How long to let brisket sit before smoking? The reasons!

If you’re hear to understand how long to let brisket sit before smoking, you’re in the right place.

To ensure you get the best from this prized cut of beef, brisket needs to be well-rested before proceeding with putting it in the smoker. By the way, this is also relevant when you cook brisket in the oven and not just the smoker.

Just to point out that this is not relevant for a frozen brisket. Allowing the brisket to sit before smoking is a process that should be done once the brisket has fully thawed! Once correctly thawed you can then follow the same process below.

Before we get into how long to let brisket sit before smoking, I want to explain why is so precious to avid BBQers.

Why BBQers choose brisket over other cuts of beef?

The brisket is a large muscle that comes from just below the neck of the cow running under the ribs. Cows do not have collar bones so this muscle supports a large portion of the cow’s body weight.

Because this muscle gets a lot of use it has a lot of connective tissue which is what gives a smoked brisket its moist, pull-apart texture when cooked correctly. The connective tissue is the main reason a brisket has such high smoking times, it can take a very long time to break the tissue down to a soft texture.

The reason BBQers choose brisket for smoking is its higher fat content. This high fat content is broken down within the meat during the smoking process to add the intense beef flavor sought after.

Come on, how long?

Brisket should be rested at the very minimum for 30 minutes to 1 hour before smoking to allow the meat to warm to room temperature before smoking. However, this large cut can be rested for up to 2 hours on the kitchen side before chucking on the smoker.

You can leave brisket out for longer you will hear of people resting for hours however the reasons for leaving a brisket to rest mean leaving for longer gains you nothing.

Resting for any great length of time like overnight could result in spoilt smelly meat especially if left in a warm room on a summer’s day.

What’s the reason for resting brisket for so long?

The reason for leaving a brisket to rest is to allow the brisket to come up to room temperature, this is just another cooking process. If you place the meat straight on the smoker when it is at a cold fridge temperature it has another hour of cooking just to get to the room temperature.

By starting the brisket off at a higher internal temperature like room temperature you’ve just shaved an hour from the time in the smoker.

If you are using a nice rub like a coffee rub or SPG, you can cover the brisket as soon as you remove it from the fridge before resting. That will give some time for the rub to penetrate the meat and inject extra flavor while resting.

Why not just chuck it on the smoker?

Well, you can however if you are like most grillers it usually takes 30 minutes to set the smoker up and get it lit, then about another 15 – 20 mins before the grill are it at the perfect temperature for smoking.

So, why not take the brisket out beforehand. This 50 minutes setting up time, is the brisket ‘cooking time’ on the kitchen side. This is then not another hour on the grill later.

What’s the optimum time for resting brisket?

The optimum time for resting a brisket before smoking is 1 hours. 1 hour is sufficient time for the largest cuts of brisket to warm to room temperature. e

You can check how long to let a brisket sit before smoking by using a meat temperature probe to give you an accurate reading of what the internal of the meat is doing. Once it has reached the ambient room temperature, then set the smoker and get it it on.

To summarise

Hopefully, you should fully understand how long to let a brisket sit before smoking but to summarise 1 hour is the perfect amount of time for a brisket to warm to room temperature. By doing so you’ve shaved time from the smoking process.