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If you’re a barbecue enthusiast, you must already be familiar with brisket. After all, this meat cut is simply one of the most flavorful ones with just the right amount of tenderness. But, wait, there’s a catch! Brisket requires slow cooking and the right internal temperature unless you want to end up with a chewy or brittle meal.
Typically, you should cook brisket until the internal temperature is around 190°F to 195°F. Note that the internal temp can keep on increasing even after you’ve removed the brisket from the grill.
Now, if you want to avoid any mishaps, this quick guide will help you find out the best internal temp for brisket, along with some quick tips. Read on!
What Is The Ideal Internal Temperature for Brisket?
Brisket is one of the toughest and fattiest meat cuts. Therefore, you need to cook it slowly at the right temperature for a long time. But, the question is when to stop cooking it – this is where the idea of internal temperature comes in.
The brisket internal temperature will help you gauge whether or not it is perfectly done. Usually, the best internal temperature for brisket lies within the range of 200°F to 210°F.
I recommend taking your brisket off the smoker when the temperature is around 190°F to 195°F. It is because the brisket’s internal temp keeps on rising even if it’s off the grill. So, you’ll observe that the final internal temp will come to around 200°F to 210°F.
Do keep in mind that if you take off your brisket from the grill when the internal temperature reaches around 210°F, you can easily risk overcooking the meat.
How to Gauge When Brisket Is Done Cooking?
There are several ways to gauge when your brisket is done cooking. For instance, you can check its internal temperature, or opt for traditional methods like the probe or feel methods.
The table summarizes the best ways to check if the brisket is done cooking or not.
|Method||What You Need||Instructions|
|Thermometer Test||Thermometer||Simply take a thermometer and insert the measuring end in the thickest part of the meat. If the internal temp is around 190°F to 195°F, it is done cooking.|
|Probe Test||Toothpick/knife||Take a toothpick/knife. Then, poke it into the different areas of the brisket. If the toothpick/knife goes in and out without any resistance, your brisket is mostly cooked.|
|Feel Test||Fork||Use a fork and insert it into the brisket. Then, twist the fork. If it twists easily, your brisket is ready to serve.|
|Tug Test||Knife||Take a knife and cut a thin slice of the meat. Then, try to tear the meat from both ends. If it tears easily, it indicates that the brisket is cooked.|
How to Correctly Smoke a Brisket?
According to the world-famous chef Gordon Ramsay, “the key to cook brisket is to cook it low and slow”.
Let’s take a look at the correct way of smoking brisket and the required cook time.
Step 1: Season Your Brisket Properly
First things first, don’t forget to season your brisket generously. It’s best to take one tablespoon of salt for every pound of brisket.
Step 2: Adjust the Smoker or Oven Temperature
Depending on whether you’re using a smoker grill or oven, you need to adjust the temperature.
If you’re using a smoker, preheat it to 225-275℉. Then, place the brisket in the center of the cooking grate.
For an oven, preheat it to 300℉. Then, place the brisket in a roasting pan (fat side up preferably), and cover it up with either aluminum foil or butcher paper.
Step 3: Allow the Brisket to Cook
Let the brisket cook for a while. The timing varies but it usually takes around 30 to 60 minutes per pound for both the smoker and oven.
Step 4: Take Out the Brisket
Finally, check the brisket’s internal temperature. If it is around 190℉ to 195℉, take it out, and allow it to sit for at least an hour before slicing it.
Additional Tips for the Perfect Brisket
We all are looking for those extra tips that could amplify our brisket’s flavor and tenderness. Well, I have come across several tried and tested tips that result in a drool-worthy brisket meal!
- Rub Your Brisket Beforehand
If you’re really into locking in the flavors, this tip is for you. All you need to do is rub your brisket generously with your favorite BBQ seasoning. Instead of rubbing it just a few hours before smoking your brisket, try doing it at least 48 hours before.
