The Importance of Refrigerating Seasoned Brisket

In part 5 of our BBQ & A with our Pitmasters and Chefs, Tim McLaughlin and Damian Avila, we cover "The importance of refrigerating the brisket overnight."


Once a brisket is rubbed or seasoned, it does not go right on the smoker.  Most experts agree that it needs to go in the refrigerator so it can absorb that seasoning.

BBQ Student:  Why is this refrigeration step important?

Tim: So, we know that there is a gigantic fat cap. We also know that that fat is going to separate and those liquids are going to drip down into that meat, OK?

The fat that renders and drips down is going to replace the other fat has come out and it's going to replace that fat.  If we don't season this and let this sit overnight, it's not going to have as much flavor.

Our process allows the fat to absorb that sugar and salt from our rub.  The fat starts to get broken down by the salt.  It exudes a little bit of liquid and then it mixes with the sugar and the other spices and really starts to absorb those flavors.

BBQ Student:  How long?

Tim:  The process takes time.  It doesn't happen just by sprinkling some salt on it. You need to allow the brisket to sit and really absorb those flavors...for at least the next 12 hours. 

And so, if you're looking to make a brisket at your house you need to have space in a cooler or your refrigerator.  Like you may have to take two cases of beer out of that refrigerator in order to fit this brisket in there.   That's why smoking a brisket can be rather know...we call it a labor of love.

BBQ Student:  So how do you do this at the restaurant?

Tim: After we season our briskets, we allow them to sit overnight in the cooler. By the time we come back in the morning, it changes.  You don't see little grains of salt. It almost looks like we rubbed it with some sort of weird looking caramel sauce.

All that rub breaks down and becomes a juice and it's being absorbed by the fat.  That's a really important part of the process. You know, you can let them sit out for about an hour seasoned and you kind of get the same deal, but it's not really the same.  To us, letting it sit overnight is always going to be better.

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