Brisket is meat from the lower chest or breast of beef and veal (the pectoral muscles).
Cattle use their pectoral muscles to support 60% of their body weight. This makes the brisket meat have a lot of connective tissue fibers and must be tenderized properly before cooking.
It is one of the ‘primal’ cuts of beef - there are 8 others. It is often basted during cooking to help the collagen gelatinize. This tenderizes the meat and is prevented from drying out further by leaving the fat cap attached.
As brisket is such a large cut of meat, there is almost always excess left over. If you do not know how to reheat your brisket correctly, you run the risk of it drying out and becoming inedible.
Armed with our tips to reheat your brisket gently, you will never have to worry about dry leftovers again. It is important to wrap the brisket carefully and ensure it is sealed well to prevent moisture from escaping.
We also recommend adding some extra liquid to the bottom of the tray your brisket is in. You can use this to baste the meat during the cooking process and this will help to lock in some extra moisture.
You could also preserve the cooking juices from the original cooking of the brisket to use to moisten the meat.
If your brisket is whole, this might be your easiest option for reheating. Preheat the oven to around 325 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure your brisket is thawed completely.
Place it in a deep roasting tray and cover with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Do not poke holes in it, and ensure the meat is covered completely.
We advise pouring some liquid into the bottom of the tray to prevent the meat from drying out. This could be residual cooking juices, stock, or simply boiling water.
If you want to add more flavor, reduce 2 cups apple juice down to 1 cup. Add in 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce. Mix well and pour into the base of the cooking tray. This doubles as a sauce for the meat once it has warmed.
Place in the oven and cook for around 1 hour, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a smoker, this is a convenient way to reheat your brisket.
Using the 2 Zone cooking setup, heat the grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using a gas grill, this should be set to a medium heat.
Wrap your brisket in 2 layers of aluminum foil to prevent moisture from escaping. Place it in the indirect zone and leave there. The brisket will be cooked when the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unwrap the meat and place on the direct zone of your grill. Sit here for 5-10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A sous vide is a fancy way to say a water bath. Your brisket should be vacuum sealed in an airtight plastic bag.
The water temperature of your sous vide should be around 110-175 degrees Fahrenheit. You will know it's cooked when the internal temperature of the meat is the same as the water temperature.
As a general rule of thumb, this will take 5 hours for a whole brisket, and around 2 hours for sliced brisket.
Allow the brisket to come to room temperature before placing in the slow cooker.
If you have kept any of the original cooking juices from the brisket, add these to the container of your slow cooker along with the brisket. If you do not have any cooking juices, use stock or stock mixed with apple juice. This liquid is vital to prevent the brisket from drying out as it warms up.
Set the temperature of the slow cooker to a low setting - somewhere between 185 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the brisket well with aluminum foil.
Leave the brisket to cook in the slow cooker for around 4 hours. Remove from the container and baste in the residual liquid once this time has elapsed. Wrap in aluminum foil and allow to rest on the side for 10 minutes.
This is not the optimal method for reheating, but this will work in a pinch. If you need your brisket to warm quickly and are not that fussed about the texture, this is the way to go.
Ensure your leftover brisket is in a microwave-safe container. Set the microwave’s power to low and place the brisket container inside.
Reheat in 30-second intervals, checking the brisket’s temperature in between. This will take under 5 minutes, but the exact time will depend on the quantity you are reheating.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil on a stovetop. Place the brisket inside a sealed plastic bag. This bag should be heat-safe.
Allow the water to boil and heat up the brisket. The internal temperature of the meat should be around 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steaming brisket is a very easy way to reheat it without compromising the moisture of the meat.
Heat a large pan of boiling water on the stovetop and place a steam basket on the top. Place the brisket in the steam basket and leave to sit there until the internal temperature of the brisket is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which Is The Best?
The simplest methods for reheating brisket are the microwave, steaming, boiling, and sous vide methods.
Baking, smoking, and sous vide are the most effective methods, although smoking is preferred by most brisket connoisseurs.
Boiling, steaming, and microwaving are the most time efficient methods although these do not necessarily produce good results.
The best method to use is the sous vide method, although this requires some specialized equipment that not everyone will have.
For the regular home cook, we suggest reheating your brisket in the oven. This is easy to do, takes little effort and is accessible for everyone.