Rubbing your brisket 48 hours before smoking allows the seasoning to seep in properly. So, you’ll end up with an extra flavorful and scrumptious brisket!
- Don’t Forget to Trim the Fat!
You and I both know that fat gives flavor and tenderness when it comes to brisket or any piece of meat. Yet, you need to strive for the perfect balance.
If you notice that your brisket has extremely fatty areas, I recommend trimming them. It is because when you’re cooking your brisket, these areas might not cook properly, and can essentially ruin your dish.
You might also notice a few gray areas on the brisket’s edges. Trim them too till the red meat appears.
- Allow Your Cooked Brisket to Rest
None of us can resist the fine appeal of a perfectly-cooked and juicy brisket. However, I always recommend waiting for at least an hour before slicing it up!
All you need to do is simply take your brisket out from the oven or grill, and remove the foil or butcher paper. Then, let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour.
If you allow your cooked brisket to rest, the meat juices can easily redistribute. This leads to a tender and juicy brisket. On the contrary, immediately slicing your brisket can cause the meat juices to spill all over your chopping board!
What to Do If Brisket Is Undercooked?
If you pull out your brisket when the internal temperature is below 190°F, then it might be undercooked. There might be some other reasons possible too, such as fluctuating temperatures.
Now, there are some sure-shot ways to confirm when your brisket is undercooked.
- If you insert your thermometer/knife/toothpick inside the brisket, it won’t pass through easily.
- If you try to pull apart a slice of meat, it won’t tear easily.
- The brisket’s texture is often chewy and hard when it’s undercooked.
Quick Tips for Undercooked Brisket
Don’t worry, an undercooked beef brisket is easily salvageable! Given below are some tips for undercooked brisket.
- One of the simplest solutions for an undercooked brisket is to pop it back into the oven. However, while you’re at it, don’t forget to add some extra moisture in the form of your barbecue sauce or beef stock. This will ensure that your brisket is well-cooked and tender.
- You can also try cutting your brisket into ¼ to ½-inch thick slices. Then, add these slices to a pan, cover them with sufficient beef broth, and wrap the brisket with foil. Then, cook it in the oven at 325°F for three to four hours.
- Allow the brisket to cool down properly. Then, refrigerate it overnight. Next day, allow it to cook again till it reaches the correct internal temp.
What to Do If Brisket Is Overcooked?
It is easy to overcook brisket if you don’t pay attention to the internal temperature. For instance, you might overcook your brisket if you take it out when its internal temp is around 200°F or more.
If you feel that your brisket is overcooked, look out for the below-mentioned signs.
- When you slice the brisket, the juices are clear, and not reddish-pink.
- The brisket’s texture is too brittle and stiff.
- The internal temperature on the thermometer easily exceeds 210°F.
Quick Tips for Overcooked Brisket
There aren’t too many ways to save an overcooked brisket, but you can still try to make good use of it.
- You can use an overcooked brisket for toppings in dishes like nachos and tacos.
- Try making Shepherd’s pie with your brisket
- You can even prepare delicious chili or stew with an overcooked brisket
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you pull a brisket at 195?
You can pull your brisket at 195°F. It is also an ideal internal temperature to take it out. Once you take it out, its internal temperature would rise up to 200°F or 210°F, which is perfect.
What happens if you pull a brisket too early?
If you take out your brisket too early, you may risk undercooking it. An undercooked brisket isn’t juicy or tender. Instead, it is quite chewy and tough to eat.
What is the danger zone for brisket?
The danger zone for the brisket is between 40°F and 140°F, as the bacteria can easily multiply during this time.
It’s extremely necessary to consider the internal temperature when you’re cooking brisket. If you go above 195°F, you might cause the brisket to overcook. On the other hand, temperatures below 190°F can easily cause your brisket to undercook. So, always keep an eye out for the temperature using a proper thermometer.
Hopefully, this guide helps you in cooking your brisket to perfection. Till then, happy cooking and grilling!