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Can you smoke a brisket for too long
You can smoke a brisket for too long just like any other type of meat.
For the most part though, you will want to smoke a brisket for a substantially a longer period of time than most other cuts of barbecue.
That is because of all of the connective tissue and fiber present within the meat.
You basically want to have all of this renter down completely, allowing for a nice juicy and tender type of brisket.
That being said, make sure to not only cook it long enough but don’t cook it too long.
What I mean by that is, if you were to cook a brisket for longer than even you should, then even a brisket at that point will begin to dry out and start become crumbly
Cooking brisket long enough to make it tender
A great way to have a nice tender, and very moist brisket, is to cook it to an internal temperature of around 200°F and most importantly, when the brisket is probe tender all throughout.
This means when the brisket is just about done and you have smoked it for a substantial amount of time, you want any kind of probes such as your meat thermometer or perhaps a toothpick, to slide in just like a warm stick of butter.
One of the main tricks when you are at this stage of the Kirk, is to identify when this phenomenon starts to happen immediately.
Basically, as soon as the internal temperature reading is at the 200°F Mark, you don’t want to wait too much longer.
Due to carry over here, you may risk the chance of actually holding the brisket too long On the smoker.
To sum this up, once the internal temperature is at around 200°F, go ahead and start probing the meat all throughout.
Don’t wait too long otherwise the brisket can become over cooked.
Top things that can go wrong when you smoke A brisket
There are tons of things that can go wrong with smoking a brisket.
The main one, being not pulling the brisket at the right time, and not letting it rest properly.
A lot of the times people will actually under cook a brisket more so than they over cook a brisket.
Both however, are certainly subjects of discussion.
Not smoking a brisket long enough, can certainly pose the risk of severely under cooking a brisket.
And undercooked brisket is essentially any point between 180°F and 200°F internal temperature.
Also, and undercooked brisket does not probe tender.
So, if a brisket happens to be smoked to an internal temperature anywhere between those two ranges I gave, you run the risk of having a brisket that is not quite done yet.
One of the reasons why most people will generally under cook a brisket more so than they over cook a brisket, is due to their impatience.
On average, a brisket can take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours of cook time.
Not to mention several more hours for the rest time. This means, that a lot more people will be cooking a brisket‘s shorter than they should be and will then have a severely under cooked type of brisket.
That is actually probably one of the reasons why this question is asked all around the Internet.
People can’t believe that you can smoke a piece of meat for over 12 hours and still not be done cooking all the way through.
That just speaks to how much connective tissue this piece of BBQ actually has within it.
With brisket especially, you have to ensure that all of that collagen in fiber is effectively rendered down.
Over cooking a brisket can certainly be one of the most prominent things that go wrong with the cook besides under cooking.
Let’s say, for example, you are worried about smoking a brisket for far too long.
You then start to cook the brisket hot and fast and place it on the smoker for around 12 hours.
If you don’t adequately monitor the internal temperature of the brisket, you may actually run the risk of ever cooking it.
When you smoke a brisket at higher temperatures, the cooking time can actually decrease.
Most of the time you were here about low and slow types of cooks went cooking brisket.
If you were to accidentally cook the brisket at a hotter temperature, and still smoke the brisket for the longer period of time required only for low and slow types of cooks, then the meat will become dry and crumbly once you are finished cooking it.
To put this together, over cooking a brisket can certainly happen and you can absolutely cook a brisket for too long.
Just make sure to monitor the internal temperature and Pay close attention to when the meat is probe tender and ready to be pulled off the smoker.
Tough and dry brisket
Tough and dry brisket is a sad scenario, especially after picking a brisket for so long.
A tough brisket will generally mean that it is undercooked.
That means the brisket was not smoked long enough, and someone got impatient.
Not only that, they did not make sure that the meat probe tender all throughout before pulling it off the smoker.
This also means that since it did not probe tender, the connected tissues did not have enough time to run throughout all of the fiber and collagen, which would make it very juicy and tender indeed.
A dry brisket is most likely indicative of an over cooked brisket, in other words the brisket was smoked for far too long.
They dry brisket often has the characteristics of crumbliness.
When you ever cook a brisket it will be somewhat tender, but also be very dry and fall apart as soon as you start to slice into it after it has rest for a period of time.
There is really no solution in this scenario, outside of chopping it up and mixing it with some type of beef juice or barbecue sauce to help mask the flavor of dryness.
How long is too long
It is hard to say how long is too long, especially when considering how much each brisket varies in weight, grade, and also what type of brisket you were smoking.
On average however I find that a brisket will be done anywhere between 12 and 15 hours of cook time.
This also assumes they smoke in temperature of 250°F to 300°F.
As with anything in BBQ, just have your equipment at hand and ready to begin probing around me when you suspect it is almost done, and also be sure to check the internal temperature is hovering you’re at around 200° internal when you were thinking about pulling it.
When you are cooking a brisket for 12 to 15 hours, fight any urge of impatience.
