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How long can I leave my brisket in the cooler? (Explained)

How long can I leave my brisket in the cooler

If you are wondering how long you can possibly leave your brisket inside of a cooler, you have come to the right place. 

The average length of time that many PitMasters will choose to leave a brisket inside of a cooler for, is anywhere from 3 all the way up to 12 hours.

This is entirely dependent on what your overall goals are, and how quickly you would like to serve the brisket

In other words, if you have a brisket that is temping out at around 200°F, you will most likely want to let it rest inside of a cooler for at least 3 hours no matter what scenario you are looking at.

Let’s take a quick look at what leaving a Brisket inside of a cooler actually does over that length of time.

What does leaving a brisket in a cooler do?

Leaving Briskets inside of a cooler between those time frames will allow the internal temperature to slowly dwindle down to around 165°F. 

Not only that, but all the juices and moisture within the brisket itself, will have a chance to soak back into the meat, making it very juicy and tender.

By having these temperature ranges at around 165°F, you can ensure that the moisture will not evaporate the second you slice into the meat, which is very important because a lot of the times, people do not have the patience necessary to rest brisket and everything comes out dry.

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If you’re wondering why you should be leaving it inside the cooler for that like the time, then keep reading as well.

Why should you leave a brisket in a cooler for long periods of time?

As noted above, you’ll want to let the brisket rest for anywhere from 3 to 12 hours strictly to let the internal temperature reach a certain point to where the moisture will not evaporate.

Furthermore, you want to make sure all the moisture and juices inside of the brisket have a chance to soak back into the meat. 

Both of these two things are absolutely critical, and in my opinion, just as important as when you actually pull the brisket off the smoker.

Who should be leaving briskets in the cooler after the brisket is done?

Anyone smoking a brisket that wants to obtain the best quality outcome, should be letting their Briskets rest inside of a cooler or warming oven for at least 3 or so hours. 

That’s strictly to let the internal temperature reach 165°F as well as let the moisture soak back into the meat. 

It doesn’t matter who you are when smoking a brisket, but it does matter exactly how you want your brisket to come out.

If you want an excellent Brisket that is not wasted and dry, then you absolutely should always be considering rest of your brisket.

Furthermore, if you’re a pitmaster that loves to cook hot and fast like I do, you should absolutely be resting your brisket.

The same applies however, for anyone smoking at low and slow temps.

As you can see, no matter what temperature you happened to smoke the brisket at throughout the cooking phase, you will need to be resting it for extended periods of time.

When should Pitmasters be leaving briskets in the cooler 

In terms of when Pitmasters should be considering leaving their briskets inside of a cooler for adequate resting, whenever you pull the brisket on the smoker at 200°F, is when that needs to happen.

So, whenever a brisket is finished and ready to be pulled off the cooker, place it into your cooler thereafter.

Let it sit there about 3 to 12 hours depending on how quickly you would like to begin serving or utilizing a brisket and enjoy afterwards.

Resting brisket for 12 hours

Letting brisket rest for over 12 or so hours is the maximum time that is recommended to be resting in Brisket. 

Anything past that and you run the risk of the internal temperature dipping well below 165°F. 

In essence, the brisket will become very lukewarm and lose all of its warmth that makes eating meat so delectable. 

If you do find yourself having a brisket needing more rest time, then you should strongly consider just re-wrapping the meat and placing it directly inside of a refrigerator until you are ready to begin reheating it and consuming the overall piece of barbecue.

Can you rest brisket for 6 hours

Resting brisket for about six hours or so is right in the middle between resting it for 3 hours and 12 hours. It really all comes down to how quickly you would like to begin consuming your beautiful piece of meat.

Consider the type of event that you may be serving at, or if you are just serving for yourself. 

Ask yourself explicitly, whether or not you would like to begin eating 3 hours or 12 hours after the cook has concluded.

If you are serving for a large party, then you need to at least have some kind of an idea as to when your guests expect to be served and then plan accordingly.

How long to rest brisket before putting in fridge

Before you put brisket into a fridge, you should be wondering whether or not it should be sliced or if you can just leave the whole piece of meat untouched and placed directly in the refrigerator. 

If you happen to be resting a brisket, and you already know that you will be refrigerating it after the cooking portion of the overall smoke, then after around 3 hours or so, you should consider placing it inside of your refrigerator.

The length of time briskets need to be rested really depends on the use case and is up to the preference of the pitmaster once it reaches at least 3 hours of rest time. 

That means that after 3 hours of rest time, if you don’t really plan on serving it anytime soon and would rather just refrigerate, then go ahead.

How long will brisket stay warm in cooler

As noted throughout this article, expect to rest a brisket and maintain its warmth for anywhere between 3 to 12 hours.

Anything longer than 12 hours, and even if you had wrapped it and insulated it well enough, it would certainly become a lot less warm and would run the risk of ruining the meat.

Final Thoughts

Always make sure to be resting your briskets after every smell.

That means that once the brisket is temping out at around 200°F, pull it out the smoker and place it directly inside of a warming oven or an ice cooler for at least 3hours. 

Depending on the use case, you can extend that rest time all the way to 12 hours.

Anything further than 12 hours though, and you will want to begin considering refrigerating the brisket.