If you are going out on a trip, you want your cooked meat to retain its heat for as long as possible. Besides, using a cooler allows your cooked meat to be more tender than ever! But choosing the wrong cooler could result in dry meat and compromise the taste of your highly anticipated meal.
Whether you’re planning for a beach day or a weekend getaway at your favorite destination, I’ve done the groundwork so you can find the best cooler for resting meat.
A good cooler should have the best insulation, excellent durability, and portability. In this article, I’ve compiled all the information that I found while searching for the best cooler.
Read on to find out about the top-rated coolers in the market!
Comparison chart for Best Cooler for Resting Meat
5 Best Cooler for Resting Meat
The key factors to determine a good cooler is its insulation, durability, weight, and its chamber capacity. But you don’t have to brainstorm a lot, as you can take your pick from any of the 5 coolers below!
1. Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Cooler
One of the most popular coolers in the market, the Coleman Party Stacker, is a practical cooler that is both portable and lightweight. It comes with a durable and environment-friendly insulation material that keeps your meat heated. This cooler comes in multiple sizes, and we have the 24-can cooler here.
It has a relatively small chamber width of 9-inches, which can hold around 12-14 quarts of meat at a time, or up to 24 cans of drinks. The rectangular shape of the cooler can easily accommodate long pieces of meat, while the smaller height helps in retaining heat.
The material used for its exterior is synthetic plastic, which offers satisfactory durability. While it isn’t the sturdiest cooler on this list, it can still withstand most of what is thrown at it. What makes the Coleman Party Stacker distinctive from other coolers on this list is its amazing portability and versatility.
These coolers come with a special design that allows you to ‘stack’ these Party Stacker coolers on top of each other. They also offer multiple color options, so if you have a few of these Party Stackers, you can get creative in organizing your stuff.
But the cooler does have a shortcoming; it has mediocre heat retention capabilities. It can keep your meat warm and won’t go cold very quickly, but it falls back considerably in comparison with other coolers in this segment.
Why Should You Buy This Cooler?
If you’re on a budget and require a cooler for an overnight trip, the Coleman Party Stacker can serve your purpose of resting meat. However, it cannot retain internal temperatures very well, so it is not suitable if you need to rest the meat for longer than 5-6 hours.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Synthetic plastic shell offers satisfactory durability
- Compact and rectangular form factor makes for easy storage of the cooler
- Interlocking base and top allow stacking several Party Stackers together
- Can fit around 12-14 quarts of meat, or 24 cans of drinks
- Insulation is not the best, resulting in subpar temperature retention
- Exterior synthetic plastic is prone to cracking
2. Yeti Tundra 45
If you’re looking for a rock-solid cooler with amazing insulation capabilities, you will definitely appreciate the Yeti Tundra 45. The manufacturer produces some of the best coolers in the world, and Tundra 45 is no different. This specific model can hold up to 26 cans or 45 quarts of your cooked meat.
It uses commercial-grade polyurethane foam for insulation inside a three-inch-thick wall. In terms of temperature retention, the Yeti Tundra is an excellent cooler. The cooler has chamber dimensions of 25.5×16.0x15.5 inches and weighs about 23 lbs. While it isn’t the lightest cooler on this list, it is certainly one of the sturdiest!
With a ‘FatWall’ design in the interior and a rotomolded construction all around, the Tundra 45 is nearly indestructible, and durability is another strong point for this cooler. Moreover, it is portable enough with handles that offer sufficient comfort and grip.
Getting back to its insulation capabilities, the Tundra can outlast most other coolers on this list. While it isn’t the only cooler that comes with a freezer-grade gasket and integrated hinge, combining this with its great insulation capabilities makes for an impressive cooler.
All in all, the Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the most compelling coolers on this list. Some other features include high-quality rubber latches, a textured lid that can be used as a seat, and it is also bear-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about grizzlies stealing your precious meat!
Why Should You Buy This Cooler?
If you want a durable cooler with the best insulation, look no further as the Yeti Tundra 45 has you covered! A simple yet effective cooler, it has class-leading temperature retention abilities with an extremely durable body that can withstand rough usage.
- Class-leading temperature retention capabilities with Permafrost insulation
- Extremely durable rotomolded design
- Ample storage space with great portability
- Dry basket included in the package
- Heavy-duty rubber latches can withstand the test of time
- Not as large as it seems; 3-inch insulation takes up a lot of space
- Doesn’t come with a plug leash
3. Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler
If you need a cooler with the best possible insulation but don’t want to break your bank, you should look into the Igloo BMX. Made with extra-thick foam walls, the cooler has the retention capabilities for giving high-end models a run for their money. Apart from the great value for money it offers, it is also extremely durable.
The Igloo BMX has a heavy-duty blow-molded construction combined with a reinforced base, which makes the cooler withstand anything thrown at it. Furthermore, it has rubber latches and stainless steel hinge rods for improved durability. To top it all off, the Igloo BMX is rust-resistant as well!
