The cooking process for brisket is complicated. You need to be thinking about the temperature, fuel, and timing.
But is your brisket just isn’t not cooking through?
This is a big problem.
However, not all is lost!
Let’s highlight and troubleshoot the possible issues. So you can get back to focusing on your brisket!
The Almighty Brisket & How To Cook It
The piece of meat we will be covering today is the mighty brisket.
These cuts of meat are large muscles taken from the chest area of a cow. Or the shoulder of a pig.
A brisket has lots of connective tissue and fat. Which makes for tasty eating but does require time.
The cooking method should be low and slow with indirect heat. It can take up to 12 hours to be ready for eating! This is why it can be common for your beef brisket not to cook through.
As it needs managing and a lot of time. Which is where things can go wrong.
The Reasons & Resolves To Why Your Brisket Won’t Cook Through
Below are the common culprits for an undercooked brisket. So you can avoid raw meat stomach cramps and focus on the perfect brisket.
The Weight Of the Brisket Was Wrong & So Were The Cooking Calculations
The cooking process doesn’t start when you light up the smoker. It starts when you buy cuts of meat.
A rule of thumb is to know exactly how much the brisket(s) weigh.
Do this with your butcher after it has been trimmed. This weight is the baseline for calculating cooking time based on temperature. With the smoker set at 225°F, it should take a brisket 1.5 – 2 hours to cook per pound.
It is also helpful for the portion size!
Brisket Cooking Calculations Based On Weight
The ideal temperature to smoke brisket is 225°F. At this temp, it will take around 90 – 120 minutes per lb.
The average brisket weighs 12lbs. 12 x 60mins = 12 hours.
Always estimate the cooking time so can prepare.
Expect a shorter cooking time or got the weight wrong? Then it’s not going to be cooked though!
Fun Fact: The larger packer briskets are cuts of beef that weigh up to 20lbs!
You Didn’t Trim The Fat Cap
There are different types of fat content in muscle meats. There is intermuscular fat and outer muscular known as the fat cap.
Fat content plays a big role in the cooking process. Get your butcher to trim the fat cap if it is over an inch.
If the cap is thick it can burn and stop the heat from penetrating the meat. This will cause tough brisket fat on the outside and raw meat inside.
Pulling The Brisket From The Smoker Too Early
Make sure you are monitoring the internal temps thought the whole cook.
Your Cooking Appliance Is Faulty
Your cooking appliance may be faulty. The fault may cause temperature fluctuations.
And a constant ambient temperature is required for a successful cook. This does depend on what appliance you are using.
Check for an error code or calibrate any probes that control the temperature.
The Brisket Is Stalling
The stall is when the internal temperature of the brisket remains the same for hours of cooking.
This tends to happen on larger cuts of meat due to evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is when the water within the meat protein fibers evaporates.
The protein moisture evaporation is higher than the heat energy?
Then it will create a stall will stall. This happens when your brisket is a lower internal temp than recommended for consumption.
How To Avoid A Stall
– Spray water every 20 minutes to keep the air moisture level high.
– Wrap the brisket in aluminum foil to trap moisture, this is also known as the texas crutch.
Faulty Meat Thermometer
It might be that your brisket is cooked but your temp probe is faulty.
You should have at least 2 probes in a piece of meat the size of a brisket.
Are they drastically different temperatures? Or do you have another one you can test with?
Calibrating A Food Thermometer
– Fill up a glass of ice and top it with water.
– Wait 3 minutes.
– Insert the probe into the water at the bottom of the glass.
– Check the reading for 0°F – 5°F.
– If above and stagnant there is a fault.
You Haven’t Given It Space
Be careful not to open the lid or move your brisket during the cooking process.
A constant ambient temperature takes a while to build.
Cooler air will get inside if you open the grill lid or oven door. This will reduce the temperature and can stop the brisket from cooking.
How Do You Know If The Brisket is Uncooked?
The optimal temperature for a juicy brisket is 200°F – 204°F. You want to be able to easily slide the temp probe into the brisket without any resistance at all. If the brisket isn’t at the optimal temperature and the probe can’t slide in and out easily then you know the brisket isn’t cooked.
How To Check For Undercooked Meat
Do not risk any type of bacteria in undercooked food.
Accurately Measuring The Internal Temperature With A Calibrated Probe
Insert at least 2 calibrated meat probes into the thickest parts of your brisket. This is the most accurate and safe way to know your brisket is cooked and ready to eat.
You can also carry out a visual check.
Has the trimmed fat cap been rendered or turned to bark through caramelization?
Is it soft to the touch?
You can also cut into it and check the color and see if red raw meat juices flow out. If the meat or juices are pink then you have raw brisket.
Notes Regarding Raw Meat & Food Saftey
To finish I want to touch on some basic food safety.
Harmful bacteria are no joke! Especially from meat products.
– Know the safe internal temperature of your meat and monitor it with probes.
– If you are unsure then don’t eat it and risk an upset stomach at the least.
– Clean all surfaces that have been in contact with raw food.
– Wash hands before starting the cooking process.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
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 adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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