Did Your Brisket Come Out Tough? (5 Ways to Dave it)

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Low and slow is the best way to cook a brisket! Brisket is packed full of connective tissue, so if you don’t cook it right it will be rubbery.

Brisket can be tough to smoke even for a seasoned pitmaster. So, don’t be disappointed if your brisket came out chewy!

Don’t worry; it’s not all over yet.

I have 5 tried and tested methods to saving brisket below!

brisket too tough
my juicy brisket cooked low and slow

Is Your Brisket Chewy? Get the Internal Temperature to 203°F

Brisket is packed with connective tissue. If it isn’t cooked low and slow, the tissue doesn’t have time to break down into juicy gelatine. Check the internal temperature of your brisket, if it hasn’t reached 203°F put it back in the smoker until it reaches that temperature.

Wondering Why You Need to Cook Brisket for So Long?

Brisket is packed full of connective tissue fibers and collagen. The connective tissue and collagen break down into gelatin if cooked low and slow until you reach an internal temperature of 203°F.

So if you don’t reach this temperature the connective tissue fibers will still be in tack and the brisket will be tough. So if you want that fork-tender texture, you need to get to 203°F.

As a rule of thumb, brisket requires a cooking time of an hour per pound in a 275-degree smoker. So, it will take 3-4 hours to slow cook a 3-pound brisket. just be sure to remember that the outside temperature can affect your cook. So you can smoke in cold weather but you may need to adjust the temperature of your smoker.

Note: Depending on whether you buy prime or choice brisket can affect the outcome. Prime cut is better for smoking than choice.

Tough Brisket: Can It Be Saved? My 2 Techniques

Yes, fortunately, tough brisket can be saved if you do it right.

The reason behind tough brisket is most likely undercooking. You didn’t give it enough time to cook. So, here are some of the things you can do.

1. Return the Brisket to the Smoker 

If the brisket didn’t reach an internal temperature of 203°F, return the brisket to the smoker and let it continue cooking. Make sure you’re using your thermometer to monitor the internal temp. Don’t trust the built-in thermometers.

2. Refrigerate and Bake

  1. Wrap the brisket in plastic wrap (make sure you save the cooking juices)
  2. Then store it in the refrigerator overnight. Bring the piece of meat out the next day to and slice it up into thin pieces.
  3. Place the slices in a baking dish with your cooking juices you saved.
  4. Then reheat the brisket in the oven, covered at around 350°F for an hour., then see what to serve with brisket, our favorite is colesalw and smoked potatos

3. Make a Brisket Pie

We use our little pie maker to make individual brisket pies.

For this quick recipe, you’re going to need tomatoes, onion, garlic, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, grated cheese, and flaky pastry in addition to the brisket.

  1. Slice and dice some onion and garlic, then sauté them in a frying pan. While they’re cooking, chop the brisket into bite sized pieces. Throw them into the pan with onion and garlic. Proceed to add tomato paste, a little bit of balsamic vinegar, beef stocks, and then about a cup of water.
  2. Turn your stove to low and left your pie filling simmer.
  3. Now move onto getting the pie crust ready. I use frozen puff pastry. So just remove it from the freezer and let it the brisket thaw, you need to allow 24 hours per 5 pounds of raw brisket.
  4. Heat the pie maker and put the pie base in there. Now grab the pie mixture, which is heating in the frying pan, and top the base with 3 alrge spoonful of the mixture,
  5. Then top with grated cheese. Now, place your pastry lid on then close the lid and give it about seven to eight minutes.

4. Make Some Brisket Dumplings

This is a delicious recipe in which you put a few tablespoons of hoisin to the brisket and then grab two forks to shred it. It then popped in some dumplings pastry. Just boil up your dumplings and your ready to eat! See the recipe here.

5. Create Some Burnt Ends

You can turn your tough brisket into burnt ends. It’s pretty easy and a great way to save your meat.

  1. Cut the brisket into small cubes. The cubes should be one and a half to two inches thick.
  2. Then grab a roasting pan or an aluminum tray and place the brisket on it. Get your favorite BBQ sauce and pour it over your brisket You should use enough sauce to cover them all.
  3. Next, prepare your oven. Set the temperature to 225-degrees.
  4. Now, simply roast the brisket for an hour or two, allowing the sauce to caramelize and the meat to soften up.

6. Use it for a Brisket Soup

Brisket soup is another lovely dish that you can make using a tough piece of brisket.

  1. To do this, cut the meat into 2-inches thick cubes. Then neatly place them inside a stockpot, or you can use a Dutch oven too. Before heating, make sure to cover at least half of the meat with beef broth.
  2. Don’t cover the pot until the cubed pieces come to a simmer. Make sure to cook in low heat. It usually requires two or three hours of simmering.
  3. Afterward, go ahead add any vegetables you want like Allow the dish to simmer for one more hour to allow the vegetables to be tender. When it’s all done, serve the food after seasoning with salt and pepper. 

It’s never a good feeling to end up with tough brisket! Especially when you were expecting something tender and juicy.

But don’t throw the meat away just yet! Either throw it back in the smoker, try one of the delicious recipes!

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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