Whether you cook your brisket in the oven rack or inside a smoker, resting is an essential thing to do if you want juiciness and tenderness inside it.
When you allow it to rest, the moisture and juices redistribute nicely around the meat.
The primary concern of brisket lovers is the resting duration. Generally, it will take one hour to rest it properly without compromising its taste and bark, but there are some other factors as well that determine the exact resting duration.
In this article, I will discuss everything about brisket resting duration and its different methods that will help you achieve the desired results.
How Long to Rest Brisket?
The exact rest time will depend on its weight and people’s preferences. Some like to rest brisket on the counter for an hour, some for 2 hours, while others rest for up to 6 hours.
Are you searching for a key takeaway? Here it is.
You should rest your brisket after cooking it for at least 1 hour, ideally for 2 hours or even more, depending on the weight. Make sure to wrap it in aluminum foil or butcher paper to allow the juices to redistribute evenly and make your meat cut more tender and flavorful.
Beef brisket is one of the larger types of meat you will come across, which is why smoking and resting it demands more time.
As per USDA guidelines, a raw brisket typically contains 71 percent water.
Even after cooking it thoroughly with its safest internal temperature, there will still be water inside it, approximately 50-55 percent. That’s another strong reason why resting is essential.
How long to rest brisket per pound?
The weight and size of your smoked brisket will decide how long to rest brisket per pound. If you have cooked a smaller one that weighs only 4 to 6 pounds, 15 to 20 minutes of resting per pound is enough.
Conversely, a larger brisket in hand that weighs around 10 to 14 pounds will require more resting duration.
Many people get confused about resting on a beef brisket, but I have made it simple. Here’s how. Regardless of the size and weight, let it rest for at least an hour or two to get desired results.
Why Do You Need to Rest Your Brisket?
If you have smoked or grilled a large cut of meat like brisket, resting it properly is a step you can not skip to get desired taste and flavors.
But why is it so important?
It is an essential step because after cooking large meats, the juices and moisture go into the center part of the meat.
So, when I allow my meat to rest, the moisture gets redistributed evenly all over it, making it juicy, tender, delicious, and flavorful.
Not only the redistribution of juices but the resting is also helpful in the gelatinization process in which the collagen inside the meat continues to break down into gelatin, adding more tenderness to your meat.
I believe you now know how important and beneficial it is to rest large cuts of meat like brisket after cooking. So, let’s take a moment and highlight the outcome if you don’t rest it.
Not anyone would like carving a tough and dry brisket, right? That happens if you don’t give enough cooking time.
Where resting redistributes the moisture, not resting will keep most of the moisture and juices in the center of your smoked brisket.
As a result, when you split it into pieces, the juices will come out quickly and spread all over the cutting board, leaving the whole brisket dry except the center part. That’s not the result you cooked for.
In short, you should always let it rest for an hour before cutting it to serve your guests a properly smoked and mouth-watering outcome.
How To Rest Brisket – 4 Valuable Methods
There are different ways and a few general guidelines that you need to follow regarding resting brisket. The most straightforward way is to rest it on the counter or tabletop for at least one hour.
But if you prefer several hours of resting, you will need to choose a reliable method. Here are some of the most suitable options to go with.
1. Resting at Room Temperature
This is the best option if you are in a hurry and want to spend less time resting meat and setting up things. Also, it is simple and does not require extra accessories like other methods.
You need to place the smoked beef brisket on the countertop (or any other similar place) at room temperature.
Typically, it should not take longer than one hour because resting it without insulation may not provide desired results and grow harmful bacteria. So, this is how to rest brisket on the counter when you are short on time.
2. Using a Cooler to Rest Brisket
In my perspective, resting brisket in the cooler after smoking is also a better option as it provides an insulated environment, which is more suitable for distributing moisture and juices.
A cooler can also be a great alternative to Cambro.
You can grab several advantages from this method, such as good insulation, more resting time, and keeping a consistent internal temperature of the meat alive for a long time.
I would suggest you place your beef brisket inside towels for better insulation if possible. As for the duration, it can keep meat inside for 6 hours. But that would be too much, so around 2 hours are great.
One of the most admirable advantages of a cooler can be its easy portability. So, place the brisket inside after cooking, travel to your picnic point, take it out when you reach, and enjoy your tender and juicy meat with friends or family.
3. Resting Brisket in Cambro
Another popular method that most pitmasters use nowadays for resting a brisket is Cambro. It is a brand that manufactures rectangular or square-shaped products, allowing you to store your food through insulation.
Moreover, it provides a reasonable duration to keep your meats inside. As for briskets, it is a good option where you can let it rest for around 4 hours, redistributing the moisture and juices nicely around the meat.
4. Steam Cabinet
A steam cabinet is an electronic appliance that provides a hot area to rest your food for several hours. Also, it produces steam, which keeps your brisket or other meats moist during the resting process.
If you like resting meats with a device that lets you set up things manually, you can go with a steam cabinet. It is a famous method among barbecue restaurants for resting and storing food.
