What Can You Do With Tough Brisket? [How to Salvage It]

Briskets are generally juicy and tender, but there are occasions when briskets don’t come out of the smoker as perfect as you would have hoped, and it can be tough. So, what can you do with this tough brisket? 

If your brisket is tough, and you catch this before you serve it, you can try to save your brisket by cooking it more and slicing it thinner. However, if you have already sliced it and eaten some, you can use the rest of the tough brisket in other recipes like Brisket Pizza, Brisket Tacos, and more!

what can you do with tough brisket

So, what are the ways you can save a tough brisket before serving it? What other recipes can you use a tough brisket in? How do you avoid making your brisket tough in the future? 

Let’s find out!

Can A Tough Brisket Be Saved?

Brisket is a favorite food among many families across the country, as it’s delicious, juicy, and filled with flavor. However, everyone will tell you that there is nothing worse and more disappointing than a tough brisket. 

So, why will a brisket become tough, and can you try and save your tough brisket? Brisket is a meat cut full of connective tissue, and if these connective tissues don’t break down in the cooking process, your brisket will be tough and rubbery. 

There are many reasons why this connective tissue may not break down enough to make the brisket tender. Some of these include the temperature at which you cooked the brisket, how long you cooked it, and if you allowed it to rest.

Tough briskets can generally be saved in one way or another, so you don’t need to throw the meat away. Also, don’t be disheartened when your brisket comes out tough, as it can take many attempts to get a brisket right, and even some seasoned brisket smokers still struggle with it. 

Let’s take a look at how you might be able to save your brisket or reuse it, so you can still enjoy the meat you spent hours making.

What Can You Do With A Tough Brisket?

If you have already completely sliced your brisket and possibly even already eaten a substantial amount of it, even though it was tough, but now you don’t want to eat any more of it as it is, there are a few ways you can still use this tough brisket meat. 

Use The Brisket In Another Recipe 

The best way to use your tough brisket meat is to use it in different recipes. This can help tenderize the meat and cover up the meat’s toughness. 

There are many different recipes you can use this brisket in that will complement the flavor of the brisket while making it easier and more enjoyable to eat. A few of these recipes are:

These different foods will help mask the fact that your brisket is tough and will still let you enjoy the brisket that you lovingly spend hours preparing and making. 

How To Try And Save A Tough Brisket?

If you realize that your brisket is tough before you serve it, there are a few ways you can try and save your brisket or at least make it nicer to eat. These methods are easy and will not require much effort from you. 

Cook Your Brisket More

The first point you need to know about brisket is that if it’s undercooked, it will be tough. So, if your brisket is tough, it’s most likely just undercooked, and the connective tissues have not had enough time to break down in the heat of the smoker. 

The easiest way to fix this is to place your brisket back into your smoker or place it into your oven to cook it longer. 

Cook your brisket until its internal temperature reaches over 200°F; this will help those connective tissues break down and make your brisket more tender. This could take a few extra hours, but it’s worth the wait. 

Slice The Brisket Thinner

If the cooking time was not the issue and your brisket is still tough, then a good way to help your brisket seem more tender than it actually is, is to slice your brisket thinner. This may go against some brisket connoisseurs’ beliefs, but cutting your brisket into thinner slices will make it easier to chew. 

This will give the illusion that your brisket is lovely and tender, and to further the ruse, be sure to serve your brisket with loads of gravy. 

Rest The Brisket Longer

If your brisket is not extremely tough, you could get away with resting it longer than placing it back in your smoker or oven. 

When you rest your brisket, the brisket continues to cook, and it will redistribute and reabsorb some of its fat and juices that may have been lost in the cooking process. This will help make your brisket more tender. 

To use this method, you need to continue the resting process of your brisket for about one hour longer and ensure that your brisket remains at a temperature above 140°F for safety reasons. 

How To Avoid Tough Brisket In The Future?

There are ways you can ensure you don’t end up with a tough brisket again the next time you try your hand at brisket smoking. So let’s look at what you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen again. 

Cook The Brisket For The Correct Amount Of Time 

One of the main reasons most people’s briskets come out tough is that they have undercooked the meat. Therefore, you need to stick to the cooking time required for the size of brisket you are making. 

Always follow the recipe you are using to ensure your brisket comes out of the smoker perfect and tender. 

Don’t Cook The Brisket At A Higher Temperature 

Do not cook your brisket at a temperature that is too high. Cooking a brisket too hot is the fastest way to get a tough brisket, as this will cook the meat through but will not allow the time needed for the connective tissues to break down in the brisket, making it tough.

Ensure you cook your brisket at the sweet spot in temperatures for brisket, which is 225°F, as this will cook your brisket evenly and allow the connective tissue to break down, creating tender meat. 


Briskets are delicious, and many people want to try and make one themselves, but it doesn’t always turn out the way you expect. Luckily, if you catch the problem of a tough brisket in time, you can try and save the brisket. Otherwise, you can always use the meat in a different recipe. Good luck with your tough brisket!

Related Articles

Skip to content