How to Tell When Smoked Brisket is Done: Kitchen Guide 101

Beef briskets are truly delectable and fascinating to the mouth. They are among the delicacies that you can never say "no" to. They have this unique texture that quickly lingers on your tongue, even after you have eaten them. Whether there is a special event or not, preparing a brisket can always put a smile on anyone's face!

Preparing a beef brisket is usually done through smoking. Of course, this cooking method usually consumes time. So, how to tell when smoked brisket is done? For anyone who is interested in making this recipe, knowing the correct preparation of smoked brisket is essential. 


Take note that the beef brisket is derived from the lower breast of the cow. It is a large cut that contains a lot of breast muscles. This particular region of the livestock has a significant contribution to its overall weight, due to the natural absence of collar bones. Therefore, it is pretty given that there is a high volume of connective tissues on beef brisket. If you cannot cook it properly, the meat will become too tough to eat.

Check out guideline I listed below to know the correct duration smoking beef brisket. 

How to Tell When Smoked Brisket is Done

Step 1

On general conditions, you should smoke a beef brisket to around 220 degrees Fahrenheit. You can increase it to 250 degrees Fahrenheit if the cut that you have is really thick. If you are going to crank your electric smoker or gas smoker at this temperature, you can expect that the beef brisket will be cooked after 90 minutes. But let me get to the specifics of that.

At these given temperature ranges, 90 minutes is already enough to smoke a one-pound beef brisket. That is the ratio that you have to keep in mind. Therefore, if you are going to smoke a three-pound beef brisket, the cooking time should consume 4 hours and 30 minutes. But of course, you still need to pay attention to the meat so that you can get a well-finished output. 

Step 2

Of course, guessing things should already be excluded on your options already. Most of the time, you need to practice science in the kitchen. But don't worry. There are no complex equations here. What I am trying to suggest is that you need to use some special apparatus that could ease any cooking process that you do. 

You can gauge if the smoked brisket is cooked by poking a meat thermometer into it. Specifically, you should nudge the thermometer in the center of the meat. This is the hardest part to cook since it is very thick and rich in fibers. When the internal temperature of the brisket already reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit, then you can safely conclude that the inside flesh is already tender. 

But at the same time, over-cooking the meat is not advisable either. The safest temperature range for the internal portion of the meat is only 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Any numbers that would exceed on this can cause the meat to get mushy and undesirable. Specifically, the meat can get the optimal tenderness when its internal temperature reaches up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. In the opposite manner, if the meat has not yet reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not cooked yet.

Step 3

Another method that can tell you if the smoked brisket is done is by checking it manually. Use a sharp kitchen knife and cut a part of the brisket (at least 1/4-inch thin). Hold the meat by both of your hands. After that, tug the meat. If the brisket tears apart quickly, the latter is already cooked. If the meat still shows some sign of resistance, then you still need to smoke it a little more. Nobody wants a to eat a tough meat.

Fortunately, there are other ways of tenderizing the meat other than smoking or boiling it. If you have a good meat tenderizer tool, you can already smoothen the meat even before the cooking process has begun. 

Step 4

If the smoked brisket is already done, you can already remove it from your smoking device. Put the meat on a clean baking pan and let it cool down for an hour. 

Why is it long? Well, this resting period will enable the brisket to regulate its internal temperature gradually. In short, it is a way maximizing the remaining heat to tenderize the meat further!

Meat Size and Smoking

The size of the ingredient is quite correlational to the cooking time that it requires. Specifically, the larger the meat, the longer it takes to cook. This is due to the presence of fat and connective tissues that make raw meat sturdy.

We all know that smoking is a slow cooking method. After all, you are only relying on the heat produced by the steam or smoke. Therefore, you should already expect that smoking any food will really eat up your time. When it comes to beef briskets, the standard cooking time takes around 5 to 6 hours. This is due to the fact that a whole brisket can range from 5 to 15 pounds. If you will scale up the weight, the cooking time could take around 10 hours. 

Of course, you need a lot of preparations to do this. If your smoker is operated by charcoal and wood chips, you must prepare at least a sack of lump charcoal to maintain your heat source. But despite the tedious prepping works, eating a smoked brisket is really glorifying.

What if the Smoked Brisket is Too Dry

Well, if it is a brisket, then this should not worry you. Just remember that all briskets are not the same. If the brisket that you got don't have too much fat, then you can expect that it would not be as juicy as other smoked briskets that you have prepared. Even if you followed the rules given by the book, nothing can change the outcome.

The thing that you should focus on instead is the tenderness of the meat. As long as the smoked brisket is tender, then that delicacy is already 5-star. No one can just resist the irresistible tenderness of a smoked brisket. It is not about the recipe that you used. It will always be the cooking process that you utilized. And that alone can make the difference between a crowd pleaser and disappointment. 


Learning how to tell when a smoked brisket is done is quite a necessary skill. It will allow you to get the best results out of your meat. But of course, none of these will matter if you will not pay attention to the entire smoking process. You need to input the proper smoking temperature for the meat. In this way, your meat can attain the ideal internal temperature at the most convenient time possible. 

Always remember that smoking is a time-consuming cooking method. Therefore, you should not leave any room for errors here. If you are too clumsy or inattentive, you might end up ruining the brisket. And that is a waste of food and money. Now, I know that none of you wants that!

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