Skip to Content

Brisket temp going up and down? Here’s Why

We strive to provide you with authoritative, trustworthy, and expert advice. In doing so, the staff at performs extensive research, editing, and fact checking to every post on this webiste. If you feel that this article can improve, please feel free to reach us at

Before continuing this article, I wanted to let you know that I have a YouTube channel where I showcase all sorts of video content related to BBQ. Subscribing would mean a lot to me, and I very much appreicate all the support!

Smoking meats necessitates not only patience but also consistency.

Smoking a brisket takes a long time, sometimes up to 20 hours! So, when working with low and slow cooking, the temperatures must remain steady throughout.

Temperature changes, however, can be caused by a variety of external factors, including harsh weather, an abundance of fat on the brisket, or even faulty equipment, such as a thermometer that provides inaccurate readings.

This post will go through the possible causes of temperature swings in your brisket and what you can do to help alleviate them.

What Causes Fluctuations?

Brisket can be difficult to smoke. It contains tons of fatty tissues and connective fibers that must be completely broken down and redistributed back into the meat.

As these tissues dissolve, a variety of effects can occur, including evaporative cooling, temperature decreases, and sometimes even overcooking.

Unpredictable weather might also create volatility. If it starts raining outside, for example, the accumulation of precipitation outside the smoker might create a loss of heat, potentially causing the brisket to plateau.

Windy conditions can also be troublesome. The wind can deflect heat away from the meat and also drift up into the smoker, increasing the intensity of the heat. Always position your smoker such that it faces the wind in the direction of its natural airflow.

Furthermore, when smoking a “whole packer (a whole brisket with both the tip and flat), variances are likely.

A flat has more lean meat and less fat than a point, which has substantially more fat. If not properly prepared, the brisket may smoke unevenly.

How Fast Does Brisket Normally Cook? 

This varies according to the size of the brisket being smoked. Brisket will take roughly 1½ to 2 hours per pound of meat to thoroughly cook when smoked at standard temperatures of 225 to 250 degrees(F).

So, a 5-pound brisket would take up to 10 hours to cook.

When the ambient smoke heat is raised, the cooking time is greatly reduced. Briskets can smoke in as little as 30-45 minutes per pound of meat at temperatures ranging from 275 to 300 degrees(F).

So, the same 5-pound brisket would only take around 3 hours to cook on the smoker. The difference is astounding!

When you have temperature variations, it’s usually because the smoke heat is either too low or too high.

Can The Internal Temperature Drop During the Stall?

Unfortunately, within the clutches of a stall, the interior temperature may definitely undergo momentary dips.

Thankfully, it is not always prevalent, and certain conditions make it more likely.

Too Much Fat

Excess juices evaporating from the surface of the meat induce a temperature stall. This is referred to as “evaporative cooling.”

The cooling tempo matches the rate at which the smoker cooks the meat, resulting in a temperature plateau.

However, an overabundance of fatty tissues causes substantial moisture pooling, causing the effects of evaporative cooling to become much more intense. This means that the meat will not only stall but may also experience a brief dip in temperature.

Not Enough Heat

This may appear to be a trivial blunder, yet the most serious mistakes are frequently the simplest.

As previously stated, the ideal smoking temperature for brisket is 225 degrees(F). Anything less may not be hot enough to combat the effects of temperature stalling.

Over Basting

Brisket basting or spritzing is a common technique. It not only keeps it hydrated, but it can also provide additional flavors.

Various bastes, such as apple cider vinegar, beer, or BBQ sauce, can be utilized.

Unfortunately, overuse can be a double-edged sword. Remember that the more moisture there is within the smoker, the more intense the cooling will be.

Using Inaccurate Temperature Probes

Before each smoke, you should always inspect your equipment to ensure that everything is in working order, and this includes your meat thermometer.

Because your thermometer is one of the most crucial instruments when smoking, having accurate readings is critical.

After each smoke, ensure that it is well cleaned. Char and other debris gunked onto the probe might skew the readings, making them appear higher or lower than the real temperature.

Can Briskets Temperature Rise While Resting

It is a practice known as “carry-over cooking.”

Heat is retained inside the thickest areas of the meat after it is pulled from the smoker. As it rests, the residual heat continues to move towards the centre, boosting the temperature by up to 10 degrees(F).

As a result, smokers frequently withdraw their meets when they are 5 to 10 degrees below their target temperature, allowing for carry-over cooking to finish it.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be concerned if you experience fluctuations while smoking your brisket; you most likely haven’t done anything wrong. Remember that brisket is a delicate meat to smoke, and its high fat content can cause temps to swing in either direction.

Stay confident, use what you learned, and always monitor its temperature.