What is the best temperature for the development of bark on brisket?

Last Updated on: 29th May 2023, 10:13 am

Bark is the most important part of a perfectly done brisket.

It usually takes a lot of effort to tweak all of the factors in a smoking process to produce bark.

But temperature is one of the crucial factors that determines whether the brisket will have bark or not.

the best temperature for the development of bark is 225°F to 250°F . You need to maintain a constant temperature during the development of bark because temperature fluctuations can affect the texture of bark.

best temperature for the development of bark on brisket

The temperature should not be either too high or too low.

Too high a temperature can result in the burning and charring of bark.

Charring is the black mass that develops on the bark when it is overburnt.

Eating it in a higher quantity has been related to the development of stomach cancer.

If the temperature is too low , the bark will not develop at all.

Rather, it will become soggy and moist.

No one wants to eat a brisket that looks raw and has a pinkish appearance.

So you need to increase the temperature enough for the development of bark.

The reason behind this is the maillard reaction that takes place during the development of bark.

The Maillard reaction is basically the reaction between the proteins to form polymers, which then react with the rub and smoke to produce a thick crust on the surface of the meat known as the bark.

The development of bark consists of the following steps:

  • First of all , when the rub is applied to the surface of meat , some of the rub particles are dissolved in the fat present on the surface of meat.
  • After that ,some of the remaining components of the rub are dissolved in the moisture present in the smoke and smoker.
    These dissolved ruby components lead to the formation of glaze. The glaze reacts with the undissolved components and forms a pasty solution.
  • After that, when the temperature of the smoker is increased, the maillard reaction occurs. In this reaction, proteins breakdown to form polymers.
    These polymers react with the pasty solution present on the surface of the meat to produce a crust.
  • Lastly, the moisture is evaporated from the crust of the meat to produce a dry and darkened crust known as “bark

Things to keep in mind while deciding the temperature for bark development

As mentioned above, the bark usually develops in the 225°F-250°F range, but there are several variables involved in it .

In some cases, your temperature might be higher than 250°F, but the bark will still not develop.

We are going to discuss those variables in detail.

Let’s get started.


Stall is the most important factor that affects the development of bark.

It’s the most crucial phase which can make or break the development of bark.

You need to pass through this phase carefully if you want to have a good bark along with a completely cooked brisket.

stall is a really frustrating phase of smoking a brisket. But you need to keep in mind that you should not wrap the brisket until bark is developed. here is a complete guide on how long will it take for brisket to get bark.

A stall is basically a phenomenon that occurs about 4-5 hours after starting the smoking process.

In this phase, when the temperature reaches the boiling point of water , the moisture present in the meat evaporates out and cools down the surface of the brisket. here is a more detailed guide on brisket stall.

When the surface of the brisket is cooled down, it decreases the temperature of the brisket.

development bark on brisket

It affects the cooking of meat because the brisket is considered done when its internal temperature reaches around 200°F, but stall occurs at 160°F.

for a detailed guide on when does a brisket stall you should consider checking our detailed guide on this topic.

It is the most difficult phase of the smoke, which requires patience and effort to pass through.

There are two ways to pass it; either wrap the brisket or increase the smoker temperature to power through this phase.

Butcher paper is most effective tool to wrap brisket during stall. here is a detailed guide on wrapping brisket in butcher paper during stall.

Wrapping the brisket will affect the development of bark even if your smoker temperature is higher than 250°F because the brisket will be cooked through steaming instead of smoking.

So you need to wrap the brisket after the development of bark.

Another way to beat the stall is to just crank up more charcoal to power through it.It might be difficult and require more effort, but it will be worth the effort.

Make sure that you are using good quality charcoal. I personally like to use Jealous Devil charcoal because it is made of 100% hardwood , so it will last longer

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Although Bradley Smoker Flavor Bisquettes are also good enough.

If smoked properly, it will result in a better and thicker bark.