This method has two significant advantages.
Firstly, it lets you keep your food items warm or hot, thanks to the heated chamber. Surprisingly, you can adjust different temperature levels, while low heat of around 150 degrees is the best for brisket.
Secondly, when you wrap it in butcher paper and place it inside the steam cabinet, it can expand the duration of keeping your smoked brisket moist for some extra hours.
Rest Durations for Brisket – Based on Weight and Method of Resting
Let me share some of the resting durations depending on several factors like brisket quality, its weight, cooking method, and at what internal temp you started resting it. But remember, these stats are my approximate idea that can fluctuate in your case.
|5 pounds or less||30 to 45 minutes||1 to 2 hours|
|5 to 10 pounds||45 to 60 minutes||2 to 3 hours|
|10 to 15 pounds||1 to 2 hours||3 to 4 hours|
|16 to 20 pounds||2 to 3 hours||4 to 5 hours|
What is Holding a Brisket?
The purpose of resting and holding is the same, keeping your packer brisket warm for a long time and allowing it to redistribute moisture.
But holding is slightly different from resting. Let’s tell you how.
One significant difference is that resting the meat is suitable when you want to carve it right after its resting procedure while holding is a better option if you want to eat your meat later or don’t know when to.
Moreover, the holding means extending the time of keeping your brisket under warm conditions and not letting its temperature down below 140 °F. It is more suitable when you perform it after resting the meat.
But how to hold a brisket?
To hold your brisket, cover it tightly using aluminum foil or butcher paper and let it rest in an insulation environment. Through holding, you can keep your meat warm for around 6 hours.
It also has different methods you can explore, such as using a cooler, cambro, oven, or making faux cambro yourself. The faux cambro method is also a good option to let the big and small brisket rest.
In short, whatever way you choose, the ultimate goal is to keep the internal temperature of the meat steady within the range of 145-155°F.
Should You Rest Brisket Wrapped Or Unwrapped?
It can depend on personal preferences whether to rest brisket wrapped or unwrapped. Therefore, I don’t consider it an essential step to perform, but it can be advantageous in different ways.
Firstly, a wrapped brisket traps the heat and smoke nicely inside, which then makes it juicy and tender and resolves the issue of undercooked brisket.
When you wrap it in butcher paper or aluminum foil, it will help create a nice bark on the exterior.
If I talk about resting the brisket unwrapped, it is usually helpful when you rest it on the countertop or tabletop because, in this technique, the resting duration is only one hour long.
But when you go with the cooler or a Faux cambro to rest brisket, you should wrap it inside butcher paper or aluminum foil. So, I believe you now know whether to rest brisket wrapped or unwrapped and why.
Ensure to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket because if it reaches more than 210 degrees, you may overcook your brisket.
How to Know When Resting is Done?
It is essential to know if the resting process is completed or not. In this case, there are two most valuable tips that you can follow.
- Generally, the duration of resting meat decides if all the juices have been redistributed and your resting is completed.
- One hour is enough to rest a smoked brisket. You can extend the period to 2 hours, but spending more time will require extra care and maintenance. Brisket rest time can also depend on its size and weight.
- Another helpful way is to use an instant-read thermometer that tells you the accurate internal temperature of the meat. After an hour, when it reaches an internal temperature of around 190 °F – 203 °F.
Remember that letting your brisket rest more than the required cooking time can make it soggy, impacting the taste, bark, and final texture. Therefore, I will advise you to keep a close eye on it.
Winding it Up
Resting your brisket after smoking is nearly compulsory if you wish to achieve results like tenderness and juiciness inside, along with nice bark and smoky flavors.
I have provided all the key information regarding how long to let brisket rest which will make things easier for you whenever you smoke it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you let the brisket rest on the counter?
If you are in a hurry and want brisket to rest on the countertop at room temperature, one hour is enough before serving and can provide excellent results.
Can you rest your brisket overnight?
Yes, in my opinion, if you have a device like a cooler or a cambro that can provide a better insulation environment, you can rest your brisket overnight.
How long to rest a 20 lb brisket?
You should at least rest your 20 lb smoked brisket for one or two hours before you cut it into pieces. If you want to serve it later, rest it inside a cooler for 2 to 4 hours.
Can you rest brisket for too long?
Technically, it is possible to rest it too long inside a well-insulated environment like a cooler. But, as soon as it starts to cool down, it may impact the original taste and texture, which you may not like. Ideally, 4 hours are enough for resting.
How long to let brisket rest before putting in fridge?
30 to 60 minutes of resting duration for a smoked brisket is enough before you place it inside the fridge. I advise wrapping it inside plastic or aluminum foil and then keeping it inside the fridge.
Robert Gill, a BBQ enthusiast, and Senior Author at FaveGrills.com bring his extensive knowledge of BBQ equipment and exciting recipes to the team. With his outgoing personality and love for BBQ, Robert plays an essential role in the FaveGrills community, sharing his passion and expertise through informative articles and gear reviews.