Just the phrase 'Smoked Brisket' gets our mouths watering. There are few things in the world as delicious and satisfying as smoked brisket (especially our favorite recipe), but given that the average brisket weighs in at more than 10 pounds, you're almost guaranteed to have more meat leftover than you'll know what to do with.
Of course, once you put that brisket in the refrigerator, you'll need to warm it back up when you get after it again. What tends to happen when you reheat brisket is that it dries out and loses the delicious flavor that you remember from when you pulled it off the smoker.
There are a few ways you can try to reheat brisket without drying the meat out and we will share our favorite (and least favorite ways) while giving you some advice on how to reheat brisket so that it tastes as good as when it was fresh off the smoker.
We'll change your mind about reheating leftover brisket so you'll forget that it isn't fresh from the smoker.
What You Need to Know About Reheating Brisket
The huge secret to reheating brisket is that you need to use a similar process to the one you used to cook brisket in the first place. The trick is to reheat it low and slow just like when you cooked it in the smoker.
Cooking brisket is a time-consuming process and you don't want to ruin your meal by incorrectly reheating your meat. There really is nothing worse than a beautifully smoked brisket that ends up tough, dry, and flavorless when you go back for seconds.
Why You Should Avoid Microwaving Your Leftover Brisket
Microwaves are great for lots of things like softening butter and making popcorn, but they are one of the worst ways you could possibly reheat brisket. The reason is simple physics. Microwaves work by super-heating moisture which causes evaporation that results in hot food.
Trying to reheat brisket in the microwave will inevitably result in tough, dry, and disappointing brisket because the juiciness that makes the meat tender will have evaporated off by the time the internal temperature is correct.
If you've got thin-sliced brisket, you can try and use a microwave in 10-second bursts to heat brisket, but we really recommend that you avoid using this method unless it's life or death.
How to Reheat Brisket so it Tastes Like its Fresh Out the Smoker
Plan on setting your brisket out on the counter half an hour before you are ready to start reheating it. This will allow the meat to come up in temperature slightly so that it isn't so cold when it starts to reheat, but not so long that it will fall into the danger zone where bacteria begin to grow.
Option 1: Using Brisket Drippings
One of the best tricks you can use to ensure that you'll be able to reheat your brisket is to save the leftover juices. All of that liquid that is left after you smoke and rest your brisket is loaded with flavor. Keeping a brisket moist when you reheat it is much easier when you've saved the juices.
Treat those leftover juices with respect and they'll do you right. Baste the brisket before reheating to help add juiciness and flavor.
Option 2: How to Use Beef Broth
Another great way to get moist brisket when you reheat it is to use beef broth. Beef broth is a natural way to improve any meat that is a little too dry and it is almost as good as using leftover juices.
If you aren't making your own beef bone broth, you should seriously try it out. A nice jar of beef broth is a wonderful thing to have in the fridge when you are cooking. Just drizzle the broth over the meat before you reheat it.
Option 3: Using Apple Juice
One of our favorite things to use leftover brisket for is brisket sandwiches. We start out by putting about two cups of apple juice or apple cider on the stovetop to boil and reduce by about half. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in about two tablespoons of Bearded Butcher Blend BBQ Sauce. Place your brisket in a baking pan and pour the mixture over the meat.
Option 4: Reheating Brisket in the Oven
The best way to reheat brisket without drying it out is by using the oven. Start by preheating the oven to 325-degrees and setting the racks so that you have plenty of room.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil across a baking dish and set the brisket on the foil sheet. Begin to wrap the brisket so that you make a bowl with the foil, then add the drippings, broth, or barbecue sauce mixture. Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat.
Continue to wrap the foil until the brisket is completely covered. Use a second sheet of foil over the first to create a tight seal. The foil will trap the moisture inside and prevent your brisket from turning into a piece of chewy meat.
Reheat the brisket in the oven for about an hour for large pieces and less time than that for thinner pieces. You can let the internal temperature hit about 165-degrees for the best tasting reheated brisket that tastes like it's fresh from the smoker.
Another Way to Reheat Brisket in the Oven
The above way works great, but another great way to reheat brisket, or any other large cut of meat, is to use a big pot. We've got an aluminum pot with a tight-fitting lid that is ideal for reheating meat. Instead of wrapping the meat in foil, we just put it in the pot, pour the leftover juices on top, and put the lid on.
This is our favorite way to make shredded beef and it makes saving the leftover brisket juice easy. Letting the brisket reheat to about 195-degrees will help it shred easily.
