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Is Your Smoked Brisket Hard On The Bottom? (How To Fix)

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Smoked brisket hard on bottom

If you’re wondering what to do if your smoked brisket comes out hard on the bottom, then you have certainly come to the right place. 

One of the reasons why this happens is if you had let your brisket sit on one side of the smoker for too long without flipping it. 

Another other such cause for this as well, is if you let it sit in one area of the smoker without flipping, is in addition to not wrapping throughout the entire cook.

That has certainly happened to me quite a bit, and it is very frustrating because it’s very hard to slice into the brisket.

The crust almost gets too hard to where you can’t even really slice it at all. 

This could also be a symptom of an Overcooked brisket.

Flipping brisket while smoking

If your smoked brisket is hard on the bottom, and want to know how to potentially protect against that going forward, then keep reading.

One great way to protect your brisket from becoming way too hard on the bottom on one side, is to begin flipping it while you are smoking it.

All you have to do is grab a very large spatula made for outdoor grilling and barbecuing and quickly slide it underneath your brisket and lift upwards to flip the brisket over onto the other side. 

This should start smoking the brisket from the other end and can potentially save your piece of barbecue!

A pro tip that you should be aware of, is there a lot of my briskets that I have been barbecuing on one side, actually start sticking to the grates and make it very hard to flip over if that’s what you were to try and do.

A great way around this, is to actually rub the brisket in Pam oil or some sort of nonstick spray so it does not stick to the grates throughout the smoke. This would allow you to change positions or move the brisket around accordingly.

Saving a burnt brisket

Let’s say you have identified that your brisket is burnt and are wondering what to do, follow this advice. 

Since a burnt brisket is very annoying and hard to eat, consider if it is actually burnt only on the outside meaning the crust or the rub has become too hard of a shell to really cut through. 

Or determine if your internal temperature is past a point of 205°F, at that point it would indicate a severely overcooked brisket. 

If your burnt brisket is simply a matter of your rub, then you are in luck because all you have to do is basically wrap it to produce an environment that moisturizes the outer shell of brisket. 

By doing this, the rub will become nice and soggy and all that hard shell that is surrounding your brisket will become soft again and allow you to begin slicing into it.

Why is my smoked brisket hard?

Let’s take another recap and understand why a smoked brisket can become hard on the outside. 

One of the reasons why a brisket comes very hard and tough on the outer shell, is simply due to being placed in a certain area of the smoker that is very hot and close to the firebox, alongside being unwrapped.

Being too close to the firebox presents the issue of very high ambient temperatures.

I always smoke at very high temperatures, but you don’t want direct flame to be hitting the brisket. This basically creates an environment that solidifies and hardens any bark you have on your barbecue. 

Simply just slide the brisket or flip it over to the other side of the smoker to protect from this. 

Another cause of hard and tough brisket on the outer shell, is that in combination with being too close to the firebox, a lot of people don’t wrap them. 

Wrapping and not wrapping is not really a big deal, but can present different issues depending on which one you pick. By unwrapping a brisket you certainly run the risk of having your crust and bark become way too hard to slice through. 

A great way of course to help protect against this is if you notice that happening, slide the brisket over to the other side and flip it over, and also try wrapping it in either butcher paper or foil for about an hour or two.

This just helps sort of reset how hard the brisket and bark is in and can allow you to sustain the quality of the overall cook.

How do you keep the bottom of a brisket from drying out?

There are several methods that you can use to keep the bottom of a brisket from drying out. The most notable of which is to place your brisket inside of a dripping pan. 

That basically is just a very large aluminum foil BBQ pan that your brisket can fit into. It also has the benefit of collecting any drippings that may be rendered out of the meat. 

These drippings make for an excellent dipping sauce or other applications later on down the road. 

Another great way to protect your brisket from drying out on the bottom, is to first began wrapping it throughout the stall period of the cook. This basically just helps insulate the brisket increase in environment that makes it very wet on the other side and can also expedite your overall cook. 

By providing a very humid environment for you BBQ, wrapping can certainly help diminish any hard bark that had been forming prior.

Now that we’ve sort of identified a couple ways to protect from the bottom of your brisket from drying out, let’s take a look at what actually happens when you start to over smoke your brisket.

What happens when you over smoke brisket?

When you over smoke your brisket, several things happen.

The first thing that happens is your outer shell or bark of the meat becomes very tough to slice through and it is overall is very hard to the touch. It has become way too crystallized and needs to be softened dumped a little in order for someone to begin eating it. 

That is a symptom of simply just an over smoked brisket. 

Don’t get it conflated with an over cooked brisket, which is where the internal temperature rises above 205°F. That is an entirely different thing to consider.

Why is my brisket tough and chewy?

If your brisket happen to come out tough and chewy then you have actually undercooked your brisket and not overcooked it. 

One of the trade mark signs of an undercooked brisket, is that it is tough and chewy. The tough and chewy nature basically just come from the non-rendered collagen in the meat. 

When you think about it, BBQ is a huge hunk of meat that is very tough in nature, with tons of connective tissues all around. All of those connective tissues need to be rendered down fully in order for it to become palatable. 

So it’s really no wonder why undercooked briskets are tough and chewy because the collagen and connect tissues simply haven’t been rendered down yet.

Final Thoughts

In recap, let’s take a quick look at causes for your brisket to become hard on the bottom. 

One of the trademark signs of briskets becoming hard on one side is simply due to being unwrapped and being placed too close to the firebox. 

The solution is quite simple, and all you have to do is try wrapping a brisket for a period of time throughout the cook, and simply place the brisket and flip it over to another side of the smoker.