All smokers will confront a temperature plateau, often known as the dreaded “stall” while smoking large cuts of meat at low and slow temps.
When smoking hefty portions of beef like brisket or hog shoulder, this is very normal and should be anticipated. This usually happens when the internal temperature reaches 150 to 175 degrees(F), which is about 3 to 4 hours into the smoke.
However, in some cases, the brisket will not only stall while smoking, but will also reduce in temperature. Several variables, including inadequate smoke heat, too large a fat cap on the brisket, and even poor weather, can all contribute to this happening.
This article discusses all of the possible causes of sudden stalls and temperature decreases, as well as several ways for mitigating and avoiding them.
Why Is My Briskets Internal Temperature Dropping?
During the stall, evaporative cooling occurs.
When all of the connective and fatty tissues begin to render and break down, surplus moisture rises to the surface of the brisket.
These rising juices then evaporate, causing the temperature of the brisket to plateau. The smoker simply can’t keep up with the rate at which the juices chill the brisket.
Typically, this impact causes the internal temperature to stop and stay in place. However, in severe circumstances, evaporative cooling can cause the interior temperature to drop abruptly.
Only until all of the brisket’s additional juices have evaporated will the brisket begin to raise in temperature again.
This can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours at times!
Not Enough Heat
You wouldn’t believe the number of blunders that occur as a result of simple mistakes like this. Before you even consider putting a brisket on the smoker, make sure it’s thoroughly preheated and set to the proper temperature.
The recommended smoking temperature for brisket is between 225 and 250 degrees(F). Without sufficient heat, the brisket would not only struggle to get through the stall, but its internal temperature will actually fall.
The more moisture there is, the longer it will take to smoke completely. If you use too much basting, the extra moisture can cause the brisket to stall and briefly lower its internal temperature.
Check the weather forecast before this weekend’s large brisket smoke.
While smoking meat in colder weather is totally acceptable, you will need to adjust the ambient smoke heat inside to compensate for the chilly air around the smoker.
Windy conditions pose an equal threat. If a smoker is poorly positioned in the wind, the heat will be directed away from the smoker, resulting in a temperature reduction.
Make sure that your smoker is facing the wind in the direction of its natural airflow.
Lastly, rain can induce cooling. When precipitation accumulates outside the smoker, it evaporates, lowering the overall heat.
This is the same evaporative cooling process that occurs during the stall for the brisket, but for the smoker itself. If it starts to rain, you’ll need to alter the smoker’s temperature to accommodate, just like you would in cold weather.
Before beginning the smoke, always double-check that your tools are in good functioning order. Most importantly, ensure that your meat thermometer is giving reliable readings.
You’d be shocked how many beginners are duped into thinking their brisket has stalled when, in fact, their meat probe isn’t working properly.
Make sure that your thermometer is clean from gristle or any other gunk between each smoke.
Can Temperature Dips Be Avoided?
While it can be difficult to completely avoid a stall without affecting the quality of the meat, there are a few ways that will help moderate the impacts and keep the brisket from temperature dropping.
Wrap The Brisket
The most common approach to help with this is to wrap smoked meats, also known as the “Texas Crutch”.
You can remove the brisket from the smoker when it begins to enter the stall, wrap it in tin foil or butcher paper, and toss it back into the smoker.
When the meat is wrapped, the airflow around it is limited, and the rising juices are kept warmer, preventing evaporative cooling.
Keep in mind that, while wrapping will help prevent cooling, it will still likely experience a stall. The wrap just expedites the brisket’s passage through the stall.
It is not uncommon to experience temperature dips during the plateau. Regardless of how aggravating it is, the temperature will eventually rise and continue to cook.
• Keep your smoke heat hot and stable, preferably between 225 to 250 degrees(F)
• Check that all of your tools are fully functional before you begin
• Adjust the heat to any outside elements, such as cold or rainy weather
• Trim your brisket if the fat cap is large, since excess fat can cause severe evaporative cooling