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If you purchase your brisket online, it will likely arrive frozen. You also may find a great deal on briskets at Costco and decide to buy a couple and store them in the freezer.

Before smoking a brisket, follow these beef brisket tips to learn how to thaw frozen brisket properly.

frozen brisket in packaging.

How long will it take to thaw a brisket?

When thawing a brisket, you need to ensure that the internal meat temperature doesn’t rise above 40F degrees for more than two hours.

The safest way to defrost a brisket is in the refrigerator. A 10-12-pound brisket will take 2-3 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

Thawing brisket in a water bath

If you don’t have time to wait 2-3 days for your brisket to thaw, you can thaw it in a cooler in a cold water bath. Leave it in its original packaging, so you don’t waterlog it.

You must make sure that the entire brisket is submerged and replace the water every 30-45 minutes, until it’s thawed.

This process will take several hours, and you’ll need to change the water frequently, so the meat doesn’t surpass that 40F degree mark, because that’s when bacteria can start to develop.

Personally, I find that method a little exhausting leading into a 12-hour cook, so I do my best to plan for the fridge thaw method.

Once your brisket is almost fully thawed, it’s time to trim your brisket. It’s actually a little easier to trim it if it’s still really cold.

  • Prep Tub: While you can place your brisket straight in the refrigerator, I like to place it in the XL Drip EZ Prep Tub first, just in case the package leaks.
  • Fridge Thermometer: The Spot from Thermoworks will accurately track the temperature of your refrigerator so you can ensure it’s in the safe zone.
  • Cooler: If you choose to thaw your brisket using the quick cooler method, I suggest using a heavy-duty cooler like a Yeti 45 Tundra. The insulated walls do a great job maintaining a steady temperature.

More FAQs about Brisket

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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