How Long Can Beef Brisket Be Refrigerated?

by Peter Mitchell

    Keep a fresh cut of beef brisket safely in the refrigerator for three to five days, according to Foodsafety.gov. Of course, if the brisket has an expiration date, you need to cook it before that date. You also need to store the brisket properly and at the right temperature. The very biggest cuts of briskets may present challenges in terms of safe storage in the refrigerator.

    Keep it Cool

    Store beef brisket at temperatures below 40 degrees F. Beef and other meats kept at temperatures between 40 and 140 F are in "the danger zone" for bacterial growth, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. As brisket can take up a lot of space in a refrigerator, keep it in the center or on a lower shelf. Check the gauge to make sure the temperature stays below 40 F.

    Pack it Right

    Store all raw meat in sealed containers. If you can't fit the brisket in a container, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent or slow down bacterial growth. Do not store cooked and raw meats on the same shelf because of the risk of cross-contamination. For example, don't place the brisket alongside your cured sandwich ham.

    Thaw it Out

    You may freeze beef brisket for as long as 12 months. After that, it will lose quality and start to degrade. When you're ready to cook the brisket, move it to the refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw. Foodsafety.gov points out that a very large brisket -- such as a 10-pounder -- may take a few days to completely thaw.

    Cook it Up

    If you buy beef brisket on sale, make sure you check the expiration date. You may need to eat it on the same day of purchase, or refrigerate for no more than 24 hours. No matter how long you keep the brisket in your refrigerator, the internal temperature when cooked should always be a minimum of 160 F. to ensure safe consumption.

    About the Author

    Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.

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