The preparation of a tough cut of meat like beef brisket can be a challenging task, no matter if you cook it inside a grill, smoker, slow cooker, or oven. The reason is that it is large, thick meat with many tough connective tissues, fat, and water.
One of the most prevalent challenges that even experienced chefs and cooks can face is undercooked brisket, which is chewy, tough, or maybe unsafe to eat if it does not reach the desired internal temperature.
But fear not, as we have compiled an absolute guide that provides all the key information regarding uncooked brisket, its reasons, and how to prevent and salvage it.
So, let’s help you make your brisket smoking sessions stress-free.
About Undercooked Brisket
Undercooked brisket fails to reach the safest internal temperature of 145 °F. It tastes tough, is difficult to chew, and unpleasant. You can fix undercooked brisket by continuing to smoke until its connective tissues break down and reach the desired safest doneness level of 195 °F.
You can also wrap it inside aluminum foil or butcher paper once the temperature of its thickest part achieves 165 °F and then again keep cooking it until it rises to 195 °F or 200 °F.
It is important to note that an undercooked brisket is safe to eat if its internal temperature is 145 °F or above, but it can’t guarantee deliciousness, tenderness, and smoky flavors.
The reason is that your meat is not getting enough time to break down the connective tissues and collagen, which is essential for making the meat tender and juicy.
How to Know if the Brisket is Undercooked?
Several characteristics can tell you that it has not reached the perfect doneness level and requires more cooking time.
If you are a beginner and don’t understand the undercooking signs completely, you can also perform a few simple tests to know if the brisket is undercooked.
Brisket’s Internal Temperature
Checking the internal temperature of the meat with a thermometer is the best way to know if it is smoked or grilled nicely. You can apply the same technique to your brisket meat.
Depending on personal preferences, a brisket is typically done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 °F to 210 °F. At this point, you can pull it from the smoker and move on to its resting procedure.
So, if your food thermometer shows an internal temperature below 180 °F, it is the first sign of incomplete brisket cooking.
After the temperature test, you can check the stiffness of a beef brisket to determine if it is cooked perfectly.
You need to pull out brisket from the smoker to inspect its hardness. So, use potholders or oven mitts to lift it and move your hands underneath.
If you get the feeling of a soft surface, it means you have smoked brisket well, and you can allow it to rest rather than cook further.
An underdone brisket will have a stiff surface, meaning the connective tissues inside are not broken completely and require more cook time.
The pull test technique is one of the most famous ways of checking an under or overcooked brisket. You can perform this test with a little piece of your brisket.
Here’s what you need to do.
Hold a small slice of cooked brisket from both ends and try pulling it. An uncooked one will struggle to separate due to dryness inside.
On the other hand, a perfectly cooked brisket will come apart in two halves easily without any resistance and will also have juices inside.
So, if the pull test does not go your way, you can place it back in the smoker and carry over the cooking process.
Important Note: When giving a pull test to your cooked meat, ensure to slice one little piece only and do not slice it completely into several pieces because you may not be able to recook it nicely.
Color Inside Brisket
The inner color of your cooked brisket can also help you know its doneness level. In this test, you need to check the cross-section of your brisket.
In an undercooked beef brisket, you will discern dark pink and red colors on the cross-section and thick parts of the meat.
If you see that the edges of the meat are pink or dark pink, that’s not a big issue, and it is a sign of perfectly cooked brisket.
You may see pink and brown-reddish color in a perfectly cooked brisket, but it won’t be as dark as in a tough or chewy brisket.
Reasons Why Your Brisket is Undercooked
There can be several reasons you are unable to cook the brisket properly. It could be your mistake or a fault in your cooking appliance.
Let’s find out some of the possible causes behind uncooked beef brisket.
Inconsistent Smoker Temperature
Your smoker’s heat plays a vital role in perfectly cooking a brisket. It can be a strong reason behind undercooked or overcooked brisket.
If the temp of your smoker fluctuates to low temperatures frequently, you may end up undercooking the brisket. On the other hand, if the heat goes higher than required, you will be overcooking your brisket.
Therefore, you should constantly monitor the heat inside the smoker and regulate it accordingly to prevent under or overcooking. For example, if you opt to smoke your brisket at 225 °F, ensure it remains constant throughout the cooking session.
Recommended Read – If you have a charcoal grill or smoker and struggle to control its heat, see our post on how to control the temperature on a charcoal grill to maintain constant heat for a long time.
Cooking Brisket for Shorter Period
Smoking is a cooking method that requires constant low heat for a longer time, especially if you are cooking thick cuts of meat like brisket.
You need to ensure that you give brisket enough cooking time and not pull it from the smoker too early because it will keep it uncooked. As a result, you will have to recook it.
Moreover, it is helpful if you first weigh your brisket, calculate the smoking time, and cook accordingly. For example, if you have 16-pound brisket, it can take between 10 to 12 hours if the cooking temperature is set to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using an Inaccurate Thermometer
Another possible cause behind incomplete brisket cooking can be the food thermometer you use to check the internal temperature.
It should show accurate stats if you want to prepare a tender, juicy, and flavorful brisket per your desired doneness level.
