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Why Does My Brisket Fall Apart? | 7 Things to Consider

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Brisket can be overcooked, and can either be crumbly or soft.

A dry brisket is one that is overcooked. Smoke a brisket until it hits 200 degrees internal and probes like butter if you want it to fall apart.

When you cut into the brisket and it falls apart – and is crumbly – then you may have an overcooked brisket.

Can Brisket Be Overcooked?

Yes, brisket can be overcooked if you did not pull it off the smoker soon enough and cut into it too soon.

How do you tell if a brisket is overcooked?

How do you tell if a brisket is overcooked?

You can tell if a brisket is overcooked by the way it comes out when you slice it. When you slice an overcooked brisket – it will be very crumbly.

It will by dry, and as you start to slice into the brisket – the slices themselves will start to disintegrate – a very unfortunate site to see!

How do you fix overcooked brisket?

How do you fix overcooked brisket?

Once a brisket is overcooked – there is not anything you can do. 

You can however, try to make it taste better and perhaps include it as left overs with other types of prepared food.

You could make brisket sandwiches and pour barbecue sauce all over it to mask the lack of moisture in your brisket slices.

Another option would be to make ‘chopped beef’ out of it – just crumble all of it together and use barbecue sauce to fill in the dryness of the meat – then serve as is.

How to prevent overcooked brisket

How to prevent overcooked brisket

Prevent an overcooked brisket from happening by pulling your brisket off at 200 degrees internal AND when the meat itself probes tender. If the internal temperature range goes above 205 -210, then you risk severely over cooking your brisket. 

Also, when you do pull your brisket at around 200 degrees internal and when it probes like butter – make sure to consider the type of wrapping you may have around it. 

If the brisket is wrapped in either foil or butcher paper and you pull it at the prescribed temperature – you can still run the risk of overcooking your brisket.

When you pull the brisket off at the right temperature but leave it unwrapped, the brisket is still technically cooking inside. This can lead to a massively overcooked Brisket.

You can prevent this by pulling the brisket off of the smoker at the correct temperature, and then unwrapping it for a period of 30 minutes or so. 

If you wish to begin holding the brisket for an extended period of time, you can certainly re wrap the brisket and place it in an ice chest (faux cambro) or warming oven to let it rest properly.

Why is My Brisket too Soft?

Why is My Brisket too Soft?

Briskets that are too soft are generally over cooked.

They will fall apart when you slice into them, and can often come out quite dry.

A brisket that is too soft is the result of not pulling it at the correct internal temperatures and not letting it rest properly. 

Not letting the brisket rest properly can have the adverse effect of overcooking your brisket.

If you try to let a brisket rest in the preferred method of storing it in an ice chest or warming oven – but don’t take into account the fact that it may be wrapped – your brisket will continue to cook inside, thus causing your internal temperature to go way over 205-210 and overcook your brisket. 

Also, if you do happen to store the brisket correctly and unwrap to let any residual heat be expounded – but fail to pull the brisket off at the right temperatures – you can still have an over cooked brisket that will come out as being somewhat soft and crumbly.

Why is My Brisket Crumbly?

Why is My Brisket Crumbly?

A brisket can come out crumbly because it is overcooked.

An overcooked brisket is the result of letting it sit on your smoker too long and not unwrapping it before resting.

Cooking a brisket too tender will result in an overcooked brisket.

Having an overcooked brisket is simply the result of pulling it off the smoker way too late, and not letting it rest the right way. 

When you slice into an overcooked brisket, you will get fall apart slices that are crumbly.

Having crumbly slices means that the internal temperature spiked too high and all of the collagen within the meat has not only rendered, but dried out. 

This causes a dry, crumbly, and fall apart brisket that you do not want to be eating.

Sometimes your brisket will not be overall overcooked. 

If you don’t severely overcook your brisket, only the edges will be crumbly and fall apart while the rest of the slices are in tact and quite juicy. 

