How to Cut Brisket In Half and Freeze Before Smoking

Usually, we prefer to cut brisket in half and freeze it for further use when there is not enough space on the smoker to smoke the whole brisket. Or you might find it difficult to barbecue a whole brisket as the flat portion is cooked much earlier than the point portion. It’s also intimidating as a whole piece of brisket takes a lot of time to be smoked. 

Whatever the case is, you can always cut it half following proper steps. Then you can store it in the freezer to cook later. 

If you are confused if the frozen brisket will taste the same as a raw one or not, don’t worry. It will if you can preserve it correctly. Just spare some time to thaw and it’s ready to be smoked.

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Can You Cut a Brisket In Half and Freeze

Yes, absolutely. You can cut a brisket and store it in the freezer for up to one year. But you have to make sure it’s properly wrapped. Otherwise, it might go bad.

But if you can make sure to preserve the half cut meat in an airtight packet or box, it’s much better to cut it in half. In that way not only you can concentrate on smoking one part at a time but also buy a lot of brisket on sale and store them. This is way more economical than barbecuing the whole brisket. Moreover, it doesn’t have any major drawbacks as well. 

On that note, let’s consider both its conveniences and inconveniences below!

Conveniences

The most important benefit of cutting a brisket in half is that you can smoke based on your preferences. Suppose, you like the leaner half more. So, you can smoke only that part and store the rest in the refrigerator. 

Or you feel like having the meatier portion today! So, place it on the smoker and store the flat portion. What a great convenience, isn’t it?

Well, another great amenity you can enjoy is the flexibility of the cooking space. If your smoker isn’t large enough, it’s great to cut the brisket in half and adjust it towards the smoker. 

Inconveniences

Honestly speaking, there are more advantages than disadvantages of cutting a brisket in half and freezing. The only drawback is that the half-cut piece would lose some moisture. But if you consider the amenities, it’s nothing but a minor issue of storing the meat. 

Another slightly disappointing factor is the thawing time. If you store the meat in the refrigerator, naturally it will take time to thaw. If you can wait for a while, it’s not a big deal though!

However, the conveniences cutting brisket offers certainly outweigh the inconveniences.

How to Cut Brisket In Half and Freeze Before Smoking 

Although cutting brisket in half comes with a lot of amenities, you must know how to do it properly. Otherwise, you might end up ruining the meat. So, let’s check out how to cut the brisket in half successfully.

You must need a sharp knife to split the brisket in half. After all, it’s a meaty part that is quite heavy. In this regard, we can recommend the Victorinox 12 Inch Granton Edge Knife which is good for cutting, trimming,  and slicing. 

In fact, it’s an all-purpose knife that comes with a high carbon stainless steel blade. Also, the Granton edge offers a good grip to penetrate through fattier portions of meat such as brisket. 

In order to cut the brisket in half before smoking, you need to follow the steps below:

  • Place the brisket on a cutting board keeping the fatty side down. It will let you point out the fat seam. 
  • You need to cut through the fat seam which is alternatively known as the nose. Make sure you operate the knife downwards where both the leaner and fattier portions meet together.
  • While cutting through the fat seam, the flat should be lifted continuously so that the knife can reach the point. 
  • Finally, separate the two portions completely. And once you do that, shed off the excess fat from the point.

This is how you can slice a whole brisket into two pieces, point and flat. Always remember that the flat is situated halfway on top of the point. And the point curves below the flat.

How To Freeze Brisket After Cutting In Half

Once you successfully separate the point and flat of a brisket, now it’s time to store the meat in the refrigerator. Though you can cook the meat and store it after cooking, many prefer storing the raw meat. However, let’s learn how you can freeze the raw brisket after cutting it in half.

You need a plastic wrap or a ziplock plastic bag which should be wide enough to cover the brisket. Be it cooked or fresh brisket, the plastic bag should be at least six times bigger than the meat. Also, make sure the wrap is airtight and doesn’t allow any air or oxygen to cause freezer burn to the meat.

To freeze the half-cut brisket without damaging the original flavor, the following steps are suggested by the experts.

  • Start wrapping the meat by rolling it forward. Please make sure you wrap it as snugly as possible. 
  • Store the meat as soon as you bring it from the butcher shop. It must be kept in an airtight bag or container to store it for the longest time, around six to twelve months. 
  • If you want to store the brisket for one week, keep the meat in the refrigerator at a temperature less than 34° Fahrenheit.  
  • And for storing the meat for five days at best before cooking, you should place the meat in the coldest part of the freezer, preferably 35-40° Fahrenheit. 

A friendly reminder to store the uncooked brisket after cutting it in half is that you should store it as soon as possible after cutting. Also, there should be enough room in the refrigerator to accommodate the meat. Moreover, it’s better to double wrap to keep the brisket secured.

