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How to probe a wrapped brisket? (Explained)

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Smoking brisket may be a time-consuming endeavor, whether you’re new to the great world of smoking meats or a seasoned veteran.

After all, there’s no timer you can set to tell you when a brisket is done smoking; it’s all about temperature.

Briskets cook at varied rates depending on a range of factors. The connective and fatty tissues must be broken down and redistributed into the meat, and the brisket must remain in the smoker until then.

As a result, precisely temping your brisket throughout the process is critical to smoking.

This post will go over where and how to temp a brisket, and how to do so once it has been wrapped.

Where To Probe a Brisket

The greatest place to probe brisket is directly into the thickest area of the cut. If you’re smoking a whole packer (whole brisket), probe the thickest part of the flat rather than the point.

This may appear perplexing because the point is often thicker than the flat. The flat, however, has a significantly higher meat-to-fat ratio, which will give you far more precise results when temping.

Although the point is much thicker than the flat, it contains a substantially higher fat content, which makes it less dependable for temperature readings.

When probing brisket, insert the probe at an angle, going across the grain rather than against it. Additionally, rather than probing the meat directly from the top, probe it from the side.

How To Probe Brisket After It’s Wrapped

The brisket will be unwrapped during the first few hours of smoking. However, as it reaches about 150 degrees(F), most smokers wrap it in aluminium foil or butcher paper.

Most briskets begin to experience temperature stalls at this time, and wraps are intended to lessen their impacts.

This is a critical stage for monitoring a brisket’s internal temperature since you’ll need to know how much fluctuation is happening, and when the brisket finally breaks free from the stall and starts rising in temperature again.

Probing a wrapped brisket is actually quite simple. Rather than wrapping around the foil or paper, the ideal way is to puncture it.

Wrapping around the probe might loosen the wrap’s seal, allowing more airflow or juices to escape.

Which Is Better, Foil or Butcher Paper?

This is a matter of personal preference, as both have pros and cons.

Foil is excellent for beginners.  It’s simple to wrap and creates a significantly tighter seal, allowing the brisket to escape the stall much faster.

However, because it tightly seals a brisket with its juices, it can occasionally impair the texture of the brisket by making it mushy or diminishing its bark or crackling skin.

If you value quality bark, butcher paper is the best option. It has a looser seal, which may be beneficial for the texture.

However, it is more difficult to use and requires some practice. It also keeps the brisket stalled for longer because the seal is loose and enables more airflow around the meat.

What Probes to Use for Temping Briskets

For smoking any type of meat, “leave in” digital probes are usually the best option. They stay in the meat while it smokes, giving you a continuous readout of the internal temperature of the brisket.

They allow you to constantly monitor the temperature of the brisket without having to open the smokers lid.

Some leave-in probes are connected to heatproof wires that run through the smoker and connect to the digital readout outside. Wireless probes, on the other hand, are the best solution.

Furthermore, leave-in thermometers will typically penetrate deeper into the meat, providing you with the most precise temperature readings possible.

Check out “thermocouple thermometers” if you’re searching for anything more on the “high-end” range of probes. They deliver temperature readings faster than most conventional thermometers but are usually much pricier.

Certain smokers include built-in thermometers. You can even program a temperature goal into the thermometer, and the smoker will turn off automatically when that temperature is reached.

If you don’t have this option with your smoker, you should choose one of the alternatives listed above.

How To Tell If a Wrapped Brisket Is Done

The optimal internal temperature for brisket is between 200 and 205 degrees(F). At this temperature, the texture will become melty and soft, with the ability to pull apart effortlessly.

However, you should be wary of “carry-over cooking”, which refers to when meat continues to rise in temperature after being removed from a heat source.

Thick cuts of meat, like brisket, generally retain heat in their thickest sections. While resting, this heat continues to move inward, causing the internal temperature to rise, sometimes by as much as 10 degrees(F).

As a result, it’s a good idea to pull it at 190 and let it raise to your desired temperature while resting.

Final Thoughts

While smoking brisket requires years of practice to master, knowing when and where to probe can set you apart from the crowd and ultimately boost your abilities as a smoker.

You’ll get considerably better results in terms of texture and flavor if you understand how to correctly track the temperature of your smoking brisket.