Skip to Content

Why Do I Pull Brisket Off at 200 | 6 Quick Tips

Why Do I Pull Brisket Off at 200 | 6 Quick Tips

Briskets are done at 200 degrees.

The collagen and fat inside the meat has rendered down, making it incredible juicy.

Once it hits 200 degrees, you will want to pull it off to keep it from overcooking past 205 degrees. 

What Temp Do You Pull Brisket Off Smoker?

You will want to pull your brisket off the smoker at 200 degrees internal.

This is the optimal internal temperature at which point the collagen inside the meat begins to render down.

When it renders down, you have a temperature window between 200-205 where the brisket is very juicy and tender.

Another point in time when you can pull your brisket off the smoker is when you are ready to wrap it in either foil or butcher paper.

This occurs somewhere in the range of 160-170 degrees internal.

Taking a wholistic view, there are only two times you should really consider pulling your brisket off of your smoker:

  1. At 160 – 170 degrees to wrap for the stall
  2. At 200 degrees when it is probing tender

What To Do If My Brisket Hits 200?

Grab your thermometer and begin probing around the thickest parts of the brisket.

This will ensure that the meat is ‘probe tender’ and probes just like you are sticking it through a stick of butter.

If the meat probes tough, don’t pull it off the smoker.

Only pull the brisket off if it is probing with zero resistance.

You actually don’t want to always pull a brisket off at 200 degrees.

Since every brisket is different, you will want to try probing it.

Probing the brisket is the only method to actually test the done-ness of any kind of barbecue.

Having a thermometer placed inside the meat is just a way to gauge where it’s at in the cook – that’s it.

After you pull the brisket off the smoker and IT PROBES TENDER, you will want to unwrap any packaging you have on it.

If you have foil or butcher paper wrapped around your brisket – take it all off.

This will ensure that there is hardly any carry over cooking going on.

You don’t want your brisket to continue cooking inside the foil or butcher paper despite pulling it off the heat source.

Wait about 30 minutes, after which time you are able to re wrap your brisket if you are expecting to rest it for an extended period of time – about 8+ hours. 

Other wise, you can just wrap it in a towel of some kind, and place it in either an ice chest or warming oven to ensure proper resting.

In recap, here’s what to do when your brisket get’s to around 200 internal degrees:

  1. Start probing the meat and ensure it is probe tender 
    1. If Not Probe Tender, leave on smoker and keep probing every 30 minutes
    2. If Probe Tender, place brisket off the smoker
  2. Unwrap your brisket if it is wrapped – for 30 minutes to let heat escape
  3. Place brisket inside storage container – warming oven or ice chest (Faux Cambro)
    1. If letting rest for 8+ hours – re wrap with butcher paper or foil
    2. If letting rest for less than 8 hours – no need to wrap

Can I Pull Brisket Off At 200?

200 degrees is the preferred temperature range at which point you will want to pull your brisket off the smoker.

However, just because it is temping out at 200 degrees internal, doesn’t not mean it’s done.

You have to start probing the meat and ensure for yourself whether the meat inside has rendered.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions in barbecuing.

When you smoke a brisket all the way up to 200 degrees, you will need to begin probing it with a thermometer.

This ensures everything inside the meat has rendered – and all the connective tissues are basically liquid.

That’s what you want.

I have seen many Pit-Masters fail this part of the cook.

Many claim that just because it is temping out at a prescribed temperature, that all is well and you can pull it. 

Sometimes that works, but most of the times it does not.

A truly experienced Pit-Master will have to take things into their own hands, and actually test the done-ness of the brisket themselves.

Why Many Pit-Masters Fail This Part of the Cook:

When a brisket temps out at 200 degrees, but is still very tough when probing the meat – that means that the brisket has not finished cooking!

  • Impatient
  • Too Hungry
  • Not Enough Planning
  • Simply Just Don’t Know Any Better

It can be very difficult to get this part of the cook right, which is why many just say to pull it off at 200 to be done. 

As mentioned, that works in some cases, but if you really want an amazing brisket – you will have to go the extra step by pulling the brisket off at 200 AND PROBING IT TO ENSURE DONE-NESS.


Can I Pull Brisket Off At 190?

The only way you would want to consider pulling a brisket off the smoker at 190 degrees is if it is truly probing tender all throughout, otherwise you are going to have an undercooked brisket.

Temperature should only be used as a rough guideline with anything barbecue, especially barbecue. 

It can be a great measure of total completeness for a brisket, but is not the ultimate deciding factor.

The deciding factor for pulling a brisket is how tender the meat really is. 

You only will want to pull a brisket off when a thermometer can be inserted with zero resistance at all.

Accounting for carry over heat

Sometimes a Pit-Master will make the claim that if you pull the brisket off at 190 degrees then it gives the brisket more room to cook past that temperature.

That can certainly be the case, but I recommend to just take the brisket all the way to 200 and probe it all throughout to test it yourself.

If you pull a brisket at 190 and just expect it to be done after a period of time – then you are just rolling the dice.

A way to account for carry over heat while also taking the brisket off at 200 is to just immediately unwrap it. 

This is what will give your brisket a quick rest, and not let the temperature increase any further.


Lowest Internal Temp For Brisket?

195-200 is the lowest Internal Temperature I would pull a brisket off at.

That said, you will still want to only pull a brisket off if it is probing tender.

This point in the cook can be at anytime it happens to be done.

There is no real temperature that a brisket should be done at every time – it’s only a gauge.

If a brisket were to temp out at 190, 195, or even 200 – but still be very tough when inserting a meat probe – I would not pull it.

The only accurate gauge you really have of when you should be pulling your brisket is if it probes tender, period!


Does Brisket Have To Rest?

Brisket absolutely has to rest, and is one of the most important parts of the cooking process.

The heat, moisture, and juices inside the brisket all have to have time to calm down.

If you do not rest a brisket before slicing into it – all your hard work will be wasted and you will have a dry brisket.

How Long To Rest Your Brisket

I like to let my briskets rest for very long periods of time.

This is to ensure everything inside has had a chance to come to a halt, resulting in a very juicy and tender after product. 

Many times when a brisket has not been rested for at least 8 hours – it was still just too warm to slice into it. 

Briskets are so delicate at this stage, that any heat present within them will cause it to dry out.

So, essentially you will want to let your brisket rest from anywhere between 8 – 12 hours. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, you’ll want to pull a brisket off at 200 degrees because that’s when the connective tissues will be fully rendered down.

Once this has all occurred, you’ll be left with one of the most juiciest pieces of meat in all of existence.

In short, the most important thing you could ever do when smoking a particular brisket, is pulling it off at 200 degrees and also letting it rest properly (roughly 3-12 hours)!