How long to rest brisket? Maximizing moisture and flavor.

how long to rest brisket

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Craving for a flavorful and juicy brisket? Then don’t overlook the critical factor of resting time. To help you fully understand why it’s so important, let this article be your guide!

If you’re curious about how long to rest brisket, then you’re in the right place! I’ll cover what really goes on while the brisket is in its rest period as well as how long exactly you should rest it to maximize both texture and taste. So get ready – your perfect BBQ dish awaits!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How long to rest brisket?
  • What happens if you don’t let your brisket rest?
  • And much more!

Why Rest a Brisket after cooking?

Taking the time to rest brisket after cooking is absolutely essential for achieving that delectable juiciness and tenderness. As it cooks, the muscle fibers contract, releasing some of its juices – but with a proper resting period, these will be able to redistribute evenly throughout. This not only makes your meat succulent but even more flavorful than before!

Not only does resting your brisket provide flavor enhancement, but it also helps even out the brisket’s internal temperature. After cooking, generally, the outside of the brisket is hotter than the inside. By allowing time for heat distribution throughout all parts of your brisket with rest time, you will be left with a more consistent texture and taste in each bite!

How Long to Rest Brisket?

If you’re aiming to make the perfect brisket, it is important to be aware of several key factors, such as its size and thickness, how it was cooked, and desired level of doneness. Generally speaking, allow your brisket some time to rest between 30 minutes up until two hours for optimal results!

sliced brisket

For smaller cuts of brisket, give it a rest time of at least thirty minutes so that the internal temperature and juices can even out. For larger pieces, however, let them sit for around two hours to guarantee they have enough time to truly assimilate their flavors properly. By giving your brisket an adequate amount of resting time, you will be able to enjoy juicy and tender meat every single time!

While planning your meal, don’t forget to factor in carryover cooking. This phenomenon occurs when the brisket’s internal temperature continues to rise even after taking it off the heat source. It is essential to figure out how long you should rest your brisket and ensure that it’s cooked perfectly!

When is Brisket Done?

Cooking the perfect brisket requires a careful balance of time and temperature. As such, many chefs recommend cooking it to an internal temperature between 205°F (96°C) and 210°F (98°C). This range is believed to create the ideal version that’s both tender and juicy!

brisket internal temp

What’s important to note is that the cooking duration of brisket can be diverse, depending upon the size and thickness of the cut, what cooking technique you use, as well as how done you’d like it. It can easily take up between 8-10 hours or even more, so make sure to plan ahead before you make a delicious meal.

How to Rest a Brisket?

For a succulent and tender brisket, proper resting is key. To ensure the best results for your meal, be sure to follow these tips when it comes to rest time:

  1. Carefully place the brisket onto a cutting board or platter, away from its heat source.
  2. Let the brisket rest. You can preserve your brisket’s warmth and flavor by tenting it with a foil layer. Be sure to cover the entire surface, but don’t seal tightly, as this will cause moisture buildup and can lead to the steaming of the meat.
  3. Depending upon the size and thickness of your cut, as well as the desired level of doneness, let your brisket rest accordingly.
  4. After the desired resting time has been reached, slice the brisket into thin strips opposite of its grain and serve it.

Read more >> When to pull brisket off smoker?

What happens if you don’t let your brisket rest?

dry brisket

If the brisket is not given ample time to rest, it will be impossible for its juices to return to the meat fibers, which will result in dry and tough slices.

The internal temperature of a brisket continues to rise for a while after it’s taken away from heat, meaning if you don’t provide adequate rest time, those yummy juice particles won’t settle back into their intended place – leaving your brisket a little flavorless and dry. Trust me on this; I made many mistakes when I first started out my barbecue journey.

Don’t let those hours of hard work go to waste by not allowing your brisket the time it needs to rest and develop its full tenderness and juiciness. Resting is an integral component of creating a succulent, mouth-watering brisket, so remember when planning your cook that this step must be taken into account.

Do you need to use a meat thermometer when resting a brisket?

smoked brisket

Although it’s not required, we highly recommend that you use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your brisket during the resting period. By doing so, you can avoid overcooking the meat and ensure that it’s cooked through and juicy.

To ensure that your brisket is cooked to perfection, using a meat thermometer can be incredibly useful. This allows you to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket and determine how long it should rest before being served. If you don’t have access to a thermometer, then relying on experience and judgment will still allow you to create an amazing result!

