Skip to Content

How To Avoid Overcooking Brisket | And Why Resting Is So Important!

How To Avoid Overcooking Brisket | And Why Resting Is So Important!

How to avoid overcooking brisket?

You can avoid over cooking a brisket by following these quick tips I’ll be laying out for you. 

Basically, you want to make sure that you are cooking your brisket at a reasonable temperature to avoid any carryover heat blasting through your brisket. You also want to make sure that you are cooking your brisket with an accurately calibrated thermometer that tells you when the internal temperature is at around 200°F. 

Once the brisket is at 200° in internal temperature, you will want to make sure that you can begin taking out the meat probe and re-inserting all throughout the brisket. 

What you will want to look for when you are doing this, is that the probe should go in like it is going in a stick of warm butter. This is what you call probe tender.

Not only that, but once the brisket is temping out at the right internal degrees, and is probe tender, you will then want to make sure to takeoff any wrapping you have to further avoid any carryover heat and quickly place it within either a warming oven or an ice chest for further resting.


Avoid carryover heat

Avoiding carryover heat is very important, especially when you are cooking a hot and fast style of brisket. 

When you think about it, the brisket is going several hundred miles per hour and in a figurative sense, meaning that the internal temperature within the brisket is bound to increase very rapidly due to the high ambient temperature in the smoking chamber.

A great way to avoid carryover heat is to quickly pull the brisket off the smoker unwrap it, and place it either on the counter for some quick resting, or place it directly inside of a warming oven unwrapped for longer periods of time where you expect to rest it.


Does brisket get more tender the longer you cook it?

Usually brisket will get a lot more tender the longer you cook it. That is because the connective tissue and tendons within the meat are rendering down and becoming like gelatin. This is what you get when the brisket is probe tender, and temps out at 200°F internal.

Just be aware, that if you happen to cook it too much then the brisket will certainly overcook and become very dry and crumbly.


Is dry brisket overcooked or undercooked?

A dry brisket is more than likely over cooked. With an under cooked brisket, you will find that it is extremely tough and very hard to eat but not that dry. An over cooked brisket will be dry, crumbly, and almost impossible to slice perfectly.


Is it easy to overcook brisket?

It can be hard to get brisket right. A lot of the times, people will just go based off of their thermometer probe and only pull the brisket off the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F.

This is a common mistake, and not the only sign that your brisket is ready. To hedge against a faulty thermometer, or a wild brisket, you will want to employ the protest. As noted above, you  will certainly just want to grab a toothpick or start re-inserting your thermometer probe all around the brisket while testing for any resistance whatsoever.

If you happen to experience any resistance when you begin placing the probe inside the meat, the brisket is not done even if it temps out at 200°F internal. Once the brisket is finally probe tender and does not showcase any resistance when you begin re-inserting the probe all around, that is how you know the brisket is truly done.

Without knowing this little tip, it could be very difficult to cook a brisket right and will leave you wondering what went wrong.


Avoiding a dry brisket

You can still do everything right as far as pulling the brisket off the smoker at the right time along with when it probes tender, but another misconception is that that is the only thing you need to do when preparing your brisket. Even more critically, you will have to let the brisket rest properly.

I can’t stress this one enough. I’ve gone through many briskets, where I’ve done everything right, but failed to let it rest adequately, and ended up with a significantly dry brisket. That is why you always hear about how brisket is so difficult, because there are a lot of moving parts.

When you don’t rest the brisket for at least 5 to 6 hours in an ice chest or warming oven, you will begin to see signs of a dried out brisket.

That means whenever you slice into it the moisture is still too hot within the meat, and will quickly evaporate the moment you open the brisket up.

Even though this technically isn’t indicative of an over cooked brisket it is certainly very similar.


What a dry brisket means

A dry brisket can mean one of two things. The first of which is that you didn’t let the brisket rest enough and the internal temperature is still too high when you slice into it. The moisture then just evaporates and you were left wondering what went wrong.

The second being that you actually did overcook the brisket and even though you let it rest long enough, the meat is just already to burnt through and very dry. Uh oh!


Avoiding getting a tough brisket

Over cooked brisket generally speaking is not that tough. It is more so very dry and crumbly. If you happen to find yourself with an overly tough brisket, you may actually have an under cooked brisket.

If this is the case, then just go ahead and place it back onto the smoker and make sure that you only pull it off the grates when it is probe tender.


Fixing and salvaging an overcooked brisket

To salvage an over cooked brisket, you will most likely just have to completely shred it apart because it will become very difficult to slice it properly. Also worth noting, you may have to just make chop beef and put barbecue sauce in it to try and mask the dryness of the  meat.