The Art of Brisket Resting Time: How Long to Let It Rest


There are many factors that go into the process of cooking a brisket, but one of the most important is how long to let it rest. A lot of people do not know this, and they end up overcooking their beef because they did not allow for enough resting time.

In this blog post, we will discuss what you need to know about brisket resting time including why you should rest your meat before slicing or serving it and what happens if you don’t give your meat enough time to rest.

How Long Does It Take To Rest?

The longer your brisket rests, the more time there is for juices to be redistributed throughout the meat. The result will be a juicier cut of beef.

However, if you let it rest too much then the meat will start to dry out.

A good general rule of thumb is to let it rest for at least half of its total cooking time.

For example, if you cooked a 6-pound beef brisket then you would let it sit on the table for around 3 hours before serving. This will ensure that all of those juices stay inside your brisket so that you can enjoy it to the fullest.

What Happens In Resting?

When you cook a brisket, proteins break down and release juices into the meat. If you were not planning on resting your brisket, then the juices would all run out onto your cutting board.

Resting time allows the juices to redistribute throughout the beef.

If you do not allow enough resting time, then all of those juices are going to run out and you will have a much dryer piece of brisket.

Resting time allows the meat fibers in your beef to relax so that when it is cut, they do not unravel or tear apart. This helps keep the tenderness throughout every single bite instead of letting it get lost during slicing and serving.

How To Tell When The Meat Is Done Resting And Ready To Serve?

The color of a cooking brisket should darken as it cooks, so you can visually tell when your meat has reached a done degree of doneness.

When you think about it, the signs of when your brisket is finished resting are pretty obvious. For example, if you let your brisket finish cooking and rested it for around 4 hours or so, there will be a round pink ring around the edges. This round pink ring is called a “French seam” or “smoke line.”

This indicates that the brisket has rested long enough. If you are cooking a large piece of meat, it is best to let your beef rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving it.

Since this is an art form in itself, we recommend using a thermometer so that you can get accurate readings on whether or not your brisket is ready to slice and serve.

You can also try adding some dry rubs before cooking the meat and using moist heat for as long as 4 hours.

What If I Cut Into My Brisket?

If you have to cut open a piece of meat that’s been resting on your plate for too long, then you are going to lose all of those precious juices onto your cutting board.

The result is an incredibly dry piece of meat that will be impossible for anyone else at the table to enjoy.

If your brisket comes out too dry, then nobody at your dinner party is going to want any of it. The best way to keep your meat juicy is by giving it a little extra time to rest.

Once the juices have had some time to redistribute, then you can cut into your brisket as much as you like without ruining the entire dish because all of those tasty juices will stay inside instead of spilling out onto your cutting board.

Why Can’t I Just Cut Open My Brisket?

You can cut into your brisket as soon as you remove it from the smoker, but if you do this then all of those juices will come out and ruin your dinner. If your family is absolutely starving at that point in time then we recommend cutting into the meat to let everyone enjoy a delicious meal right away.

However, make sure not to leave it on the plate too long or you will lose all of those delicious juices.

When Should I Cut My Brisket?

The best way to tell when your beef is ready to cut into is by using an internal thermometer. This will make sure that the meat does not overcook and is ready to eat.

Once the internal temperature of your brisket reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit you are good to go.

What If I Want It Now?

If your family is really hungry and they absolutely have to eat now then we recommend cutting into your brisket and letting the rest of it sit on your cutting board.

This way you won’t lose any juices while everyone else gets to enjoy their meal, but still, have enough time to serve at a later point in time.

How Do I Keep it Warm?

If you need to leave your cut of beef brisket on the cutting board for a little while, then we recommend using a double boiler to keep it warm. This way nobody gets their meal too early and everybody can enjoy that tasty BBQ at the same time.

What If I Don’t Want To Rest It?

As long as you don’t cut into your brisket right away, then it will still be hot when everyone else is finished eating. That way nobody gets their meal too early and everybody can enjoy that tasty BBQ at the same time.

This also means that your brisket will be nice and tender, so you won’t have to worry about chewing for a long time.

What Are Some Tips For Slicing A Brisket After Resting?

Slice the brisket vertically down the centerline of the fat cap (in either direction). Cut off excess fat from edges of slices. Slice across grain following muscle fibers from edge to center (or vice versa).

What Are Some Tips For Sawing A Brisket After Resting?

Saw the brisket between the muscle fibers across the grain. Make cuts about  ½ -inch apart. Cutting with or against the grain will result in very different textures and eating experiences, so make sure to slice your meat accordingly based on how you want it served (according to the way it was cooked).


Brisket resting time is an important variable in the cooking process that can make a big difference in flavor and texture. If you’re not sure how long to let your meat rest, follow the guidelines above for best results.

We hope this post has helped you understand why it’s so important to give your brisket enough time to cook before slicing or serving. So next time you’re slow-cooking a beef roast, don’t forget about resting!

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.