Why You Need To Repeatedly Check Brisket Towards The End Of Cooking

A beautiful brisket is so tender and incredibly rich in flavor. For those of you who are still learning about different cuts of meat, brisket just means "breast meat," but when people refer to it today, they primarily mean beef brisket (via Traeger). Beef brisket, according to Food Fire Friends, is a tough piece of meat cut from the lower breast of a cow and is packed full of thick connective tissue. It is usually sold in three kinds of cuts: The full packer, the flat, and the point. But no matter what part of the brisket you're working with, it must be cooked slowly on low heat to get the juicy, tender texture we want.

After you've chosen the perfect brisket, there comes a delicate and long cooking process, which is so worth it. Food Network suggests roasting it in a pan or Dutch oven to sear, then wrap the pan (with whatever veggies and any other seasoning your heart desires) with foil and bake in the oven for up to four hours. But here's the catch: You shouldn't simply trust that your brisket is tender; you have to feel it out.

The Hands-On Approach

The best part of a well-prepared brisket is its flavorful palate and its stunning texture. It should have a lovely seasoned crust, and beneath, it should be juicy and soft as warm butter. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, for some unfortunate cooks, it is. A brisket gone wrong will taste dry and will be difficult to chew (via The Spruce Eats). And after putting in hours of work to make sure your food turns out perfect, you definitely don't want to gnaw on some hard-to-swallow disappointment.

To prevent this disaster, MasterClass recommends using your hands to feel out the length of your brisket every fifteen minutes when you're in the last hour of baking to make sure it's tender. As the meat cooks, it will soften exponentially, but it can overcook. So, as soon as the brisket feels squishy in your hands, remove it from the oven or smoker. The brisket will be dangerously hot when you do this. So, to use this method, cover your hands with a clean towel. If you don't feel confident handling your brisket so closely, the BBQ Host recommends using a fork test. If you pierce your brisket with a fork and it sinks in like a knife through butter, it is ready to eat. Just make sure to let your brisket rest before cutting into it.