HELP! - Brisket took longer than expected - suggestions for keeping it overnight?

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Original poster
Jun 18, 2007
Hi all - I started a 5.7 lb brisket at 10 am this morning, hoping it would finish by 5 pm or so, rest it for a couple hours, then slice and eat for dinner.

Well, almost 11 hours later, the internal temperature has just hit 181 F, and we've just decided to go out for pizza. :-/ It's looking like this will finish in about another hour, and we'll just have it for a late lunch or early dinner tomorrow.

Any suggestions for keeping the meat overnight? I found this site ( where they said it's probably safe to keep a brisket wrapped in foil and covered in towels in a cooler for about 5 hours. Longer than that and the meat temperature drops into the danger zone of between 40 F and 140 F. So I'm assuming I'm going to have to refrigerate this somehow.

Should I slice it before refrigerating it? Or should I keep it whole then slice after I reheat? Any other suggestions?

triple wrap it in foil & wet towels in a GOOD cooler(i.e. a coleman)- it'll be good for 12. after 12 i'd slice/pull & freeze what you don't want to eat. p.s. as it's beef & it'll cook after ya wrap it & beef only needsto get to 160 internal- for that 5lb(shrinks to about 3.5-4lb) i'd add a 1/4 cup of water to the wrap. or 1/4 cup beef bouillion. but thats just me.
Gypsyseagod - thanks so much for your quick reply, although something you said worried me - did I just grossly overcook this brisket by making it go til 185, or were you just saying that since it's beef, it could be cooked "enough" as soon as it hits 160?
no i meant that as long as it hit 160 minimum it's'll still raise temp (prolly to 190-200)foiled. it'll be ok. i'm just a food safety freak as i have to serve the gen. public & hold a food server's card from the health dept.- your's is fine. it'll be ok foiled & maybe even cooled to 160-170 - it's the main "done" temp i speak of.
i knew i said 160 fer done... sorry where that 180 came from- it's good to eat- just wrap & rest for pulled or rest open for 15 mins( i hate that as it dries out- depending on where ya live.. humidity & whatnot) for sliced.
Just a suggestion;
I personally don't slice any cut of meat before refrigerating it.
I find it drys out very quickly and becomes similar to cardboard.
You might try putting it into a container or tinfoil wrap with all the juices that you can save from the cooking -smoking process.
Then you could warm it gently in the oven or BBQ while it is still wrapped in the foil.
My concern here is that it is already cooked to the well done stage and the possibility of a sauce to moisten it may be something else to consider.
Just my 2 cents worth.
This is where ziplocks and vacuum sealers are really handy! Save all the juice in the bag and seal it. Slice off what your going to eat and reseal the rest.

Scoop out a spoon or two of solidified juice and smear it on your slices before you reheat it, maybe sprinkle a bit of rub on t and heat it slowly completely covered. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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