Brisket can be a difficult cut of meat to smoke. Meats with a lot of fatty and connective tissue can be tricky.
They prefer stable settings with minimal to no variation. The smallest change can result in a variety of problems, such as being forced into an unexpected stall or temperature drop.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, including too much moisture in the smoker, cooking brisket with too much fat, utilizing too low of a heat, or even the weather outside the smoker.
The information below explains why your brisket may be stuck at 140 degrees(F) and what you can do to improve it.
Understanding Temperature Stalls
Brisket is smoked to totally breakdown all of its exquisite fatty fibers and connective structures. However, when they begin to render, a surplus of extra juices come to the surface of the brisket.
When these juices reach the surface, they begin to chill and evaporate. These cooling liquids prevent the meat from cooking.
This is known as “evaporative cooling.” The smoker’s ambient heat just cannot keep up with the rate at which evaporative cooling chills the meat.
The brisket will continue to heat up once all of the excess liquids have evaporated. Unfortunately, this can take between 3 and 8 hours!
When Does Stalling Normally Occur?
Unfortunately, temperature stalls can be rather unpredictable at times. They can even occur more than once in a single session.
Temperature stalling usually occurs when the brisket is between 150 and 165 degrees(F). While some smokers prefer to wait until the temperature stabilizes before wrapping their brisket, others may wrap it as soon as it hits 150 degrees(F) in anticipation.
However, stalling times are not a precise science and can occur infrequently if the conditions are favourable. Some stalling has been documented at temperatures as low as 130°F (F).
This is why accurate temperature monitoring, best accomplished using remote probes, is ideal for a flawlessly smoked brisket.
Can Brisket Stall At 140 Degrees(F)?
Brisket can stall at a variety of temperatures, including 140 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the environment and other variables.
However, there are other elements that contribute to this. Some may be beyond your control, while others may be the result of basic, yet easily correctable mistakes.
Smoking Brisket with Too Much Fat
Brisket marbling is directly responsible for the lusciously rich tastes and irresistibly soft texture. However, too much of it can sabotage your results by introducing far too much moisture into the smoker.
It definitely is a case of “too much of a good thing.”
The more fat on the brisket, the more pooling of rendered juices there will be. This increase in moisture can cause the brisket to stall considerably sooner than expected.
The general rule is that “the more moisture in the smoker, the longer the brisket will take to thoroughly cook.”
When smoking brisket, basting it while it smokes (until it’s wrapped) is pretty common technique. It keeps the meat moist while providing tons of flavor.
However, excessive basting might introduce an excess of moisture into the smoker. Which, as we’ve seen, can lead to premature stalling.
Keep in mind that the more you baste a brisket, the more you’ll need to open the barbecue cover. When the lid is open, you can lose up to 10 degrees(F) of ambient heat each second, which might cause premature stalling.
Smoking Brisket in Cold or Rainy Weather
Cold weather has an impact on the smoker’s ability to maintain continuous heat. The cold air might help to remove heat from the smoker. This means you’ll need to alter your ambient smoke temperature to compensate for the loss outside the smoker.
Rainy weather has a negative impact as well. As precipitation accumulates on top of the smoker, it cools and evaporates, lowering the inside temperature. This is a different type of evaporative cooling.
You must increase the heat of your smoke in wet or drizzly weather.
How To Help a Stalled Brisket
Wrapping the brisket in aluminium foil or butcher paper is the most common and extensively utilized method. This strategy has been dubbed the “Texas crutch.”
By wrapping the brisket, you trap the meat’s rendered juices close together. This keeps the juices heated, minimizing the effects of evaporative cooling dramatically.
Brisket is typically wrapped at temperatures ranging from 150 to 165 degrees(F) and is left on until the very end.
Foil is ideal for beginners. It’s considerably easier to handle, and it produces a much tighter seal, which pulls brisket from temperature stalls much faster.
The disadvantage of foil is that it almost completely seals the meat too much. It can sometimes damage the texture by making it excessively soft or even mushy.
Professionals are the most likely to utilize paper. It doesn’t seal as firmly and allows for greater airflow around the brisket, giving you more control over how the brisket smokes.
The increased airflow aids in the production of thicker, higher-quality bark.
The disadvantage is that wrapping brisket with paper takes practice. Furthermore, the looser seal will release it from a stall at a slower rate.