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How long to let brisket thaw? (Explained)

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Unless you purchased your brisket fresh for the barbecue, you’ll probably have to defrost it from the fridge.

Knowing how to properly thaw various meats is a necessary ability for a pitmaster. Food safety should always come first.

There are two basic methods for defrosting brisket: from the fridge or the “cold-water method,” which we shall discuss further below.

How Fast Does Brisket Thaw?

The speed at which meat defrosts can differ based on how it is done.

Always attempt to thaw brisket in the fridge. It is the most popular and secure way to defrost most meats. It makes sure that the meat doesn’t tip into the danger zone.

A brisket should thaw in the refrigerator in around 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat, on average. Therefore, it would take around 60 hours for a 12-pound brisket, for example, to completely thaw. Since brisket may be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days without spoiling, the duration shouldn’t be an issue.

Just be careful to allow yourself plenty of time to defrost before the smoke when thawing larger cuts.

Folks will usually divide a particularly big brisket into 4- to 6-pound chunks. As a result, even if you thaw the full brisket, being divided will help it defrost much quicker.

Can Brisket Defrost on The Counter Overnight?

Brisket shouldn’t be left at room temperature for longer than two hours, whether it’s raw or cooked. So no, do not leave it to defrost overnight on the counter.

A frozen brisket takes significantly longer to defrost than two hours. The surface will thaw much quicker than the centre, so the surface will reach hazardous temperatures and enter “the danger zone” while the inside is still thawing.

The danger zone for brisket is between 40 through 140 degrees(F)

How To Defrost Brisket in The Refrigerator 

After preparing the baking dish by lining it with paper towels, remove the meat from the freezer and set it inside. You may also use a tray or a sizable dish, but make sure it has raised edges to capture any liquid the thawing brisket releases.

The baking dish should be covered with foil or plastic wrap and put on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. In case drippings escape or leak from the tray, the bottom wrack is perfect.

Now, just leave it to defrost naturally, checking on it about every few hours. Take it out of the fridge once it has thawed to inspect it for ice crystals or frost. 

To make sure the briskets centre is properly defrosted, you may also use a probe to pierce it to confirm it has defrosted all the way through.

Using A Cold-Water Bath 

A cold-water bath can be a secure and efficient approach to defrost brisket, even though you should always attempt to thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator.

Make sure the brisket is firmly wrapped before you start. For this, vacuum seals will work best.

Start by putting the wrapped brisket in a container and adding cold water to it. In order to totally immerse the shoulder, the container must be deep enough.

(If your container isn’t deep enough, you’ll need to flip the brisket every half-hour.)

Drain the water from the container and add new, cold water to it every 30 minutes. This will prevent the pork shoulder from being overheated and out of the danger zone. 

The key is to keep the raw brisket below 40 degrees(F) as it thaws.

The thaw rate may be increased to around 30 minutes per pound as a result, greatly accelerating the process. In other words, a 6-pound piece of brisket that would typically take 24 hours to thaw would now do it in just 12 hours. You are able to thaw and smoke all in the same day.

It should be noted that meat that has been defrosted in a cold-water bath must be cooked straight away and never refrozen

Note: never defrost any kind of meat in warm or hot water. The surface temperature of the brisket will quickly rise to 40 degrees, which will accelerate the growth of bacteria. 

Can Brisket Be Cooked from Frozen?

A bigger cut like brisket can be challenging to cook evenly if frozen. It will be challenging to prepare the entire cut at the same time.

On top of that, frozen meat makes smoking brisket almost impossible. 

The cooking time must be doubled when preparing something from frozen. This might indicate that it would take up to 40 hours to smoke a frozen pork shoulder, which is not reasonable.

Final Thoughts

It takes more than just smoking the meat to perfection to become a pitmaster. It involves mastering every step of the procedure, including thawing the brisket beforehand.

Knowing about topics like food safety regulations can help you distinguish yourself from novices. Both your dinner guests and the quality of your meal will be retained.

Happy smoking!