To determine how long smoked brisket can last in the fridge, and when to determine it’s no longer any good, there are three main things you need to consider: How to store it properly, how long smoked meat normally last in the fridge, and what signs to look for that indicate it’s gone bad.
We’ll cover each and a bit more below.
Storing brisket in the fridge
You have a smoked pork or beef brisket and for some unexplained reason, there are leftovers. Maybe the family couldn’t make it, or some friends were sick.
Or maybe you “forgot” to tell anybody else you were firing up the pellet grill for some smoked meat brisket ops. Sometimes I “forget” to tell anybody that I’m smoking meat, so from one meat smoker to another, you are forgiven.
Whatever the case, in the extremely unlikely situation where you have leftover brisket, you’re going to need to store it in the fridge or the freezer.
You want to wrap the cooked brisket in something as airtight as possible. Plastic wrap, Saran wrap, airtight container, etc. Tin foil isn’t the best option as it won’t be airtight. Vacuum sealing is not out of the question. This keeps the juices in, and the air out, and ensures it won’t dry out.
Store the smoked meat in the coldest spot in the fridge. Most refrigerators run less than 40 degrees (F) but if you have colder spots in the fridge that you know about, designate that as the Brisket spot.
If there is a lot, or for some reason, you aren’t going to eat it in the next 5 days or so, consider putting it in the freezer. Nothing wrong with that.
Not much more than that.
Smoked beef brisket can last in the fridge for up to 5 days
Generally speaking, smoked meat will last about 3-4 days in the fridge before they start to go bad. Smoked meats can last a bit longer, but not much. Consider 5 days in the fridge as the limit for smoked brisket. After that, you are taking chances.
Smoked brisket is a versatile cut of meat that can be enjoyed hot or cold, so it’s no surprise that you might have some leftovers after a meal. The window for enjoying these delicious leftovers is quite large.
If properly stored, smoked brisket can stay edible in your fridge for up to 5 days without any noticeable loss of flavor or texture.
Rather than microwaving leftover brisket, I tend to reheat brisket by searing it in a hot pan with a little bit of beef broth for just a few seconds. This gets the internal temp warmed up and gives it a good crunch. Pan-seared sliced brisket is a delicacy in some parts of the world (such as Conyers, Georgia!)
I’ve also heated up my air fryer to a nice hot temp, put the brisket on a bit of foil, and used that as a means to reheat the smoked brisket.
So if you’re looking for an easy way to extend the enjoyment of your meal, smoked brisket will have you covered as long as you keep it refrigerated and properly wrapped.
After five days, consider throwing the brisket out
I say five days, as that’s the general advisement in this respect but I’ll say right now that I’ve eaten leftover beef brisket that was up to 10 days old and lived to tell the tale.
No loss of flavor and the texture was fine.
I wouldn’t push beyond that though for brisket or any smoked meat.
After about 5 or 6 days in a fridge, the quality of the meat significantly decreases and the bacteria present in the atmosphere increases – meaning the risk of foodborne illness is much higher than it was before.
So make sure you practice proper storage for your cooked meats – and if you don’t think you’ll finish that brisket within five days – freeze it!
If you’re not sure if the brisket is still good, check for signs of spoilage such as mold or an off odor
When trying to determine how long smoked brisket can be stored in the fridge, a good rule of thumb is to check for any potential signs of spoilage or deterioration.
These include mold, an off-odor, or any discoloration in the cooked meat’s appearance.
If you notice such signs on your brisket, the safest option is to discard it immediately as this could indicate that the food is no longer safe to consume.
No matter what, it’s best to be proactive and store cooked meats like brisket promptly to help ensure their freshness and prevent them from going bad.
The first thing you’ll notice is usually a change in color; if the meat starts to turn greenish-gray or brownish-black, toss it out immediately.
Another sign is an off smell; if it smells sour or rancid, don’t take a chance – toss it!
Finally, if the texture of the cooked meat changes significantly – ie., it becomes mushy or slimy – throw it away immediately.
I should comment, the above indicates leftover brisket that has simply gone too far. Off-color, funky, stanky, slimy brisket or any meat is bad and should be thrown out. Food poisoning sucks so don’t take any chances.
What to do with leftover brisket
We seldom have leftovers as any brisket I smoke attracts friends and family and anything not eaten immediately is normally bagged up and taken home by folks. BUT, if you find yourself with some leftovers, here are a couple of ideas.
Smoked brisket lasts indefinitely when frozen
To extend that 5-day range, once the brisket is cooled and sliced, portion out a few handfuls into separate zip-lock bags and put them in the freezer.
Ensure the meat is well wrapped to avoid freezer burn.
I’ve eaten several month-old brisket this way with no loss of taste or texture. Vacuum seal if you can, but if not, do your best to remove as much air as you can before freezing.
Leftover brisket chili
If you haven’t yet made chili with leftover brisket, I suggest you do so the next time you have some. Use whatever chili recipe you normally use, but throw that leftover brisket in there for a fantastic flavor.
Yep, it’s not just for dinner anymore. A brisket omelet is one of my favorite ways to get through the last of the brisket. Or just throw some into your scrambled eggs. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know. Might as well make it a brisket breakfast.
A few other ideas:
- Brisket tacos
- Use brisket when making a Shepherd’s Pie
- Sandwiches, of course. Should probably be #1 on this list, but for some reason, I thought of it last. This is my normal course of action for leftover brisket and makes for a great lunch. This link takes you to a food truck’s site with a bunch of tasty examples.
In conclusion, knowing how long smoked brisket can last in the refrigerator is critical for ensuring that you and your family eat safe and healthy food. Smoked brisket can last up to five days in the fridge if handled and stored properly. After that period of time, it should be discarded. If you’re not sure if the brisket is still good or not, make sure to check for signs of spoilage such as mold or an off odor. And finally, don’t take any chances; never eat smoked brisket that has been in the fridge for longer than five days. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy this delicious meat without any worries!