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I've heard a lot of people say that a brisket is only done when it's so tender you can push a probe or toothpick through it, and there is no resistance. In other words, it should feel like you're pushing it through soft butter.

What internal temp does it take to get that "knife through soft butter feeling" on a typical brisket, like the "choice" flats they sell at Sam's Club?

I've been experimenting, trying to find the optimal internal temp where it's tender, but not dried out. I just took a brisket up to 190* internal, but that still offered a bit of resistance in spots, and once I sliced it, it wasn't as tender as I like.

I'm guessing it's going to take an internal of 195-200* to get these Sam's Club flat briskets tender all the way ... does that sound about right?

Also, what's the upper limit for internal temp where a brisket starts tasting dried out? In a Cook's Illustrated cookbook, they recommend a really high internal temp -- I think it was 210* or somewhere around there -- for maximum tenderness. Anyone ever taken a brisket this high? Wouldn't that taste really dried out?
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From the readings I have done here on the forum, all briskets are different.

This past weekend, I did my first brisket, and first checked when the probe read 183, adjusted the probe a bit and hit a spot that hit 188. The probe went in so easily, it just slid right on in with out any pressure from me. This was my sign that it was done. Took it out let it rest for a few hours wrapped in some aluminum foil (triple wrapped),wrapped a towel around it, put in a cooler until dinner time. 3 hours later I took it out and sliced it up and it was the juicies and most tender piece of meat I have ever cooked.

Basically, what I am saying it all depends on the brisket. Most recommendations I have seen here is to start checking it around 180.
SmokinJ gave a good account,and a brisket flat is probably the most difficult thing to cook well,consistently.

I'd first try cooking it to a little higher temp[the poke test is still your guide, and go up in 5� increments],lay it on some plastic wrap with about 1/2 cup beef stock and seal it up tight.

Foil and cooler it for about three-four hrs.

It will continue to cook and redistribute juices.

Cut it across the grain ,just as you serve it.

If that doesn't work-and ONLY if that doesn't,cook the next one between 200�-225� to about 160�-165� internal,wrap in foil with 1/2 cup beef stock ,a couple TBSP of squeeze Parkay,2-3 TBSP sauce of choice and seal tightly.

Crank the cooker as high as it will go,and don't check it until 190�,if it isn't tender-cook another 5�-10�.

Let it rest in a cooler for three-four hours.

If it is too tender,slice a little thicker. Wink

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