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Is Brisket Supposed To Fall Apart? | 9 Things You Should Know

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Is Brisket Supposed To Fall Apart?

Fall apart brisket is one of the most sought after aspects of any BBQ. When the brisket is ready to be sliced, each piece of the meat should fall apart and melt in your mouth. In other words the longer you cook your brisket the more tender and flavorful it will be.

If your brisket falls apart too much then you may have slightly overcooked the meat. It will be somewhat dry, and crumbly.

Don’t worry, everyone starts off as a beginner, and even more experienced people with barbecue can mess up the cook. Just take everything in stride and learn how to create an awesome brisket going forward.

Let’s dig in!

Should brisket fall apart?

A brisket should generally fall apart when it is cooked to around 200°F internal, and the probe goes in like a stick of butter. After resting and slicing the brisket a properly cooked piece of meat should hold it shape but fall apart at the slightest tug at both ends. If the brisket happens to fall apart too easily, such as when you were slicing it, then the brisket can certainly be overcooked. 

As noted above, it can also be very dry and crumbly. These are prominent signs of an over cooked brisket. If it were cooked perfectly it should still be very moist, tender, flavorful, and pull apart with the right tension.

How long does it take for brisket to fall apart?

It should take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours of cook time to produce a brisket that falls apart. This however, is just an estimation, and you should really be probing to me once the internal temperature is at around 200° internal, and is probing tender.

After the brisket has smoked on your smoker for around 12 to 15 hours, and is prepping tender, you will want to then begin resting it for a period of at least 3 to 5 hours. This just helps the moisture settle down, and help to prevent from any over cooking.

The overall cook and rest time to produce a brisket that falls apart, will be anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. This is a very long time, but is certainly worth it.

Why is my brisket crumbly?

A crumbly brisket is the result of either over cooking the meat, or not letting it rest long enough while slicing into it too early.

A way to tell if your brisket is too crumbly, is to just slice into it and see whether or not the brisket begins to fall apart and does not stay together after it has been sliced.

If this happens, you have a crumbly brisket that has more than likely been overcooked.

Can you overcook brisket?

Any kind of meat can be over cooked, especially a brisket. To prevent over cooking a brisket, just pull it off at the right time, and let it rest long enough. These two simple aspects of a brisket cook can serve to produce an amazing finish.

What temperature does brisket fall apart?

A brisket that falls apart just right Will be cooked to an average internal temperature of 200° internal Fahrenheit. Anything more than this or less than this can really start to mess things up.

Just make sure you are paying attention to the ambient temperature on your smoker, so you can ensure that the brisket is cooking through properly and also consider getting a very nice internal temperature probe to accurately assess the internal temperature of the meat.

The temperature of the meet is not the only thing you should be paying attention to. As mentioned above, you will absolutely want to check how easily the probe itself is sliding into than me.

If it goes in with any resistance whatsoever do not pull the meat off the smoker. This will cause an under cooked brisket and not a pleasant experience. If the probe goes in with no resistance then you know the brisket has come up to the right internal temperature, and is ready to be pulled off the smoker.

When to wrap brisket

When cooking your brisket, it is very common to wrap the meat around 165°F and 175°F. All this does is help to trap further moisture inside your barbecue and prevent it from drying out.

Also important to know, is that when you wrap your brisket, you are effectively speeding up the entire cooking process. This just helps you get to the finish of your cook faster, and can’t even help produce an amazingly fall apart and tender brisket.

When to pull brisket off the smoker

Knowing when to pull the brisket off the smoker is perhaps one of the most important aspects of cooking barbecue. You will firstly want to cook the brisket to roughly 200° internal Fahrenheit, and then just make sure it is probe tender all throughout.

If you accurately follow this piece of advice, you will have a brisket that falls apart, but is also tender and juicy.

Final Thoughts

Both a well cooked brisket or an over cooked brisket can fall apart. The difference is knowing what type of fall apart brisket you have. If you have a well cooked brisket that happens to fall apart, you will notice that when you slice into it the entire ready of each slice is still intact, flavorful, juicy, and pulls apart with the right amount of tension when pulled at  both ends.

If you have a brisket that falls apart and has been overcooked, you will notice that as you slice into it, each slice is very crumbly and dry. This is indicative of an over cooked brisket and more than likely did not pull it at the right internal temperature and maybe even didn’t let it rest for a long enough time.