Resting And Holding Meat After Cooking

This post may contain affiliate links.

This last weekend I spend a lot of time reading about resting meat after cooking and holding meat warm after cooking.

I found that these are two completely different things, but they can be combined also. This is just to make it even more complicated.

There are tons of articles written by top chefs and other experts on this subject and all you do is go to Google, search for them, and read them if you like to know the science behind it.

We have to make a difference in what meat we are working with.
Steak needs a different approach than a brisket, tenderloin, or Boston but.

Here is how rest my steaks

I think in general that people make this to complicated.
After grilling your steak and taking it off the fire it takes a while before you start cutting and eating it.

This is generally spoken enough rest time for your steak.

This is what I do.

  • I grill the steak
  • I place it on a warm plate
  • I let is rest 5 – 10 minutes
  • I put the drippings in a skillet
  • Heat up the drippings
  • Pour them over the steak
  • Serve it

I found that letting it sit for a few minutes makes the outside of the steak a little soft. By pouring the hot drippings over it you crisp up the outside again.
You can also put the steak on a very hot fire for 15 seconds on each side to crisp them up.

How I rest my larger cuts of meat

I eat a steak once in a while, but I do a lot of cooking on low and slow.

I have tested several ways of resting my larger cut of meats.
I have found a way that works for me.
Since you cook this type of meat a lot hotter on the inside, and it has more mass, it needs a different approach than a steak.

One tip I can give is to use a digital probe thermometer to make sure to reach the right temperature first.

  • Slow cook it to the right internal temperature
  • Wrap it
  • Place it in a cooler
  • Let it sit there for 2 -3 hours
  • Unwrap it
  • Slice or pull apart

I have made some changes in the last months that in my opinion made my larger cuts of meat taste better and kept them juicier.

I use to cook my Boston buts for 4 – 5 hours unwrapped and then wrap them with apple juice.

Now I cook them for 6 – 8 hours unwrapped and then wrap them with nothing added and cook them another 6 – 8 hours.

In the old method, I had a lot of juice in the package that I tried to save and added back to the meat after shredding.
It made my pulled pork very juicy and I liked it.

Now I do not have a lot of juices but after shredding it I do not see the need to add more juices. It tastes even better my family says.

What type of cooler do I use

If I could afford it I would of course like to have several Yeti coolers, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
You can find all of them here on Amazon.

I also believe that these coolers are great for keeping meat warm, or drinks cold, but are not necessary for resting my larger cuts of meat.

I use 3 coolers

  • A dollar store Styrofoam cooler
  • A small cooler
  • A large cooler

The Styrofoam is used for if I only smoke one Boston but.
The Small cooler is for 2 Boston buts or small brisket
The large cooler is for large briskets

How I fill my coolers

First I fill my coolers with hot water to warm them up.
I keep my meat wrapped of course.
Here are the layers I use.

  • Towel at the bottom
  • Puppy training pad to absorb leaking
  • Meat
  • Towels

There are many alternatives to use like newspapers, welding blankets, and basically anything else you can think of.

I have kept meat in the real coolers, not in the Styrofoam, for 6 hours without it cooling too much.

If we have a family dinner that is not at our house I had no problem taking Boston buts and tenderloin with me and shred or slice them just before serving and they were still warm.

With a cooler that is well insulated, you can keep your meat warm for a long time and another benefit is that it will give it a rest period.

You must however freeze it if you like to keep it longer than 2 days. I wrote article about freezing, thawing and reheating here.

Share your opinion on how you rest and or keep your meat warm with us.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top