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How Long For Brisket To Go From 170 To 200? (Explained)

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Fully smoking meats can be a time-consuming process. Some cuts can take up to 20 hours to cook!

The tricky aspect about smoking brisket is that it does not adhere to a strict cooking schedule and obtaining the ideal centre temperature necessitates varied cooking times.

The brisket will be ready to rest and eat only once all of its tissues have completely broken down and dissolved into the meat when the centre temps between 200 to 204 degrees(F). 

The following article discusses the average smoking times of a brisket, how they are affected, and what will make them longer.

How Quickly Does Brisket Smoke?

While there is no set time cooking brisket, the rule of thumb is that it takes around 1½ to 2 hours per pound of meat on the brisket. This means that a 10-pound brisket could take up to 20 hours to fully smoke!

Brisket should be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F). It’s the ideal temperature for breaking down the fatty tissues and connective fibers without overcooking or drying out the meat.

While it is not suggested, increasing the ambient smoke temperature to 275-300 degrees(F) will greatly reduce smoke time. This cuts the cooking time to roughly 30-45 minutes per pound of meat.

This means that the same 10-pound brisket that took 20 hours to smoke will now just take roughly 5 or 6 hours to finish! However, cooking at higher temperatures increases the likelihood of the meat becoming harsher and drier.

When Does Brisket Stall?

Brisket normally begins to stall when the internal temperature reaches 150 to 175 degrees(f). This is the point at which its fats and other juices start to render, and it typically begins 2 to 3 hours into the smoke

While the majority of the rendered liquids are emulsified into the meat, surplus moisture rises to the surface of the brisket, causing evaporative cooling and temperature stabilization.

The temperature will stay stalled (or plateaued) until all of the excess juices and moisture have evaporated. This can last up to 7 hours, but it will ultimately fix itself and resume climbing.

What Can Affect the Smoking Time?

Smoking Untrimmed Brisket

Untrimmed brisket has its entire fat cap intact. While fat is essential for smoking beef, too much of it can have negative effects.

More fat means more rendering juices rising and pooling. This will not only enhance a stall impact but may also induce brief temperature drops in the brisket.

The more moisture there is in the smoker, the longer it will take to cook.

The Weather Outside of The Smoker

While it is perfectly okay to smoke meat in cooler weather, you will need to modify the ambient smoke heat inside to account for the frigid air outside the smoker. 

The opposite is true in hot weather. The increased warmth may boost the ambient smoke heat, cooking it much faster than intended.

Windy situations are equally damaging. A smoker’s temperature will drop if it is improperly positioned in the wind because the heat will be diverted away from the heat. 

If you can’t block heavy winds from the smoker, face it in the direction of its natural airflow via its ventilation vents. 

Furthermore, rainy, or snowy weather can induce cooling inside the smoker. When rain or snow builds up outside the smoker, it evaporates and reduces the ambient heat within

The smoker itself goes through the same evaporative cooling process as the brisket during the stall. Just like you would in cold weather, you’ll need to adjust the smoker’s temperature if you notice rain on the way.

Make Sure Not to Over-Baste or Spritz the Brisket

A brisket is frequently basted as it smokes. But too much moisture in a smoker might result in the brisket’s temperature dropping.

It will take longer to smoke thoroughly the more moisture there is. Too much basting might induce the brisket to stall and slightly reduce its internal temperature.

Can Brisket Be Pulled At 170 Degrees(F)?

Technically, you could pull brisket at 170 and it would be safe to eat; but the flavors and general quality of the meat would be severely reduced. Pulling it too soon might cause the meat to become tough and extremely difficult to shred.

Brisket is best cooked between 200 and 204 degrees(F), when it’s wonderfully flavorful and deliciously soft, succulent, and tender to the touch.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, there are no set times for cooking brisket. Fellow smokers, on the other hand, have shared their experiences with the community in order for people to help predict how long a particular brisket may require.

Many things influence how quickly this happens, so remember this information and keep it handy for your next smoke. 

Happy smoking!