The importance of Resting a Brisket

In part 9 of our BBQ & A, Pitmasters Tim McLaughlin and Damian Avila talk about the importance of resting a brisket prior to slicing.


From all of my research and experience cooking steaks, I knew that virtually every chef recommends resting a good steak or brisket so I was thankful to have a topic without controversy.  See what Tim has to say or read the Q&A below.

BBQ Student:  I assume you recommend resting the brisket before serving it...but why exactly do you do this?  

Tim:  The resting is an incredibly important process of cooking virtually any meat.  If you've ever been to a steak house and cut into a steak and you see that little like dead raw piece of meat in the center of the steak and you're like, how did that happen?

That is an unrested steak.  Not only did the steak not have the opportunity to have all the juices flow back into the meat, but the residual heat of the meat did not have time to finish cooking the center.   The resting process allows you get those beautiful, cooked-all-the-way-through, medium rare steaks.

BBQ Student:  So does the same concept apply to a brisket?

Tim:  Yeah.  The same concept holds true for brisket, just in a much bigger cut of meat.  When we are cooking the brisket, we are pushing all of the fat and juices right to the center of the meat.  When we take it out of the smoker we need to allow time for those juices to dissipate back out from the middle to the rest of the meat.

If you cut into the brisket right after pulling it out of or off the smoker…all those juices are going to run out.

BBQ Student:  So, how long do you typically let it rest?

Tim:  For brisket, the resting time is typically about an hour, because it's a big piece of meat.  It's not just a big piece of meat…it’s a fatty piece of meat and this fat retains an insane amount of heat…especially when encased with a nice crusty bark.

Because they retain their temperature, you're not sitting the brisket out and letting it cool down…you're allowing those juices to re-distribute so that by the time you cut it, every single piece of is going to have that that juiciness.

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