For insulation, the extra-thick foam and insulated lid do a great job at retaining temperatures for long periods. In fact, it is almost as good as high-end coolers, which makes it ideal for resting your cooked meat! It is large enough to hold 51 quarts of your cooked meat, or 24 cans. One downside of this cooler is its weight.
Speaking of cooked meat, if you need a grill machine, try getting the best charcoal Rotisserie grill for better meal preparing experience.
Although it isn’t the heaviest cooler on this list, you’ll require an extra hand for carrying an Igloo BMX filled to its brim. Another issue with this cooler is that it doesn’t have a gasket between the container and lid. This leads to water leaking out from the sides, but that happens only when the cooler is moved.
Why Should You Buy This Cooler?
One of the most lucrative coolers on this list, the Igloo BMX has impressive temperature retention abilities and rock-solid construction. However, it tends to leak water due to a missing gasket. But considering the value it offers, this cooler is a great choice if you’re on a budget.
- Highly durable blow-molded construction with reinforced base
- Rubberized T-latches and stainless-steel hinge rods enhance durability
- UV Inhibitors ensure optimal safety
- Incredible temperature retaining capabilities
- Large storage area makes it ideal for long trips
- Absence of gasket between the container and the lid makes it leak water
- A bit on the heavy side
4. Pelican Elite 70-Quart Cooler
Cue in the biggest cooler on this list; the Pelican Elite is one of the best coolers that money can buy. Apart from all the bells and whistles of high-end counterparts, this cooler offers a few nifty features that can make a camper’s life easier. In terms of heat retention, it performs just as you’d expect from a costly cooler; excellent!
The Pelican Elite has a rugged construction, designed to withstand extreme conditions. It can even tackle bears! Jokes aside, it is actually bear-resistant, and it comes with a hole for padlocks. Although it is made from high-grade plastic, it almost feels like metal.
Its durability is enhanced further with nice touches around the cooler. It makes use of 3-inch non-troublesome ‘Press and Pull’ latches, which enables a very efficient way of opening the cooler. Some other things include molded tie-down slots, an anti-shear hinge mechanism, a bottle opener, and an over-molded handle.
With the best temperature retention ability you’ll find on a cooler, the Pelican Elite has 2-inch thick polyurethane insulation and a freezer-grade gasket around the lid for optimal insulation. On the inside, there are 4 self-draining cups molded into the container itself.
In terms of space, you won’t fall short as you can easily store around 70 quarts of coked meat or 48 cans of your favorite drink. Carrying the best smoker for snacok sticks along with this cooler means you can sustain foods during longer trips!
Why Should You Buy This Cooler?
If the large size and heavy-weight isn’t an issue, the Pelican Elite 70Q is probably the best cooler money can get you! It is designed to survive the harshest environments while providing unbeatable temperature retention capabilities.
- Extremely rugged construction
- Large storage area with 4 molded cup holders
- Ingenius ‘Press and Pull’ latches that can last forever
- Unbeatable temperature retention capabilities
- Freezer-grade gasket ensures optimal insulation
- Much heavier than other coolers
- Takes up a lot of space
5. Bison Coolers Medium 50-Quart Cooler Box
Lastly, we have the most appealing cooler on this list; the Bison Coolers cooler box. Before indulging in its details, let me briefly tell you about the manufacturers. They’re a family-run business with the sole objective of producing the best coolers the world has seen. And they’re excelling at it!
This 50–quarts cooler has a lot of rubber around its structure with a 2-inch thick lid and insulated walls. It also has a double-wall silicone gasket that prevents leakage. All of these combined makes for incredible temperature retention abilities.
Although it doesn’t hold up as much as the best coolers can, it’ll still be more than enough for most users. And for resting meat? This cooler is literally perfect. You can hold around 50 quarts of meat or 42 cans in this cooler. The container has two drain plugs for efficient drainage of water.
Apart from its insulation abilities, the Bison Cooler cooler box can take a whole lot of abuse but still remain intact. It could easily survive a bear attack as well, just in case.
The durable rotomolded construction, heavy-duty cantilever latches, self-stopping hinges, and a few other factors make this cooler one of the most durable coolers on the market. But it does have a small issue; it gets a little slippery to hold due to the rubber body.
Why Should You Buy This Cooler?
One of the most appealing coolers on this list, the Bison Coolers cooler box flaunts simplicity like a boss. With an extremely durable build and large storage area, this cooler is a great container for resting meat.
- Highly durable rubberized cantilever latches
- Extremely durable rotomolded construction
- Around 57 quarts of usable storage, 15% more than advertised
- Silicone gasket to prevent leakage
- Dual-drain system for efficient drainage of fluids
- Anti-skid rubber feet and ergonomic grab rails make it highly portable
- May get slippery due to rubber materials around
- Subpar temperature retention abilities
Things to Look for Before Buying a Cooler
Selecting the right cooler for resting meat isn’t a very complex task, but it isn’t easy either. Apart from considering the key factors such as durability, total capacity, etc., you must also look into the following aspects.