Cooking methods of a brisket

There are several ways of cooking brisket, and here are the most popular ones:

Slow cooking brisket

Slow cooking a brisket is one of the most classic techniques for achieving an incredibly tender, succulent, and flavorful piece of meat. By utilizing either your oven or slow cooker to heat up the brisket over many hours at low temperatures – you can ensure that it cooks evenly throughout, providing maximum taste satisfaction with minimal effort!

The low temperature used when slow cooking permits the flavors to progress and intensify throughout its duration. To enhance these flavors further, using herbs, spices, and liquids such as garlic, onions, wine, or barbecue sauce will do the job.

If you’re ready to get started on an incredibly delicious slow-cooked brisket, it all begins with a simple seasoning of the meat. Next, place your brined masterpiece in either a roasting pan or slow cooker, and make sure the lid is secure.

Feel free to add any liquids or spices for extra flavor! Then, put your dish into a preheated oven at 300°F (or onto low setting if using a slow cooker) and cook the brisket for about 5 to 7 hours, depending on its size.

After your brisket is cooked to perfection, take it out of the oven or slow cooker and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. This time allows the meat’s juices to be absorbed back in and make your brisket even more succulent when served.

Smoking brisket

Smoking is an age-old way to make a flavorful and fragrant brisket. Wood smokers are generally used for this purpose, but you can also get great results with an electric smoker! The smoky flavor will take your cooking experience to the next level – so don’t hesitate to give it a try.

To master the perfect smoked brisket, begin by seasoning your meat and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow those flavors to marinate.

Place this flavorful brisket on your smoker’s rack and smoke over indirect heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-200°F. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of this particular cut; usually needing between 6-12 hours.

smoking a brisket

As you smoke the brisket, an appetizing crust will form on the exterior while keeping its inner moisture and succulence. Add wood chips like mesquite, hickory, applewood, or others to your smoker to increase that smoky flavor. Remember that different woods will add different flavors to your brisket, from mild to more pronounced.

After the brisket is cooked to perfection, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for one to two hours. This allows all its juices to spread throughout – giving that extra bit of tenderness you’re looking for! When time’s up, slice against the grain before serving.

If you love bold, smoky flavors in your barbecue, then smoking a brisket is the perfect way to cook this cut of meat. With an excellent set-up and some determination, you can effortlessly smoke a succulent brisket at home that will tantalize everyone’s taste buds!

Grilling brisket

Grilling is a fast and simple solution to cook a delicious brisket, yielding the perfect combination of crispy crust and succulent interior. To achieve this with your gas or charcoal grill, simply place the brisket over direct heat and prepare for an unforgettable meal.

To get the best result when grilling a brisket, it’s essential to season it first and let it sit for about an hour at room temperature. Then position the meat on the grill rack and cook over medium-high heat until its internal temperature reaches 200°F.

grilling brisket

As you cook your brisket, take care not to overdo it, and be sure to monitor the temperature. Furthermore, for a delicious twist on flavor, add some barbecue sauce or other seasonings during cooking!

After the brisket is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least an hour. This will allow for maximum juiciness as well as a more tender texture. Finally, when ready to serve, slice against the grain of beef and enjoy!

Grilling is an expedient and efficient way to prepare brisket, making it ideal for those without a slow cooker or smoker who require a delicious meal. By honing your skills with practice and patience, you can quickly produce delectable results in no time!


To discover the ideal method for you, experimentation and practice are paramount. Different techniques will result in various textures and tastes. Additionally, the fat content of the meat, seasonings used, and internal temperature can all have an effect on the end result.

No matter the cooking technique, it is essential to remember how long brisket should rest after preparation – this will allow the juices to redistribute, making the meat more tender. While each method has its benefits, discovering which works best for you entails experimentation; try different methods until you find your favorite!


Ultimately, do not forget that the brisket rest time is an important factor. By doing this essential task and giving your brisket time to rest, you will savor a succulent cut of meat overflowing with flavor!

juicy brisket

For how long to rest brisket is a matter of different factors. If you want to create a perfectly cooked brisket every single time, aim for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 2 hours when it comes to proper resting time. The length will vary according to the size and thickness of the cut, as well as your desired doneness. 

A meat thermometer can be utilized for optimal results but is not required; make sure that you steer clear from over-resting in order to prevent dryness or toughness! If followed accordingly, these guidelines are guaranteed to ensure succulent and tender perfection with each bite.


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Tom Wilmer

I'm Tom Wilmer, an award-winning pitmaster and BBQ judge. I share my passion for barbecue through my blog, BBQ Soldiers, offering recipes, tips, and smoker reviews. Let's grill together!

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