Where to Probe Brisket (Plus the internal temperature for a perfect brisket)

New to smoking brisket?

Or just struggling to get the meat just right?

Mastering the skill of preparing the perfect beef brisket can take some time (it took me months).

But want to know what I think is the most important part?

You need to know how to check the internal temps of the brisket properly.

If you’ve just begun your journey to perfecting the brisket, can’t just know when to pull your brisket, just by looking at it.

This is when a meat probe or digital meat thermometer comes in handy.

All backyard cooks and pitmasters use this tool to keep an eye on the internal temperature of their meats during the cook. Especially when we have to deal with the stall.

Keep reading further to learn how to properly probe a brisket and what the EXACT internal temp I take mine off at!.

brisket on cutting board being sliced by me
The brisket I did for my son’s graduation party

Where Should You Probe a Brisket?

If you want an accurate measurement of the brisket temperature, then the thickest part of the flat is the place to probe.

A whole brisket (or otherwise known as the packer brisket) can be cut into two pieces or left whole. There’s the point and the flat. The point has a higher fat content, while the flat is meatier.

The point has a lot more connective tissue and is much fattier. Which is great for ensuring that your delicious brisket has juicy meat. However, this section won’t give you an accurate reading of the internal meat temperature.

diagram to show where the point and flat is on brisket

Where to Probe Brisket: Does it Go in The Point or The Flat?

Always measure the internal meat temperature of the thickest part of the flat. (that is best place to put thermometer)

This is the section of the flat that is closest to the point. So, you’re technically measuring both parts of the brisket.

The proper brisket probe placement is always constantly being discussed by my grilling community.

Many pitmasters still can’t agree upon the best location to probe — the point or the flat. A lot of interesting arguments have come up due to this. We all still can’t agree on which part of the brisket cooks faster. However, one thing’s for sure, the point and the flat have different cooking times.

Another consideration is the angle at which the meat probe is inserted. Always make sure you’re going in from the side and that you’re inserting your digital cooking food thermometer deep into the meat.

It’s important that you never put it in from the top. (Also, always go across the grain!)

got the probe in my brisket while wrapped

What Should You Do if The Meat Stalls?

What do we mean when we say that the meat ‘stalls’? Well, we’re referring to the point in the cook where the internal temperature of the meat seems to stop rising.

Most people find that they experience this issue at approximately 150 ℉.

This usually happens because the meat starts to sweat. And this evaporation process can cause the overall brisket temperature to cool.

The drop in temperature can hinder the cooking process, but the only real solution is to wait it out. You do not want to impulsively raise the temperature because you have to keep the state of the brisket in mind.

If you don’t have the time to wait for the temperature to rise again on its own, I have two options for you.

  1. When you see the meat stalling, crank your grill up to 310°. Once your meat hits 170° bring the temperature back down.
  2. then we have a technique that you can use. It involves wrapping up the brisket in either butcher papper or heavy-duty aluminum foil and putting it back on the heat.

    The wrap will help the brisket retain its moisture and it’ll also stop heat from escaping.

However, this technique will prevent the meat from being in direct contact with the hot grill grates. Therefore, the meat won’t have that nice bark and crust. Below is how I combat this

Remove the foil toward the end of the cook. Place the meat directly back on the grill for the perfect finished brisket.

wrapped my brisket because it stalled during the smoke
My wrapped brisket after it stalled during the cook

Tools You’ll Need for Probing The Brisket

The only tool that you need is a meat thermometer.

Here are a few types you can choose from:

  • Leave-in meat thermometers.
    They’re very useful and reliable because they can be left in the meat during the entire cook. If you have one with a dual probe you can also keep an eye on the internal temperature of your smoker.
  • If you have the money, you can invest in a smoker that has a built-in thermometer.
    This just shuts the smoker when the meat reaches the desired temperature. I would’nt suggest this option, I think no matter what you should have you thermometer jsut in case!

How Do You Know When Your Brisket is Done?

Brisket is cooked perfectly when you reach an internal temperature of 203°F.

However, that changes from cook to cook. It (between 180 ℉ to 205 ℉)

Once the meat temperature is hovering around 195°F, grab your thermometer probe. If your probe slide in and out of the meat without any friction it will be ready to pull when you hit 203°F

I also prod it with my finger or pick it up, you want it to jiggle. If it moves like jelly it’s most likely done

Get Smoking!
The only true way to master cooking brisket is through practice.

I try to stick with this formula, It will take 1 hour and 30 minutes per pound (lb) of brisket at 225°F (or 107°C). If the average brisket is is 12 pounds it will take you 18 hours to smoke your brisket.

But it’s all trial and error, every cook is different. So hopefully all my tips help you on your journey to cooking the perfect brisket. 

Smoke on!

Charlie

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 nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)

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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