View Full Version : Holding whole brisket/pork long term in heated cabinet?

06-20-2012, 10:31 AM
Hi Gang,

We have been vending in our area for several months now with excellent success. Serving very fresh brisket and pork is one reason for the success but on occasion (competition weekends primarily) we have found the need to cook, refrigerate, and reheat our vending meats a day in advance. While the results are acceptable they are not ideal as the quality certainly takes a hit from the reheating process.

I have held large cuts above 140 degrees 6 to 8 hours with no noticeable loss in quality. My question does anyone have experience holding large cut meats (wrapped in foil or plastic) even longer (12 to 18 hours) using a mechanical unit. I have heard of establishments that due to volume and capacity use this method out of necessity but no direct information or knowledge. So reaching out to the wise Brethren.

Thanks, Matt

06-20-2012, 04:37 PM
Hey Matt,
We have to do something like that because of our limited cooking space.. We'll smoke a batch for 5 or 6 hours, then wrap them and move them to a heated holding box running just over 200. They have been in there upwards of 10 ours or so while we cook the next batch. If they are wrapped tight, it works well..especially for pulled pork and brisket. Might need to experiment a bit with temp.


06-20-2012, 04:58 PM
we have had real good luck holding in food film , never tried an extended hold, but one of our local bbq joints holds in an alto sham it has controls over both heat and humidity i believe...

Pitmaster T
06-20-2012, 07:42 PM
answer on its way

Pitmaster T
06-20-2012, 09:08 PM
Pitmaster T - Quickies - The Cut (Brisket and a Dull Knife) - YouTube

In this vid and others you see the Tri Level process....which usually includes an impressive resting period (rendering)

This process does NOT include a chill down or freeze. I think it does reduce the quality. There is a loss and mushiness to meat that got cooked, chilled and reheated....that is not there for the overnight hold.


After the Prerub (Glitter and Lawreys - or visa versa)


The Dirty Dalmatian Post Rub


(After Final step in Tri-Level Rub) Ready for the Pit


Ready to Pull and Wrap (Weeping) Bark hard enough to dull knife


Wrapped and ready for a night's rest in the Proofing Oven at 160 or so.


Rested Brisket woken up... Proofing Oven Behind... Still More in there


Unwrapped and rested in the air... The Bark has snapped back... is the right texture but will not dull an edge as much as before.


Brisket Yielding to my Pizza Knife... Dull, Dull Pizza Knife.

06-21-2012, 09:29 AM
Thanks Donnie. When I was a brisket noob I watched and read just about everything you've posted - even did the Night Train brisket. I bow to your greatness and thank you! My vending brisket (which I prefer to our comp brisket) is a straight up traditional Texas style brisket I think you would be proud of. Finding good brisket here in southern Ohio is a challenge to say the least and I literally have had customers eyes roll back in there head upon sampling. That said the learning never ends!

I am very familiar with your wrap and hold process and have used it many times - did so for at least 8 hours with a holding cabinet for a big cook earlier this year. I guess my question is do you or anyone else have experience using this technique to hold even longer than 8 hours? Say 12 to 18 or even 24 hours? Has anyone tried it? At what point holding large cuts of beef or pork (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the safe zone above 140) do bad things start to happen? Food safety concerns?

Pitmaster T
06-21-2012, 09:53 AM
Well let me see....

I started doing the briskets earlier two years ago.... they are off by 5. and all wrapped and in the holder by 6. Sometimes as early as 5. Pork butts definately in by 5.

I generally pull them to cool at 8 to 9 the next day...for a 300 plate get the hell out of here, butcher wrapped meat fest at 11:30 when church lets out. People's perception is that is the freshest they have ever seen, being that its all cut with that knife within minutes. The sound of 7 people wrapping up 1 and 1/2 pound servings is quite the racket... LOL

So that is at the most 14 - 15 hours of holding. My peeps that volunteer the first time always think... open it now...there is no way you can cut all that in 30 minutes!!! I gaurd that box with my life.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-21-2012, 09:53 AM
I cook my brisket in 750 lb batches. When they come off I cool them completely and let the fat re hydrate into the meat. I chop them cold or slice them cold and reheat in the oven or cooken in a pan with some liquid for vending. I have had no real quality issues.

Pitmaster T
06-21-2012, 09:58 AM
I can attest to something Jacked upm is saying and it gets asked here a lot.

I never thought to say what he said though but its damn true.

First, he sort of does part of what can be found on page 144 of "the book." Mills.

But he says something everyone should know. IF YOU ARE INCLINED to pre slice let it cool. Many slice when it is hot or even just warm. If you have to preslice and sometimes you just have to, this is the best way. If you can wrap in plastic after you slice, and reheat in the plastic, thats even better.

Thanks Jacked!

Pyle's BBQ
06-21-2012, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the post. I just asked about this in the catering forum.

06-22-2012, 05:44 AM
Question!... I cooked a 12lb Brisket last week. A friend was up from down south and asked for it on a Monday night but i work! so i had to cook it Sunday (8am to 8pm). I never did this before. It was in my WSW for 10 hours at a steady 225, the 2 hours wrapped in foil at 225. Out it came and rested in the foil for an hour. it appeared perfectly cooked. then i decided to wrap it in film and refrigerate. I took it out hours in advance on Monday night and put it in an oven at about 170 until it was warm throughout. I took it to the cutting board and it was AMAZING! so tender and juicy as hell. BUT! after being in the serving bowl for about 15 minutes, it began to tighten up and get VERY DRY! WHOA! What happened??? BTW- I trimmed most of my fat, for years I didnt do that. tried that the last 2 times and I swear I will never ever do THAT again. Maybe score the fat deep at 1 in. cross cut if at all, but I will NEVER trim my fat again (unless its excessive). Any thoughts?

Pitmaster T
06-22-2012, 07:02 AM
I think you got it, eplain.