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Why is my brisket cooking so fast at 225? (Explained)

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Brisket can take a long time to smoke, sometimes up to 15-20 hours! It takes planning, technique, and, most importantly, patience.

As a result, a brisket cooking too quickly may not be an issue you expect to encounter.

The truth is that a brisket can overcook due to a variety of causes, even if the temperature is adjusted to 225 degrees(F).

The weather outside the smoker, too little fat on the brisket, faulty equipment, or too much ambient heat can all cause brisket to hastily cook.

In this post, we’ll look at some of the possible causes of brisket cooking too quickly and what you can do to help.

How long Does Brisket Typically Take to Fully Smoke?

While there is no specific time for cooking brisket, the general guideline is that it takes between 1½ to 2 hours per pound of beef on the brisket. This means that smoking a 10-pound brisket might take up to 20 hours!

Brisket should be smoked at temperatures between 225 and 250 degrees(F). It’s the perfect temperature for breaking down fatty tissues and connective fibers without overcooking or drying the meat.

While it is not advised, raising the ambient smoke temperature to 275-300 degrees(F) would significantly shorten the smoking process. This reduces the cooking time per pound of meat to around 30-45 minutes.

This indicates that same 10-pound brisket that previously took 20 hours to smoke will now just take 5 or 6 hours to complete! Cooking at higher temperatures, on the other hand, increases the risk of the meat become tough, dry, and overcooked. 

It can be done, but very carefully. 

When Should Brisket Be Pulled?

Brisket should be pulled at 195-200 degrees(F) and rested for at least 30-45 minutes. At this temperature, the brisket should be moist and melty, perfect for shredding or producing pulled pork.

Plan for “carry-over cooking” while smoking brisket as well. This term refers to how brisket, and other types of thick cut meat, retain heat and continue to rise in internal temperature long after being removed from the smoker.

Carry-over cooking can boost the internal temperature by up to 10 degrees(F). So, if 200 is your preferred temperature, remove it at 190 and let it rise to your goal temp while resting.

What Can Cause Brisket to Smoke Too Fast?

Smoking Meat in Hot Weather

The warmer your smoker is, the faster your brisket will cook.

The ambient smoke heat within the smoker is influenced by the weather outside. For example, if the temperature is cold, you will need to raise the heat within the smoker to compensate for the loss.

Warmer temperatures have the opposite effect. The greater the temperature outside, the more you will need to adjust and reduce the temperature within the smoker, so your meat does not overcook. 

Not Enough Marbling

Brisket with a low-fat content will cook much faster.

Brisket takes so long to cook because the fatty tissues must be fully broken down and redistributed into the meat thoroughly. As a result, if too much of the fat cap has been removed, it will take much less time to fully smoke than usual

When fatty tissues are rendered, they pool, causing evaporative cooling and temperature stalls. Without enough fat to initiate this process, it can substantially shorten the duration of a stall, sometimes completely bypassing it.

The “fat cap” is a coating of fat that lies between the meat and the skin. This fat is typically 1 inch thick, although thickness varies from brisket to brisket.

The fat is traditionally trimmed until just 1/8 to 1/4 of the fat cap remains.

How To Hold Brisket That Finishes Too Early

If your brisket is rapidly approaching 195-200 degrees(F), you have various methods for keeping it warm before serving.

To keep the heat in, keep it covered in foil. If you didn’t wrap the brisket while it was smoking, do it now. Always use foil over butcher paper to keep things warm.

While paper is fantastic for smoking meat, it does not provide the tight closure and increased insulation that foil offers during the resting period. Especially if you’re holding the brisket for extended periods. 

Coolers can also be used to keep smoked brisket fresh and juicy. They are excellent for retaining heat because of their exceptional insulation.

For up to 4 hours, a brisket can be stored in a cooler. 

Bring water to a boil and pour it into the cooler. Let it sit for a few minutes before draining and drying the cooler out. 

Next, line the cooler with cloth towels and shut the lid.

Now, cover the brisket (that should already be wrapped in foil) with an additional cloth tower. Set it into the cooler and firmly close the lid. 

This should give you about 4 hours of holding time without compromising any quality from the brisket. 

Use A Reliable Meat Thermometer

No matter what kind of meat you’re smoking, a properly functional meat thermometer is essential. Using an inaccurate meat thermometer will make smoking meat incredibly difficult because smoking is all about controlling temperature over time.

Check your thermometer to make sure it provides accurate and trustworthy readings before putting the brisket on.

Additionally, take sure to completely clean the probe after each smoke. Any type of char or leftover remnants of meat can influence the readings.

Final Thoughts

Don’t panic if you see that your brisket is cooking quickly; it is probably the result of a minor mistake that can be corrected. It can even be beyond your control at times.

But that’s okay; there are many things you can do to help it, and if it completes well ahead of time, you have a variety of holding and storage alternatives.