As a pit master, you might already have learned by now that brisket is the toughest cut of meat to cook. Our research has uncovered important information like brisket internal temperature as well as brisket stall temperature.
However, it is also important to know what temp to serve brisket after resting it for how much time. It might be one of the most important phases of enhanced flavor, tenderness, and juiciness of the meat.
Let’s discuss the optimal brisket serving temp of 150 F to 170 F. We will find that brisket is pulled at 204 F when it is wrapped in foil and continues to cook till it reaches 210 F. Rest the brisker for further 2-3 hours, unwrap it when internal temperature reaches 150 to 170 F. The latter is the optimal brisket serving temp for a delicious and tender brisket cut.
In a previous article, I shared the Guide to Smoked Brisket Internal Temp which is an important piece of information to understand before we move on to finding out the accurate temperature for serving and eating brisket.
The safe temperature for eating brisket:
Most meat is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 F, however, at 140, brisket starts to breed bacteria due to the moisture.
Hence, pit masters swear to pass by this temp as quickly as possible and try to hit the 170 F mark as early as possible (within four hours).
The final brisket internal temp is anywhere between 190 F to 210 F for a safe and tender meat cut. Cooking brisket requires experience and a pitmaster is one that has learned to cook this cut with much trial and error.
Serving temp for Brisket: What Temp to Server Brisket after Resting
After the brisket is cooked to perfection, knowing the brisket serving temp and when to slice, it is the tip of the iceberg for a tender and juicy brisket dish.
Slicing is the most essential step in this whole process as it has a massive effect on the brisket’s taste. After resting, brisket should be served and sliced when its internal temperature comes down to anywhere between 150 F to 170 F.
Can you eat brisket at 150/165/190?
The optimal brisket temperature for slicing is between 150 to 170 F. Going higher than 170 will make your brisket run dry. If you slice the meat at a brisket serving temp of 190 F, you risk losing its juiciness and making it go dry as it cools down further.
Going lower than the serving temperature of brisket of 150 F might probably give you a cold and hard brisket meat, which is also unsafe to eat. Can you eat brisket at 165-170 F? This is the optimal brisket serving temp.
Difference between Brisket finishing Temp and Brisket serving temps:
Now, before we get confused, let’s understand the difference between brisket serving and finishing temp.
The brisket finishing temperature is the point where you stop cooking this meat and pull it off the smoker. As mentioned, that temp is between 190 F to 210 F.
Professional pit masters pull at 205 F and hold it till the internal temp reaches 210 F.
But when it comes to at what temp you can serve brisket at? That’s a whole different ball game.
There is a resting period between the two temps which we will discuss below.
What temp and for how long to rest brisket at?
Why resting brisket is important?
Resting brisket basically means letting it sit, all wrapped in foil, and rest at room temperature for it to continue cooking for at least 2 to 4 hours.
Brisket temp reaches 210 F within the first hour of the resting period, which is an essential ground to cover. When brisket is cooked, it loses a lot of moisture, especially during the high and fast brisket cooking method.
Resting helps this cut in reversing that and resealing some juices within the meat’s fibers to make them tender and juicy. If you slice the brisket without letting it rest, the brisket will be bone dry internally as well as lose all its remaining moisture out there on your carving plate.
Resting period is when brisket redistributes all its juiciness across its fibers.
Resting is an essential part of the smoking brisket process.
What temp to rest brisket at? If that’s your next question, then you need to understand the process of ‘carryover cooking.’ Meat keeps cooking for one hour even after you pull it off the smoker due to the high temperatures.
So, when the brisket reaches an internal temp of 200-204 F, it’s best to pull it, wrap it and let the brisket rest for an hour at that point till it reaches 210 F.
Cooking it till 210 F and pulling afterward will only make the meat dry and resting is an important step for letting brisket regain its moisture and juices.
Now you may be asking how long to rest brisket? Brisket is actually rested for around 2-4 hours, however, it reaches optimal internal temp after the first hour.
Resting brisket for 12 hours:
Now if you are an early bird like me, you might want to cook 12 hours or a day early for that juicy and flavorful brisket served to your guests right on time.
Never slice it after the above mentioned one hour mark, if that’s the case.
Refrigerate the brisket wrapped and in one whole piece to retain its flavors and juice. In this way, you can easily reheat it and never lose any of its moisture. Give yourself a window of two hours if you are going to reheat.
How to wrap and store brisket?
If you plan to refrigerate the brisket before serving, then remember to wrap it up in foil and store it on a lower, closed shelf of your refrigerator.
Crank up your oven to 300 F and put your wrapped up the whole brisket in it. Heat it up until the temperature reaches the optimal brisket serving temp which is between 140 F to 150 F.
Take it out of the oven, wait for 5-10 minutes and then slice it like its fresh out of a smoker!
You should also be aware that at what temp to unwrap brisket. Don’t just unwrap right out of the oven. Take it out of the oven only when the internal brisket serving temp reaches anywhere between 140 F to 150 F. Let it rest all wrapped up till the internal temp reaches anywhere between 150 F to 170 F. Unwrap the brisket at that point and slice for a flavorful and juicy brisket dish.
Why wrap brisket?
Wrapping brisket after it’s cooked ensures that the juices don’t run out of the meat and are not lost. The wrap holds the juices together while you refrigerate it, reheat and slice it later.
Butcher paper and foil have been found to be the best wrapping materials for this purpose.
Brisket Temp for slicing
Only slice brisket, whether you rest it or not, at an internal brisket serving temp of 150 F to 170 F.
You can hold it in a cooler, warming cabinet, or smoker to maintain this temperature if there is still time to serve.
But the important tip is to ONLY SLICE WHEN IT IS TIME TO SERVE! Slicing brisket means the juices flow out and if not eaten right away, it can lose all moisture and dry up.
Not only that, but also remember to slice as much brisket as is needed and keep the remaining intact for storing up and reheating with its juices later.