how to thaw or defrost brisket

How to Thaw a Brisket? – Learn the Best Methods to Defrost Frozen Brisket

Thawing or defrosting a brisket can be a confusing and a bit challenging task for even seasoned cooks or chefs, let alone the new ones.

It might seem difficult to find a proper way to thaw a brisket easily as well as quickly.

But you should not be confused or get overwhelmed by this fact.

I have the perfect solutions for you when it comes to quickly thawing a brisket.

For that, you need to read this article entirely to understand my technique and trick to complete this task as fast as possible.

Brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the cow’s breast and lower chest, in the chuck section.

It is one of the most sought parts of the cow because of the amount of fat it contains and for being relatively easy to cook.

Brisket is usually smoked, but can also have a spice rub applied along with a moist cooking method, like braising or stewing in liquid.

Beef brisket is found in many cultures across the world such as France, Italy, and Cuba.

Brisket is a fatty piece of meat and it takes a bit longer to defrost than the other parts of the cow.

Within 12 to 24 hours of being frozen, brisket usually starts losing its moisture.

When they are thawed, they will become gray-brown and soft to the touch.

In this case, you need to be sure that the outside of the brisket is no longer frozen if you begin thawing it.

It must be relatively firm yet floppier than solid so that it is ready to cook after thawing or defrosting.

Some people recommend seasoning before defrosting or using pressure cookers with an automatic valve system for defrosting.

Below are few helpful tips for you when you plan to defrost or thaw a brisket.

Tip 1: First, you need to place the brisket on a tray or in a bowl, turning it every few hours until it is thawed.

It is recommended to turn the brisket once every hour during the thawing.

This is important to do because you need to prevent the internal temperature of the meat to drop too low.

Tip 2: When defrosted, some people recommend a warm environment to allow air circulation.

Proper air circulation is important so that the meat doesn’t get too warm and doesn’t get spoiled before cooking.

Beef brisket doesn’t need to be cooked right away after thawing.

However, it will taste better if cooked within 24 hours of being defrosted.

To cook a brisket, you need to wash with cold water and pat dry before placing it in a large pan or packer smoker.

Ahead in this article, I will provide you the best method to defrost or thaw a brisket in as little time as possible.

So, without any delay, lets get to the method.

How to Defrost a Brisket Fast?

As I have mentioned above, it might take 24 hours to defrost a brisket in the refrigerator.

However, you can perform one trick to speed up the process.

The best method to defrost a brisket is to always thaw it in the cold water.

It will work faster.

You can also try placing the meat in the cold water for a few hours or for an overnight.

This method is suitable for large pieces of meat like brisket, but smaller cuts and roasts are not recommended.

Here, you can also change the water from time to time to speed up the defrosting process.

Once the meat is thawed, rinse the salt off it and dry it using a paper towel.

While thawing in cold water, it is important to keep changing the water and make sure that it is clean and fresh most of the time.

This method works well for you if you are going to make broth from meat scraps after cooking.

4 Tips to Remember While Thawing A Frozen Brisket

Thawing a brisket is an easy process that can be done in a variety of ways.

You should always watch out for uneven thawing though, which puts the meat at risk of bacteria growth and food poisoning.

4 Tips to Follow:

Tip 1: Thaw the brisket in the refrigerator for a few days.

Tip 2: Remove brisket from the packaging and place it inside a sealable plastic bag with some water.

Tip 3: Replace the bag daily so that it stays moist during thawing.

Tip 4: Rinse off excess salt on both sides of meat before cooking.

This is more important to follow if you are planning to smoke your meal or add additional ingredients later on like barbecue sauce or buffalo sauce.

If you happen to have any liquid left after rinsing off the salt, use that water as well to help keep your meat moist while thawing in the refrigerator.

4 Steps to Defrost Brisket Out in The Sink

To succeed in this method, you need to cover the brisket in a plastic wrap that is both impermeable and impervious before immersing it into the water.

If water comes into direct contact with the brisket, it can degrade its flavor while also making a large mess in your sink.

You need to make sure that the water being used is at the room temperature.

Shocking the meat in very cold or very hot water will degrade its texture and can also cause it to go bad.

Frozen brisket should be cooked right away after thawing.

It’s not recommended to let your meat sit out at the room temperature for a long time as bacteria can form easily during this window of time.

If you want to add barbecue sauce, rubs, or other spices to your brisket before cooking, you need to do the same immediately after thawing and before you cook it to ensure that they stick on.

This will also allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat more easily and thoroughly.

Do you know how to thaw a frozen brisket? If you don’t, there’s no reason to be miserable this Thanksgiving.

A frozen brisket can be quite difficult to thaw.

The best course of action is to use the refrigerator on its lowest setting for 24 hours straight.

This should suffice unless the meat is smaller than 4 pounds and will fit in your refrigerator crisper drawer door.

I recommend you to use your refrigerator for this part of the process.

As you may have guessed, the refrigerator isn’t the fastest way to thaw a brisket but it’s safe to use in most cases.

Here are the 4 main steps to follow when you want to defrost a brisket out in the sink.

Step 1: First,put the frozen brisket in the coldest place in the refrigerator which is usually the bottom of the refrigerator.

If there is no other place for it to store, then put it in a large plastic bag.

Step 2: Put it in a tray and leave room at the top for proper air circulation if you’ve got a large brisket.

Step 3: Cover the tray with something that allows for circulation but keeps in the heat.

In this case, you can use a towel by folding it over the brisket bag.

