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What happens if you smoke brisket too long? (Explained)

What happens if you smoke brisket too long

If you’re wondering what happens if you happen to smoke your brisket for far too long, then you have certainly come to the right place! 

In general, most briskets can’t really be smoked too long in the sense that they can obtain too much smoke flavor.

What will happen though if you do smoke one for a long period of time, is that the internal temperature will rise way above what it should be. 

This occurs when it goes any point past 205°F.

At that point, the connective tissues and collagen inside of your beautiful little brisket will have not only rendered down properly, but have fully rendered down to the point to where they have become certainly very dry.

Once that happens, it would then cause the brisket to become crumbly and inedible.

Since the concept of applying smoke to a piece of meat is basically the entire point of smoking your brisket, let’s take a quick look at whether or not you should actually be smoking your brisket the entire time it is on the cooker.


Do you smoke a brisket the whole time

If you’re wondering if you should be smoking a brisket the entire time it is on the smoker, then keep reading.

Basically, when you put a brisket onto the smoker, you will want to let it obtain as much smoke flavor as possible. 

That’s because briskets are huge pieces of meat that require not only tons of seasoning but also tons of smoke flavor as well.

If you make the mistake of wrapping too soon at around the stall, which is what actually a lot of Pitmasters to do, then you’ll be sacrificing the second half of the cook and not getting any further smoke flavor that your brisket needs. 

I have never had a brisket that has had too much smoke flavor, but I have had plenty of briskets that have had hardly any smoke flavor to speak of. 

This is actually a common misconception in the BBQ community, a lot of people think that once it reaches about 160°F, they should be wrapping it with foil and basically negating all further smoke from being imparted onto the meat. 

You should not do this, and in fact only wrap your meat between 150°F and 175°F. 

After the stall has concluded, you should absolutely always think about unwrapping your brisket for further smoke accumulation.

Now that you understand the reasoning behind whether or not you should be smoking a brisket the entire time, let’s take a quick look at how it becomes a lot more tender the longer you cook it.


The longer you cook brisket the more tender it becomes

It’s really simple to understand how and why a brisket will become more tender the longer you happen to cook it. 

The answer to that is very straightforward as well.

As you start to cook brisket so really any type in BBQ, for substantially longer periods of time then normal cuts of steak like ribeye or New York strip, the collagen inside of the meat will begin to render down as you approach the 200°F mark in internal temperature. 

Brisket and BBQ are considered cheap cuts of meat in general, with tons of connective tissue that you can’t really eat until it reaches that high internal temperature. 

This tends to drive the price is down for BBQ overall, due to the lengthy cooking process that is necessary to make them edible.

Now that we’ve discovered how a Brisket actually becomes tender the longer you cook it, let’s take a quick look at some things to watch out for in terms of having an over cooked brisket.


Symptoms of an overcooked brisket

Some symptoms of an over cooked brisket include being too crumbly, falling apart way too easily, and being very dry. 

As you start to slice into an over cooked brisket you will certainly notice that the pieces don’t stay together because all of the interconnecting tissues and collagen will have rendered down way too much. 

Not only that, even though he may smoke the brisket to your liking, and have even rest, the brisket will frankly be way too far gone to eat.

That is why pulling briskets off at the right time or more specifically, at the right internal temperature is so critical.


Making sure to pull at the right internal temperature

Since you don’t want an overcooked brisket or a brisket that has been smoked for too long, you will want to make sure that you pull it at the right internal temperature.

This internal temperature that you should be pulling it at is specifically at 200°F. 

Not only that, but once it reaches that stage in the cook, take a toothpick and start probing around the meat to ensure that it is of zero resistance whatsoever. 

That is indicative of a done brisket that should be pulled out the smoker and has properly rendered down the interconnecting tissues to the right degree.


Can I smoke a brisket for 20 hours?

If you’re wondering if you should be smoking a brisket for 20 hours and whether or not that will administer too much smoke flavor to it, then you have certainly come to the right section of this article. 

On average, most briskets will be done anywhere from about 1 pound per hour to 2 pounds per hour depending on the overall cooking temperature that they are smoking at. 

For briskets that necessitate a 20 hour cook time would indicate a 20 pound brisket smoked at around 225°F. 

This is completely normal, and is actually quite necessary if the brisket truly is that large and you’re smoking it at that low and slow temperature. 

The most critical thing in any cooking brisket is to just pull it off at the right temperature, make sure it probes tender, and also make sure to let it rest for at least 3 to 4 hours.


Can you smoke a brisket for 15 hours?

Likewise, if you are smoking at a low and slow temperature of about 225°F and also have a large monster size brisket at about 15 pounds, then you would certainly expect at least a 15 hour cook. 

This is quite normal and is to be expected.


Final Thoughts

Don’t worry about smoking briskets too long.

Only pay attention to the overall weight of your brisket, the temperature that you are smoking it at, and when you decide to pull it out the smoker. 

The most critical Datapoint of those three, is when you pull it out of the smoker. Don’t think of this in terms of length of time, but rather the internal temperature that you decide to pull it at

That means only point in Brisket off the Smoker once it reaches 200°F.