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Brisket Rest

quickray

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I’ve seen several folks online talking about different resting strategies for brisket. Can someone tell me what they do?

I’ve seen guys put it wrapped in coolers, I’ve seen guys leave it out, I’ve seen guys rest it for two hours and I’ve seen guys say you should rest it for four.

Any suggestions? I wanna have a good idea the next time I try to screw this up again.
 

chef jimmyj

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The quick answer on how long to Rest? ALL OF THE ABOVE! You will get several different answers here. For me, when the meat passes all the tests for tenderness, It's Done, 30 minutes on the counter and it's ready to Slice. There are many that were taught or have experienced Brisket or Pork Butts getting Better, with a 1, 2, 4 hour Rest in a cooler. Find what works for you. Everybody's Right and Everybody's Wrong. That why Smoking Meat is an Art and not a Science, although there is some science we use to help us along...JJ
 

Chasdev

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Cooked meat should be rested, I think everyone agrees on that, although I like red hot slices right off the fire myself....
Back on topic, the key here is not how long but at what temp you rest it.
Anything above 160/170 and you are going to be continuing to cook the meat so there is a distinct possibility that a fully cooked brisket will get over cooked due to "carry over" cooking if it's placed in a well insulated container at 205 and left to sit for hours.
You can take a swing at pulling at 190 or so (your guess is as good as mine here) and then placing in a well insulated container for three or four hours to let it finish cooking as it cools down.
I know for a fact that many if not most places that sell lots of brisket have holding ovens, many with a steam feature, where cooked briskets are held at a food safe temp and then sliced to order during the day and that the longer the meat is held at safe but below continue to cook temps, the more tender it gets.
 

BB-que

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I’ve seen several folks online talking about different resting strategies for brisket. Can someone tell me what they do?

I’ve seen guys put it wrapped in coolers, I’ve seen guys leave it out, I’ve seen guys rest it for two hours and I’ve seen guys say you should rest it for four.

Any suggestions? I wanna have a good idea the next time I try to screw this up again.
Some great advice above. I can tell you I’ve been smoking brisket a long time and still am amazed that people say they pull their brisket when probe tender and then throw in a well insulated cooler for hours. For me that’s a recipe for overcooked brisket. Maybe their “probe tender” is different than mine.
 

chopsaw

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Some great advice above. I can tell you I’ve been smoking brisket a long time and still am amazed that people say they pull their brisket when probe tender and then throw in a well insulated cooler for hours. For me that’s a recipe for overcooked brisket. Maybe their “probe tender” is different than mine.
I have to agree here .
I've been cooking over wood and charcoal a long time , but just recently started doing briskets . I'm on number 7 , and one thing I figured out is , the only ones I over cooked were wrapped in a towel and held in a cooler to long .
The best was a 45 minute rest on the counter .
Now , I use the oven to hold them if needed , or if going in a cooler ( and the brisket is truly probe tender done ) I make sure the temp has started to drop before I wrapped in towels .
 
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MJB05615

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I agree with all above. The last one I did was the best one I did about 3 weeks ago. The different thing I did was when it got close to coming off the smoker, I turned the smoker off, and let it rest in the smoker for about 45 minutes. Then I took it off and wrapped in towels for 90 minutes. It had the best flavor of any I have done, and I have done a lot of Briskets. Tenderness is always good, not sure if these extra steps added to flavor or not. I usually only rest them for 30-45 minutes total.
 

tallbm

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I’ve seen several folks online talking about different resting strategies for brisket. Can someone tell me what they do?

I’ve seen guys put it wrapped in coolers, I’ve seen guys leave it out, I’ve seen guys rest it for two hours and I’ve seen guys say you should rest it for four.

Any suggestions? I wanna have a good idea the next time I try to screw this up again.
Hi there and welcome!

Great info from the guys so far.

When cooking a brisket the wisest thing you can do is figure out a fairly accurate time range that the brisket will probe tender and therefore be finished. This "fairly accurate time range" should include a 4 hour buffer of time so that the brisket can surely finish.

If you finish 4 hours early then fantastic. That is my hold time. If it doesn't finish 4 hours early then you have 4 hours for it to finish before time to eat and whatever time is left, that is my hold time. Simple :)

So you see my hold time is dictated on how the brisket is going to behave during the cook and to ensure it is ready when the time comes to eat.
I personally just tightly double wrap in foil. Then I tightly wrap in 3 bath towels and set on the table. I haven't ever used a cooler because I thought it would be overkill and cause the brisket to overcook.

I've also found that briskets slice better and shred less after a longer wait. A brisket I slice on a 4 hour rest produces little to no shred. On a 1-2hr rest... it wants to tear apart more easily.

Long story short, I shoot for a 4 hour rest but only because that is my extra buffer of cooking time AND after that amount of time of cooling down yet still being hot the brisket slices better.

That's it! :)
 

civilsmoker

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JJ has it right.....so many right ....so many wrong but right.....LOL

Since I like to do mine "hot and fast" the rest is the most important part for me....IE min of 2 hours covered/wrapped in the house oven at 170....3-4 hours is even better. I have found that holding it like this gives it the extra "giggle"!

edit, and I like the oven at a specific temp so its at a consistent holding temp every time....
 

