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When to defrost brisket? (Explained)

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Brisket can take a long time to smoke, sometimes taking up to 20 hours to fully cook! Unfortunately, defrosting a brisket can take much longer…

Whether you’ve been storing your treasured brisket in the freezer since December, or you’re ready to show off your smoking abilities during the summer months, understanding how to defrost a brisket properly and safely is a crucial ability that every pitmaster should have in their arsenal.

In this article, we’ll talk about how long it takes to defrost a frozen brisket and how to do it effectively.

How Quickly Does Brisket Defrost?

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

To begin, always try to 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 15-pound brisket, for example, would take around 3 days 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.

How To Defrost Brisket

Thawing brisket in the refrigerator is a simple process.

Line a baking dish with paper towels, or any other dish with raised sides. Then, take the frozen brisket out of the freezer, leaving it in the airtight packaging in which it was stored, and place it in the dish.

Place it on the lowest shelf, as far back as possible in the fridge. This is not just the coldest part of the fridge, but it will also assist avoid cross-contamination if the package begins to leak juices as the meat thaws.

Simply let it to defrost, checking on it every now and then.

After it has thawed completely, open the package, and smell it to ensure that it is still good. Check for ice crystals or frozen patches on the surface.

Tip: if you’re going to freeze a particularly large brisket, it’s a good idea to cut it into smaller portions first. When it comes to defrosting, you will be able to thaw the individual brisket sections much faster than if it was still in one giant portion.

Is There a Quicker Way to Thaw Brisket?

If you’re in a pinch and need to defrost a brisket quickly, you can use a cold-water bath. Simply fill a large pot or sink with cold water and submerge the brisket. 

Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Once the brisket is thawed, cook it immediately. If you’re not ready to cook it, you can place it in the fridge for up to two days. Just make sure to pat it dry before cooking. 

If the bowl is too small to soak the entire brisket, rotate it so that no one side is exposed to ambient temperature for too long. If not, the exposed areas of the brisket will be in danger of becoming too warm and entering the “danger zone”. 

Cold water baths are the quickest way to defrost meat, but they do have some risks. If the meat isn’t kept cold enough, bacteria can start to grow. That’s why it’s important to change the water regularly and cook the meat as soon as it’s thawed.

Remember: Never thaw brisket, or any other type of beef, in warm water. Warm water exposes the meat to potentially harmful circumstances, rapidly warming it into the danger zone.

Can Brisket Be Defrosted in A Microwave?

While it is true that microwaves can sometimes cause meat to dry out, there are a few ways to avoid this. 

First, make sure to use the lowest setting possible. 

Second, stop the defrosting process every few minutes and check on the meat. If it starts to look dry, simply add a little bit of water. 

Finally, once the meat is completely defrosted, cook it immediately. By following these steps, you can successfully defrost brisket in the microwave without sacrificing taste or quality.

Can Thawed Brisket Be Re-Frozen?

The answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, the quality of the meat will decrease each time it is frozen and thawed. 

Second, the texture of the meat will change, so it may be more tender or dry when you reheat it. 

Finally, any sauces or gravies that were on the brisket will separate when it is reheated. So, if you plan on freezing leftover brisket, be sure to label it clearly and use it within a few months for best results.