Temperature stalls are practically unavoidable when smoking meat with a high fat content. It’s a terrible side effect of smoking meats.
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But sometimes, the temperature may not only stall, but can also drop too…
There are numerous causes for this, including insufficient heat, too much pooling in the smoker, poor weather, or just broken equipment.
This piece will go through all of these causes in detail, as well as what you can do to avoid it.
Why Does Brisket Temperature Drop?
A temperature “stall” happens when cooking high-fat foods at low temperatures for lengthy periods of time.
It’s caused by a process termed “evaporative cooling.” This is when all of the extra fluids from the beef begin to rise to the surface of the brisket which chill and evaporate, cooling the meat as a result.
These rising juices subsequently dissipate, causing the brisket’s temperature to plateau. The smokers heat just cannot keep up with how quickly the fluids cool the brisket.
This impact only usually causes the internal temperature to halt and remain constant. However, in extreme cases, evaporative cooling can cause the internal temperature to fall substantially.
Only when all of the brisket’s extra liquids have evaporated will the temperature of the brisket begin to rise again.
At times, this might take anything from 2 to 7 hours!
Stalls are most common between 150 and 170 degrees(F). It will persist until all of the residual juices have risen and evaporated. Only then will the brisket continue to cook.
Brisket’s mouth-watering marbling is just what you’re hoping for. Everything melts and renders into the meat, creating the rich and melty feel of pulled pork.
But unfortunately, leaving too much fat may work against you. It’s a classic case of “too much of a good thing”.
Remember that the more fat on a brisket, the more liquid it will produce, which intensifies temp stalling. This is why cutting at least half of the fat cap away before smoking is a good idea.
You’ll still receive the natural basting from the fat while preventing excessive liquids from pooling and triggering temperature dips.
Are You Using Enough Heat?
Despite how basic this may appear; you’d be surprised how many difficulties novice smokers can create with simple blunders like this.
Brisket should be smoked at temperatures between 225 and 250 degrees(F). Without enough heat, the brisket would not only have difficulty passing through the stall, but also experience a drop in internal temperature.
Before placing your brisket on your smoker, make sure the cover is firmly fastened and pre-heated thoroughly. The brisket should not be placed on the smoker while it is still heating up.
Rain has a cooling effect. When rain or snow builds up outside the smoker, it evaporates and reduces the temperature.
The smoker itself goes through the same evaporative cooling process as the brisket during the stall. Just like you would in cold weather, you’ll need to adjust the smoker’s temperature if it starts to rain.
While it is perfectly okay to smoke meat in cooler weather, you will need to modify the ambient smoke heat inside to account for the frigid air outside the smoker.
Windy situations are equally damaging. A smoker’s temperature will drop if it is improperly positioned in the wind because the heat will be diverted away from it.
Make sure your smoker is pointed in the direction of the wind that naturally blows through it.
What To Do If Your Temp Keeps Dropping
The best solution for meat that is experiencing temperature drop is to let it be and allow it to recover naturally. It will recover eventually.
But if you need to act quickly, you have a few choices.
By using wraps, you may mitigate some of the consequences of evaporative cooling. It involves the method of wrapping the brisket with butcher paper or aluminium foil.
When the brisket starts to enter the stall, you may take it out of the smoker, wrap it in foil or butcher paper, and put it back in.
Wrapped meat has constricted airflow, and the rising juices are maintained at a warmer temperature, mitigating the effects of evaporative cooling.
Remember that even though wrapping will help reduce cooling, it will probably still stall. The wrap only helps it escape the stall at a quicker pace.
Can You Pull Brisket At 190 Degrees(F)?
Although 200(F0 is the ideal internal temperature for beef brisket, pulling it at 190 may be helpful due to a phenomenon known as “carry-over cooking.”
This term refers to when food continues to cook somewhat after being removed from its heat source.
When thick pieces of meat are removed from a grill or smoker, the heat is often retained in the thickest portions. This residual heat continues to move into, briefly raising the internal temperature by up to 10 degrees(F).
As a result, most folks will pull their briskets around 10 degrees below their goal temperature.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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