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Can't get brisket up to temperature

NephromaniaNephromania Posts: 5
edited September 2011 in Beef
I recently purchased a big green egg (large).  I have made several dishes on it but I am struggling with the brisket.  I bought a whole brisket (about 11 lbs) and set it up with indirect heating on the grate over a plate setter.  After about 8 hours, the temperature was 155 degrees.  Over the next 10 hours it only rose to 160 degrees on 2 independent thermometers despite a constant dome temperature of 200-225 degrees.  The dome thermometer checked out okay.  We are near sea level.  Why won't the meat get any warmer?

Paul in Phoenix


  • SpoonSpoon Posts: 328
    Bump your heat to to 250 dome, it will be about 225 at grate level. You can also foil the brisket to help cook it faster, but it will give you soft bark on the outside.
    "Pork so tender you can pull it with a spoon." ~Spoon
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    edited September 2011
    While most of the time you should allow 1.5 hours per pound, brisket cooks have a mind of their own. The more fat the longer it takes to break down connecting tissue and allow the meat to is a good site to help understand and pick up some tips. Also visit here for more information like:
    Next, you need to be familiar with the temperature plateau that meats like brisket and butts hit while cooking. When you cook a brisket, at first the heat absorbed by the meat is going to be used to raise the temperature of the meat

    I'd suggest you move your temp up to 300 (about 275 grid) and finish the cook. 
    Kent Madison MS
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,948
    What the others posted plus please check your thermometer.....mine was off 25 degress on the high side.  I would just do you brisket at 250 dome too.  Even if you thermometer is on and you are targeting 200 - 205 internal...with a grate temp at 210 - 215 that is a bit much to ask.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • tommyLtommyL Posts: 11
    What 4Runner said:   Same happened to me.  You must always calibrate the thermometer that came w/your egg.  Mine was off 25 deg to the low side and I couldn't figure out why my brisket was burning !   the outside was as tough as a nascar tire.  So I checked the egg meter at boiling.  then checked in in hot oil at 300 deg F.

    Guess what?  the thermometer was so bad it was "non-linear".   In other words: calibrating at boiling made it accurate at boiling temps but it was still off at any other temp.

    I've done 3 briskets so far.   It is the most challenging piece of meat to cook (that I've run into so far).   The last one I did last week and it was the first one that was edible.   I cooked it at 190 to 225 for 12 hours.  It was still kinda tough.   I have been advised to pay more attention to the internal temps and not cook for so long.  (and I think I might do a foil tent as well.  Not wrapped tight but a bottom and top cover.

    But to be honest:  I'm comparing this result with the brisket that a competitor at a BBQ contest gave me as a taste.   I'm aiming very high here.

    GOOD LUCK !!

  • I will try cooking at a dome temperature of 250-275 degrees next time.  How many hours should it be in the foil tent?  Does that kill the smoking aspect of the process?
  • Nephro, smoke flavor will develop on the meat as long as the meat is exposed to smoke.  So, while it is in the foil, obviously the meat will not be getting smoke.  However, it will during the rest of the cook.
    The Naked Whiz
  • Excellent advice! I smoked a brisket for 12 hours this weekend, but could not get it all the way up to temp. I bumped the heat up to 300 and it was done 3 hours later.

    A word of caution - once the heat goes up to 300, monitor that puppy every hour as the meat will get to temp much faster than you would think (after watching the meat temp plateau for hours and hours).

    Mine turned out OK, but was a tiny bit over done for my tastes.
  • Fly310Fly310 Posts: 13

    Well, to each his own but there are several things I have learned after smoking MANY briskets over many years.  I finally bought a BGE (Large) and did my forst one on thsi wonderful cooker.  But, brisketology is unchanged by the BGE in my opinon.  If you cook low & slow, as you should there will ALWAYS be a plateau at around the 150 degree point.  Sometimes it lasts an hour, sometimes mor.  DO NOT freak out, leave it be, it will start to rise eventually.  Put your temp probe into the thickest part of the brisket, and let it roll on the egg at 225 -250 degrees do not open the egg EVER!  When it reaches 190 - 195 internal, take it off, wrap in foil then in a towel, and put it in a cooler for 1 hour.  It will be perfect every time.  The secret with brisket is patients. I did one this weekend, and 8 lb flat cut.  it took 16 hours, and was worth every minute.


  • I place a handfull of pre-soaked wood chips in on the lump and then place the brisket in at 250 for 3 hours. I then wrap the brisket with foil and place my temp probe in the thickest part of the brisket. Back on the EGG untill it reaches internal temp of 200. Off the egg leave it in the foil and wrap in a towel. I then place it in my oven (oven off) for 1 hour. Comes out perfect every time. Plenty of smoke in the 3 hours it is on before wrapping it in foil. Be patient and do not open the lid at all!! Just my 2 cents 
  • The following quote is from a great article about Central Texas BBQ in the February issue of Texas Monthly:
    “I think the first ‘aha’ moment I had was when I cooked a brisket way longer than I thought you needed to cook a brisket, and it finally got tender." That was from Aaron Franklin, the darling of the BBQ world at the moment.
    What everyone says here is correct; the temperature plateau can last an hour, or three, depending on how low you're cooking. Keep the lid shut, and keep cooking till it hits 195-200 internal. Tender is the goal, and by 195, almost all briskest will be fork-tender.
    Austin, TX
  • NephromaniaNephromania Posts: 5
    edited November 2012
    Thanks for all your comments.   Just got the Digi Q last week.  Will give it a shot with the slow cook brisket.  Looks like 250 degrees is a good place to start with an option to wrap it in foil after at least 3 hours if I don't mind a softer bark.
  • I cooked up a 4 lb flat brisket today wtih the Digi Q. I hit the plateau at about 160 degrees around 3 hours into the cook and I just couldn't get it to rise.  I turned up the Egg from 225 to 250 and then 260 degrees and it wasn't budging even after another 1-1/2 hours.  I then put some foil on the brisket with some coca cola in the foil (Texas crutch).  Then I noticed that the pit temperature wasn't approaching the set temperature.  When I turned up the desired temp of the meat to 200 degrees, the fan started blowing again.  I deduced that the ramp had turned on and was slowing down the cook.  I turned the ramp off and then was able to get the pit to go to the programmed temperature.  All in all, it took about 6 hours to cook the brisket but at a higher temperature than anticipated.  I used an applewood smoke which gave it a nice flavor.  I let it rest, wrapped in a towel with the foil for an hour or so before serving.  The brisket was tender, but not fork tender.  I even cut it with the grain to make it more tender (a trick I learned from another site).  Next time, I am going to allow more than 1.5 hours per pound.  I had to rush this because company arrived 7 hours after start time.
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