A fat cap of brisket

The fat cap of the brisket is also an important factor for deciding at what temperature the bark will develop.

The reason is that if the brisket has too much fat , then the fat will melt when the temperature increases and the bark will not develop.

brisket temperature

On the other hand, if you remove the fat completely, then the maillard reaction will not occur.

Due to this, the bark will not develop.

The reason is that some components of rubs are fat soluble, which helps in the development of bark.

So, while deciding at what temperature to smoke your brisket, you also need to keep in mind the fat content.

when deciding best temperature for development f bark, you need to keep in mind that the brisket will absorb less smoke as the time passes. so you need a high enough temperature to get bark along with a smokey flavor.

You should make sure to allow the fat to render completely, and then you can increase the temperature to develop the bark.

Wrapping material used during the stall

In addition to stalls, the wrapping material used can also affect the development of bark and its temperature.

There are usually two ways to wrap the brisket during stall: either with butcher paper or with aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil is really harmful to the bark because it encloses the brisket as a whole and traps the moisture inside.

smoked brisket

The moisture drips back onto the bark and makes it soggy.

So when the temperature of the smoker is increased when the brisket is wrapped, the brisket starts cooking by steaming and the bark becomes soggy.

The best alternative to avoid the softening of bark is to wrap it in butcher paper.

Butcher paper is porous and allows the moisture to sneak out and the smoke to sneak in.

due to which the effect of moisture on bark is minimized.

But you need to be careful about increasing the temperature too high, because it can result in the flare-up and burning of butcher paper. it is better to choose a good quality one if you are using it.

why is my brisket bark wet

your brisket bark can be wet due to several reasons .the common of them are using water pan inside your smoker, spritzing your brisket too often, smoking at low temperatures and tenting the brisket due resting.

you need to decrease the moisture inside your smoker to get dry and crispy bark.
in addition, you should rest your brisket without tenting it , because it can trap the moisture ,which can make the bark wet.
if your brisket bark is wet after smoking , then you can place it in oven for 10-15 minutes to dry up the moisture.

How to get bark on brisket after wrapping

if you want to get good bark on your brisket, then you need to avoid wrapping your brisket. the reason is that it can make your brisket bark wet and soggy.
if you want to wrap your brisket, but still don’t want to leave the bark, then you should consider smoking the brisket unwrapped until the bark has developed completely.

moreover, after stall has passed , you need to smoke brisket unwrapped for few hours and then finish in oven t dry up your bark.
by doing so you can get good bark on your brisket while wrapping it.

why bark is not forming on your Brisket

Bark is the most important factor for making the appearance of brisket pleasurable.
if your brisket is not getting bark, then it can be due to low temperature, too much humidity , wrapping too soon and spritzing brisket during smoking.

To get a good bark on your brisket, you need to apply a good rub on your brisket and smoke at higher temperature without wrapping.
in addition ,you need to avoid spritzing it until there is a chance of drying out.

when does bark form on brisket

on average brisket barks develops when the temperature of smoker reaches around 225-degrees . so usually you will have to get past the stall to develop bark on surface of brisket’

if we look at at t from time perspective, then it takes around 17 to 18 hours to develop the bark on brisket. it is a tedious process which requires time, high temperature and good seasonings to complete.

you will have to keep in mind the stall when deciding when will bark form on brisket because it will take longer for brisket to reach the temperature required for bark development

how to get a good bark on brisket

to get a good thick and black bark on your brisket , you will have to take in account several factors. these can range from using good quality rub, not wrapping brisket or wrapping it for shorter duration , give it enough time and also avoid spritzing the brisket.

getting good bark on brisket is a skill that can only be learned over time. you should try to follow the best practices mentioned above and avoid rushing the process to get good results


bark usually develops on a brisket in the range of 22-250°F . but there are various factors that can affect the temperature for the development of bark. these include stall,moisture and temperature. you need to keep these in mind before making the final decision about temperature.

Jakob miller