When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (2024)

When it comes to cooking brisket, we all want to have that juicy meat and crispy bark.

To achieve this, you need to know the optimal internal temperature for brisket. That way you know when to pull it from the smoker.

Many people can’t decide on what temperature to pull their brisket.

Knowing the answer to this is essential for cooking a brisket successfully.

I have tested many combinations of different timings, temps, and wrapping brisket at various stages.

I am now ready to share my insider knowledge below.

When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (1)

When to Pull Brisket off The Smoker

The BBQ legend Aaron Franklin has said that 195°F is the temperature at which you should pull brisket.

Whereas professionals in the industry have insisted that 200°F is best.

While some other pros insist that between 180°F and 190°F is best for brisket.

My personal opinion is that; brisket will be perfect if you smoke it until an internal temperature of 204°.

As you can see he answers can vary from one pitmaster to another.

Every individual has his style when it comes to brisket.

If you want to know when your smoked brisket is done you can try the hang or pull test. While its something you can only do once you have pulled and sliced your brisket (so not very practical). You let a a slice of brisket hang off your fingers. The brisket slice should not fall apart from its own weight but should break apart if you pull on it.

What Temperature Should You Cook Brisket At?

You should cook brisket at 225°F according to meat smoking legend Meathead Goldwyn

Cooking low and slow allows that collagen and connective tissue to breakdown and leaves you with delicious juicy meat with that smoky flavor.

The Optimal Internal Temperature for Brisket

The best internal temperature for brisket is between 195°F -204°F, that is when it ready to be pulled from the smoker.

Reaching this internal temp will allow the connective tissue (which is composed of collagen) to break down into gelatin during the cooking process, this is what gives the meat a juicy and succulent texture.

The texture of brisket plays an important role when deciding on whether its ready to pull from the smoker.

But if you’re new to the cooking game (and not sure what texture the brisket should be) it’s always safe to go with the internal temp of the brisket as your indication to pull it.

So smoking your brisket based on the internal temperature, will not only give you the best results but will also save you from under or overcooking it.

I recommend and use a leave-in instant-read thermometer to monitor the brisket internal temp. I also like to use the thermometer that have two probes, that way you can put one in the flat and one in the point.

Does The Flat and Point Reach The Optimal Temperature at Different Times?

You might find that the point and the flat will show different temperatures, and that the flat will reach 204°F before the flat.

Some people remove the whole packer brisket from the smoker, then cut the flat from the point and return it to the smoker. Otherwise you can separate the point and flat before the smoking process.

When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (2)

How Long Will Your Brisket Take?

The average packer brisket is 11-18 pounds. It is a large cut of meat, it has two muscles and a fat cap. Meathead Goldwyn suggests smoking brisket at 225°F over indirect heat.

I went with his suggestion and created this calculation for working out how long to cook brisket.

It will take 1 hour and 30 minutes per pound (lb) of brisket at 225°F (or 107°C)

A brisket I smoked last weekend was 9lb. Here is the actual cooking time

9lb brisket x 1.5 hours = 13.5 hours with a cooking temperature of 225 °F

What If Your in a Hurry and Want to Cook at 300°F?

You can cook your brisket at 300°F – 350°F and it will take less time to cook. If your in a hurry this is a good option however you do run the risk of overcooking your brisket and you won’t get the same smokiness that you would at 225°F

What About Wrapping it?

A popular technique to try if experience the stall during your brisket cook is the Texas crutch. This method of wrapping your brisket in butchers papers is also highly recommended by Aaron Franklin.

In this method, you need to pull the beef brisket from the heat when it reaches 185 – 195 and wrap brisket in butcher paper or foil tightly.

When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (3)

Steps to Wrapping Your Brisket

Here’s how you can wrap your brisket to achieve the perfect texture

  1. Use good-quality aluminum foil or butcher paper to wrap your meat. However, using butcher paper minimizes the risk of overcooking, so it’s a safer option than foil.
  2. Wrap the meat tightly. You don’t want any juices leaking out.
  3. Place the probe inside the meat after wrapping it to keep an eye on the brisket internal temp.

Should You Be Resting Your Brisket?

Another important part when it comes to smoking a brisket is the rest period

When brisket is cooking, the protein fibers uncoil and then coagulate, recoiling and becoming firm.

As the protein starts to become firm, again it pushes out the moisture.

Once it’s removed from the heat, the protein fibers start to relax and reabsorb some of the moisture that was lost.

So if skip resting you’ll lose all those delicious meat juices when you cut into it

How to Rest Your Brisket?

