Any sort of thick cut meat with significant marbling will stall the temperature at some point during the smoking process.
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Stalling is unpleasant and can last for up to 8 hours.
The typical stall range is between 150 and 175 degrees(F), although due to a number of affecting factors, this range may change and trigger at a considerably lower temperature.
This article explains why a brisket might stall as early as 130 and offers suggestions for how to help it.
Understanding Temperature Stalls
As brisket smokes, its fatty and connective fibers dissolve and redistribute themselves throughout the meat, giving it the rich, “melt in your mouth” texture that you are familiar with.
The surplus juices rises to the surface of the brisket and evaporate as these tissues break down, causing the meat to cool at the same rate as the smoker can cook it or even more quickly. Evaporative cooling is the term for this process, which is regrettably quite typical.
Depending on the type of meat, the stall often occurs between 150 and 170 degrees(F) and can linger for many hours (between 2 to 8 hours most times). The meat won’t keep cooking and become hotter until all the extra liquid has evaporated
Is It Normal for Brisket to Stall At 130?
Unfortunately, its brisket does occasionally experience multiple temperature stalls. In addition to the temperature ranges previously indicated, brisket has been seen to stall at 130 degrees(F).
Don’t give up though; it will eventually free itself from the stall and start cooking again. The ideal course of action is to let it come out naturally, but there are multiple things you can do to help free it from a stall, which we will elaborate later on.
Why Does Brisket Stall At 130?
Basting Too Much
Keep in mind that your brisket will take longer to cook if it has more moisture. Likewise, basting, and spritzing fall within these guidelines!
The phrase “mopping” the brisket is probably familiar to you. Use a BBQ brush to apply thin coats of sauce (marinades) to the brisket’s exterior while it smokes.
Similar to this, some smokers “spritz” acidic liquids onto the brisket, such as apple cider vinegar, orange juice, or occasionally even beer.
Over baste/spritzing the brisket, on the other hand, might trigger it to stall and even temporarily lower its temperature earlier on.
Not Enough Heat
Typically, brisket is smoked at temperatures between 225 and 250 degrees(F). It might not be able to overcome the stall once it begins if the temperature is any lower.
Before adding the brisket, make sure the smoker is thoroughly heated to at least 225 degrees(F).
Also, do not frequently open the smoker’s lid while the meat is cooking. When the lid is open, the ambient smoke heat can drop by up to 10 degrees(F) per second.
High winds can lower your smoker’s temperature by deflecting heat away from the meat. Make sure the smoker is facing the wind in the direction of its natural airflow if you can’t stop it.
The same is true in rainy weather. When rain or snow builds up on top of the smoker, it cools and evaporates, reducing the temperature within.
This is the same evaporative cooling effect that causes brisket to be cooled from its own juices.
If it’s a chilly day, raise the temperature of the smoker, otherwise, the smoker might not produce enough heat to push the brisket through a stall, or even trigger a second one.
Contrarily, a hot day might cause the smoker to overheat and perhaps overcook the meat.
How To Help a Stalled Brisket
The airflow surrounding a wrapped brisket is dramatically limited, which keeps the extra rising juices warmer and lessens the impact of evaporative cooling.
Butcher paper or tin foil can be used for wrapping.
- Tin foil may cover the brisket considerably more firmly, keeping it much warmer. However, by keeping the liquids much more tightly sealed in, it might diminish the quality of a thick bark or skin by giving it a slightly more mushy texture.
- Butcher paper will not adhere as tightly to the brisket, but it will provide more ventilation, which will enhance the brisket’s bark. Paper is a favorite of the pros and requires a little bit more skill to use.
Increase The Heat
While not recommended, this technique can quickly get you brisket from a stall if you’re in a rush.
By raising the temperature to 275–300 degrees(F), you can sometimes completely avoid the stall as well as shorten it.
At 300 degrees(F), a brisket cooks in an astonishing 30-45 minutes per pound of beef.
You should be aware that turning up the heat increases the likelihood of overcooking the meat and drastically lowering its quality.
The possibility of temperature variations is introduced while smoking any type of fatty meat. It’s a standard aspect of the exercise, and with time and effort, you’ll be able to perfect it.
Just keep in mind that meat will naturally leave any temperature stall on its own, though it may take some time. However, you have several options to help expedite the process.
Take your time, experiment with different ways, and have fun!
Happy smoking folks.
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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