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Can you eat brisket at 170? (Explained)

If you’re new to the lovely world of smoking scrumptious meats, learning all of the facts and strategies can be daunting. There is a lot to learn on your route to becoming a pitmaster, from smoking temps and internal temperatures to wrapping and resting.

The following article is all of the information you will need to help better understand different brisket temperatures. 

What Temperatures is Brisket Usually Pulled At?

Depending on what you’re trying to create, this could change. Technically, brisket may be removed and eaten without concern at 145 degrees(F) or more, but that doesn’t mean it should. This is merely the baseline pulling temp.

Brisket should be cooked to an internal temperature of 200 to 205 degrees(F). At this temperature, the juices and rendered fats should have completely dissolved and been re – introduced into the brisket.

Brisket may very well be tough to take apart and shred if you pull it at 180 degrees (F), which could affect the flavor and texture of a perfectly smoked brisket.

What Temperatures Is Brisket Usually Smoked At?

Normally, the smoker’s temperature setting should be 225 degrees(F). According to the majority of pitmasters, this temperature yields the best outcomes.

For each pound of meat cooked at 225 degrees(F), it takes between 1 1/2 to 2 hours to fully smoke. A 10-pound brisket would thus require 18 to 20 hours to smoke completely from beginning to end.

Others contend that brisket should be smoked at a temperature of 250 degrees(F). Even though the meat will likely get out of the stall much sooner, it will still cook at a similar rate (90 minutes per pound of beef).

Both of these temperatures are acceptable, but 225 will probably result in a product of greater quality.

Can Brisket Be Smoked at Higher Temperatures?

Although it is not recommended, bringing the smoke temperature up to 275–300 degrees(F) would drastically reduce the time brisket needs to cook on the smoker. As a result, it takes just around 30-45 minutes to cook per pound of meat.

As an outcome, smoking the same 10-pound brisket that used to take nearly 20 hours will now take only 5 to 6 hours. However, raising the cooking temperature increases the likelihood that the meat will become overcooked and dried out, greatly impeding on its overall quality. 

Can Brisket Be Consumed At 175-180 Degrees(F)?

As previously noted, brisket can be eaten at any temperature above 145 degrees(F), but the texture will be less melty and luscious, and the meat may be less rich.

The problem is that brisket is abundant in fatty and connective fibers, which completely dissolve during the smoking process. It requires low heat for extended periods of time.

When the brisket reaches 200 degrees(F), all of the fibers have had a chance to render and redistribute into the flesh.

If you eat brisket at 175-180, those fibers haven’t had a chance to completely breakdown, so your brisket may be tough and difficult to pull apart.

Danger Zone Review

Since we’re talking about safe brisket temps, we should go over the danger zone for brisket.

The danger zone is a range of temperatures beyond which your meat should be considered unfit for consumption. While the danger zone for different meats varies, it is practically universal for beef, pork, chicken, and some varieties of fish.

The temperature range is 40 to 140 degrees(F).

For example: 

  • Raw brisket should never be allowed to reach or exceed 40 degrees(F).
  • Without the assistance of a refrigerator or freezer, fully cooked brisket should not be allowed to cool past 140 degrees(F).

When brisket enters the danger zone, the rate at which bacteria and microbes multiply more than doubles, making it dangerous to eat or use.

Can Brisket Be Pulled At 185-190 Degrees(F)?

Yes, it can, and most pitmasters will advise you to do so.

Because of a process known as “carry-over cooking,” pulling your brisket when it is just a little bit below your desired temperature can produce wonderful results.

When meat continues to rise in temperature after being taken from the smoker, it’s known as carry-over cooking. After being pulled, thick parts like brisket or pork shoulder can heat up an additional 10 degrees (F). 

It’s similar to how eggs continue to cook in a pan, even when the pan has been pulled away from the stovetop.

This is due to heat retention in the meat’s thickest portions. While resting, the heat continues to penetrate towards the center of the brisket, causing it to rise.  As a result, a brisket pulled at precisely 200 degrees(F) may actually overcook. 

Experienced smokers will pull their brisket when it is still 10 degrees below the ideal temperature and allow it to raise while resting.

Final Thoughts 

While it is not suggested for brisket, you can consume it safely if its internal temperature is between 175 and 180 degrees(F).

Brisket can be eaten at any temperature above 145 degrees(F).

However, you should let the brisket get at least 190 before extracting it. Otherwise, you can miss out on how flavorful your brisket can be. Brisket takes a long time to smoke, and less-than-perfect results can be very frustrating.