Once your brisket has been pulled from the smoker, wrap it in butcher’s paper and then in a towel.

Place the brisket in a cooler. You want to bring the internal temperature of the brisket down from 200°F to 140°F over a 4-hour period.

When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (4)

My Hot Tips for Smoking A PERFECT Brisket

Want some of my own insider tips on smoking brisket?

These are little nuggets of information I have learned over many years of cooking brisket.

  • Put the fattier end towards the heat source
    Having the fatter end towards the heat source helps insulate the meat and prevents it from drying out. If your heat source is from comes from above place the brisket fat side down. This can also help the fat rendering on the brisket.
  • Should you use the point or the flat (or the whole brisket)
    The piece of meat I like to use is the point. I find it has more marbling in the muscle which means a more flavourful, tender brisket.
  • You can use mop sauce
    It has been tested and proven that wet meat can more smoke. You can spritz or mop if you like. We have used beer, water, beef broth, and apple juice in previous cooks.
  • Always Use a Rub
    I like to create a rub for my brisket with just kosher salt and white pepper. I think white pepper has a better flavor than black pepper.

Slicing Your Brisket (This Can Be Tricky)

Slicing your brisket can be tricky and it has taken me years to master.

It deserves its whole own page, so you can read about slicing your brisket perfectly here.

When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (5)

You Need to Practice!

No matter what anyone tells you, the most important technique to follow when making a juicy brisket is to PRACTICE.

You can’t cook the best brisket on your first try. It takes time and patience to achieve a delicious brisket.

The best way of becoming successful in your attempts is to take notes on the mistakes try to improve.

It can be really tough to smoke brisket well.

After this, I hope there isn’t any confusion as to what temp to pull brisket.

If you still have some questions just reach out I am always here to help

Happy Smoking


When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (6)

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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When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking (2024)


When to Pull Brisket (Timing, Internal Temp & Wrapping) - Simply Meat Smoking? ›

Once the internal temperature has reached 195-203°F, it's time to remove the brisket from your heat source and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will help ensure that the juices are evenly distributed throughout the meat, giving you a tender and juicy brisket.

What temperature do you pull brisket after wrapping? ›

After you have the meat at the desired temperature (most experts recommend around 203 degrees Fahrenheit), you can remove the wrap and cook the brisket at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit to re-crisp the bark. Note: The brisket will cool rapidly once you unwrap it, but that's okay.

What temperature should I smoke my brisket to internal? ›

Either wait out the stall, or wrap the brisket tightly in two sheets of heavy aluminum foil with ½ a cup of apple juice added (aka The Texas Crutch) and bring the grill temperature or the grill back up to 225°F. When the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195°F it should be properly smoked.

How long do you smoke a brisket after wrapping it? ›

Close the lid on the smoker and, maintaining 225 degrees F, continue cooking until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 202 degrees F in the thickest part of the meat (takes anywhere from 5-8 hours). Rest, slice, and serve.

At what temperature does collagen breakdown in brisket? ›

The brisket needs to spend hours in the temperature window of 160-205°F (71-96°C) for the best breakdown of connective tissue. Once this tough collagen has fully dissolved, it turns into gelatin.

What happens if you wrap your brisket too late? ›

Knock hours off your cooking time when you wrap mid cook. Wrapping in foil can cause the bark to get soggy, and give a 'pot-roast' texture. Wrapping in pink butcher paper allows some 'breathing', and results in a better bark. Wrap a 7-pound brisket between the 3- and 4-hour marks.

Should I wrap my brisket the whole time? ›

The simple answer is no. Plenty of smokers – professionals and hobbyists, alike – do not wrap their brisket at any point in the cooking process. Still, many do and wouldn't dream of preparing brisket any other way.

Can I pull brisket at 180? ›

The brisket is done when the temperature reaches 180 degrees to 185 degrees F internally or when a fork slides easily in and out of the meat. Remove and allow the brisket to rest for about 10 minutes.

Can you rest a brisket at 165? ›

This will help keep the internal temperature of the meat stable until you are ready to slice or serve. Additionally, make sure the internal temperature of the brisket is at 155-165°F when it is being rested. This will ensure that the meat is fully cooked and safe to consume.

Can you eat brisket 165? ›

An appropriate serving temperature for brisket is roughly 150 - 165F; This temperature range would more appropriately be called a "slicing temperature." It's important to note that there is a huge difference between finishing temperatures and serving temperatures.

Can a brisket stall at 190? ›

Stalling at 190 is like reaching the end of the race only for some asshat to move the finishing line. Typically, you should wait until your brisket reaches 195 before pulling it out of the smoker.


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