Brisket is a cut of meat that spans a few different cultures—it is used as part of Southern barbecue, is a traditional Jewish dish during the holidays, and is also made into corned beef. Brisket is from the breast section of the cow and therefore has the pectoral muscle, making for a very tough cut of meat (that tenderizes when slow cooked over a long period of time). There are two cuts, one leaner than the other—the lean cut is used for corned beef while the fattier cut is ideal for barbecue and slow cooking.
These cuts of brisket are often large in size, and because of its proportions, brisket is perfect for a large crowd—which often means shopping and cooking ahead of time as well as plenty of leftovers. So it is important to know the best way to store fresh and cooked brisket so none goes to waste.
Storing Fresh Brisket
You will find fresh brisket in the meat section of your supermarket or at your local butcher. It is often sold in a large quantity—three pounds and up—but keep in mind that it will shrink quite a bit as it cooks so you will need to buy a bigger piece than you think necessary. If you choose the second cut, which has more fat than the first cut, some of the weight will be attributed to the layer of fat surrounding the meat.
A fresh brisket will be fine in the coldest part of your refrigerator (35 to 40 F) for up to five days before cooking, and up to eight days if your refrigerator section is kept at a temperature lower than 34 F. When wrapped airtight and frozen right away, fresh brisket can be kept in the freezer from six to twelve months.
Storing Cooked Brisket
Brisket is one of those dishes you can make ahead of time and it will still be delicious—maybe even better—served later on. If your cooked brisket has a gravy or was cooked in a liquid, you can store the meat with or without it. Cooked brisket without liquid or gravy will last longer in the fridge (up to four days) but less time in the freezer (up to two months). If the brisket is stored in the gravy, it may be refrigerated up to two days and frozen up to three months. Make sure you wrap the meat well and place it in an airtight container.
Ways to Make a Brisket
Once you make this cut of meat you will wonder how you lived without it! Brisket can be cooked several ways, made sweet or savory, and is ideal in the slow cooker, as well as smoked, oven-roasted, and braised. Discover delicious barbecue recipes, Jewish brisket recipes, rubs for barbecue brisket, and recipes for your slow cooker.