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10 Tips For Putting Brisket In Cooler After Smoking

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Putting brisket in cooler after smoking

If you are wondering about putting your brisket inside of a cooler after you have finished smoking it, you have definitely come to the right place. 

Most people will choose to either rest their briskets in ice coolers or warming ovens to let the internal temperature slowly decrease to around 165°F. There are a myriad of reasons why you should consider resting your brisket in this preferred storage container, which we will dive deep into throughout this article. 

It basically just allows for a dedicated space that provides excellent heat retention and can allow the brisket to obtain excellent results by just resting at for a period of up to 3 to 12 hours.

Why you should put your brisket inside of a cooler after smoking

One of the reasons why you should always consider putting your brisket inside of a cooler after you have pulled it off the smoker, is to allow the collagen and connective tissues to come down in internal temperature. 

You also want all of the moisture within the brisket to soak back into the meat, which can be accomplished by resting a brisket over 3 to 12 hours. And doing so, you’ll come out with an adequately rusted brisket that is not overcooked or undercooked. It will be just right and ready to be sliced.

What does putting a brisket inside of a cooler accomplish

Placing a brisket specifically inside of a cooler accomplishes the issue around heat retention. A lot of the time, many people may consider resting the brisket on the counter to be sufficient. 

It can be, but it may be better suited to rest a Brisket over a longer period of time in a well insulated container that does not drop the temperature too quickly. 

You want a healthy balance by having a slow but steady decrease in internal temperature for the barbecue. Not to mention, but by placing it inside of a cooler, you can then begin to transport it wherever you want while still resting your brisket appropriately.

When should you be putting a brisket inside of a cooler

The time in which you decide to pull your brisket on the smoker and then place it inside of a cooler for further resting, should be immediately. Once the brisket is temping out at 200°F and is probe tender, you should always consider placing it inside of the cooler as quickly as possible. 

You don’t want the brisket to have a chance to decrease in internal temperature too quickly, and if you are planning on resting it for upwards of 12 or so hours, you’ll need all the heat you can get once you place it inside of the cooler.

Who should be putting the brisket inside of the cooler

PitMasters are generally the ones who will be handling the brisket once it’s concluded the smoke phase of the cook. All they need to know is the concept of resting a brisket, and how the internal temperature must be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before pulling it out of the cooler. 

By placing it in these well insulated containers, the pitmaster should be assured that it can stay warm for several hours long.

How to keep brisket warm after smoking

In order to keep the brisket nice and warm after smoking, you should consider placing the brisket inside of the cooler as quickly as possible to allow for more heat to be trapped inside. The more heat, the longer the brisket will be sustained over time.

To trap heat even further, a lot of people may consider wrapping the brisket in butcher paper, foil, or even a selection of towels, which would certainly trap any heat from being emitted. 

Just make sure not to continuously open the ice cooler, as that would let a lot of the heat and such escape.

What temperature should a brisket be in a cooler?

The temperature that a brisket should be once it is placed inside of a cooler, can be anywhere between 165° and 200°F in internal temperature. The reason there is that large of a variance is because when you first put the brisket inside of the cooler it will most likely be at around 200°F.

Overtime, it will slowly decrease to around 165°F, at which point you can choose to continue to hold the brisket or pull the brisket out of the cooler and then begin slicing it. 

As noted above, make sure to not continuously open the cooler doors because you don’t want any ambient heat to escape. That would cool down the brisket faster than you would want.

Resting brisket for 12 hours

Resting Briskets for about 12 hours can certainly be done considering you pack it full with towels and perhaps even wrap the brisket. This would ensure that the insulated walls of the cooler will be able to trap heat to sustain a steady decrease in temperature for your brisket over a very long period of time. 

The longer you happen to rest your brisket, the better chance of it coming out great you will have. Most of the Briskets that I have done and have rested for upwards of 12 hours have come out simply amazing. 

The collagen had rendered down perfectly and it was almost like it was a very jiggly type of brisket. It melted in your mouth and was so delectable. 

On the contrary, the briskets that I had pulled at around the three hour resting Mark or even sooner, did not come out as good. 

I surmise that is because briskets are such large pieces of meat that have been smoking for such a long time, that it makes sense that they would need significant resting periods for them to retain all the connective tissue and moisture within them.

Rest brisket wrapped or unwrapped 

Resting briskets wrapped or unwrapped is up to the discretion of the PitMaster. The benefits of wrapping over the course of resting a brisket inside of a cooler though, is that it will allow you to achieve significantly longer resting times than an unwrapped Brisket inside the cooler would.

To get a little bit more granular, unwrapped Briskets placed inside of a cooler can probably stay warm for about 3 or so hours. 

Once you start employing wrapping techniques where you wrap the brisket in foil, butcher paper, or even a large selection of towels, you can then achieve longer resting times up to about 12 or so hours. 

This allows for better rendering of the collagen and soaking up of the moisture within the brisket itself.

Final Thoughts

Once you have pulled the brisket off the smoker at 200°F internal temperature and once it has probed tender, you will want to always consider placing it inside of a cooler or warming oven. 

This could be done by simply placing it directly in one of those storage containers or by wrapping it first and then placing it inside of either of those. It basically just allows for adequate resting which then allows for the moisture to soak back up into the meat and not evaporate once you slice into it.