature, your brisket will be done in about 30 minutes, or 165º on the meat thermometer.
- A great reheated brisket starts with proper preservation. Ensure that your brisket retains its moisture by storing it in an airtight container. You can either use a food vacuum sealing system, or simply wrap tightly in aluminum foil and seal it in a freezer bag
- It may sound super random, but you can further remove air from the freezer bag by sucking the air out with a straw.
- If you have a restaurant, deli – or if you are just very serious about your barbecue – consider investing in a cryovac machine. This really sucks all of the air out of the package and seals in all of the delicious meat flavor. When reheating, simply bring a pot of water to boil and dunk the package into the hot water bath, just like the sous vide method above.
- Remember that fat you skimmed of the surface of the meat juices? Save it to make some super flavorful gravy!
- If you forgot to save the pan juices, or did not have enough, don’t worry. Substitute it for a cup of water or a cup of broth. This replaces the fluids in the brisket, but does not give that extra oomph of those meat juices. Be sure to save them next time!
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking of getting that frozen brisket out of your freezer – or have you already taken it out to defrost in the sink while reading? In any case, we are both a few hours away from enjoying a delicious, tender brisket. And now that you know the secrets on how to reheat brisket, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is wait. Enjoy!