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Can you cut a brisket in half and freeze? (Explained)

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Brisket cuts can be rather large, so unless you have a big group of eager people to feed, you may not finish the whole thing.

But that’s not an issue because brisket can be frozen without losing too much quality. If the brisket is unusually large, you will almost certainly need to divide it into different chunks.

This will not only save some container space, but it will also make defrosting much easier when the time comes.

Understanding the right methods of freezer preservation is vital for food and safety procedures in addition to retaining the flavor of the brisket. All of these are talents that every pitmaster should have.

This article explains why you should separate brisket before freezing it, as well as how to do so safely and successfully.

How Long Can Brisket Be Kept Frozen?

The length of time a brisket can be frozen relies nearly completely on its freshness. If the brisket was frozen the same day it was prepared, it will keep fresh for up to 3 months.

Cooked brisket that has been refrigerated for up to 5 days, however, can still be frozen. It just may not retain its quality as well after three months.

Freshly smoked brisket can only be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Following that, bacterial growth begins to double in reproduction, making it risky to consume or freeze.

How To Freeze Smoked Brisket

The most important part in freezing brisket is to use an airtight container or packaging. Vacuum seals are ideal for this.

You want as little airflow as possible around the meat. Airtight containers also keep moisture out, which can cause freezer burn and reduce the quality of the food.

Aside from keeping moisture out, it also keeps any leaking brisket juices contained inside, preventing cross-contamination with other food goods in your freezer.

Place the brisket in the freezer as far back as you can and let it there for up to 3 months. If you’re utilizing a translucent container, ensure sure it still looks okay from time to time.

Is It Okay to Cut Brisket in Half Before Freezing?

It is completely acceptable to cut up your brisket for storing. In fact, in many circumstances, it will be really advantageous.

However, don’t cut the brisket into too many pieces. When frozen in slices, the brisket might dry up and become harsh and chewy.

However, if you are separating a larger brisket into only a few parts, you should be completely fine. 

Why Would You Divide Brisket for Freezing?

For starters, you may not have a large enough container to accommodate the entire brisket. Portioning it out may be your best option in this scenario.

But when it comes time to defrost the meat, the actual benefit becomes apparent.

Brisket takes a long time to thaw. Larger pieces can take up to 48 hours in the refrigerator to fully defrost.

You can drastically minimize the time it takes to defrost the entire cut by splitting the brisket into individual sections and defrosting them separately. You won’t be able to cut the brisket in half by the time it’s totally frozen.

How Long Can Raw Brisket Be Frozen? 

Raw, uncooked brisket can be stored in the freezer for 6 to 12 months. But everything depends on how fresh the brisket was when it was frozen.

Brisket that has been frozen for more than 12 months, is still totally fine to eat. Although the quality will have declined dramatically, the meat will most likely have dried out.

Despite what a few misconceptions imply, “freezer burnt” brisket is entirely safe to eat; it just might not be as tasty.

When anything is freezer burned, it simply implies that moisture has escaped onto the brisket’s flesh and frozen on. This drastically dries out the meat, removing all of the soft and succulent qualities of smoked brisket.

How Do You Thaw Brisket?

Brisket, raw or cooked, should never be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Unfortunately, thawing brisket takes much longer.

Thawing in the refrigerator is the most secure method. While it takes a long time, it ensures that the brisket stays out of the danger zone throughout the procedure.

Brisket normally takes about 24 hours per pound in the fridge. So, before you start smoking, allow yourself plenty of time to defrost your meat. 

While a frozen brisket should always be thawed in the refrigerator, a cold-water bath can be a safer and faster approach to defrost different meats.

Place the brisket in a big bowl or container filled with ice water. Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the entire brisket.

If any part of the brisket sticks out of the water, it risks entering the danger zone and causing uneven thawing.

Make certain that the water temperature does not exceed 40 degrees(F). This can be accomplished by replacing the water every 30 minutes to an hour with fresh ice water.

Using an ice-water bath, you can thaw a brisket in around 30 minutes per pound, cutting thawing time dramatically.

Final Thoughts

When preserving a large brisket, dividing it into pieces to freeze can be a marvellous idea. As long as you don’t cut it into too many pieces, you won’t have to worry about the quality or flavor.