Skip to Content

Why 205 degrees for brisket? | 7 Things To Know

Why 205 degrees for brisket

Cooking a brisket to around 205 degrees makes sure you are rendering down all the connective tissues, collagen, and fat within the meat.

This is absolutely critical to your success when smoking a brisket. 

Many people simply do not do this, and often wonder what went wrong.

Well, I’m here to tell you what is the problem!

Here’s what you need to do to be successful with brisket:

  1. Cook the brisket to an internal temperature of around 200 to 205 degrees
  2. Make sure to only pull the brisket off the smoker once the probe can be reinserted back into the meat like a stick of butter – it should be probe tender
  3. Rest the brisket for a minimum of 3-5 hours

These 3 steps will help guide you to ultimate brisket perfection.

When is brisket done

Brisket will only be done once you ensure you cooked it long enough to be probe tender.

That means that when you are ready to begin pulling it off the smoker – make sure you can take the meat probe and begin reinserting it into all parts of the brisket with zero resistance at all.

That is the only tried and true method of knowing when to exactly pull your meat.

Once you make sure to verify the meat is probing tender all throughout, it is ready to pull off the smoker.

That’s only half the battle, though.

Make sure you let it rest long enough!

Once you do that, THEN the brisket can be considered done and ready to slice.

Why does brisket have to be cooked to 200?

Brisket needs to be cooked to around 200 degrees to allow all the interconnecting tissues present within the meat, to render down fully.

When this happens, the meat basically loosens up and becomes juicy and tender.

If this step is not followed, and you don’t cook it to 200 or 205, then you will most surely end up with an undercooked brisket.

Don’t get too impatient!

What is the best temp to pull a brisket?

The best temperature to pull a particular brisket is to cook it to around 200 to 205 degrees.

That being said, you still have other things to consider before actually labeling the brisket as being done. 

Make sure it’s temping out correctly at 200 to 205, but also that its probing tender all throughout. 

If you’re also wondering which is more important – temperature or the probe test – always make sure to pay closer attention to how the meat is actually probing as opposed to the internal temperature. 

The temperature is just a guideline, but the probe test is a lot more indicative of the actual state of the meat.

How long should brisket stay at 205?

There’s no specified time the brisket should stay at 205 degrees.

Not to mention, you probably only have about 30 minutes before it starts increasing even past this temperature range. 

Once you see the brisket probing at this temperature, just employ the probe test, and pull it. 

What happens if you cook brisket to 210?

If you happen to let the brisket rip all the way to 210, you are at risk of overcooking it.

The connective tissues you’ve worked so hard to render down are now beginning to dry up.

So, when the meat is past 205 degrees – watch out!

Make sure to keep paying attention the meat’s internal temperature anytime it’s starting to get close to 200 degrees internal. 

Once you reach that range, there’s really only a small window of time that you have to pull it off just right.

Otherwise, it will begin to dry out pretty quickly.

Final Thoughts

Pulling brisket off the smoker at around 205 degrees is essential because it allows the connective tissue and collagen inside the meat to render down fully.

You also want to make sure that the meat is probing tender all throughout before you officially pull it off the smoker.

Once you have done that, then go ahead and place it into an ice chest or warming oven for final resting before serving.