Is It Bad To Cut A Brisket In Half

Not at all. Other than a minimal change in the meat texture, there is no significant change in the half-cut brisket. In fact, it’s a great idea in many ways. Wondering how? Okay, let me explain!

We all know that brisket has two parts- flat and point. The flat part is the lean and thin part which needs way less time to be cooked compared to the fatty end. So, if you place a whole packer of brisket on the smoker, it’s tougher than you think to monitor the two different muscles. 

Being a  low and slow process, barbecuing beef brisket needs a lot of patience. 

So, if you cut it in half, the cooking time is shortened significantly.  On top of that, you can monitor the cooking temperature better. As flat and point needs different cooking temperatures, you can monitor them separately while cooking aloof. 

Apart from this, a whole brisket obstructs adequate airflow on the smoker if it is forced to fit in. Without sufficient airflow chances are brisket would be either burned or cooked unevenly. 

To avoid such circumstances, it’s always better to cut brisket in half and freeze to smoke them in smaller sizes. 

Can You Freeze Uncooked Brisket

Yes, you can. In fact, most people prefer it because it’s hard to freeze cooked brisket without wasting the leftovers. 

However, to do so, you should be careful to store the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag so as not to let any air ruin it. And most importantly, the bag shouldn’t have any air pockets available. Eventually, the air will create ice quartz around the meat to degrade its taste.

Either you can store the half-cut brisket without slicing it into pieces or you can slice it. No matter which way you prefer, you need to wrap the meat as tightly as possible. 

Can You Freeze Cooked Brisket

Well, it’s a great idea to cook the brisket at a time and then store it in the freezer.  It helps retain the maximum possible moisture in the meat. 

On that being said, professionals always suggest slicing the brisket after you take it out of the refrigerator. That means you should freeze the cooked brisket whole, not sliced. In this way, minimum surfaces would encounter air. As air is the main enemy of frozen brisket, you can save the brisket from being contaminated without exposing it to air. 

Of course, there should be enough room inside the freezer to store the cooked meat. Using plastic wrap is a good idea though. 

Start wrapping the brisket with the plastic wrap very snugly. You need to make sure it doesn’t tear apart. I always rely on two wraps to double the security. Finally, you need to squeeze the bag so that there isn’t any air trapped inside. 

If it’s a ziplock bag, lock the zipper. If not, then seal it snugly. However, it would be best if you can store the cooked brisket in an airtight container. As a result, you can bring it out and let it thaw more easily. 

Most importantly, you should spare the food to rest for a while and be completely cooled before you place it into the freezer. Otherwise, it will get ruined. And once you reheat the food taken out of the refrigerator, make sure not to reheat it again. Otherwise, it would get harder and tougher. The original juicy flavor would be missing.

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Brisket

It depends on how you freeze it. Usually, cooked brisket can be frozen for three to six months. And if you preserve it by slicing, they would be frozen much faster. 

Once you take the brisket out for your meal, reheat it at the tempers of 165° F so that there are no bacteria. To retain the juicy smack of the food, it’s suggested to reheat it just after thawing. Keeping outside for longer than required would dry the brisket out. 

Freeze Brisket Whole or Sliced

To be honest, it’s a debatable issue whether you should freeze the beef brisket whole or sliced. Although it depends on personal preferences, both sides have their own amenities and drawbacks. 

Let’s start with the slices. If you slice them into pieces, it would be much easier to freeze them. It will take less time than it takes to freeze the whole brisket. Also, you can take out as many slices as you want instead of thawing the whole packer. 

Moreover, if you are running out of space, let me inform you that slices take less space in the freezer than the whole brisket. 

To freeze the sliced briskets, you must follow some tips. Firstly, you must let them cool down completely. Secondly, you must freeze them on a baking sheet first. Don’t stuff them into a container. Once they are well-frozen, you can shift them into a ziplock bag or an airtight box/container. 

However, if you are already convinced to slice brisket before freezing, learn the disadvantages as well. A whole brisket would not dry out as easily as the slices do. 

In the case of slices, they are more exposed to air, resultantly, lose the natural moisture. So, you should reheat them with a sufficient amount of beef stock to retain the juiciness. 

In a nutshell, freezing the whole brisket is better for maintaining the embryonic brisket smack. But slicing them before freezing makes the reheating process much easier. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have gained an adequate idea of how to cut brisket in half and freeze it properly.  To be honest, it’s a bit tricky to separate the flat and point areas of this fatty meat. But doing that comes with lots of advantages. It saves both your time and money.

So, if you ask can I cut the brisket in half and store it for later use?- the answer is a straight yes. You can do that without causing much change to the fatty meat apart from a bit of change in the texture. But if you follow the steps above and freeze the piece carefully, it isn’t a great deal at all!

On that note, you shouldn’t miss the flexibility of smoking a half-cut brisket and storing the rest half to enjoy when you want.