Relying on the built-in thermometer of the smoker may not be a good idea because it may not work correctly in windy and cold conditions or when you are grilling in the rain.
Buying a separate thermometer is a great idea to get a better outcome because you can probe the thermometer into the brisket and check the temperature from different parts.
How To Fix Undercooked Brisket
A few methods can help you fix the issue of undercooked brisket, assuming that you have yet to slice it into little pieces.
As mentioned earlier, if the brisket isn’t sliced, you can recook it rather than use it in other dishes.
You can return it to the smoker and keep smoking it until it reaches the perfect internal temperature of 195 °F to 205°F.
As a result, there will be no undercooking sign on your smoked brisket, and you can serve it to your guests.
Prolong the Smoking Period
Sometimes, when people smoke brisket at a lower temperature of 250 °F, they don’t smoke their meat enough because such temp requires a couple of extra hours.
If you have made the same mistake, you can fix your undercooked brisket by prolonging the smoking duration. Ensure you monitor the brisket’s internal temperature closely.
Wrapping the Brisket
Wrapping the undercooked brisket inside butcher paper or aluminum foil and smoking it again is the most beneficial way to restore it.
If your brisket isn’t cooked correctly, we advise you to place it inside an aluminum foil or butcher paper tightly (once the internal temperature reaches 165 °F) and place it back in the smoker.
If you keep the smoker’s temperature the same as the previous smoking session, the results will be even better.
The issue of undercooked meat apart, if you face a Brisket Stall during the smoking session, the wrapping technique can help you tackle the stall issue as well.
When the brisket touches a scale of 195 °F to 205 °F, stop smoking it and let it rest for an hour or two inside a cooler or a Faux Cambro.
Roasted Brisket with Beef Broth (If Sliced)
You can use uncooked brisket slices in the making of a roasted brisket. You simply need to cut it into small pieces, probably ½ inches per slice.
Place these slices inside a roasting pan, add beef broth per your requirements, and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Next, set the oven temperature to 325 °F and cook these ingredients together for 3 to 4 hours. At the end of the cooking process, you will get moist and tender roasted brisket that will taste delicious.
How to Prevent Brisket Undercooking?
If you follow a few straightforward tips and look after things well during the cooking process of brisket, you can easily prevent it from undercooking.
Below, you will find some useful tricks that will help you prepare perfectly smoked meat.
Smoking Time Calculation
If you calculate the smoking time first, depending on the size of your brisket, the chances of undercooking brisket decrease to 50 – 60 percent.
The important consideration while calculating the time should be the weight of your brisket, the temperature you will be cooking at, and the type of your smoker or grill.
So, this is how you can figure out the cooking duration and cook it to perfection.
Invest in a Meat Thermometer
The second most advantageous tip is to buy a separate meat thermometer that is reliable and tells the precise temperature of your food from its different parts.
As for brisket, you need to probe the thermometer into its thickest part to know if it has reached the desired internal temperature per your doneness level.
Most people rely on a built-in thermometer inside their smoker or grill which may not show the accurate temperature because of different weather conditions.
It is possible that you are doing a great job while smoking a brisket and looking after things carefully. But your smoker has any technical fault or isn’t performing well, especially keeping a constant temperature inside the cooking chamber.
If you have a charcoal grill or smoker, and charcoal pieces are not staying lit and extinguishing frequently, it can also be the reason you are unable to cook brisket properly.
In this case, you need to inspect the smoke first and see why the temperature is fluctuating, solve the issue, and then begin the smoking session.
Wrapping it Up
Undercooked brisket is a common issue, especially among beginner BBQ lovers. It can happen for multiple reasons, such as inconsistent cooking temperature, faulty cooking appliances, or inadequate cooking duration.
Luckily, there are multiple ways through which you can recook your uncooked brisket to make it delicious, tender, and flavorful again.
In this article, we have provided complete information on recognizing an undercooked brisket and properly recooking it to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you recook undercooked brisket?
Yes, you can recook an undercooked brisket. If you pull your brisket out of the smoke before it reaches the ideal internal temperature, you can place it back in the smoker grill and recook it accordingly.
Should you eat undercooked brisket?
No, you should not. You can eat brisket when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F, but you won’t like its taste if it is not entirely cooked. For better taste, you should keep cooking it until the inner temperature of the brisket is 195 °F to 205 °F.
Can you apply the Texas crutch technique to undercooked brisket?
Yes, the Texas crutch method can give extraordinary results. It requires wrapping the brisket tightly with butcher paper or aluminum foil when its internal temperature is 160°F. After wrapping, keep on smoking it until it cooks perfectly.
Is it ok for brisket to be a little pink?
Yes, it is ok for your smoked brisket to be pink because it is natural when somebody smokes it perfectly. Also, you will typically see the pink color near the center part of the meat.
Robert Gill, a BBQ enthusiast, and Senior Author at FaveGrills.com bring his extensive knowledge of BBQ equipment and exciting recipes to the team. With his outgoing personality and love for BBQ, Robert plays an essential role in the FaveGrills community, sharing his passion and expertise through informative articles and gear reviews.