What Happened? My Brisket Turned Out Dry - Ask Jason

I get a lot of great questions from my readers. In order to help out everyone else I'm answering some of the most popular ones here on the blog. Have something you need help with? You can ask me on Facebook, contact me directly, or view all of the Ask Jason questions!

I just filmed my sous vide brisket video and looked at many recipes before I cooked it. Most suggested between 140-155°F (60-68.3°C) for 48 hours then finish in a 275°F convection oven for 2 hours for a nice crust. I did 150°F (65.5°C) for 48 hours and 275°F convection for 2 hours. The brisket was quite dry and I was surprised. Do you have any recommendations for that? (Or is that just the way it is? This was my first brisket... lol!) Any thoughts? My blog post for it is coming out later this week.

- Heather S

Sous vide brisket 140 allen bros 225

Sure, I'm happy to help troubleshoot some. I think the important thing is to remember that there are 2 kinds of meat temperatures, what I call "steak like" and "braise like". Steak-like will always turn out with medium-rare, medium, well-done, etc., but it'll have the texture of a steak. Braise-like will turn out like a traditional braised dish, more fall-apart, tender, etc.

The transition between those is around 150 to 155°F (65.6 to 68.9°C). So the 130 to 140°F (54.4 to 60°C) brisket recipes were going for a more steak-like texture, and the 155+°F (68.3+°C) recipes were going for a more braise-like texture.

This is one reason it's best not to look up a bunch of sous vide recipes and average out the times or temperatures, they are often trying to accomplish different things.

Starting Point for Success

When people are getting started, or approaching a new cut of meat, I recommend using 4 temperatures as your "tent poles":

  • 131°F (55°C) for when you want steak-like [or 135°F, 140°F, 145°F (57.2°C, 60°C, 62.8°C) depending on your usual steak doneness preferences]
  • 150°F (65.6°C) - for when it is just starting to break down, pulls apart with effort, etc.
  • 165°F (73.9°C) - more pull apart, can still sear it but it is starting to fall off the bone
  • 176°F (80°C) - more of a traditional braise, it'll often fall apart when removing it from the bag

Starting with those will always result in a "really good" result. You can then tweak them up or down to meet your specific needs.

Discover More

For more information I recommend reading: How to Sous Vide Brisket article, How Sous Vide Times Work and How to Determine Sous Vide Temperatures

Looking for a few good Sous Vide Brisket Recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

If you like this you can get more than 85 inspiring recipes to get you on your way to sous vide success. It's all in my best selling book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Sous Vide - Get Your Copy Today!

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All tags for this article: Sous Vide, Sous Vide Beef , Sous Vide Brisket

Jason logsdon headshot This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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