Step 4: Now, open the refrigerator door and let it sit on warm settings for 24 hours.

Turn it from time to time to ensure even thawing, but don’t let it sit in direct sunlight or any other place where temperatures can rise above freezing.

You’ll know if thawing is complete when the meat is no longer frozen and edible.

If you are worried about spoilage, then you can throw it out as soon as you think about it or cook it right away so there’s no chance of spoilage before then.

Can You Cook a Brisket that is Frozen?

My answer is yes.

There is a certain method to do that.

You will need to throw the beef into a pot, add some water, bring it to boiling point and then lower the fire.

Then, allow it to cook for about one and a half hours.

If you don’t let the beef sit at room temperature for a period, you’ll be struggling with it.

It will be very hard to cut.

To make the brisket softer, you can place it in the oven for about an hour.

You can also use a slow cooker to cook the beef.

After you’ve cooked the brisket, you have to pressure cook it at a low temperature for about 4 hours.

This method will help you keep the meat moist during the cooking process.

Smoking is also an ideal option.

This can be done on a stove, an oven, or even in a barbeque grill.

Some people think that it’s difficult to achieve a smoked flavor at home.

This is not true because you can use wood pellets and chips to enhance the flavor.

The first step is to get the best smoker and prepare it for cooking.

It should be clean and ready to cook the meat.

Lightly oil the rack to prevent it from sticking with the meat.

Prepare some wood chips and place them on the top of a heat-resistant container on top of the stove.

Leave them there until they start smoking heavily.

You will also need some aluminum foil for wrapping purposes later on in this process.

3 Simple Steps to Thaw a Brisket in Water

You can thaw brisket in water but it should be the cold water only.

Step 1: First, you need to fill a vessel with water and mix in the amount of salt you would normally use.

The water should be cold but not frozen.

Step 2: Then, place the brisket in the container and cover it properly.

Change the water every 60 minutes for about 12-24 hours.

This will make the meat completely tender.

Step 3: Now, place it in your fridge or refrigerator.

A refrigerator is a great way to thaw your brisket without losing too much of its shape/texture.

It’s important to freeze your brisket properly by wrapping it well and putting it in the freezer.

If you don’t follow this step, then there’s a risk that it would lose its shape/texture during thawing and thus be less flavorful.

Even with that, defrosting in cold water takes some efforts.

You will have to keep changing the water because it’ll go warm if you’re defrosting for a long time.

The long-term thawing of your brisket would also be harmful to the quality of your meat if it’s not defrosted well.

How to Thaw a Brisket Overnight?

As I mentioned above, using cold water and placing it in the refrigerator is best for thawing a brisket overnight.

When placing the brisket in the cold water, make sure that you change the water every 30 minutes at least.

This will ensure that the meat isn’t overcooked.

The best and the most optimal way to thaw a brisket is by using cold water placed in a bowl and refrigerated.

If you do not want to use cold water, ice cubes may be used instead of water.

However, you must place them preferably in plastic containers or bags because ice seeps into cracks on fingers if left uncovered.

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How Long to Thaw or Defrost a Brisket in the Refrigerator?

Thawing a brisket is not a complicated process, and it should take no longer than 36 hours.

However, the temperature in your refrigerator matters more when it comes to how long it takes for your brisket to thaw out.

If you want to thaw your brisket faster, then put it in the fridge with the door open or on the top of a sheet pan.

It can take around 24 hours to defrost for a 5 pound of brisket.

This is why you should always thaw the meat out in the morning so that by the next day, it will already be thawed.

Of course, you can also defrost a frozen brisket overnight in your fridge.

Just make sure that you don’t leave it in for more than one day.

It is best to do this on a day when you don’t cook anything else so your refrigerator won’t be crowded by the meat.

How to Defrost Brisket in Microwave Oven?

Slow cooking is a sluggish process that requires a long time, some work, and patience.

But if you’re in a hurry or just want to make an easy dinner without too much fuss, then it’s better to use the microwave oven as your “dinner shortcut”.

Without using oven, you may risk waiting all the day for your big pot of beans or beef stew to cook.

In this method of defrosting brisket with oven, you first need to place brisket in the oven for some time.

The usual time is around 10 minutes per pound of brisket.

And then let it sit on the counter for a while to thaw out.

In the end, it will be melting tender, with nice brown crusty edges.

How Long to Thaw 3 lb, 5 lb, and 15 lb Brisket in the Fridge?

It takes approximately 24 hours for a 5lb brisket to thaw in the fridge.

This means that it takes around 3 hours to thaw, and the average of 16 hours for the 5lb brisket.

This is a formula that could be used for a 15 lb brisket but this is not recommended.

Because 15 lbs are more than twice as much as 5lbs in terms of weight.

The 3lb Brisket needs 24 hours to thaw and an average of 10 hours.

The difference between these two pieces of meat is because 3lbs bristle needs less time to thaw than 5 or 15 lb briskets which need 24 or 16 hours respectively.


Brisket is a type of beef that can be tough to cook.

It requires patience and a good technique to achieve superb cooking results.

There’s no way to cook a brisket in just 8 hours because the cooking time depends on a lot of factors.

You need to observe the size and weight of the brisket and make sure that you’re cooking your food at the right temperature.

You need to constantly check on it to determine if it’s already tender enough.

It is important to do this so that you can avoid overcooking it and ruining the flavor.

Above all, having patience when it comes to cooking meat is necessary if you want to achieve good results from your efforts.

Do not rush things if you want your brisket to cook well.