How to Prepare a Brisket Cooler and Rest a Brisket?

Do you want to know how you should rest the brisket in the cooler properly? And, how should you prepare a cooler for resting a brisket so that it’s well insulated to hold your brisket for a longer period?

You’re at the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you about thoroughly resting your brisket in the cooler.

Let’s learn about the entire process!

How should you Prepare a Cooler for Resting a Brisket: Step-By-Step?

Resting a brisket after cooking in a grill or smoker is a crucial step that helps you achieve tender, juicy, and flavorful brisket. The resting stage is equally critical as coking is. If anything goes wrong, it can result in undercooked and even overcooked brisket.

To get a perfect brisket after resting it, here is a step-by-step process you need to follow.

1. Select the right brisket cooler.

Foremostly, you must pick a suitable brisket cooler for resting a brisket. For this purpose, you’ve to check a few things:

  • Ensure your cooler is fit for resting the brisket: it’s not broken, closes, and is sealed, and the latches also work perfectly.
  • Choose a cooler that is large enough to accommodate your brisket comfortably.  It should have enough space for air circulation around the brisket., Contrarily, a small cooler can squeeze meat.
  • Opt for a cooler that provides excellent insulation to retain heat effectively. In this regard, coolers made of hard plastic or foam are the best.
  •  Portability isn’t a primary factor when using a cooler to rest a brisket. Yet, if you plan on taking your brisket on the go or participating in outdoor events, consider a portable cooler. Look for coolers with sturdy handles, wheels for easy maneuverability, or even collapsible options for convenient storage.
  • Your brisket resting cooler should be easy to clean. So, opt for models with removable interiors or smooth surfaces that can be wiped down easily. This ensures that your cooler remains hygienic and ready for future use.

2. Prepare the Brisket for Resting.

Before transferring your brisket to the cooler, prepare it to sit in it so it doesn’t leak the juices or heat. Likewise, also remember a few points:

  • Use a reliable thermometer to ensure the brisket is fully cooked before resting. For brisket, this is typically around 200°F (93°C) for a tender and well-rendered result.
  • Wrap the brisket tightly in two heavy-duty aluminum foil or butcher paper layers. It’ll allow the brisket to retain moisture and heat during rest.

3. Preheating the Brisket Cooler.

To maximize the effectiveness of the cooler, preheating is crucial. Follow these steps to preheat your brisket cooler properly:

Preheating your brisket cooler is an important step to creating an optimal environment for resting your brisket. Follow these steps to preheat your brisket cooler effectively:

  • Start by ensuring that your cooler is fully clean. To clean it, wipe down the cooler interior with mild detergent, then rinse it thoroughly with water. 
  • Let it dry completely before proceeding.
  • Use the hot water method to warm the cooler for holding/resting the brisket. Fill a large pot or kettle with hot water. Pour the hot water (not boiling water) into the empty cooler. Fill it to approximately 1/3 of the cooler’s capacity. Close the cooler lid tightly and leave the hot water in it for 10-15 minutes to preheat it properly.
  • After 15 minutes, empty the cooler carefully by draining the water. 
  • Thoroughly dry the cooler’s using clean towels or paper towels. 

4. Place the Brisket in the Cooler.

Now, it’s time to transfer the meat into the cooler. Follow these steps for a successful transition:

Set thermometer for monitoring brisket during rest.

When using a thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of a brisket while it’s resting in a cooler, it’s important to place the thermometer probe correctly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Ensure that your meat thermometer is clean and sanitized. If it has a removable probe, detach it from the main unit.
  • Identify the thickest part of the brisket, e.g., the center of the flat, and carefully pierce the wrapped brisket with the thermometer probe.
  • Connect the probe to the main unit of your meat thermometer. 
  • Close the cooler’s lid, ensuring that the probe wire doesn’t get pinched or damaged.
  • Place the main unit of the thermometer outside the cooler, away from any heat sources or direct sunlight. 
  • Keep an eye on the temperature displayed on the thermometer unit. Make any necessary adjustments to the cooler’s insulation or ventilation to maintain the desired temperature range. 

Place the brisket

  • Place the wrapped brisket into the preheated cooler keeping it flat.
  • Cover the wrapped brisket with additional clean towels or blankets, and close the cooler’s lid tightly. This additional insulation will preserve the temperature and continue the cooking process during rest.

Remember that the resting period is a time for the meat to rest and allow the carryover cooking process to occur, so minor temperature fluctuations are normal.

5. Close the cooler and let the brisket rest.

It’s highly advisable to maintain the cooler temperature by keeping the lid closed when resting a brisket. Here’s how you can effectively close the cooler:

  • Ensure that the cooler’s lid is clean; wipe it down if necessary. Place the lid on top of the cooler, aligning it properly with the base.
  • Most coolers come with latches or fasteners designed to secure the lid tightly. Engage the latches or fasteners, ensuring they are securely closed.
  • Insulate the lid to provide additional insulation and minimize heat exchange. For this purpose, you can cover the closed lid with an extra layer of insulation e.g. a clean towel or blanket. 
  • Finally, do a quick inspection to ensure that the cooler is properly closed. Press down on the lid to confirm that it’s firmly sealed with no gaps or air leaks.
  • Let the brisket rest in the cooler for the recommended time of 2-10 hours (within the time limit that it maintains a safe serving temperature)

Note: Please avoid opening the cooler unnecessarily, for it can impact the temperature and the overall resting process. To monitor the brisket temperature, it’s best to rely on your Bluetooth BBQ thermometer only. 

5. Keep Monitoring the brisket temperature resting period.

During the resting period, it’s crucial to maintain the brisket temperature and monitor the internal heat of the brisket. Here are some tips you should follow when preparing the brisket for rest.

Remember, your goal is to create a controlled environment inside the cooler where the brisket can rest undisturbed. By closing the cooler effectively, you can preserve the heat and allow the meat to relax, retain its juices, and develop flavors.


Preparing your cooler for resting a brisket is like setting the stage for a culinary masterpiece. With the right cooler selection, proper preheating, and careful thermometer placement, you’re ensuring that your brisket will rest in a temperature-controlled haven, allowing the flavors to meld and the juices to redistribute. So, whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a backyard barbecue enthusiast, you can take your barbecue game to the next level and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor. 

Cheers to a perfectly rested brisket and happy grilling! is a participant in the Amazon Associate program and will earn from qualifying purchases.