A temperature stall is something you will have to deal with while smoking meats like pork shoulder and brisket, whether you are a novice smoker or a seasoned veteran.
However, there are some circumstances in which you may encounter more than one temperature stall. Brisket is also known to stall at 190 degrees(F), but there are a variety of reasons that might cause early and unexpected stalls.
Below is a collection of information from experts on why multiple stalls may occur and what you can do to help move past them.
Understanding The Stall
When smoking thick slices of meat with larger deposits of fat and connective tissues, a stall, or temperature plateau, occurs.
We smoke brisket for long periods of time at low temperatures to thoroughly break down these tissues, allowing them to emulsify into the meat. It’s what makes perfectly cooked pulled pork melt in your mouth.
However, at some time during the cooking process, excess liquids begin to rise to the surface of the brisket, where they cool and evaporate. As a result of the evaporating liquids, the brisket cools faster than the smoker can cook it.
This phenomenon is known as “evaporative cooling.”
It usually occurs between 150 and 175 degrees(F) and lasts until the last of the residual juices have dissipated. Only then will the temperature of the brisket continue to rise.
The length of a temperature stall is determined by a number of factors, including the amount of fat on the brisket, the amount of extra moisture inside the smoker, and the smoker’s ambient smoke heat.
Having said that, a stall can last anywhere from 2 to 7 hours!
Can The Stall Occur More Than Once?
Unfortunately, a brisket can have a second stall when smoking, and it’s not as rare as you might think.
When the brisket reaches 190 degrees(F), it sometimes experiences a second stall.
This is a critical stage for the brisket as this is when the last of its fatty tissue’s breakdown and render, and any remaining excess juices rise and evaporate. The second stall may not be as bad as the first, but it can linger for several hours.
This can be extremely aggravating when you’re so close to the finish line.
Furthermore, there are various circumstances that can cause a brisket to stall unexpectedly.
- Cold weather, for example, can impact the temperature within the smoker. A stall might be caused by insufficient heat.
- Untrimmed brisket is more likely to stall multiple times. Untrimmed briskets have their entire fat cap intact, which means they will expel more residual fluids, increasing or causing evaporative cooling.
- Another reason is over-basting a brisket. The more moisture there is in the smoker, the more likely a further stall will occur.
Can Brisket Be Pulled At 190?
To begin, brisket is technically safe to eat until the internal temperature hits 145 degrees (F). However, because it hasn’t entirely broken down at that temperature, it will be tough and difficult to shred.
Internal temperatures for brisket should be between 200-205 degrees(F) for the greatest results, especially for pulled pork. However, due to an effect known as “carry-over cooking,” 190 may be the optimal temperature to pull from the smoker.
Carry-over cooking is the process through which meat continues to cook after it has been removed. Heat is retained in the thickest regions of the meat and then moves towards the centre while it rests.
This can increase its internal heat by up to 10 degrees(F), which increases the risk of overcooking the brisket if pulled at the exact target temperature.
Pulling at 190 will let it to naturally achieve the desired temperature as it rests.
Can A Stalled Brisket Be Fixed?
When facing a stall, it is usually preferable to let it come out naturally. The plateau may persist for hours, but it will not last forever.
There are, however, a few things you may do to help alleviate and expedite the process.
The most popular way is to wrap the brisket. It’s known as the “Texas Crutch,” and its common practice.
The airflow around a brisket is greatly reduced by correctly wrapping it, keeping its rendering juices hot and limiting the effects of evaporative cooling.
Brisket is often wrapped as it approaches 150 degrees (F) and kept wrapped until the end.
If your brisket is still in the hands of a stall and you’re short on time, you may finish it in the crockpot.
Although it is not recommended, a crockpot can get your brisket up to temperature without drying it out. It won’t have the same quality or texture as if it had been completed in the smoker, but it should still be tasty.
Unfortunately, temperature stalls are a normal part of the process. The good news is that because they are so common, you have a variety of solutions to help you get through them.
Remember that while stalls normally occur between 150 and 175, a rouge stall can occur for a variety of reasons, such as smoking in cold weather, smoking an untrimmed brisket, or adding too much moisture into the smoker.