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How Long Does It Take To Thaw A Packer Brisket? (Explained)

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Becoming a pitmaster is more than simply smoking the perfect brisket; it also entails food handling safety throughout the process, including defrosting and thawing your brisket.

Although it may appear to be a simple procedure, properly thawing a brisket minimizes the danger of foodborne infections and other maladies.

There are several reasons why you might freeze it, like finding one on sale that you do not intend to smoke yet or just being unable to finish your rations.

So, how long does it take?

Unfortunately, the safest ways might take a long time, often up to three days. There are, however, a few shortcuts you may use while still adhering to safety guidelines.

This article discusses how long it takes to defrost a packer brisket and the best methods for doing so.

How long Does Frozen Brisket Take to Thaw?

The rate at which pork thaws might vary depending on how it is defrosted.

To begin, thaw the brisket in the refrigerator. It is the most popular and safest way to defrost most meats. It prevents the raw brisket from reaching hazardous temperatures.

Thawing brisket in the fridge should take around 24 hours per 5 pounds of meat (on average). A 12-pound pork shoulder, for example, would take around 60 hours to thoroughly thaw. Raw brisket may be securely stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, so the duration should be no problem.

When thawing bigger cuts, allow yourself plenty of time to defrost before the smoke.

Most smokers will split a sizable brisket into 4-to-6-pound chunks. As a result, even if you thaw the entire pork shoulder, it will defrost faster since it is separated into smaller portions.

Is There a Quicker Way to Defrost Brisket?

While a frozen brisket should always be thawed in the refrigerator, a cold-water bath can be a safe yet faster approach to defrost it.

Before you begin, make sure the brisket is tightly wrapped with an air-tight seal. Vacuum seals are ideal for this.

  1. To begin, fill a container halfway with cold water and lay the wrapped pork shoulder within. Make sure the container is deep enough to submerge it fully.
  2. (If you don’t have a large enough container, flip the pork every 30 minutes.)
  3. Drain the water from the container and refill it with new cold water every 30 minutes. This will prevent the brisket from getting too warm and approaching the danger zone.

This can significantly increase the defrost rate to roughly 30 minutes per pound. So, instead of taking 24 hours to defrost a 6-pound brisket, it will only take 12 hours. You can thaw and smoke on the same day.

It should be noted that brisket that has been defrosted in a cold-water bath should be cooked immediately and should never be refrozen.

Can Brisket Be Cooked from Frozen?

Brisket is a bigger cut that, if frozen, will be difficult to cook uniformly. Bringing the entire cut to temperature at the same time will be tough.

Aside from that, brisket is thick and can have be oblong in shape, which is generally hard with a frozen cut. 

Additionally, when cooking from frozen, the cooking time must be doubled. This implies that smoking a frozen brisket may take up to 40 hours, which is unrealistic.

Can Brisket Be Refrozen?

If the brisket has been thawed in the refrigerator, it can be refrozen. Just make sure to refreeze the pork within 3-5 days of thawing.

While it is safe to refreeze brisket, it may get little dry and lose some quality, but it should still have a superb flavor. In this scenario, reheat it in a slow cooker. You can add some moisture to help the meat rehydrate.

Can You Eat “Freezer Burnt” Brisket?

The term “freezer burn” refers to frozen meals that have lost too much moisture while being kept, causing the meat to become rough and discolored. When frozen meat rests in the freezer for an extended period of time, it will periodically leak tiny quantities of liquid. If too much moisture escapes, it freezes onto the meat, diminishing its quality dramatically.

Even if it does not have the finest appearance or taste, it is entirely safe for human consumption. Freezer burn does not, on its own, offer a risk of foodborne disease.

Final Thoughts

The pace at which a brisket defrosts is determined by the size of the cut.

The general rule of thumb is 24 hours per 5 pounds of meat. The cold-water approach, on the other hand, substantially reduces this time to roughly 30 minutes per 5 pounds of beef.

Remember the following:

  • Brisket can be refrozen only if the cold-water procedure was not utilized.
  • Never thaw any form of meat in warm water since it rapidly turns it into a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • While freezer burn may reduce the overall quality of the meat, it is not unsafe to consume and may still be cooked.
  • Smoking a brisket from frozen is not a wise decision. Brisket takes a long time to thoroughly smoke, and heating frozen meat needs you to double the cooking time.