Brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the pectoral muscles of the cow. It is a tough piece of meat with lots of connective tissue. Because of this, it is best suited for long and slow cooking. It is often cooked on the barbecue, is used to make corned beef, and is sometimes smoked. However, it often comes in large portions so can you freeze leftovers? Yes, you can, and you can also freeze it raw. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze brisket and how to defrost it (see also How To Freeze Beef Steak).
How To Freeze Brisket
The most important thing to remember is that if air gets to your brisket, it will dry out so you must ensure that it is tightly wrapped, whether it is cooked or not.
This is the way to freeze brisket.
1. Cool down the brisket.
If you have cooked your brisket, transfer it onto a rack to allow the cool air to circulate around it. It needs to be cold when it goes in the freezer otherwise it will bring up the temperature and other food in the freezer may start to defrost and eventually spoil. In addition, you must cool down the brisket within two hours as after this time, bacteria can start to develop and when you come to eat the meat, you could become sick.
2. Portion the brisket.
First, portion out the brisket into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need for each meal. This will avoid waste.
3. Double-wrap the brisket.
You can use either aluminum foil or cling film to double-wrap the brisket. Make sure that it is tightly wrapped so that air doesn’t get in. If air does get in, freezer burn will occur, and the brisket will lose taste and texture. The main problem will be that it will lose moisture and the brisket will end up dry.
4. Put the brisket in an airtight container.
Alternatively, you can put the brisket in a freezer bag but remember to squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn. Put a label on the container or bag with the date you put it in the freezer and the contents.
Tips For Freezing Brisket
1. Make sure that the brisket is airtight.
If it isn’t, freezer burn may occur, and your brisket will end up dry and tasteless. Double wrap it in cling film or aluminum foil and put it in a freezer bag or airtight container.
2. Divide the brisket into portions.
This is to ensure that you only defrost as much as you need for a meal. You may want to use some of it straight away and then freeze the rest.
3. Freeze as soon as possible.
The sooner you freeze your brisket, the better. It will then taste almost as fresh as before it was put in the freezer.
4. Add gravy to the brisket.
If you spread gravy on your brisket before freezing, it will keep the meat moist.
For How Long Can You Freeze Brisket?
You can freeze cooked brisket for three months while raw brisket can be kept in the freezer for between eight months and a year. With this in mind, it is better to freeze brisket raw as it lasts for so much longer in the freezer. However, if you have had a meal and have leftovers, it is better to freeze the meat rather than throw it away.
How Do You Defrost Brisket?
There is only one way to defrost brisket and that is slowly and steadily. This helps to retain taste, texture, and moisture. Take it out of the freezer the day before you want to use it and put it in the fridge. Keep it in its packaging. Depending on the size of your brisket, it will take between 10 and 18 hours to defrost so you will have to plan ahead.
Don’t defrost your brisket in the microwave as it may dry the meat out. In addition, don’t defrost the brisket at room temperature as this is an open invitation for bacteria to develop. You could then end up being sick.
Can You Refreeze Brisket?
As long as you defrost the brisket in the fridge and keep it in there, it will be safe to refreeze it. However, if you heat it up and then leave it on the table at room temperature, we don’t advise refreezing it as bacteria could develop during this time. Be aware, however, refreezing can disturb the moisture levels and the brisket could end up dry.
It is much better to divide the brisket into meal-size portions so that you only remove as much as you need, and the problem of refreezing doesn’t rear its head.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Brisket?
Yes, brisket freezes very well as long as you make sure that it is airtight when you put it in the freezer. If you are freezing raw brisket, remember to put it in the freezer as soon as possible so that it stays fresh even if you keep it in there for eight months to a year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing brisket but in case you are still curious, we have answered a few questions here.
Raw brisket will last for between five and eight days in the fridge depending on how cold you keep your fridge. However, it is not a good idea to freeze it if you have kept it in the fridge for this length of time. It won’t taste as fresh when you come to defrost and cook it. It is best to put it in the freezer straight away. Only put it in the fridge if you intend to use it within five to eight days.
Cooked brisket will last for four days in the fridge as long as you keep it airtight. Wrap it in cling film and put it in an airtight container.
Yes, you can freeze smoked brisket in the same way as we have described above. However, you will probably notice that some of the smokiness disappears.
There are plenty of interesting dishes you could make with your beef brisket. Try beef brisket massaman curry, pot roast brisket with gravy, slow-cooked brisket with red wine, thyme, and onions, or butternut squash and brisket chili. Brisket is also good sliced in a sandwich with beef onions and blue cheese and served with slaw.