The main purpose of a cooler is to keep your food, beverages, and other items cold. Therefore, it is a must to consider the insulation capability of a cooler before making a purchase. Generally, coolers can be categorized into two types; hard-shell coolers and soft-shell coolers.
In simple words, you’ll be better off with a hard-shell cooler as they have more insulating material stuffed into them. Moreover, soft-shell coolers can’t retain heat/cold as effectively as hard-shell coolers. But hard-shell coolers aren’t as portable as soft-shell coolers, and vice-versa!
High-end coolers come with dense and thicker insulation materials that can retain ice/heat for longer periods than traditional coolers.
As the name suggests, the ice retention of a cooler is its ability to hold the ice in a solid state. It can also be referred to as the duration of how long the ice remains in its solid state. In brief, the longer a cooler can retain ice, the more superior it is. This roughly translates to heat retention, which we’ll be needing for resting meat.
Generally, a cooler that holds ice for around 3-5 would serve as a great container for resting meat. If it seems too difficult for you to understand, just opt for a cooler that has an ice retention ability of at least 3-4 days.
Speaking of which, having the best Kamado temperature controller for resting meat would benefit you a lot, if you want the meat to be juicy and tender.
Before selecting a cooler, you should first assess the type of usage it’ll have to endure. You’ll need a tougher exterior if you expect the cooler to be thrown around, sat on, used as furniture, etc. Although these coolers are more expensive, they’re made from better plastic or metal materials that ensure great durability.
Another factor you may have to consider with durability is the bear-resistance of your cooler. As funny as it sounds, you should actually get a cooler with bear-resistant features if you’ll be camping in areas that are prone to bear sightings.
The most common purpose of a cooler is to carry food from one place to another. This is where the weight of a cooler comes into the equation; a lightweight cooler is much more portable than a heavy cooler. If you’ll have to carry the cooler by hand on your trip, you should definitely opt for a lightweight cooler.
However, the lighter a cooler, the smaller storage capacity it has.
This is a crucial factor to consider; the size of your required cooler should be determined by how much food items you plan to store and how much space you have for storing the cooler itself. Cooler hulls are generally measured in quarts, and a cooler measuring 25 quarts or less is perfect for small or overnight trips.
But if you’ll be going out for longer trips, you should consider bigger coolers. There are numerous sizes available, with a handful of coolers tipping past 100 quarts. As mentioned earlier, a bigger cooler translates to decreased portability.
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Cooler vs. Oven – What Is the Better Way of Resting Meat?
On the internet, you’ll see a lot of debate regarding this matter. But in reality, which is better for resting meat between a cooler and an oven? To find out, we should first understand why letting meat rest after cooking makes it taste better.
In simple words, allowing the meat to rest helps keep it moist, which improves the tenderness and texture of the meat. Rested meat can hold on to its natural juices that are otherwise dried up when the meat is cooked. With that being said, you should now realize that an oven is not the best place for resting meat.
The minimum temperature of most ovens is above 180°F, which will dry the meat further and potentially even burn it. On the other hand, a cooler can enable the cooked meat to retain its heat for longer. The longer a piece of meat rests, the lower amount of liquid is lost from it.
For the best results from resting meat, you must ensure that the meat is properly cooked. So if you want a smoker for cooking meat, we recommend considering the best offset smoker under $2,000 for better experience.
In an experiment conducted by America’s Test Kitchen Radio, it was shown that resting a piece of meat for just 10 minutes led to a staggering 60% decrease in the lost liquid from the meat! Therefore, a cooler is better than an oven for resting meat as keeping it in an oven may dry the juices further.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, brisket should be left to rest for around 2-3 hours. It will remain fine inside as long as the temperature remains near 140°F, but resting the brisket for longer periods won’t be beneficial.
Adding hot water while resting meat can lead to highly tender and juicy chunks of meat. Therefore, it isn’t compulsory to preheat a cooler beforehand but for best results, preheating a cooler before resting meat can be effective.
The standard advice for food safety states that you can safely store food between 40°F and 140°F (the Danger Zone) for a maximum of 4 hours.
Using a cooler for resting meat may be the most important step for perfecting your meal. Resting a big piece of meat for a few hours improves its texture by making it juicier and tender.
Place a few towels at the bottom of an empty cooler to prevent damage from the hot meat. Use more towels to wrap the meat, which serves as insulation. Next, you’ll have to place it inside the cooler. Ensure that the internal temperature complies with the standard food safety rule, i.e., it should always stay above 140°F.
You could wrap the meat in foil and leave it to rest. But if you need a more effective way, rest the meat inside a cooler and ensure the internal temperature remains above 40°F the entire time.
A rule of thumb followed by chefs around the world is to allow 1 minute of resting time for every 100 grams of meat.
Steaks need to rest for around 5 to 7 minutes before being served, in order to make them as juicy and tender as possible.
Coolers were once used for transporting frozen items or to store piping hot food without letting it get cold. However, now using a cooler for resting meat is the most effective method to give your meal a finishing touch that makes the meat tastier.
With that being said, I hope to have helped you in choosing your pick of the best cooler for resting meat.