Option 5: Reheating Slices of Brisket
Pre-sliced brisket can be reheated in the oven just like larger pieces of beef, but do it at about 375-degrees. You can even use a glass pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil to make clean-up easy. Only reheat for 15 to 20 minutes to avoid drying out the meat.
Thicker slices may take a little longer, but don't let them get too hot too quickly. The trick to properly reheating brisket is to always take it slow.
Option 6: Reheat Brisket in the Smoker
Reheating brisket in the smoker works great and it gives you the ability to keep the temperature low which is the most important aspect. Double-wrap the brisket in aluminum foil with the original cooking juices and put it in the smoker at about 275-degrees.
It'll take anywhere from an hour-and-a-half or longer depending on the thickness of the meat to reheat in the smoker. Brisket slices wrapped in foil will also reheat well in the indirect heat of a smoker.
Resting the Brisket after Reheating
Just like you want to do when you first smoked the brisket, you'll want to let the meat rest after you reheat it. Resting lets the meat relax and helps to absorb juiciness.
If you cut the brisket too soon, you'll waste a lot of the good brisket flavor even if it's cooked properly.
Option 7: Sous Vide Method
The sous vide method is a great way to reheat brisket. Sous vide uses heated water that ranges from 120 to 180-degrees. You can set the sous vide bath machine to 165-degrees. Brisket will take about one hour per inch of thickness to reheat using the sous vide method.
Sous vide works like a slow cooker to gently reheat the meat without actually cooking it.
Option 8: An Easy Shredded Beef Brisket Technique
We all know how hectic life can get and sometimes it's nice to have something that is delicious and easy that anyone can enjoy whenever they have time. You can use a slow cooker to reheat brisket and have a nutritious meal ready whenever you are.
Set the slow cooker to a low temperature. Slice the brisket against the grain and put it in the ceramic bowl. Cover it with barbecue sauce, drippings, or beef broth and put the lid on. Let it slow cook for several hours. This is a wonderful way to have sandwich fixings ready for a busy life. Plus it makes your kitchen smell amazing.
How Many Times Can Brisket be Reheated?
Technically, there isn't a limit to the number of times you can reheat any cooked meat, but for best results, you should limit it. One of the things you should do is to cut off only as much brisket as you plan to eat before reheating it and keep the rest in the refrigerator until you're ready.
Properly Storing Brisket
It's important to store brisket correctly, starting with right after you smoked it. Once the brisket has cooled, you'll want to put it in a ziplock bag or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Even better is to use a vacuum sealer to store smoked brisket.
One of the things we often do when we smoke a brisket is to smoke two briskets at once, vacuum seal one, and freeze it. It reheats practically as well as freshly smoked and takes much less time than smoking another brisket.
The Downsides of Reheating Brisket
No matter what method you choose to use, there will be some differences between reheated brisket and freshly smoked brisket. One thing that we've noticed is that the smoke flavor will sort of meld into the brisket when it's refrigerated. The smoke flavor isn't as pronounced, but also is still fantastic.
Most of the methods are going to cause the bark to get soft. There really isn't much you can do about it, but we've found that double wrapping in foil and reheating on indirect heat gives us the best results for retaining crunchy bark. We often use our smoker to reheat just to keep that outer crisp layer.
Best Ways to Use Leftover Brisket
We are always fans of eating reheated leftover brisket with a fork and knife. Just the meat alone is fantastic. But if you are looking for some ideas on how to use leftover brisket, these are a few tricks we've learned so that brisket every day doesn't get old.
- Brisket Sandwich: Soft, pillowy brioche buns toasted golden brown and slathered with spicy mustard and horseradish piled high with thin-sliced smoked brisket makes for one of the best sandwiches on the planet. Add in a side of slow smoked baked beans and a cole slaw for the perfect picnic.
- Brisket Nachos: Toss some restaurant-style yellow corn tortilla chips in a glass baking dish and put them under the broiler. While the chips are warming, heat nacho cheese in a pot on the stove top. Chop reheated brisket into bite-size pieces. Put the brisket on the warmed chips, then drizzle with nacho cheese. Add a couple of sliced pickled jalapeno peppers and you've got a great snack for watching the game.
- Burnt Ends: Leftover brisket tips are perfect for making burnt ends. Making burnt ends is actually pretty easy and they are a favorite around our house. We've got a great write-up on our favorite way to make brisket burnt ends.
Reheating brisket takes a little time to do right, but it's totally worth it because you'll end up with a meal that is almost as good as it was the day it came out of the smoker. The main thing to remember is that you want to avoid direct, high heat when you are reheating the brisket to avoid drying it out.
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