Retherming Brisket in CVap®

retherming brisket

Brisket. Is there a better product to cook to celebrate May’s National BBQ Month? Brisket is incredibly popular, with a 23% increase in menus over the last decade. Whether you’re preparing these babies in-house, or are opting for commercially produced products, CVap ovens are great for retherming brisket without sacrificing quality.

retherming brisket
retherming brisket

To test the full range of products, we rethermed two brisket types. The first was a fully cooked, house-smoked, whole unsliced brisket. The other was commercially produced Hormel sliced brisket. Notably, both briskets were whole, smoked, and fully cooked. But the commercial product was smaller, roughly seven pounds. Additionally, it came presliced. On the other hand, the homemade product is unsliced and was about 14 pounds. We set them up in the same CHV7-05UV oven, with the same program: Vapor 170°F/Air 200°F. We wrapped both briskets in foil and placed them into the preheated oven.

Retherming Brisket - The Same, But Different

Although these were both whole briskets, they fell under different Food Code 3-403.11(C) requirements. The code requires that rethermed proteins hit their required safe temperature in two hours or less

Because the Hormel brisket was a commercially produced product, the code requires it to reach the minimally safe temperature of 135°F. Our CVap oven easily hit the mark. The Hormel brisket reached safe temp in a little under two hours. Clearly, the lower retherming temperature requirement, coupled with CVap’s high humidity retherming program, and the added ingredients (like phosphate) helped keep this pre-sliced brisket perfectly moist.

However, the food code requirements for previously cooked homemade brisket are more stringent. Code dictates that it must reach a minimum safe temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. Our initial test reveal that this much larger brisket missed the mark on cook time. Unsurprisingly, this brisket, being twice as large as the Hormel product, took nearly twice as long to hit 165°F in the thickest part of the roast, between the point and flat. But no test is a failure, even if the results are not what we wanted. We headed back to the drawing board.

The solution was simple. We separated the whole brisket into the point and flat and wrapped them separately. Consequently, the two smaller cuts reached the required temperature within the two-hour limit. Although we didn’t test it, you could probably optimize the program by either decreasing the vapor and air temperatures or minimizing the temperature differential between the two (for example, Vapor 180°F/Air 190°F, or Vapor 190°F/Air 200°F).

Why Retherm?

What’s the practicality of retherming briskets instead of serving scratch cooked? Time. Briskets are a classic example of a protein you must cook low and slow to achieve the best results. Unless you can perfectly predict how much your operation needs on a given day (and plan accordingly), it is impractical to cook on-demand. But cooking ahead of time and properly refrigerating reduces the time it takes to retherm and serve. Think of it as a form of staging. Ultimately, anything that helps you serve faster and turn tables is beneficial.

Beautiful Beef Brisket: Smoky, Juicy, and Tasty!

brisket is particularly good for overnight cooking

Every pitmaster worth his or her salt knows that producing a proper beef brisket is something to be proud of. Between the fatty and the lean parts, there are special challenges. Smoke or cook it too long and the lean portion will dry out, but not long enough and the fat will be undercooked and not rendered enough. Allow the temperature to get too high and the brisket will be bone dry. That’s why low and slow does the trick, and CVap makes a perfect partner for brisket. You want a robust bark, a consistent smoke ring, and tender, juicy meat. No problem, right?

CVap Beef Brisket

Marinate a 3.5 lb. beef brisket in a mixture of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce and Worcestershire, and then liberally apply a seasoning rub.

Smoke the beef brisket at 200°F for about 2.5 hours, and then it went into a CVap Cook and Hold Oven set at Constant Cook ON /135°F / Browning Level 2 / for ten hours.

As you can see, the bark is set, the smoke ring is consistent, and the meat is definitely juicy! Our final yield was about 85%.

As an alternative, you could omit the smoking step and cook the brisket in the CVap overnight at the same setting to come up with this result. Again, it is juicy, tender, and very evenly done.

Please note this setting produces a brisket ideally suited for slicing. If you want a shreddable brisket, set your CVap Cook/Hold Oven to 170 + 2 and cook it overnight. Your yield will be slightly less, but it will shred beautifully.

For the perfect BBQ feast, serve your classic smoked brisket, slice it, slather it with your favorite sauce, and serve it with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, sweet onions, dill pickles, and sliced white bread. Oh – and plenty of napkins or paper towels!

Looking for some alternative serving ideas for brisket? Whether you smoke your brisket or not, any of these suggestions will showcase this inexpensive cut of beef very nicely:

Creative Brisket Serving Suggestions

  • Chop your brisket and use it as a topping on BBQ pizza
  • Make brisket tacos with cabbage, crema, and fresh avocado
  • Serve brisket hash as a breakfast or brunch item
  • Fill ravioli with a brisket mixture and serve with a sauce made with dark beer and caramelized onions
  • Create a smoky BBQ-style brisket cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes
  • Add chopped brisket to your chili for a delicious departure from ground beef
  • Give your vegetable beef soup a different dimension by using sliced or chopped brisket