Temperature stalling is one of the most aggravating, yet unavoidable, parts of smoking big portions of meat like brisket.
It might go for hours, which is especially aggravating if you have a lot of hungry mouths to feed.
However, temperature stalling is not always a bad thing. It means that everything is cooking evenly and that the fatty and connective tissues are being rendered and incorporated into the meat.
So, if your brisket has completely skipped the stall, it can be both frustrating and perplexing, especially if you don’t know why.
A brisket may have bypassed a stall for a variety of reasons, including insufficient fat on the brisket, utilising too much heat inside the smoker, or your meat thermometer simply not delivering correct readings.
Whatever the cause, there are some things you can do to aid your brisket and keep this from happening.
When Does Brisket Normally Stall?
When smoking a brisket, there’s always a chance that it will stall. This happens when the internal temperature of the meat stops rising, even though it’s still cooking.
The stall usually occurs around 150-160 degrees(F) and can last for several hours. There are a few theories about why this happens, but the most likely explanation is that the collagen in the meat is beginning to break down and release moisture, which is insulating the meat and slowing down the heating process.
Another cause is a process known as “evaporative cooling.” Excess moisture begins to rise and pool on the surface of the brisket as those tissues render.
These liquids then begin to cool before evaporating, chilling the brisket as a result. Essentially, the smoker can’t cook the brisket quicker than the liquids cool it, causing the temperature to stabilize and stall.
Regardless of the cause, the best way to get through a stall is to be patient and resist the temptation to open the smoker door too frequently. Once the brisket emerges from the stall, it will usually cook relatively quickly to completion.
Can Brisket Ever Skip a Temperature Stall?
Brisket has been known to bypass the temperature stall on occasion, which is highly improbable. If this happens to your brisket, it usually signifies that something went wrong during one of the processes along the way.
These errors are frequently the result of basic, easily correctable errors. Don’t be too tough on yourself!
Using Too Much Heat
Excessive ambient heat within the smoker slows cooking time dramatically. Brisket cooks about 30 to 45 minutes per pound of meat at temperatures ranging from 275 to 300(F). Higher temperatures effectively prevent the rising fluids from cooling, allowing it to muscle right past a temperature stall.
The recommended temperatures for smoking brisket are between 225 and 250 degrees(F).
Be mindful that warmer weather can affect the temperature within the smoker. Even if you have the heat set to 225 degrees(F), you may need to lower and adjust the temperature depending on how hot it is outside the smoker.
Not Enough Fat on The Brisket
Because the fatty components in the meat are broken down and emulsified, brisket takes a very long time to smoke. The brisket’s stalling due to evaporative cooling is also caused by this fat rendering and pooling.
Because of this, if a brisket’s fat puck has been removed too much, it may cook considerably more quickly than previous briskets you’ve smoked and either skip the stall entirely or decrease its effects.
Can Dry Aged Brisket Be Smoked?
Dry aged brisket is a cut of beef that has been aged for a period of time, typically two to four weeks. This aging process allows the beef to develop a more intense flavor and tender texture.
While dry aged brisket can be cooked using any method, smoking is often considered to be the best way to prepare this cut of meat. Smoking helps to further tenderize the brisket and infuse it with a rich smoky flavor.
In addition, the low temperature of smoking prevents the fat from rendering out, ensuring that the brisket remains moist and juicy. As a result, dry aged brisket that has been smoked is typically incredibly flavorful and succulent.
How Long Does Brisket Take to Fully Cook?
Unfortunately, how quickly a brisket cooks is never a precise science. It is determined by a number of parameters, including the size of the cut and the heat used to cook it.
Brisket cooks at a rate of around 1 ½ to 2 hours per pound of meat at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F).
This means that a 10-pound brisket will take around 20 hours to thoroughly cook!
At higher temperatures, such as 300(F), this time is reduced to 30-45 minutes per pound of beef.
At the end of the day, a brisket that doesn’t stall isn’t a big concern, but it can be an indication that something went wrong.
But don’t be concerned! These problems are frequently simple to remedy, so you shouldn’t be worried. After all, the road to becoming a pitmaster is fraught with trial and error, so enjoy yourself.