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Reheating Brisket AND Keeping your Q 'till serving time.

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A long, borderline embarrassing story but it starts with an over night brisket cook and ends with a lot of left over brisket.  Wife wanted to spend the entire day at the beach after I spent all night on a brisket cook.  

I took the brisket off and put it wrapped into a cooler at 9am.  Didn't return to the poor thing until 6pm at which point I was so disgusted we just ordered pizza.  Never the same after spending too much time off the cooker.  

Anyhow, I wanted to get some tips on the best way to reheat the brisket since I have a lot of leftovers.  I'm thinking doing some burnt end tacos or something so it doesn't go to waste.  

Also I want some advice on managing the long over night cooks and how to keep the que in decent shape before serving.  I know a few hours in the cooler is just fine but what if your cook gets done super early?  Is it OK to keep a brisket wrapped on the cooker at a very low temp say sub 200 while you wait to serve?

I tend not to want put meat on my cooker at 3am where it might be ready for dinner.  I tend to plan my overnight cooks so the meat can be enjoyed for lunch, so not putting meat on any later than midnight.  How long is too long to sit in a cooler?

I'm curious what restaurants do as well because presumably most of the cooking is done well before serving time so would be great to know how they keep their finished product warm/fresh without deteriorating the quality prior to serving.  

Any thoughts on both topics would be great.  


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The biggest problem in reheating brisket is in drying it out. Often it is moist and delicious right off the grill but looses a bit of that magic when reheated. I have experimented with a number of techniques and this is the best i have found. Put the slices of brisket you want to re heat (also work with a chunk of unsliced meat) in a plastic zip lock, wet your hand and sprinkle some drops into the bag with the brisket. Seal and drop the bag in a pot of boiling water for no more than a couple of minutes with slices, a little more with a chunk. Comes out warm and moist. As stated I have tried many methods and this has become my go to. 

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I am not certain what restaurants do, but they likely do at least the following: (i) have someone show up in the middle of the night to start the cook; or (ii) cook at a very low temp so that if they start in the evening the food will be ready the next afternoon, and then held in a humidity drawer or wrapped in saran wrap in the oven on low for serving.

On reheating brisket, it helps if the brisket is reheated in a liquid or sauce. I have had good luck reheating in the oven in a covered dish with the sliced brisket sitting in beef broth, or reheating the brisket in vac seal bags in water with some liquid in the vac seal bag (either beef broth or the juices left over when I foil). When I prepare a thicker sauce, like a bbq sauce, I coat the slices in sauce and microwave until hot. Just reheated some that way for breakfast this morning and came out great.

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I always wait until it has cooled and then slice and vac seal portions. Simply drop your sealed portion in hot water until heated through. It is very nearly as moist as fresh but the bark is soft of course.

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