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Why is my brisket taking so long to cook? (Explained)

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Smoking a brisket may be a time-consuming procedure that can take up to 20 hours to complete! So, when your brisket’s internal temperature refuses to rise, it can be mind-numbingly irritating.

There are numerous reasons why this could be happening, including the stall, but also poor weather conditions, too much fat on the brisket, and too much moisture inside the smoker.

Fortunately, this is not an uncommon phenomenon, and it occurs to everyone! As a result, the experts have been able to give suggestions and tactics for dealing with this problem based on their expertise.

The following article explains why this occurs and how to avoid it.

Why Is My Brisket Taking So Long to Smoke?”

The Stall

You’ve probably heard of “the stall” if you’re new to smoking. It indicates how the internal temperature of thick pieces of meat literally stalls or plateaus at a certain temperature and can remain there for hours.

The goal of slow smoking brisket is to thoroughly break down all of its fatty and connective fibers, allowing them to seep into the meat and create a juicy and melty product. 

As these tissues dissolve and render, residual juices rise to the surface of the brisket and begin to cool and evaporate off the meat.

As a result of these rising and evaporating juices, the brisket cools at the same rate that the smoker cooks it, resulting in a “stall.”

This is referred to as “evaporative cooling,” and it will continue until all of the surplus fluids have risen and evaporated. Only then will the meat continue to cook and raise the temperature.

This can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours! Depending on the amount of fat being rendered. This is most common between 150 and 175 degrees(F), but it has also been known to happen at 190.

Smoking Untrimmed Brisket

“Untrimmed” brisket means that the entire fat-cap is still intact. While this is terrific for flavor, it can significantly lengthen the duration of the stall.

The more fat on a brisket, the more intense the evaporative cooling effects will be. It will take considerably longer to render all of the superfluous juices.

A good workaround is to remove at least half of the fat-cap. This manner, you obtain a deliciously succulent basting from the marbling while shortening the stall’s duration.

Keep in mind: large levels of fat can sometimes produce so much moisture that the temperature drops during the stall. It can intensify the evaporative cooling effects to the point where the meat cools quicker than the smoker can cook it.

Smoking The Wrong Cut

A whole brisket is actually made up of two cuts: brisket point and brisket flat.

The flat is a larger cut with more meat and a long thin strip of marbling. It is considerably leaner and is usually served in slices.

The point has a larger fat-to-meat ratio and is smaller and more oblong in shape. As a result, it is commonly used for shredded sandwiches and pulled pork.

Because there is more marbling to break down in a brisket point, it takes significantly longer to fully cook than a brisket flat.

Cold Weather

The ambient smoke heat inside the smoker is affected by the temperature outside the smoker. The colder it is outside, the more heat you will need to adjust to compensate for the loss.

Rainy Weather

Precipitation on a smoker has a mini-evaporative cooling effect, lowering the temperature and potentially forcing the brisket to stall. 

If it begins to drizzle, adjust the heat to make up for the difference, and keep a close eye on the brisket’s internal temperature. 

Average Cook Time for Smoked Brisket

Brisket should be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F). It will take roughly 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours per pound of meat at this heat.

So, a 10-pound brisket can take up to 20 hours to smoke completely!

How Long to Smoke Brisket to 160 Degrees(F) At 225?

Remember that smoking meat is a concept of temperature over time. Different cuts cook at different rates. However, a brisket will achieve 160 degrees(F) in 4 to 6 hours on average.

But keep in mind that you don’t want to extract brisket until it has reached an internal temperature of 195 degrees Fahrenheit. The longer you smoke a brisket, the more succulent and tender it will become.

When making pulled pork, aim for a temperature of 200 degrees(F).

Final Thoughts

A temperature stall is totally natural and should not be a cause for concern. Most of the time, a simple adjustment is all that is required to reduce the pain and assist in moving the meat through the stall.


  • The more fat on your brisket, the longer it will take to thoroughly cook. 
  • Make sure you’re cooking the correct cut of brisket; and 
  • Weather can affect how quickly meat smokes. Make sure to prepare for any inclement weather.

As a smoker, you will encounter this more than once, but you will have the tools and knowledge to manage it like a true pro.