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Why didn’t my brisket stall? (Explained)

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When smoking meat, temperature stalling is a frequent thing. Especially when it comes to hefty and fatty cuts like brisket or pork shoulder.

Temperature stalling can be complex and occur numerous times throughout the smoke, or it may skip it entirely.

it can be affected by a number of factors, including whether or not the brisket has been wrapped, the temperature within the smoker, the fat content of the meat, or how much moisture has accumulated within the smoker.

This article will elaborate to why a brisket may skip a temperature stall.

Science Of a Stall

All fatty tissues and connective fibers in the meat are intended to be totally dissolved by smoking it at low temperatures. When they degrade and render, they are reincorporated into the meat.

This creates a very rich texture and mouth-wateringly savory flavors.

The residual juices, however, ascend to the surface when these tissues breakdown, where they cool and evaporate. As the liquids chill around the sweated juices from inside the brisket, it cools quicker than the smoker can cook it.

This effect is known as evaporative cooling, and it is what causes the temperature to stall. 

Only once all of the surplus juices have evaporated, will the temperature continue to rise. This can take anywhere from a couple hours to eight hours to get through. 

Brisket frequently becomes stalled at temperatures between 150 and 175 degrees(F). However, they are possible both before and after that range.

When meat stalls depends on a variety of circumstances. Some have occurred when the temperature was as low as 125 degrees(F).

Others can occur when temperatures are as high as 190 degrees(F)! It’s known as the “second stall”.

Is Stalling Normal?

Unfortunately, they are quite prevalent. It’s caused by the pooling of large amounts of rendering fat.

Stalling is so likely to happen that numerous strategies and methods have been developed primarily to counteract this effect.

It is considerably more likely to happen than not, which can make it unusual if your brisket avoids it entirely.

Why Would Brisket Skip a Stall?

Brisket has been known to get around a temp stall, although it is highly improbable.

Brisket with a poor fat ratio or that has been “over trimmed” in the fat puck may not have enough rendered drippings to fully or even partially stall.

Another option is that the heat from the smoke is too intense. Brisket should be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 to 250 degrees(F). A 10-pound brisket can take nearly 19 hours to smoke at this temperature with the stall, depending on whether it’s wrapped.

However, raising the heat enables evaporation to occur at a faster rate, allowing it to pass through a stall quickly or even avoid it entirely.

When the heat is elevated to 275-300 degrees(f), the cooking time per pound of meat increases to about 30-45 minutes. It completely eliminates stalling.

Note: when smoking in hotter weather, the ambient smoke temperature must be adjusted to compensate for the increased heat caused by the hot air surrounding it. 

How Does Wrapping Mitigate Stalling?

When the meat is wrapped, the airflow around it is greatly reduced, keeping the rising juices from chilling and evaporating. In some cases, you might be able to completely prevent the stall by precisely scheduling when to wrap.

This is referred to as the “Texas Crutch,” and it is employed to keep the internal temperature rising, even when the residual moisture begins sweating out.

Typically, briskets are wrapped between 150 and 160 degrees(F).

What Is Brisket Wrapped With?

Foil is an excellent choice for beginners. It’s simple to wrap a brisket in and forms a tight seal that keeps the rendered juices in place.

It also limits airflow around the brisket more effectively than butcher paper, allowing it to depart the stall much more quickly.

However, because foil completely encases the brisket in its juices, it has been shown to degrade the quality of the bark and crackling skin. It can also sometimes give the meat mushy texture.

The best option for high-quality bark is butcher paper. By using paper, you may create a looser seal on the brisket, allowing it to breathe more easily and keep more of its bark and skin undamaged.

Be aware that using butcher paper to create a suitable wrap is more difficult and requires more technique. It will take longer to get past a stall since paper allows for more air to circulate around the brisket but protect the quality of its texture.

Final Thoughts

It’s likely that you either didn’t use enough heat or there wasn’t enough fat on the meat if your brisket appears to have avoided stalling.

Just remember to keep the temps consistent, check your brisket frequently, and regulate the heat in the smoker in accordance with the outside temperature.

In any case, there isn’t much cause for alarm. It takes a lot of trial and error to become a pitmaster. 

Happy Smoking!