How long to let brisket rest

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Barbecue, Smoker | 0 comments

Brisket can be a difficult meal to cook, as roasting meat is never an easy task. You have to make sure that the outer layer is cooked perfectly to the crisp, but the inside is soft enough to melt the flavors perfectly. The key to this balance lies in the rest period in which the brisket cools down after being taken out! 

The rest time after the brisket is taken out is essential, as cold brisket is chewier than necessary, and also tastes much blander compared to a freshly made one. You need to let the meat rest for at least 1 hour so that all the natural juices in the meat spread easily and make the brisket soft to chew and also full of flavors. 

If you are cooking brisket for the first time, and are confused about the rest period, this article can guide you well. Read on to know more!

Why Is It Necessary to Rest a Brisket?

For fairly new cooks, the rest period for meat is when you let it sit outside to cool down after it has finished cooking. It is absolutely essential for brisket to rest as the cooling time is a part of the whole process. 

Unlike other meat recipes, brisket has a complex flavor profile that tastes great when you give it time to sink into the meat. 

When you rest a brisket, it allows all the different juices to sink into the meat and taste soft and savory. Though this sounds easy, it is quite difficult to do, because if you let the brisket for a slightly longer or shorter time, the whole meal can be a disaster – either difficult to chew or completely undercooked. 

Even cutting a slice of the brisket right after you smoke it will make the juices escape and the flavor will be uneven throughout the meat! 

How Long Should You Let Your Brisket Rest?

For a perfect brisket that cooks slowly once you take it out, the ideal internal temperature at which it should be removed is when it reaches 190°F or 195°F

The general amount of time you need to keep the brisket rested is at least 1 hour and not more than 2 hours. Even when in a rush, you need to let it rest for at least 45 minutes.

Recipes with smaller brisket parts can allow the meat to rest for a lesser amount of time, while a larger portion will need more time. The rule of thumb that everyone goes by is that the longer you rest brisket, the juicier it tastes. However, more than 2 hours will be too much for any kind of brisket as the texture will turn mushy. 

The following is a table that can help you understand how long you need to let a certain type of brisket rest. They completely depend on the temperature you take out the brisket at. The hotter and smaller it is, like a cut or portion of meat, the less time you need to rest it. 

Type of BrisketSize Of BrisketIdeal Rest Time
Select Brisket5 – 9 lb0.5 – 1.5 hours
9 – 11 lb0.5 – 2 hours 
11 – 15 lb0.75 – 4 hours
15 – 20 lb 1 – 4 hours
20 – 25 lb1.5 – 6 hours
Choice Brisket 5 – 9 lb1 – 4 hours
9 – 11 lb2 – 6 hours
11 – 15 lb2 – 8 hours
15 – 20 lb 2 – 10 hours
20 – 25 lb2 – 14 hours
Prime Brisket5 – 9 lb1 – 4 hours
9 – 11 lb2 – 6 hours
11 – 15 lb2 – 8 hours
15 – 20 lb 2 – 10 hours
20 – 25 lb3 – 14 hours

No matter what, remember to never let brisket rest up to a point that it reaches a temperature lower than 140°F as the cold meat can cause stomach problems. 

Things Impacting the Brisket Rest Time 

The process of resting brisket is affected by many different factors – the size of the meat, the temperature at which it is taken out, and the method you use to let it rest. 

If by chance, you have heated your brisket longer than necessary, you can even make a gap in the foil to let it cool down faster. 


Size greatly affects how long the brisket needs to rest. Larger portions mean a longer cooking time while smaller meat cuts like pork chops can be done within a few minutes. 


Meat of higher quality, like Wagyu beef brisket, takes longer to cook due to the richness of its quality. Good meat, or prime brisket, is full of juices and fats that take a long time to process, which is why they need to be rested long. 


Resting time is also greatly affected by the amount of time you allow it to rest. Since the process is not only to cool down but to also cook brisket, it is necessary that you allow the correct amount of rest time for the size of your meat. You can take 1 hour as the minimum requirement for brisket to cook properly. 


The most important factor affecting the rest time of brisket is temperature. It is very necessary that the heat is maintained for the carryover cooking to continue, which is why so much extra effort is put to rest it. 

Variations in temperature during the resting time can end up with the meat being undercooked or overcooked. 

How to Properly Allow Your Brisket to Rest?

After you let your brisket out, there are many different ways in which you can allow it to rest properly. 

Generally, people just allow their brisket to rest in the oven or a cooler by wrapping an aluminum foil or towel around it. Smaller portions of select brisket can also be rested at room temperature. 

The first thing you need to do after taking it out of the smoker is to let it cool down to 180°F. After which, you can go forward with the resting process in the following ways. 

Resting Brisket In A Cooler

Coolers are great for resting brisket as they can be turned into an oven without the flame and the risk of a fire hazard. 

Step 1: First you need to wrap your cooked brisket using butcher paper with the fat cap facing downwards. Then, you further put the already wrapped brisket in an aluminum foil boat, and then into towels. 

Step 2: Next, you need to preheat your cooler to about 150°F with at least 2 – 3 gallons of hot water for some time. 

Step 3: Then, put the wrapped brisket into the cooler and let it heat for 30 minutes before you pour out the water and dry it again. 

Step 4: Put the brisket in the cooler again and make sure to add a probe thermometer so that you can keep checking the temperature. 

After you have given it an hour’s rest or two, the temperature will go down slowly, and you can remove it then! 

Resting Brisket In A Couch

Resting brisket in a couch is not exactly what it sounds like – it just means you let the brisket rest at a safe place that will let the temperature go down slowly. 

Step 1: Take the brisket wrapped in butcher paper and put it in the aluminum foil boat. 

Step 2: Using the towels, warm and keep the meat in any warm place, preferably made of cloth like blankets or towels. 

Step 3: Finally, allow your brisket to rest! 

Rest Brisket In Butcher Paper

If you do not want to put in the effort to make a place for your brisket to cool down and continue carryover cooking, you can also simply wrap it in butcher paper and allow it to cool at room temperature. 

Step 1: Wrap your brisket in butcher paper, aluminum foil, and towels, and add the thermometer as per usual.

Step 2:  Keep the meat in a warm place where it can get a lot of natural heat for at least 2 hours. 

Resting Brisket In An Oven

Resting brisket in the oven is the easiest and most convenient way one uses to rest brisket as the safe space can allow resting to go up to even 8 hours. 

Step 1: Heat the oven to about 150°F. 

Step 2: Go about the general wrapping in butcher paper, aluminum foil, and towel process and place the meat in the oven.

Step 3: After 2 hours of slow cooking, the brisket shall be ready to serve!

Related Questions

Can Brisket Rest Too Long? 

It is possible to rest the brisket for too long. However, after 2 hours, your average brisket (Select Brisket) can become cold and hard, resulting in both the texture and taste deteriorating. 

What Happens If You Don’t Let Brisket Rest? 

If you do not let your brisket rest, the juices and fats in the meat will not sink in properly, and once the meat has been cut, it might spill onto the plate or the cutting board. 

Should I Vent My Brisket Before Resting? 

There is no need to vent your brisket before you rest it. However, after you have reached the perfect temperature to serve, you need to vent your brisket for at least 15 minutes. 




Colin has been grilling, smoking, and barbecuing in his yard for as long as he remembers.  His favorite dish is pork belly smoked on his favorite offset smoker. Read more about Colin here.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *