Keeping Brisket warm



New member
I normally finish my Packer briskets (14-20lbs) a few hours before my party. When it hits temp and probes like butter, I take it off the smoker, unwrap the butcher paper, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Then I wrap it back up and put it in a small cooler, topped with a couple of old towels. I've kept it in there anywhere from 2-5 hours, but 2 hours is my preference.

Sometimes the flat gets a bit dried out. I'm wondering if there are better ways to keep the brisket moist and ready to go. Restaurants do things to keep briskets in perfect condition for many hours, but I don't know what those are.

Also, does anyone have experience NOT resting in a cooler but letting it rest and cool on a counter for 30 minutes or so, and then slicing? If so, how did that turn out?

Many thanks for the responses.
In Aaron Franklin's Master Class he did last summer, he let his brisket sit on the counter for an hour. I think he does this to reduce carryover cooking.

In his barbecue joint he, and just about everybody else, uses Alto Shaam warmers set to 145 or 150.

You will lose moisture when you slice. That should be done just before its eaten.

Brisket will be dry from undercooking more than over cooking.
Great advice. I have been told by the pros at Weber academy that if you let the brisket cool enough it won't dry out when slicing.
My attempts at this show it is true but the temp is a bit unclear. Told 160's is okay, and certainly better than when hotter. But to be sure a bit cooler might be less likely to dry.
Course who can wait that long...
I just refreshed my memory, and Franklin does not say to let it rest for an hour, he says let it rest till it gets to 140* to 150*.

Once you’ve pulled the brisket, allow it to rest in its wrapping until it cools to an internal temperature of 140 to 150°F. That will take a little time. The outermost layers of the brisket receive heat immediately from the convection of air and smoke inside the cooker, but the innermost layers receive heat via conduction—the slow, gradual absorption of heat from the outer layers. So even though the brisket is technically no longer receiving heat, the interior of the brisket will continue to cook. This is known as carryover cooking. How long it takes will depend a lot on the temperature of your environment and how hot your cooker was. (Think: Momentum). It’ll happen faster on a cool, breezy day than a hot, humid one. Factor in at least 30 minutes and up to an hour or two.