What should you do with all that leftover brisket? So many people avoid making brisket because their family isn’t large enough to tackle a full brisket. I mean, who is? In this post I’m going to teach you how to freeze and re-heat your brisket. The dirty little secret about leftover brisket…it tastes better than fresh brisket off the smoker! We’re also going to give you some great recipe ideas to use with your leftover brisket. Once I learned how to store leftover brisket it changed my life! I started putting it in everything, and believe me – everything tastes better with brisket!
How to Freeze and Re-heat Leftover Brisket
- I like to cut my brisket into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes before freezing. I do this because this is generally the size I need the meat to be for most of the recipes I use. You can leave the brisket whole if you want, it re-heats just the same.
- I also like to portion out the remaining brisket into about 2 cup portion sizes. You can always re-heat 2 portions if you need to, you can’t go the other way.
- Put your brisket into vacuum sealed packs (I love my FoodSaver!) or freezer ziplock bags if you don’t have a vacuum sealer. Place in your freezer and you’re set!
- To re-heat brisket I like to use two different methods: 1) Sous Vide and 2) Slow heat in the oven. They both work amazing and (in my opinion) make your brisket taste even better than fresh off the smoker.
Reheating Brisket Using the Sous Vide Method
“Sous Vide” (pronounced Sue Vide) is a fancy french term that means cooking food in heated water that is vacuum sealed in a pouch or ziploc bag. It works great for brisket because it helps the meat retain all the moisture, and it reheats slowly helping to retain the tenderness of your slow smoked meat.
Sous vide is very easy to do. All you need is a pot or pan, some water, and an oven. If you want to get fancy, there are sous vide machines that bring your water to exactly the right temperature. Have no fear, I’ll show you how to do it the cheap way; Here’s how to do it:
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F. Choose one of your pots or pans large enough that will allow your frozen brisket to fully submerge in water.
- Fill your pot/pan with hot water and place the frozen vacuum sealed brisket inside. IMPORTANT – make sure you do not un-seal your vacuum packed meat (or don’t open your ziplock bag if you are using bags). You want your meat to remain sealed during the entire cooking process.
- Put your pot/pan in your oven and cook at 225 for 2-3 hours. Don’t be afraid to grab your brisket pouch and check if it’s thawed.
- This step is optional, but I highly recommend. Once thawed and ready to eat, crank up your oven (or even your smoker) to 450 degrees F. Place the brisket in a baking pan and put in the oven for 1-3 minutes. Keep an eye on your brisket that you don’t over cook or dry out, but this flash cook will give you that crispy outside bark…mmmmm!
- One main reason I cube my leftover brisket is because I always start eating the “flat” (skinny side) of the brisket which leaves leftovers from the “point” (thick fattier side). Meat from the point is what you use to make burnt ends. These are phenomenal, and I will include a recipe below. If you decide to go with burnt ends, skip the flash cook step and go right to pan frying.
Re-heating Brisket Using Slow Heat in an Oven
This method is very similar to the sous vide method, just forget the water. The brisket does lose a little bit of moisture, but it still tastes phenomenal. Here are the steps:
- Run your vacuum sealed pack of brisket under warm water to try to start thawing your brisket. Try to break the cubes of brisket apart (if you can’t get some apart, no worries you can break them up later).
- Pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees F. Remove brisket from vacuum sealed packaging.
- Place the frozen chunks of brisket in a metal or ceramic baking tin (I usually use a pie tin or a bread tin). Put your brisket in the oven and slow cook for 1.5-2.5 hours.
- Check it every 30 minutes to make sure it’s not overcooking. Also break apart brisket pieces that are still frozen together as they thaw. If they’re not broken apart they will stay frozen.
- No need to flash cook these as they will already develop a nice bark from the slow cook. Enjoy!
As you can tell, neither of these options involve your smoker. I’ve tried re-heating in the smoker, but it has always ended up dried out and flavorless. If you use the two methods above, you will not be disappointed!
My Favorite Leftover Brisket Recipes
Before you get to the leftovers, here is our Perfect Brisket Recipe. It will not disappoint:
As I promised, here is my favorite Burnt Ends recipe.
I love me some smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. Recently I included shredded brisket into the filling, and it was AMAZING. I will add this recipe to the blog in the future. So look for it!