As I noted, this can be one of the main reasons why a brisket cook will go south on you.
Just grab a beer, or a coffee, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful day ahead.
This will help take your mind off of the idiosyncrasies of the long and extended barbecue, and will hopefully serve to cure your impatience.
Smoking a brisket for over 20 hours
Smoking a brisket for over 20 hours is a very long time to be smoking brisket.
This is usually a product of one of two things.
The first being, a very low kitchen temperature.
My first ever cook a brisket was at around 225°F.
The cook itself was about 24 hours long, and was frankly very miserable.
Since a lot of people get impatient for just a 12 hour cook, imagine cooking a brisket for over 24 hours, and always having to tend to the fire.
You weren’t really able to get much sleep, and the brisket would be better served just being cooked about 20 to 50° hotter while also expediting the cook time itself.
Another reason why I brisket can be smoked for over 20 hours is if you have a brisket that is a monster brisket.
In other words, I brisket weighing over 20 pounds, which is certainly a possibility, well require substantially longer cook times then just a 12 pound or 15 pound brisket.
Whenever you begin to search online, regarding what temperature to smoke a brisket, you will often hear the terminology that a brisket takes about 1 pound per hour of cook time to cook through.
This is definitely true, but mainly for cooking temperatures of around 225°.
If you do not want to have a long cook time for your brisket, consider cooking a hotter style of cook called hot and fast.
There is no difference in the outcome of the brisket, but will frankly cut your cook time in half to around 12 hours as opposed to over 20 hours.
There really is no negative however, to cooking a brisket that long.
If you really are a bit on smoking you’re meat for around 20 hours or more, have at it.
Just make sure that you were following the principles of ensuring the meat reaches an internal temperature of 200° internal, and you are able to slide a tooth picking it just like a warm stick of butter.
Over smoking a brisket
Ever smoking a brisket can always happen.
This is just the nature of barbecue, and cooking me in general.
If you were concerned about over smoking your brisket, then just follow this piece of advice.
Only pull the brisket off the smoker when the internal temperature reaches around 200°F internal, and verifying this measure with a toothpick or your probe itself and begin inserting all around the meat in different areas.
Make sure that there is no resistance whatsoever when it is placed inside the meet.
This can ensure that you will never ever smoke or cook your brisket, and always are able to create amazing BBQ.
Brisket not being tender at 205°F
If your brisket is not tender at 200°F in internal temperature, this is most likely because of faulty equipment.
More specifically, your meat thermometer is in accurate.
A great way to solve this, is by testing the accuracy of your meat probe.
To do so, go ahead and get a boiling bowl of water and stick it inside.
Water boils at a certain temperature, so make sure you take note of what your thermometer is reading.
Based on the results, you can then start to add or subtract any degrees in temperature to whatever reading your thermometer starts to give out.
This basically just helps you calibrate your thermometer to make sure you know exactly how much temperature it is reading.
After you do this, you will most likely be able to get a more accurate reading of the internal temperature of any kind of me going forward.
If the brisket dries out after you slice it
If the brisket dries out after you slice it, you most likely did not let the brisket rest long enough.
Even though you may have cook the brisket long enough to ensure that it is probe tender, you always want to make sure you do the same whenever you rested.
This is absolutely critical, and they commonly missed step.
Signs of an overcooked brisket
There are a variety of signs that you may have cooked a brisket for too long.
If, when you slice into it, and it is very dry but also crumbly, then you definitely overcooked your brisket and had it on the smoker for far too long.
This is the most prominent sign of a brisket being left on the smoker for longer than you should have.
It is not a great feeling, but something to always keep in mind for later cooks.
How long you should be smoking a brisket for
On average, a brisket should take anywhere between 12 to 15 hours of cook time.
Budget one hour per pound of meat, but also just ensure that you are really paying attention more so to the time it’s been on, but also to how easily a meat probe can slide into the meat.
That is how you know it’s truly done.
What happens if you smoke a brisket for too long
If you smoke a brisket for too long then it will frankly just become over cooked.
Make sure It is probe tender and you pull it at the right internal temperature.
How long do you smoke a brisket at 225?
A brisket that is cooked at around 225°F will take a very long time.
The length of time is dependent on the grade of the meat, and the weight of the meat.
On average budget around one hour per pound of meat of cooked time.
How long to let Brisket rest after you smoke it
After you cook the brisket for so long, you definitely want to let the brisket rest.
This is because all of the connective tissues and fibers within me are still very hot and will dry out your brisket if you were to begin slicing into it too soon.
A rough estimation on how long you should let the brisket rest even though you’ve cooked it for over 15 hours, is around 5 to 6 hours of rest time.
This is obviously a very long time to rest the brisket, but especially if you are cooking a larger piece of meat that weighs about 15 pounds, you will be letting it rest for a very long time.
Robert is a certified Pitmaster, with over a decade of experience in smoking the best meats you’ll ever feast upon. He also has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. When he’s not researching technical topics, he’s most likely barbecuing in his backyard.