I can see it now, you have the smoker going, your brisket is in, the guests start arriving.
You check your internal thermometers, and they aren’t rising.
Are you experiencing the brisket stall? and how do you fix it?
Brisket can be hard to smoke but if you know what temperature it stalls at you wont be panicking!
So below you find out exactly what temp it can stall at, why it happens and how to combat it like a pro pitmaster!
So here are some tips for reducing the stall time or preventing it in the first place.
So What Are the Temperatures a Brisket Can Stall At?
155°F – 160°F is likely the internal temperature when your brisket will stall.
However please bear in mind that no one size fits all and a variety of factors are in effect.
A stall can happen anywhere from 125°F to 190°F degree range.
But don’t let these varied stall temperatures dismay you.
-You should always be measuring the brisket’s internal temperature accurately and in real-time.
-Do this with a digital thermometer or meat probe that came with your smoker. You should always probe the brisket in the thickest part which is usually the point.
What Is a Brisket Stall & Why Does It Happen?
A stall is when the brisket’s internal temperature remains the same for a long period.
It tends to happen on larger cuts of meat like pork shoulder or brisket.
As the meat cook and muscles contract, the moisture is pushed to the surface of the meat.
The moisture evaporates and cools the surface temperature of the meat as well as the temperature in the smoker. This is known as evaporative cooling.
This will cause the stall as your smoker will not be able to emit enough heat.
Does a Stall Last Long?
A stall on average can last up to 5 hours…
So you see why it is essential to try and prevent this from happening.
Don’t keep your hungry stomach waiting an extra 5 hours for that finished brisket!
190°F Internal Temp Stall Seems a Bit High?
Yes, a brisket can stall at around the 190°F temperature range.
You’re right though, it is high.
If your brisket stalls at this temperature after hours of cooking, it isn’t that bad.
This is because it is very close to the ideal temperature for brisket before eating.
What Do I Do if My Brisket Stalls?
My brisket is stalling.
There are a few techniques to get your piece of meat back in the action.
Wrap the Brisket in Foil or Butcher Paper Half Way Into the Cooking Process
Wrap your brisket halfway through the cooking time or during the stall.
Wrapping will help lock in the heat.
While also stopping excess moisture from evaporating into your cooking chamber.
It also helps retain the moisture back into the proteins which means juicier meat!
Aaron Franklin, a Texas BBQ pro recommends using pink butcher paper.
Then return the brisket to the smoker. Once it hits 204°F the brisket is done, pull the brisket and allow it to rest in a cooler. for at least 2 hours.
Finish The Cook in The Oven
Most ovens can reach a higher temperature than a smoker. If you see your brisket is stalling you can put your oven on 350°F and finish your brisket in it. It will cut down on the cooking time but you may not be left with a really tender piece of meat.
Turn up the Heat!
Low and slow isn’t always best!
Especially if you want to shorten the period of time your brisket stalls.
Turn up the cooking temperature between 300°F – 350°F.
This will speed up evaporation.
But keep an eye on the bark formation.
You want crispy bark.
Maintain a Moist Cooking Environment
High humidity in your smoker will counteract evaporation from the meat.
Add a heat-proof pan filled with water beneath your brisket.
Or open her up and give your cooking chamber a spray the brisket every hour or so.
This additional moisture might just give it that extra bit of wiggle room.
Saving you some time.
Avoiding a Stall
– Buy good quality meat from your butcher.
– Trim excess from the fat cap.
– Make sure your grill probes are calibrated.
– Use a good rub and always apply a binder before the rub.
– Maintain a constant temperature by ensuring you have enough fuel.
– Do not cook brisket in temperatures below 0.
– Use a water pan in your smoker to reduce the extra moisture from evaporated cooling.
– Wrap the meat in foil or butcher paper before an internal temp of 155°F.
– Do not put the meat on direct heat.
– Closely monitor the internal temperature of the brisket with a meat thermometer.
Can a Large Type of Meat Stall Twice?
A large brisket can stall twice.
This only tends to happen when the elements outside change quickly.
Or if you run out of fuel in your smoker with a temperature swing.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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