A Countdown: How Long is Smoked Brisket Good for in the Fridge?

June 23, 2022

How long is smoked brisket good for in the fridge? Brisket is good for up to four days in the refrigerator.

I love smoked brisket which means that I tend to always make too much. This meant that I had to figure out how long I could safely store the meat before it went bad. With some research and trial and error, I nailed the answer!

In this post, I will explain how long you can store brisket for and show you how to refrigerate and freeze it properly. Let's get started!

How Long Does Smoked Brisket Last in the Fridge?

As mentioned, cooked beef brisket can last up to four days in the fridge. However, this does depend on the temperature of your refrigerator.

If your refrigerator is on the higher end - 35 to 40 degrees F, then four days is about as long as you can push it.

food stored in the fridge

On the other hand, if you store brisket in a refrigerator environment less than 34 F, it may remain good for a little longer. The same rule applies for storing raw meat.

Is Week Old Brisket Safe to Eat?

Sure, you have your answer to how long does smoked brisket last, but you are probably wondering if you can push the time limit.

Can you eat brisket that has been left in the fridge for a week?

I would advise you against eating brisket that has been stored in the refrigerator for this long. This is especially true if your fridge isn't very cold and you can't guarantee at what temperature the brisket has been stored.

How Long Can You Eat Leftover Brisket?

Make sure to finish up all of your smoked brisket before the four days are up. Therefore, if you have a lot of leftovers, you need to come up with a plan to use them all up accordingly.

The good news is that there are so many different ways to use leftover brisket. From using it as a main dish to making sandwiches, or using it for taco meat, or adding to salads, the options are endless.

Since it can be tricky to know just how long smoked beef brisket can last in the fridge, I am going to show you how to spot signs of spoilage:

How Can You Tell if Brisket is Spoiled?

The biggest indicator that smoked meat has gone bad is the sour smell. The leftover brisket may have a rancid odor or smell off.

In general, if the cooked meat smells bad or odd in any way, it is best to toss it.

The next clue is discoloration or any change in appearance in the meat. If you notice gray, green, or white patches on the leftover smoked brisket, then it could mean that mold has set in.

Remember, don't sniff any patches that you may think are moldy. Mold releases spores that can be breathed in and cause illness.

Finally, when was the brisket stored? If it was more than five days since it was placed in the refrigerator, discard it.

I just want to say that you should never taste the beef brisket - or any smoked meat - to determine whether it is good or not. This can lead to food poisoning.

Now, I know that it can be sad to throw out that brisket that you worked so hard on. However, if there is any doubt in your mind about the leftover brisket, make sure to toss it. It isn't worth the risk of food poisoning!

What If You Freeze Smoked Beef Brisket?

As you can imagine, freezing brisket can help to prolong its freshness. However, how long does smoked brisket last in the freezer?

It can be kept in the freezer for up to two months at a time.

sliced smoked brisket

I do want to remind you that just because frozen brisket will be good for around 2 months doesn't mean that you should let it sit in the freezer for this long.

Frozen brisket tends to lose both its taste and texture the longer that it is left in the freezer. Due to this, I would advise you to consume frozen brisket within a month or two.

When Should You Store Brisket?

Like you, I grew up believing that you should never put hot food in the fridge. It was only I went to culinary school, though, that I realized that this was a myth.

No, you shouldn't put piping hot food in your refrigerator. This will bring the overall temperature inside the fridge down and put all the foods there at risk of spoilage.

However, you shouldn't wait for your brisket to get to room temperature before you store it.

The rule of thumb is that you shouldn't leave your brisket out for more than 2 hours after smoking meat before refrigerating it or freezing it.

I also like to make sure that it is loosely covered during this time if you are leaving out on the countertop. Or, store it in your oven until you are ready to refrigerate it.

How to Refrigerate Brisket Properly?

Now, after smoking meat, you may have quite a bit of leftovers. In this case, you are probably going to need to divide the larger chunk up.

Whenever possible, though, try to keep the sections as large as possible. I find that this maintains the texture of the brisket.

You can place the brisket in shallow airtight containers for the best results. Or, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or heavy duty aluminum foil. Make sure to create a proper seal around them so that no other odors can leak in.

Then, place the brisket in the coldest part of the fridge.

I like to write the date of storage on the container or wrapping. This lets me know how long the brisket will be good for.

How to Freeze Brisket?

To store brisket in the freezer, place large chunks in an airtight container. Or, use heavy duty freezer bags. I wouldn't suggest aluminum foil for this method of storage.

In case you are using freezer bags, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bags before sealing them tightly. This will help to prevent freezer burn.

Once again, write down the date of storage before freezing it.

How to Thaw Frozen Meat?

If you have frozen the brisket, then you will first need to let it defrost. You should only ever reheat thawed brisket. This will ensure a much better taste and texture.

The best way to thaw the meat is to let it sit in the refrigerator until it has defrosted the whole way through.

If this is taking too long, the other option is a cold water bath.

barbeque meat

Now, I do have to warn you that while this method is effective, it also increases the risk of your brisket getting wet.

This is why I would suggest taking the brisket out of its airtight container or freezer bag and wrapping the brisket tightly in plastic wrap. Then, place it back in the container and seal it tightly.

Place the bag or container in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. In half an hour, replace the water with fresh cold water. Continue to do this until the brisket has defrosted completely.

You can now reheat thawed brisket.

How to Reheat Brisket?

You can choose to reheat the brisket on the stovetop or in the oven. I find that both methods work well.

I know that it can be tempting to microwave the brisket but I would advise against it. The microwave heats up meat unevenly. As such, some sections will be too hot or seared while others may still be cold.

Thus, you can end up ruining your beef brisket.

Stovetop Method

Slice the brisket.

Add a little bit of beef broth to the pan and heat it. Then, arrange the brisket in a single layer. Wait for one side to heat up completely and then flip over the slices.

As with raw meat, each slice should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F to be considered safe to eat.

Oven Method

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Arrange the slices in a single layer in a baking dish and add beef broth. Then, place in the oven and heat until the internal temperature reaches 145 F.

Alternatively, you can wrap the brisket in foil packets, along with some broth. This can help it to remain moist.

Make sure that the meat has reached the proper internal temp before taking it out, though.

Eating Reheated Brisket

Make sure to eat the reheated brisket right away. Don't let it get to room temperature - eat it while it is still hot.

Alternatively, make sure that everyone is ready to eat before you heat up the meat. Letting it cool too much can compromise food safety.

Wrapping It Up

If you were wondering how long does smoked brisket last in the fridge, you now have your answer! What's more, you also know how to store the meat properly for the best food safety and taste results!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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