Lesson learned from getting a crumbly brisket:

Learning how to stop getting an overcooked and crumbly brisket can seem daunting but is actually pretty easy.

Follow these steps:

  1. Pull the Brisket off the smoker when the internal temperature reaches at least 200 degrees AND probes tender ‘like butter’
  2. If Brisket is wrapped, unwrap it for 30 minutes then re wrap if resting for extended period of time 
  3. Place Brisket in proper storage container – ice chest (Faux Cambro) or Warming oven

Is Dry Brisket Undercooked or Overcooked?

Is Dry Brisket Undercooked or Overcooked?

Dry brisket is overcooked. The collagen inside the meat has evaporated and, leaving just the raw protein in place. This causes significant drying out. In other words, all of the moisture has dried out.

What Causes a Brisket to Overcook?

If you happen to leave your brisket on the smoker for too long, and the internal temperature goes way above the prescribed range of 200-205 degrees, then you will probably have an overcooked brisket. 

A general rule of thump when smoking ANYTHING, is to smoke barbecue to an internal temperature and not time. 

Basically, because every brisket is different, you will need to find a repeatable way of producing simply amazing smoked brisket. That means cooking to an internal temperature. Internal Temperatures don’t change from brisket to brisket, but the time definitely fluctuates.

Do this to Stop Getting an Overcooked Brisket

  • Make sure you have a great thermometer that is accurate 
  • Please the thermometer in the thickest part of the brisket
  • When Internal Temperature gets to 200 degrees, pull the brisket off the smoker
  • Start probing the rest of the brisket around to make sure it is like probing a stick of butter
  • If wrapped, un wrap brisket for 30 minutes
  • If you are choosing to rest for extended period of time – 6+ hours – wrap brisket 
  • Place Brisket in storage container – Ice Chest or Warming Oven

Why Do I Pull Brisket off at 200?

You will want to pull a Brisket off at 200 degrees internal because that is the temperature at which point the brisket will be done. The collagen and connective tissue within your brisket starts to render down, causing a brisket to become incredible tender, juicy, and moist.

Is Overcooked Brisket Dry?

Is Overcooked Brisket Dry?

Overcooked brisket is very dry and crumbly. When you slice into it, you will find that the slices start to fall apart almost immediately. 

The collagen is all dried out, leaving you with a dry piece of meat.

How do you keep brisket from drying out?

You can keep your brisket from drying out by pulling it at the correct internal temperature. 

Furthermore, you will want to let all of the immediate heat evaporate away so the brisket doesn’t continue to Cook. 

That means if you have the brisket wrapped, you will want to immediately unwrap the brisket once you pull it off the smoker. 

Let it rest for about half an hour, then proceed to rewrapping if necessary.

How Do You Smoke A Brisket So It Falls Apart?

How Do You Smoke A Brisket So It Falls Apart?

Pull your brisket off the smoker once it reaches at least 200 degrees internal and when it starts to probe like butter all throughout. You don’t need to worry about smoker temps. Just focus on the internal temperature of your brisket and you will be just fine.

If you want a brisket that you can pull apart with just your hands, do the following:

  • Cook Brisket until 200 degrees internal temperature
  • Start probing the brisket and make sure it goes in like your probing a stick of butter
  • Pull brisket off smoker 
  • Let rest for 8-12 hours

Following the above steps will always get you an amazing brisket.

Why Does My Brisket Fall Apart When I Cut It?

Why Does My Brisket Fall Apart When I Cut It?

Your brisket is falling apart when you slice into it because it is overcooked. This is an indication that you let it stay on the smoker far too long, and didn’t rest it properly.

Sometimes you will see one of two things:

  1. All of the brisket slices start to fall apart
  2. Only the outer edges of the brisket slices start to fall apart

When all of the brisket slices start to fall apart, that means your entire brisket is overcooked. 

If only the outer edges of the brisket is falling apart when you slice into it, then you can still have a great brisket.