Brisket At 200 But Not Tender (Why + Solutions to Fix It)

Have you cooked your brisket at 200°F but it’s not tender and juicy? Cooking brisket doesn’t have to be daunting if you understand the basic techniques.

This piece of meat keeps even the most experienced pit masters on their toes. Have no fear because this informative guide will have you enjoying a juicy brisket in no time!

Why Do We Cook A Brisket Low & Slow?

Brisket a high-fat content and lots of muscle fibers, both the fat and fibers need plenty of time to breakdown.

The low temperature you smoke at will gently render this during the cook. This is opposed to a high and direct heat that will cause the larger brisket meat to dry. 

How To Keep Your Brisket Tender At 200°F

These tips are from tried and tested pitmasters like Aaron Franklin in central Texas or myself as a pellet smoker amateur. 

Picking The Right Cuts Of Meat

If your looking for a super juicy brisket go for a packer cut or the brisket point, both these cuts have a high level of connective tissue and fat.

Trimming The Raw Brisket 

Ask your butcher to trim off any excess fat which can be too thick to properly render and just burn to ruin your amazing brisket. 

Brining The Brisket

Using a wet brine does transform the end product to avoid tough pieces of meat! This is because the salt permeates the proteins and helps them keep the moisture within the cells.

A Correct Ratio Of Seasoning 

Seasoning plays a big role when smoking a brisket. Make sure you always use a brisket binder when applying the rub, like mustard or oil first.

There are many rubs and seasonings to choose from and all of them are amazing. Just try not to use to use too much sugar in your rub. The sugar can burn and cause a hard crust instead of slowly caramelizing and creating a bark. The hard crust will dry out the brisket before you even start slicing pieces of meat. 

What Kind Of Grill Are You Using?

The control and functionality of your utility are one of the biggest tips I can give you to achieving a moist brisket. If the tools are broken or inefficient then how do we expect the cooked meat to be flavorsome and tender?

I recommend using a wood pellet grill for a brisket at 225°F-275°F. 

These grills give you acute temperature control and temperature readings within the cooking chamber. 

Not to mention that the temperature range is also large. This helps you maintain the constant 200F to keep that meat juicy!

Putting The Fat Cap Down On The Grill

Saturated beef fat and pork have a higher melting point than the water within the meat.

You always want to face the fattiest part to the highest heat source within the pellet grill.

The outer layer of fat will render down, flavor, and most importantly, help retain moisture.

Utilizing A Meat Probe 

Inserting a temp probe helps you check what speed your brisket is cooking and indicated when it’s finished.

Don’t start cooking without inserting that probe thermometer! The internal temperature when cooked is 204°F.

Always insert the probe into the thickest part of the brisket.

Spraying The Brisket During The Cooking Process

Every 60 minutes during the cooking process you should spritz the brisket.

This also helps to reintroduce moisture

The easiest way to do this is to use a spray bottle filled with apple juice or vinegar and hot water.

Here are some other ideas for for a smoked brisket spritz recipe so that end up with a juicy moist brisket.

Giving The Brisket Enough Smoking Time

The ideal time to smoke a per pound of brisket at 200F is 2 hours.

Wrapping The Brisket 

If the brisket temperature stalls between 150°F – 160°F you will need to wrap it. You shouldn’t wrap brisket before the stall.

When to Wrap Brisket

Resting The Brisket For The Correct Time 

Lastly, resting the brisket is just as important as the cooking process.

It helps finish cooking and usually raises the internal temp by around 10F. The moisture will also be allowed back into the meat.

Place the brisket in a towel and place it in a cooler until it reaches 140°F

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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