Displaced Texan

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To pile on, I think pulling from the smoke, wrapping in towels and into a cooler is no bueno, as stated above. It will overcook. Maybe if you pull it at 195° and do that.

I am still experimenting. Next brisket, I intend to pull it off right around 200°, rest at room temp for a couple hours, change out the butcher paper wrap, then refrigerate overnight. Last brisket I did, I found that when I refrigerated it, pulled it out for reheating at room temp as my warming drawer heated up, it was more tender the second day.

Key, as sated, for me, is being fortunate to have a warming drawer that I can set between 140° and 150°.
 

SmokinAl

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I really like JJ’s answer!
Al
 

rus_bro

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I used to foil wrap my briskets and put them in a cooler to rest. And id give them 2-3 hours atleast. Since moving to Paper, seems the rest doesnt need half as long since the meat cools much quicker wrapped in paper than in foil. Iv been rested a couple of them for an hour and had very good results with paper. alot seems to depend on the treatment of the rest. Foiled will keep cooking for a while and take a long time to get under 170* so obviously it doesnt really start resting for a while.

Yep.. All of the above you mentioned are true

rb
 

siletzspey

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I pull when probe tender (203-205), then rest for ~1 hour on the counter top so the temperature rise aborts and starts to fall, and then go for a long 4+ hour rest in a cooler or an even longer rest in a 170F max oven.

Several pit/restaurant masters on YouTube hint at reversing the temperature quickly, before they go into a long rest. Clearly many rest for 8-16+ hours because they smoke the briskets well ahead of time and/or overnight before serving come lunch-dinner, so it's an open question what portion of that long rest actually benefits the flavor/moisture.

In my last WSM session with 2 briskets, first time going hot at 275F, first time with tallowed-paper and first time with a 14-hour rest, the results were far superior to all my prior sessions.
 

BB-que

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I pull when probe tender (203-205), then rest for ~1 hour on the counter top so the temperature rise aborts and starts to fall, and then go for a long 4+ hour rest in a cooler or an even longer rest in a 170F max oven.

Several pit/restaurant masters on YouTube hint at reversing the temperature quickly, before they go into a long rest. Clearly many rest for 8-16+ hours because they smoke the briskets well ahead of time and/or overnight before serving come lunch-dinner, so it's an open question what portion of that long rest actually benefits the flavor/moisture.

In my last WSM session with 2 briskets, first time going hot at 275F, first time with tallowed-paper and first time with a 14-hour rest, the results were far superior to all my prior sessions.
That’s interesting - you held in a 170 oven for 14 hours and it didn’t dry out? Did you pull when the brisket was still a little tight to account for that it did you pull when it probed with no resistance?
 

tallbm

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Sounds like perhaps the tallow on the paper may have been the magic.
I would think so. Oil and water/moisture don't mix so the tallow would act like a barrier to keep it all in. Plastic wrap would do the same but no breathing at all.
 

siletzspey

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That’s interesting - you held in a 170 oven for 14 hours and it didn’t dry out?
I should have added, I foil wrapped the paper/brisket for the long rest in the oven. It's not my sense that I lost any meat moisture, and the probing friction did not change from start to finish. Frustratingly 170F is the lowest setting for many ovens, so for several hours I did turn the oven off and let the oven temperature drift down to 140F. I "think" many with restaurant grade warmers target 140-150F for resting.
 

BB-que

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I should have added, I foil wrapped the paper/brisket for the long rest in the oven. It's not my sense that I lost any meat moisture, and the probing friction did not change from start to finish. Frustratingly 170F is the lowest setting for many ovens, so for several hours I did turn the oven off and let the oven temperature drift down to 140F. I "think" many with restaurant grade warmers target 140-150F for resting.
That makes sense, interesting stuff. And yeah my oven won’t go below 170 either - super annoying for us “pitmasters”.
 

BB-que

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I should have added, I foil wrapped the paper/brisket for the long rest in the oven. It's not my sense that I lost any meat moisture, and the probing friction did not change from start to finish. Frustratingly 170F is the lowest setting for many ovens, so for several hours I did turn the oven off and let the oven temperature drift down to 140F. I "think" many with restaurant grade warmers target 140-150F for resting.
That makes sense, interesting stuff. And yeah my oven won’t go below 170 either - super annoying for us “pitmasters”.
 

Displaced Texan

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I should have added, I foil wrapped the paper/brisket for the long rest in the oven. It's not my sense that I lost any meat moisture, and the probing friction did not change from start to finish. Frustratingly 170F is the lowest setting for many ovens, so for several hours I did turn the oven off and let the oven temperature drift down to 140F. I "think" many with restaurant grade warmers target 140-150F for resting.
As I documented in a different thread, I have a warming drawer but I was setting it too high. Hadn't done the proper diligence of checking the temp inside on various settings. Now I have, and maintaining 140°-150° is easy and really making a big difference in reheating brisket.
 

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