How Long Can You Rest a Brisket?

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Imagine yourself standing beside a brisket you have just finished smoking, eagerly waiting to eat it. Still, before digging in, you must ensure that you rest your brisket. Resting your brisket is necessary to enjoy the brisket to its fullest. So, how long can you rest a brisket?

Generally, should rest your brisket for around one hour to allow the internal temperature to stabilize. You may go slightly above or below that time depending on some factors we’ll explains soon. However, you should avoid going above two hours as brisket will start to cool down and dry out.

In this article, we’ll explain the waiting time before serving a brisket, and how to know when it’s ready to be served.

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Smoked brisket

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What Is Brisket Resting?

Brisket resting is the process of allowing the cooked or smoked brisket to sit untouched for some time before serving it. The resting period for a brisket helps keep the moisture flowing within the meat, making your brisket more tender and flavorful.

During the brisket’s resting period, the meat’s internal temperature stabilizes, causing the meat’s fibers to ease, and the juices to be reabsorbed. Therefore, when the brisket is sliced and served, it remains juicy and tender, providing a gratifying eating experience.

Resting is an essential step in the cooking development of brisket, as it considerably impacts the final texture and taste of the dish being served.

How long can you rest a brisket?

Temperature Considerations for a Brisket Rest

The internal temperature of the brisket as well as the external temperature around it can control how long you let it rest. We mentioned earlier that you should wait at least an hour, but that doesn’t make those 60 minutes the absolute sweet spot.

For example, you might have to wait slightly longer if the internal temperature is too hot or reduce the resting time if the weather is cold. Let’s break it down.

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Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker

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Internal Temperature

After you pull your finished brisket off the grill, the internal temperature should be between 195°F–205°F, which is also considered “medium rare.”

After your brisket has cooked and reached its internal temperature, cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 60 minutes before serving.

When you cover your brisket, make sure that you leave a little breathing room to dissipate some heat, as wrapping it extra tight could cause it to continue cooking or remain in a condition known as brisket stall.

The perfect resting temperature can be anywhere from 140°F–160°F. If it gets hotter than that, you might risk drying out your smoked brisket.

Brisket wrapped in butcher paper

Surrounding Temperature

When the temperature is cold, heat dissipation will be considerably faster. So, you can tightly wrap your brisket without worrying about overcooking or stalling it.

You may also wait a bit more than 60 minutes before serving, as long as you’re keeping tabs on the internal temperature and ensuring that it’s not getting too low.

Alternatively, on hotter days, you should give your brisket a resting time of no more than 60 minutes before serving. Keep watch of your thermometer’s smoker or grill as well.

If you discover that the heat is steadily over 200°F after taking the brisket out, then less than 30 minutes of resting time should do it. This way, you can prevent your brisket from getting overcooked.

How to Know When Your Brisket Is Ready After Resting

Considering that a smoked brisket can take up to 18 hours to prepare, suitable resting and cooling periods are essential.

Here are some suggestions to help you figure out when your brisket is ready after resting:

How long can you rest a brisket?

Monitor the Internal Temperature

You will need to use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your brisket.

The optimal temperature will be between 140°F–160°F for you to remove your brisket from the heat.

Thermapen classic thermometer

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Assess the Tenderness

When the heat is right, you might feel the urge to get to work right away. In most cases, you can do that, but we recommend feeling the meet’s consistency first.

To ensure that it’s time, you will need to insert a fork into one of the slices to check if it slides well or not. If it does, then your brisket is ready to be served and eaten.

Smoked sliced brisket


All in all, the safe margin of resting a brisket is around the 60-minute mark. You may increase or decrease that waiting time depending on the internal temperature of the brisket and the weather temperature at the time of cooking.

Properly resting your brisket is vital for having the most delicious, juicy, and flavorful result. Once you get the temperature right, go the extra mile and use a fork to asses the tenderness of the brisket.

If you skip the resting part, you risk having dry meat. If you intend to serve your brisket shortly after cooking, give it at least 30 minutes to allow the temperature to stabilize.

Once you’ve rested your brisket, all that’s left to do is dig in and enjoy!

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