How Long Does It Take To Thaw A Brisket?

Wondering how long it takes to thaw a frozen brisket? It is a huge piece of meat you need to plan out how long it will take! 

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place for the exact calculations when thawing, that way you can be sure your entire brisket is thawed before smoking.

How Long It Takes Defrost a Brisket in a Refrigerator

Brisket will thaw at a rate of 5 pounds per 24 hours in the refrigerator. You need to defrost in a fridge with a temperature of 37°F. You’ll find that refrigerator thawing is the safest method for any kind of meat.


How to Defrost a Whole Brisket in the Refrigerator

This is the method I use when I do smoked brisket recipe on my pit boss, I always try to plan out when I am cooking brisket so I can plan this out.

– Organize the bottom level of the fridge for the size of your brisket.

This will give you ample space and avoid contamination.

– Place in a tray to catch the water.

– Remove from the freezer or ice chest and straight into the fridge.

– Thaw as per the above timing.

– Check they have thawed completely as per further instructions.

How Long It Takes Defrost a Brisket in a Using Cold Water

Brisket in water will thaw at a rate of 6-7 pounds per 24 hours in cold water.

Defrosting with cold water in a sink is another viable method.

But you will need to make sure the water temperature stays below 40°F.

How to Defrost Brisket With the Cold Water Method

– Keep the product in its original packaging.

– Fill your sink with cold tap water.

– Submerge the brisket in the cold water bath. (Straight after removing them from the freezer)

– Replace the water every 30 minutes.

– Thaw as per the above timing.

– Check your cuts of meat have thawed completely.

Example of Defrosting a 15-Pound Brisket

15 pounds of meat will take 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

15 pounds of meat will take a little under 2 days to thaw in cold water.

What Is the Average Weight of a Beef Brisket

The average weight for beef brisket is 10-15 pounds.

Knowing the exact weight is vital for estimating how long it takes to thaw.


Can You Defrost Beef Brisket in a Microwave?

You can defrost leftover brisket meat in a microwave, wait until it has cooled and then cut the brisket into slices, freeze like normal in an airtight container.

You can’t defrost a whole brisket in the microwave, I doubt your domestic machine can even fit one!

As large cuts of meat like brisket or pork butt will not defrost evenly in a microwave, you risk a frozen inside and defrosted exterior.This is a safety risk for bacteria growth and is covered next!

Food Safety Advice to Avoid Bacteria Growth

Bacterial growth in beef is not what you ever want!

So be careful during the thawing process and consider the below.

– Keep frozen beef sealed to stop contamination.

– Keep frozen or raw meat out of the “danger zone” temperature range.

– Do not defrost with hot water.

– Know the signs of spoiled meat. (Read further)

– Clean surfaces with hot soapy water.

– Always use a thermometer to know the beef brisket is fully defrosted.

The ‘Danger Zone

A whole beef brisket can be left at room temp for up to 60 minutes.

Do not leave any raw or thawing meat at temps between 40°F – 140°F for longer.

How Long Can Defrosted Brisket Stay in the Fridge?

Defrosted meat will last up to 3 days in the fridge.

Any longer and the meat proteins will start to break down.

Note: A fresh brisket should keep in the fridge until the sell-by-date.

How Long Can I Freeze Brisket?

Freeking over 3 months will cause what is known as “freezer burn”.

This is when the frozen moisture within the proteins deteriorates.

Resulting in tough brisket meat when cooked.

Know the Physical Signs of Frozen Brisket Meat

Frozen meat is cold and hard to the touch and the packaging may still have ice crystals or condensation.

The brisket should have a little bounce to the touch, this is a quick indication you no longer have frozen meat.

Use a Meat Thermometer to Be Sure

Using a calibrated instant-read thermometer will give you the exact temperature.

This is the most precise and accurate way of knowing the brisket cut has thawed.

Note: This tool is exceptionally handy for larger cuts like the one in question.

You can insert the probe right into the thicker parts with ease.

What Reading Is a Safe Internal Temperature for Thawed Beef?

The safe temperature for your thawed beef meat is 32°F – 39°F.

Insert the probe into the middle and thickest part


Is My Thawed Beef Brisket Bad? – How to Tell


Air Exposure to Raw Brisket Meat

Did you remove the brisket from the original packaging or was it wrapped loosely by the butcher?

Checked for a breach in the seal?

Exposure to air accelerates the growth of bacteria.

Check the packaging for holes when defrosting.

Or move to an airtight container after purchase before freezing.

Texture of Bad Beef Meat

If you are still not sure then check for a slimy texture.

An overly sticky texture it is an obvious sign of rotten meat.

Air exposure can also cause moisture loss.

A dry texture and crumbly consistency can also indicate this.

Color of Bad Beef

Fresh and safe-to-eat beef is a dark red.

A green or grey color is not what you want!

Inspect for signs of discoloration in raw meat carefully.

This is because it might be a different color in the middle or bottom.

Smell of Spoiled Brisket Meat

Probably the most effective way to know if meat products are bad.

As a foul odor is very hard to ignore.

This definitive smell may stink of rotten eggs.

Or have a characteristic sulfur-like smell.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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