This Year's Brisket Question
I follow the school of thought that says cook brisket for 3 hours; next day, slice and cook for additional hour.
What about cooking it for 4 full hours on day one, slicing next day, and then into freezer? I.e., will it be harder to slice if the brisket has already reached maximum softness?
If you cook a brisket to maximum softness, it will be very difficult to slice, it''ll more lightly shred. Brisket should be fork tender, but not shredded. Maybe by maximum softness, you mean fork tender.
I generally cook brisket the day before, and don't necessarily depend on timing or hours, more on testing the brisket and removing it from the heat when I feel it's at the point of tenderness that I desire, taking into consideration that I may or may not be reheating it; cool, refrigerate and reheat the next day, then slice to serve. I don't do the double cooking either.
If you want to cook it fully and freeze it to reheat later, tightly wrapped, I wouldn't bother slicing it first, unless you want it portioned out conveniently for sandwiches. Preslicing may cause the slices to dry out a bit when being reheated, unless you're using a fair amount of liquid.
Just my thoughts.
I don't get the double "cooking". Basically you slow cook it for a couple hours, depending on size, allow to rest, then slice, then reheat the next day.
I don't like brisket to be falling apart like pulled beef. I like to be able to serve it sliced, and this can be done after cooking it the first day.
BTW, you can serve it the same day, with some drawbacks being it gets more flavorful the next day (or two) and you can defat the sauce a bit more easily once it's solidified.