How to Tell When Smoked Brisket Is Done? (Guide)

Smoked Brisket is done when

1.  The internal temperature reaches 197F-210F.

2.  You can probe the brisket with the end of a thermometer, skewer or toothpick and  there is no resistance. 

3.  When you push or slap it, it jiggles aka “The Jiggle Test”.


When going by temperature, both the point and the flat need to be measured.  The flat will cook faster than the point because of the thinness of the flat.  I recommend keeping the flat under 210F or there is a risk of drying out the flat.  The point is full of interstitial fat and is thicker so won’t dry out as much. I recommend pulling the point at 204F. There are methods that allow for a more even cook including wrapping it in butcher paper/foil, foil boating, spritzing every 15-30 minutes with apple juice, or using beef tallow.

When using the probe method to determine if the brisket is done.  It should “Probe like butter” meaning that there should be no resistance akin to probing room temperature butter. The brisket should be probed in multiple locations including all areas of the flat and the thickest parts of the point. Thermometers come with a handy probe that is thinner at the point and thickens after an inch.  This is excellent to use as a probe and allows you to use 2 methods in one. 

When doing the jiggle test, push or slap the brisket and it should move back and forth in a jiggle motion.  If it just moves outward and back to its original position and holds there then the connective tissue hasn’t broken down enough and the brisket won’t be tender. 

Remember that beef brisket is a large cut from the cow’s lowest chest region. It is usually tougher than most other parts of the meat. Briskets have a large amount of connective tissue, making them very tough to eat when not cooked properly.

In an offset smoker you want place the brisket fat side up and point side to the fire but in an electric smoker make sure to place the fat cap or fat side of the brisket face down onto the heat to act as a shield and create are a juicier piece of meat. This content will help you understand

How to Tell When Smoked Brisket is Done in Your Cooker?

How to Tell When Smoked Brisket is Done in Your Cooker

Step 1: Checking the Time:

Briskets are usually smoked at a temperature of 2250 F. But if the particular cut you are cooking is large or your cooking the whole brisket, you can raise the temperature to 2500 F.

Generally, the quantity of brisket you are smoking will determine the cooking time needed to get it done. If you are smoking only a pound of brisket, about 1.5 hours of cook time should be enough for you to reach the desired internal temperature.

For a 4-pound brisket, you should expect the brisket to get ready in 5 hours when you maintain the same temperature level. You can use this ratio to determine the amount of time needed to smoke any propound of brisket.

However, time is not the only thing you should be concerned about. Various factors can affect the smoking time, so you should also pay attention to the brisket. But be aware ahead of time of the cooking process and that it is worth slow cooking.

You can always use the Texas crutch method, wrapping in aluminum foil to speed cook time.  I would only recommend doing this once you reach the stall (the period of time where the brisket stays at the same temperature for around 3 hours, approximately 165F)

Step 2: Using Meat Thermometer in the Electric Smoker and Others:

Use some apparatus to verify when the brisket is actually done. The meat thermometer is a very popular apparatus for this. It’s the single most important measure for newbies.

Essentially, you can check the doneness of the meat by nudging the meat thermometer unto the meat. When the internal temperature reaches about 1970F-210F, it’s a good indication that the brisket’s inside has become tender. 

Do Not Use a Grill Hood Thermometer:

If you don’t want to get fake-outs, it’s best not to use a grill hood thermometer. It will only measure the air temperature close to the hood without actually reading the meat temperature.

So, it’s highly unreliable. It’s not a proper way on how to tell when the smoked brisket is done. Instead, use a perfect temperature probe. When you are checking the temperature, it’s important not to concentrate only on a tender.

It’s also not good to overcook the meat. Do not allow the meat temperature to exceed 2100 F. Any temperature range above only means one thing.

Your meat has likely been overcooked. It will cause the brisket to get undesirable and mushy. So, you have to be watchful and target when the meat is actually done without overcooking it.

The meat thermometer will surely come in handy for this. Aim at between 1970 F and 2100 F. Anything below that or above may not be enough or too much.

Step 3: Manual Check

If you don’t have a proper working instant-read thermometer to check the brisket’s internal temperature, you can check manually. Be sure to place your thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.

Take a sharp knife and cut a small portion of the meat (about 1/4inch thin). With your two hands, try to tear the meat apart. If it tears easily, the brisket is already cooked. However, if the meat still shows some resistance level, it’s a clear indication that it’s not yet done.

If your hands’ pressure as you pull wide does not tear the meat, it only means it’s still tough. And though meat is not anyone’s friend.

Step 4: Poke It

Another manual way of determining a properly cooked meat is by poking the meat with a knife. Use a knife to poke your brisket. When the meat does not show any resistance, your meat is probably done. However, a level of moderation is needed here.

Constantly poking your meat may take out some heat levels that have already been built up in the smoker. Instead, use this method as a final check to be very sure the meat is cooked. One of the key strategies of cooking brisket is giving it as enough enclosed heat as possible.

