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8 Brisket Temp Problems You Should Know

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Smoking meats is a time-consuming and occasionally stressful operation.

Certain briskets might take up to 18 hours to smoke! But, as we all know, the end result is well worth the wait.

However, with such a long cooking timeframe, a number of temperature issues may arise. Drops, stalls, and even briskets that finish too soon.

This post will go through all of the various temperature-related issues you may have when smoking a brisket, as well as what you can do to help minimize and even avoid them.

Brisket Smoking Too Fast

Because brisket can take a long time to fully smoke, you might not expect a problem with one that cooks too quickly. It can, however, take you off guard and cause you to overcook your brisket.

How Fast Does Brisket Smoke?

Brisket should be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F). A brisket normally takes 1 ½ to 2 hours per pound of meat on the brisket to completely smoke at this temperature.

This means that a 5-pound brisket would take up to 10 hours to cook completely.

What Causes Brisket to Cook Too Fast? 

Several variables can contribute to brisket smoking too quickly.

To begin, make sure the heat is not too high. This may appear overly simplistic, but the most basic errors are frequently the result of simple miscalculations.

Brisket, as previously stated, should be smoked at 225-250 degrees(F). However, if these temperatures are raised to between 275 and 300 degrees(F), the cooking time can be reduced to a staggering 30 to 45 minutes per pound of meat to fully cook.

This means a 5-pound brisket would only require about 3 hours to smoke. 

Additionally, warm weather can have an effect on the ambient smoke heat within a smoker. If you’re smoking brisket on a particularly hot day, you must adjust the smoke heat accordingly to compensate. 

How To Tell a Brisket Is Overcooked

A properly smoked brisket should be exceedingly tender and supple, easily shredding with two forks.

While it shouldn’t be overly soft, it should definitely have a “melt in your mouth” quality and exceptionally rich flavors from the rendered fatty tissues.

Overcooked brisket, on the other hand, will reveal itself in two ways. 

  • Brisket should not be “easy” to cut into slices. Its melty texture should make it too soft for slicing.
  • Second, it can become crumbly and fall apart. It can fracture into tough, oblong-shaped shards. There is a significant distinction between crumbled and shredded.

Brisket should be cooked to an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees(F). If allowed to cook any longer, up to 210 degrees(F), it will likely develop this rough and crumbly texture.

When Does Brisket Stall?

There is no exact answer to when a stall occurs, however it normally occurs between 150 and 175 degrees(F).

Excess fluids from the rendering fats begin to rise to the surface of the meat at these temperatures. These liquids cool and evaporate from the surface of the brisket, causing it to chill.

The smoker cannot keep up with the rate at which the brisket cools, causing the temperature to halt. This will continue until all extra liquids have evaporated.

This might last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours! It will, however, eventually free itself and continue to cook.

Can Brisket Stall at 135 Degrees(F)?

As previously noted, stall starting times are not exact science. A stall can be caused by a variety of factors such as smoking heat, fat content, or even the type of cut.

Stalls have been observed at temperatures as low as 125 to 135 degrees(F). Remember that smoking meat should not be strictly focused on time, but rather on temperature.

“Second stalls” have also been known to occur at 190 degrees(F). So close to the finish line!  

Can Brisket Be Pulled at 160 Degrees(F)?

Technically, a brisket can be pulled at 160 degrees(f), but that doesn’t mean you should…

Brisket is safe to eat at temperatures of 145 degrees(F) or higher. However, the ideal temperature is 200 degrees(F) (200-205).

At 200, the fats have wholly broken down into a melty, creamy, and delightfully succulent texture.

It will be undercooked and difficult to shred at 160 degrees, and the quality will be significantly worse than if pulled at 200 degrees.

Final Thoughts

Throughout their brisket smoking careers, every smoker will face numerous challenges. Fortunately, the professionals have been through it all and have shared their knowledge with the rest of the world via the internet.

To assist you prevent most problems, always ensure that your smoker is hot enough and that your meat thermometer is accurate. That way, you’ll be able to handle any problems that come your way like an expert!