How Do I Know If My Brisket Is Undercooked? [What to Do With It?]

Brisket is found on the breast section, just under the first five ribs of the animal. It is reasonably large and tough meat that needs to be cooked at low temperatures for a long time, allowing the connective tissue to break down, making it more tender and edible. 

The brisket is cooked when the internal temperatures are between 195 and 205° (90.5 and 96°C). Use the pull test to decide whether the brisket is undercooked. Undercooked brisket is leathery and chewy when pulled apart, making it tasteless and unsuitable for consumption. 

how do I know if my brisket is undercooked

You pull your brisket out of the smoker, only to discover it is undercooked. Firstly, Don’t Panic! This article will answer your questions on what to look out for and what to do with an undercooked brisket.

What Are The Signs My Brisket Is Undercooked?

A brisket is a tough, thick piece of meat consisting of connective tissue and fats. This slice of beef requires a slow cooking time at low temperatures to be edible. 

When brisket is cooked too fast, the collagen does not have adequate time to break down, which leaves the meat tough, leathery, chewy, and difficult to slice through it.

Undercooked brisket may also be cold inside since it does not have sufficient time to reach the required internal temperature.

When you find your brisket is undercooked, you can return it to the smoker for further cooking. Sometimes, it may need another day to be fully cooked, so give yourself time.

The perfectly cooked brisket is soft and tender. When the pull test is applied, the meat comes apart in two halves, retaining its shape. 

Can You Eat Undercooked Brisket?

You may eat undercooked brisket, but it would not be very appealing or appetizing because the connective tissue has not been given adequate time to break down. The meat will be tough and chewy.

My Brisket Is Pink On The Inside. Can I Still Eat It?

When brisket is fully cooked, it has an even beefy brown coloring throughout, possibly some crispy, burnt parts around the edges. The perfectly cooked brisket should not be pink on the inside. If it is pink, this shows the meat is undercooked. 

Some Causes And Solutions For Undercooked Brisket

If you’ve followed your grandma’s recipe, but your brisket is still not as good as hers, don’t despair. There are some solutions for you to recover your delicious brisket. 

Perhaps you will know what to do in the future to prevent an undercooked brisket.

1. Pulling The Brisket At The Incorrect Time

When brisket is cooking, the connective tissue and intramuscular fats need to break down at the required temperatures. If these temperatures are not reached, the meat becomes tough and chewy. 

The brisket should be removed from the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature of 200°F (93.3° C). 

When a probe is poked into the meat, it should go through smoothly with no resistance. However, if it meets with some resistance, this is a clear indication more cooking time is required. 

2. Using An Inaccurate Thermometer

When you find the brisket undercooked, even though you have allowed the correct cooking time, and the temperature registers at 200° F, then take a look at your thermometer. It may not be working correctly. 

Always make sure to calibrate your thermometer before cooking meats such as brisket. A handy tip to calibrate your thermometer is to place it into a pot of boiling water. 

Hold back until the water reaches boiling point, then stick the thermometer into the water. 

Register the reading on the thermometer, and in this way, you can determine the temperature variance, which is helpful for future cooking.

3. Not Allowing Sufficient Time To Rest The Brisket

By allowing brisket to rest, the meat retains the steam within, giving the juices a chance to thicken to a point where it is incorporated into the meat. 

The meat should have sufficient time for all the juices and connective tissue to cool down before being sliced. The moisture from the steam keeps the meat from overcooking. 

Will Brisket Get More Tender The Longer It Cooks?

Putting your undercooked brisket back into the smoker will render it more tender. When all the connective tissue is completely broken down, the meat is tender, juicy, and delicious, and you have a perfectly cooked brisket to show off to friends and family. 

However, it would be best to keep an eye out for the cooking time and the temperatures. Estimate the time passed and how much more time is required to ensure the meat is not overcooked and dry. 

The weight of the brisket calculates the ideal cooking time. Therefore, always check with your butcher for the weight of your brisket before commencing with cooking. In this way, you know for sure how long the brisket should take to cook and avoid it being undercooked or even overcooked!

Avoid probing too often with the thermometer. This releases the liquids from the meat, which are needed to cook from the inside. 

Can I Use The Texas Crutch For Undercooked Brisket?

A Texas Crutch is a popular method of cooking meats such as brisket. Meats, such as a piece of undercooked brisket, are tightly wrapped in aluminum foil or butcher paper, then cooked until the correct internal temperature is reached. 

Some seasoned pitmasters suggest adding juices such as stock or broth so the meat does not dry out. They even recommend adding water. Together with the breakdown of meat collagens and the build-up of moisture and fats, water would help retain the moisture. 

This method is ideal for undercooked brisket, as it ensures the meat is cooked but not dry, leathery, or inedible.

If you are contemplating using the Texas Crutch for your undercooked brisket, here are a few points to follow.

1. Set Temperature To 165 Degrees Fahrenheit

Hold on to remove the meat from the smoker until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165° F (73.8° C). The brisket has already been in the cooking stall for some time, so it has absorbed many smoky flavors. The bark should also be rich and dark. 

2. Choose High-Quality Aluminum Foil

Brisket is regarded as a cheaper cut of meat, therefore don’t skimp on the ingredients. Poor quality foil does not insulate well. 

When the meat is not correctly insulated, it does not cook properly. So, all the time and effort you’ve put into cooking the brisket go to waste.

Barbeque masters recommend using a double layer, an extra-wide piece of foil to secure the brisket tightly. 

3. Tightly Wrap The Brisket

Ensure the foil is always tightly wrapped around the brisket. Otherwise, it will cause the liquid to pool at the bottom of the wrapper. Causing the meat to be steamed rather than smoked. 

What Can I Do With Undercooked Brisket?

If you have removed your brisket from the smoker only to find that it has not finished cooking yet, there are a few ways that you can finish it off. Here are a few suggestions for you to use undercooked brisket.

1. Thinly Slice The Brisket 

Slice the brisket into ½ to ¼ inch slices. This should give the brisket sufficient time to cook and be tender and moist. Place the slices of brisket into a roasting pan with enough broth or red wine to cover the meat. 

Cover the roasting pan with foil and place it into a pre-heated oven of 325° F (162° C) until cooked.

2. Recook The Brisket

After removing the whole brisket, allow it to cool and place into the refrigerator overnight. The following day, return the brisket to the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 195° F (90.5 ° C). 

3. Dice The Brisket

Dice the undercooked brisket into 1- ½ inch cubes, and then add to a slow cooker. To this, add some sliced carrots, potatoes, turnips, and fresh herbs. Pour in an ample amount of broth or stock to cover the meat halfway. Set the oven temperature to low and cook for two to three hours.

Final Word

If the brisket is undercooked, there are options to remedy it. You may put it back into the oven or smoker to finish cooking or use it in other dishes like stews where it can continue to cook. 

The great thing about cooking, especially when cooking meats like brisket, is that nothing goes to waste. All meats can be used in preparing other delicious meals.

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