For proper temperature and time you need for smoking any meat/ brisket, you may need to refer here for time and temperature charts in an electric smoker. To make sure your meat is properly done, give it some time after taking it out from the oven. Generally, as the outer part of the meat gets cold, the inner part may continue cooking for some time.

Remember that the outer part is most likely going to get cooked before the inner part. So, you have to be sure the inner part is also cooked. With all these ways to tell when the smoked brisket is done, you can’t go wrong when you observe properly.

Even if you don’t have a meat thermometer, other methods mentioned above are equally effective. You can’t go wrong when you observe properly. Even if you don’t have a meat thermometer, other methods mentioned above are equally effective.

Be sure to let your meat rest and come to room temperature before cooking. It will provide a more even doneness throughout. It will make for the most flavorful and tender brisket with the perfect amount of smoke flavor.

Is All Brisket The Same?


No, all briskets are not the same. You need to keep in mind that whenever we say the term of brisket, then we usually and generally mean with this assumption that it entails several and a large number of related meat cuts in it.

The barbecue meat cut is often given the name of the packer cut. Furthermore, this packer cut is big and it comes in the form of a two-muscle piece.

This meat cut is embedded with a fat cap and that fat cap remains to stay attached with that meat piece.

If you have seen a proper brisket, then you might have noticed that this meat piece is commonly over 10 pounds before you start to trim it.

Regarding the other common and general types of briskets, we have this lean and flat piece of meat. This meat piece is used for pot roasting.

To cook this lean and flat piece, you have to slowly and gradually cook it.

If there is no fat present on this piece, then there is a chance that you may get worse results.

Does Marbling Matter?

We all know that this concept of marbling encompasses the fact of mixing fat all into meat cuts. Most importantly, it is seen that these marbled cuts tend to stay quite and extremely attractive.

These cuts are expensive to buy and it is not easy for all individuals to buy and shop for these meat cuts.

Whenever you are going to cook such meat cuts, then you will see that fat slowly and gradually melts and then more flavors get to inject into your meal.

If you have a brisket that comes with a maximum and sufficient marbling, then note down that such cut is covered with extensive amounts of natural fat.

Each bite of that meat cut shall be able to bring more succulent and enticing flavor to your dish.

Always cook such cuts carefully so that your dish can come out to be tasty and full of flavors.

How Should I Season My Brisket?

How Should I Season My Brisket

You might be wondering how you should season your brisket, here you can check out the details:

There are lots of professional cooks out there who season their briskets in their own unique and different styles. You can use any of the seasoning methods that best match your taste and requirements.

Like, you can use peppers or spices to season your briskets. Or you can use pickle juice and mustard for the sake of bringing the best seasoning effect on to your briskets.

Most noteworthy, some cooks like to season their brisket with liquid smoke, how amazing it is. There is a bonus point that we want to share with you!

It is that the base of your seasoning job should be dependent on using plain old salt and also pepper.

You have to use and apply lots of salt so that you can cook these meat cuts in the best manner. Furthermore, you can use good-quality hardwood to bring the desired smoky flavor to your meat cuts.

On the other hand, you are free to customize your briskets in any desired and wished manner you want to do so. Some cooks prefer using hickory hardwood or you can use mesquite and oak to smoke these cuts.

If you are using an actual hardwood smoker, then you will end up bringing a high and nice smoky flavor to your dish.

Moreover, try using liquid smoke and smoked spices and you can even use bacon. The purpose of using liquid smoke is to amplify the process of condensation.

And cooks love using these smoked spices and bacon so that distinctive flavor and taste can come on your dish.

You should use and try out these ingredients so that you well accent and season your briskets and be able to pass the right flavor on them.

Brisket Cooking Methods:

Now, we are going to talk about the recommended brisket cooking methods.

First of all, you can go to the simmering and braising method. In this method, you can do pot roast or you can even go for corned beef.

In this method, you need to salt a brisket. For cooking a whole brisket, you can either use a slow cooker or you can go on using a roast pan.

There is another alternative for you and it is to make use of a Dutch oven for cooking briskets.

In the pan, there must be a liquid and it can be broth or wine. To cook such a meat cut, you have to use well-spiced water.

This whole cooking job takes around and about 2 to 4 hours and you have to cook these meat cuts until and unless they become tender.

If you are using a slow cooker, then this cooking span comes out to be of 3 to 4 hours duration. However, if you have got a large brisket piece, then its cooking span is normally of 8 to 10 hours span.

This is the specific brisket cooking method that you can opt for and pursue. And if you opt for some other cooking methods while preparing these briskets, then you can share that with us.

What if the Smoked Brisket is Too Dry?

If your smoked brisket is too dry, then there are some handful numbers of tips that you can follow.

It is recommended to keep water right in the smoker while you are cooking your briskets. This way, you can keep the temperature setting all stable and transform the pit air to become a little bit more wet and moist.

The next step is to spray your briskets with some apple juice often and frequently during the cooking job. And the last step is to wrap your briskets with foil paper and make sure to retain their moisture as much as you can.

If you do not have foil paper, then you can even use butcher paper in this regard.