Can You Cook a Frozen Brisket?

by Charlie
Can You Cook a Frozen Brisket

Mmm, a brisket, the cut of meat excellent for Southern BBQ and yummy corned beef. In this day and age, we toss a lot of our meats in the freezer to last longer, so you may wonder if you can directly cook what you pull out. Is a frozen brisket only suitable for BBQs and low and slow cooking methods?

Why the brisket is suited for certain types of cooking is because of the cut. It’s from the lower pectoral muscles of a cow, which is an area that sees a lot of exercise. As anyone who likes to get some activity in each day would know, exercised muscles tend to be harder and tougher.

Can you cook a frozen brisket? Yes, you can cook a frozen brisket, but it’s always better to thaw it out first. You’ll be struggling with quite a big slab of meat if you don’t let it sit at room temperature for at least a few hours. There are many ways to cook your frozen brisket that does not involve a BBQ grill. 

We’ll take you through the best ways to deal with a frozen brisket, from defrosting techniques to cooking methods!

Preparing a Frozen Brisket – The Low Down

Before you can do anything, you have to defrost the brisket. Depending on what you have at home and what you’re planning to cook, we have multiple ways to help you create a tender dish.

Thawing Your Beef Brisket

One way to thaw your brisket effectively is to remove it from the freezer well in advance. We’re talking about 3 to 4 days earlier. Place the brisket in the fridge a few days before you plan on cooking it. When the big day arrives, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for another day (whew, it’s a lot of work, we know). 

Got no time? We get it. A water bath can help your brisket defrost faster, but only do this if the packaging is securely sealed. Place your brisket in a cold water bath that will help speed up the process.

The lazy man’s best friend is what we affectionately call the microwave. It really is a godsend for reheating and defrosting, which it can do for your brisket quite well. You can always use the defrost settings on your microwave. 

But if they aren’t that fancy, turn down the power to about 50% (medium) and heat for 5 min, then flip the brisket over and do the same to the other side. 

Tenderizing Your Beef Brisket

It’s a tough cut, and not many people like tough meat, so is there a way to tenderize your beef brisket to make it more welcoming to the palate?

Yes, there is! It’s as easy as letting your brisket sit, because it slowly gets more tender over time. If you’ve finished cooking and you plan to eat the brisket for dinner, then let it sit for a little bit (10-20 min) before serving.

A meat tenderizer or tenderizing method is generally not needed for beef briskets, because the answer is all in the cooking. As long as you do it slowly and gradually, and maybe add tenderizing ingredients to your recipe such as coffee (yes, coffee), the meat should be easy to separate with a fork. 

Cooking Your Beef Brisket

There are a few ways you can cook your beef brisket. As you guys know, we prize quality results that are achieved in the simplest way. And what cooking method is easier than a set-it-and-forget-it approach?

Cooking Your Frozen Brisket in an Oven

As we mentioned, beef brisket isn’t the best cut of meat to blast with heat – low and slow wins the race. 

If you choose to cook it in the oven, preheat it to 300-degrees Fahrenheit, or 149-degrees Celcius. The rule of thumb is to add 1 hour per pound of brisket. For example, if you have a 3-pound brisket, you’re looking at a cooking time of 3 hours. This is only if you have successfully thawed the meat.

If not, then you need to add 1 to 2 more hours to the cooking time if you’re directly dealing with the brisket frozen. It’s difficult to gauge, so we suggest thawing it out first. 

Using a Slow Cooker on Your Brisket

You can definitely use a slow cooker, but we strongly recommend thawing out your beef brisket before you do. The slow cooker is, well, slow, so it won’t be able to heat your meat up fast enough up to a safe temperature of about 140-degrees Fahrenheit (60-degrees Celsius) to ensure all the bacteria is killed quickly.

The slow cooker will take at least 4 hours for small pieces of brisket but can go all the way up to 10 hours for a full dinner with all the spices. 

Smoking Your Brisket

We love the authentic smoky flavor on our BBQ meats, and a properly smoked brisket is quite delicious – but can it be done? 

Of course, it can, but again, you have to thaw the meat first. Smoking is another process similar to slow cooking, which won’t heat up your meat fast enough, and you may also end up with frozen insides even though the surface looks cooked. 

Freezing Your Brisket After Cooking

We thought we’d throw in some helpful information if you want to store your brisket after cooking. Freezing brisket can be a great way to enjoy the meat at a later date.

It’s easy, just carve up the meat, place them into a freezer bag that’s sealed tight, and put it in! Frozen brisket that has already been seasoned and cooked can last for months (about 3 to be exact), so you can go finish the meat at your own pace. 

These smaller pieces can be reheated easily in a pan or skillet. 

Final Thoughts – The Verdict

Just in case you haven’t gotten it by now, yes, you can cook frozen brisket, but you definitely need to thaw it first for the best results. 

Not only is it easier to cook overall, but you will also reach the correct temperature faster with a more even outcome.

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