Brisket smoking can be a time-consuming operation. It has a lot of fatty and connective tissues that must be broken down at low and slow temperatures, which can sometimes take up to 15 hours to fully smoke! It varies from brisket to brisket.
It’s what gives the brisket its beautifully rich flavor, as well as its pleasing tenderness and softness. However, breaking down these fibers isn’t the only reason for such a long cook time…
Most meats with a high fat content will encounter a temperature stall when smoked (or plateau). They can stall for up to 7 hours, depending on the brisket.
A number of factors influence how long the brisket will stall, including fat content, the weather outside the smoker, the ambient smoke heat used, and whether or not the brisket has been wrapped.
In this article, we discuss all of the reasons your brisket may be stalling for an unusually long time, as well as what you can do to improve it.
Why Does Brisket Stall?
Brisket is smoked at low temperatures for lengthy periods of time to thoroughly break down all of its tissues, allowing them to emulsify into the meat. It’s the magic component that makes perfectly cooked pulled pork melt in your tongue.
Excess liquids, however, begin to rise to the surface of the brisket at some point throughout the cooking process, where they cool and evaporate. The brisket cools faster than the smoker can cook it due to the evaporating juices cooling around the meat.
This is referred to as “evaporative cooling.”
It normally happens between 150 and 175 degrees(F) and lasts until all of the leftover juices have gone. Only then will the brisket’s temperature continue to climb.
The amount of fat on the brisket, how much extra moisture is present inside the smoker, and the ambient smoke heat all affect how long a temperature stall lasts. It can last anywhere between 2 to 7 hours.
Can Brisket Stall for Too Long?
Yes, there are times when your brisket will stall for an extended period of time. Some briskets may encounter multiple stalls in a single session in other cases.
The reasoning behind this is frequently the result of trivial, but easily correctable errors.
Not Using Enough Heat
Make sure your smoker is completely pre-heated and set at the correct temperature. Brisket is a delicate cut of meat that demands a steady environment.
Any changes in temperature might cause plateaus or even drops. Furthermore, if you don’t use enough heat from the start, you’ll have a difficult time getting past any stall.
Temperatures between 225 and 250 degrees(F) are suggested for smoking. At this temperature, it should take around 1½ to 2 hours per pound of brisket meat to cook.
So, a 5-pound brisket would take 9 to 10 hours to smoke completely.
Weather Conditions Outside the Smoker
If you’re smoking meat in exceptionally cold conditions, turn up the heat a notch. The ambient smoke heat within the smoker is affected by cold weather. To compensate, the temperature must be raised.
Windy conditions are also a factor. Winds can siphon heat away from the meat. If you can’t block the wind, make sure the smoker’s ventilation outlets are pointing in the same direction as the natural airflow.
Rain can also draw heat from the smoker. As precipitation accumulates outside the smoker, it cools it and reduces the ambient temperature within. It is a form of evaporative cooling. If it’s raining or drizzling outside, turn up the heat slightly (this goes for snow too).
Too much Moisture Inside the Smoker
As your brisket smokes, it’s customary to spritz or baste it, adding a fresh coating every two hours or so. This marinates the meat with additional spices and keeps it moist while cooking.
But on the contrary, excessive basting may add too much moisture to the smoker, amplifying the effects of evaporative cooling. The length of time it takes to finish cooking increases with the amount of moisture in the smoker.
Smoking Brisket with Full Fat-Cap
It’s a good idea to remove at least some of the fat cap before smoking. While fat is necessary for the qualities of completely smoked brisket, too much of it causes excessive pooling, which causes more acute stalling.
The more fat you have on a brisket, the more moisture will be present in the smoker.
How To Fix a Stalled Brisket
Wrapping your brisket is the best method to accomplish this.
Brisket is tightly wrapped against its rendered juices, keeping them warm and considerably reducing the effects of evaporative cooling. They will get your brisket out of a stall considerably faster.
Most smokers wrap their briskets when the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees(F), which is when the stall is most likely to occur.
You don’t want to wrap it too soon. You will end up missing out on all the smoky essence that would be lost if you wrapped too early.
Aluminium foil and butcher paper are the two most popular wrapping materials. Butcher paper can generate considerably higher quality bark and skin, and foil will operate much faster to keep the brisket more firmly wrapped and heated.
Does Brisket Ever Not Stall?
While it is unlikely, there are times when brisket can entirely skip any stalling.
If it occurs, it is most likely due to the heat used. Cooking time is dramatically reduced when smoking at temperatures ranging from 275 to 300 degrees(F).
Brisket will only need 30 to 45 minutes per pound of meat at 300.
Another possible explanation is a lack of fat. Brisket requires a thick layer of fat to breakdown and redistribute.
There will be much less rendered drippings without the profusion of marbling, which eliminates any evaporative cooling effects.