Brisket Has No Bark? (Learn How to Fix It)

Everyone LOOOVES bark on brisket, it crispy, yet chewy! Caramelised bites of deliciousness! When you slice into your brisket and see that perfect smoke ring and bark covering the outside, you know you did an EPIC JOB!

Getting a smoke ring and bark shows you as a good pitmaster but why are you not getting the type of bark you expected on your barbecue? The skills to produce the perfect bark should not take you a lifetime to master if you have proper guidance.

We will discuss the essentials to getting that bark on your brisket!

What Creates Bark on Brisket?

The bark on brisket is a mix of the pellice and spices rubbed on the meat. When brisket is smoking the water in it will be evaporating and the fat will be rendering. Some of your seasonings will dissolve into the water and other seasoning dissolves into the fat.

The salt in your rub will penetrate deeper inside because of its ability to dissolve into water, but most of your rub particles are larger than the pores of the meat and therefore don’t penetrate any further than the top layer of the meat.

So they basically become a glazing agent for the smoke particles. Your smoke particles stick to the glazed surface and change its color. Without smoke, the same process occurs but it is dark mahogany instead of looking of black.

When Does Bark Form on Brisket?

Most people will tell you to wrap your meat in foil or butcher paper once it hits a certain internal temperature level known as the stall.

That may help it cook faster. But do not listen to them if you are more concerned about getting a crispy bark on your barbecue.

In fact, the stall phase of any cook is the best moment the famed bark form.

Bark Not Forming on Brisket

The main reason your brisket is not developing any bark is that you have it wrapped.

Using wraps especially aluminum foil on your meat will steam and bake while ripping the tender meat off the full advantages of being on a smoker.

Thus, leave it unwrapped to amass the smoke flavor as long as possible.

Moreover, it usually takes around 3 to 5 hours to develop a beautiful bark.

So wait about this cooking time to start worrying about your brisket not having the expected bark.

What Temperature Does Bark Form on Brisket?

Temperature control is another critical thing to note.

The best temp to be getting a bark on your brisket is around 250° to 350°.

If you do not set the smoker at a high enough temperature as required, there is a high chance of bark not developing on your brisket.

Brisket Bark Is Too Moist

The last thing you want is a soggy bark.

The reason you are getting too much moisture is as a result of wrapping the brisket way too long 

Place the meat back in the smoker but do not wrap it until absolutely necessary.

The idea is to stimulate maximum bark development with the direct heat.

Why Did My Brisket Not Get Bark?

Getting bark is actually a result of complex chemical processes that occurred throughout the cook.

In simple terms, bark forms when the surface of the meat gets exposed to oxygen and heat and caramlising.

Without the outer layer getting exposure to smoke, the bark will appear in more of a dark red, mahogany color. 

When it gets exposed to smoke, the bark will be a dark licorice color.

How to Fix Brisket Bark That Is Falling Off

Do you notice some or all part of your brisket bark is falling?

What you can do is unwrap the meat and throw it back onto the smoker, oven, or gas grill.

Whatever cooking you had before, place the meat back on it. Doing that will help you further form a nice layer of bark that will not fall off.

Furthermore, you do not have to worry about the meat getting overcooked.

Just place it back on for about 30 minutes and let the smoke and heat do the magic.

How Does Your Rub Affect the Bark?

The ingredient in your spice rub (seasoning) that are fat or water-soluble plays specific roles in the formation of bark.

Our observation shows that sugar and salt based rubs tend to form bark faster.

The water-soluble ingredients, such as salt and sugar will dissolve first.

The rest of the ingredients that do not dissolve will remain on the outer surface to give your bark the tasty spice crust.

However, if you use too much sugar it can make your bark hard. So follow my recipe below.

What Are the Basic Ingredients in a Rub?

Now that you know the importance of a good meat rub for bark building, another thing is deciding the ingredients to produce a good rub. You need to also add a binder, like mustard or oil before applying your rub.

The spices you choose and the quantity you use will determine the thickness of your spice crust.

It also determines how your smoked meat will come out.

While there are many variations of meat rubs, the basic ingredients to include are black pepper, salt, sugar, and paprika.

You can also add garlic powder, cayenne powder, and onion.

How to Keep Bark on Brisket?

Having successfully achieved nice bark on your BBQ, the next step is knowing how to maintain and keep it.

After taking the freshly prepared tender meat off the smoker, you may want to leave it to rest in a cooler until it reaches 170°F

The type of storage container you chose plays an important role here.

Consider placing the barbecue inside a warming oven for the best result.

That would control the ambient temperature around the meat and prevent any form of condensation.

What is your favorite rub to get a good bark?

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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