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Undercooking A Brisket | Causes & Solutions

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Undercooking A Brisket

Under cooking a brisket can be a very frustrating thing. There are many causes to this such as in accurate temperature readings from a meat probe, not letting it cook through all the Way, and maybe even not letting the brisket rest long enough.

Causes and Solutions

Some prominent causes of an under cooked brisket are the result of not having an accurate thermometer, not letting the brisket cook all the way through, and frankly not knowing when to pull the brisket. These are all different things you need to consider when you are cooking a brisket.

For thermometers that are not accurate this can really throw off your readings. A way around this is to take a boiling pot of hot water and measure exactly how much your temperature is being read off as. Boiling water has a set temperature, and if your temperature probe is not measuring that correct temperature then you know you have a faulty thermometer. 

Don’t worry though, now that you know exactly how many degrees the thermometer probe is off, you can now start to factor that in to your cooks going forward.

Not letting the brisket cook all the way through is a simple fix. What usually happens is the pitmaster is too impatient. All you have to do is wait another couple of hours or plan ahead for your next cook and start a little bit earlier. Wedding the extra couple of hours to fully let the brisket cooked through can really change how it comes out. And it will certainly help prevent any amount of under cooking.

Let’s say you also don’t even know exactly when to pull the brisket. Here’s some helpful advice. Get your thermometer probe, stick it in to the thickest part of the meat, and pay close attention to when the internal temperature is reading around 200°F. At this point you will also want to consider how easily the probe is inserted into the meat. That means re-inserting it into the same big part of the brisket, and any other residual parts you want to try and test. If it goes in like a stick of butter, the brisket is ready to be pulled.

What to do with it the next day

If you have a brisket that is undercooked but you have not sliced it yet, you can certainly try and salvage the meat. All you have to do is place it either back on the smoker or put it in an oven and re-cook the barbecue.

Placing it back on the smoker or oven

If you happen to try and actually put it back on the smoker, then just get the temperature cranked up as hot as you can and you will notice that the internal temperature Will start to increase like normal. That is because most of the brisket is already cooked, but just needs a little bit more.

The same applies for placing the brisket back in the oven. You will want to just make sure you essentially are we cooking the brisket enough to make the probe test pass. In other words you want to re-cook your brisket if it is currently under cooked to an internal temperature that allows your meat probe to slide in like a piece of butter. That is how you salvage you’re under cooked brisket.

How to tell if it’s undercooked or over cooked

Let’s say you pulled the brisket off the smoker and are wondering whether or not you undercooked it or over cooked it. Well, when you pulled it off the smoker one really good way to tell if it is undercooked or ever cooked is to grab a toothpick or other kind of probing device and begin testing around the meat.

That means actually placing the toothpick or probing device inside one of the thickest parts of the meat and seeing whether or not it slides in with resistance.

If there is any resistance at all, then your brisket is unfortunately undercooked. A simple fix to this as noted above, is to just place it back onto the smoker or oven and let it rip some more.

Having no resistance at all when you place a probe inside the thickest part of the brisket means that you either have successfully cooked it all the way through, or perhaps even overcooked it. One way to salvage the brisket at this point is to just let it rest for a period of 4 to 5 hours, and slice into it. That is really the only thing I’ve seen that can let you tell whether or not it is over cooked or cooked just right.

Texture of Undercooked Brisket

The texture of another cooked brisket once you slice into it will be very tough. When you think about it, brisket is full of collagen and connective tissue that needs to be rendered down completely. When it has not had the time to write her down completely, you will quickly notice how hard it is to not only slice into the brisket but cut it apart, and even eat it. It frankly won’t taste that good. 

To salvage it under cooked brisket even after you have sliced it is to wrap it in foil and place it back onto the smoker or oven. This will just help cook all the collagen through and also keep the meat itself from drying out.

When To Pull Off A Brisket

You will want to pull the brisket off a smoker when the temperature is at around 200° internal Fahrenheit and when the toothpick or probing mechanism you were using slides in as easily as it would like a stick of butter.

This is really all there is to it.

How To Properly Let The Brisket Rest

Letting the brisket rest is very important. Just know that even though you have passed the protest for the brisket, that is only half the battle.

You also have to let the brisket rest. This means placing it back into an oven or an ice cooler for a period of several hours.

You don’t really have to pay too much attention to the internal temperature at this point, but just know that a brisket that has come down to around 165° internal, is ready to be sliced or storage for even longer term storage.

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of causes for an under cooked brisket such as faulty equipment, lack of knowledge as to when to actually pull the brisket, and not letting it rest a long enough time. Despite all these aspects, there are certainly solutions.

Just make sure to test your equipment before hand and make sure your thermometer is reading appropriately, and also just make sure to pull the brisket once it is probe tender. Once you do this, just let it rest for several hours and you are ready to begin slicing into it and have an amazing brisket.