Smoking brisket is a great way to please a crowd.
But smoking the perfect brisket takes practice!
Especially when you need to learn how to deal with the stall!
You might be wondering if you need to wrap before or after the stall?
You you prefer a brisker with bark or a soft texture?
We will analyse both ways.
Then show you what you should do to achieve YOUR favourite type of smoked brisket!
Table of contents
Wrapping Your Brisket Before the Stall
– Helps prevent the stalling process from even starting.
– Less time monitoring the meat probe.
– No moisture loss.
– Less of the tasty chemical process that happens in direct heat.
– Softer bark or none at all.
– Can lead to mushy brisket.
– Loss of smoke flavor.
Wrapping a Brisket After the Stall
– Maillard effect.
– Tasty deep bark.
– Natural evaporation enhances the flavor.
– More hours of cooking.
– Less moisture is retained in the cuts of beef.
– More heat energy and the fuel used.
The Mighty Brisket
Brisket is typically a large cut from the chest area of a cow.
This beef brisket contains a large amount of intermuscular fat and collagen that need a bit of TLC with a longer cooking time through a smoking process.
Through BBQ culture, the brisket has become almost a legendary status for any amateur pitmaster or professional in a competition circuit.
This in my opinion is because the larger and longer something takes is also the personal touch and skills to apply.
Whether it’s a Texas crutch or Aaron Franklin’s 6 step method, the brisket is the ultimate tasty test piece.
What Do We Mean by Wrapping a Brisket?
What does wrapping mean?
So wrapping is exactly what you think! Wrapping or covering the meat during the cooking process.
This is usually done with heavy-duty aluminum foil or special pink butcher paper.
Why Do We Wrap Brisket?
So why are we going to all this trouble?
Wrapping a brisket in the cooking process allows for the natural juices to retain during the very long cooking time.
You see, applying a brisket to direct heat and smoke will firstly help the chemical reactions within the sugars, proteins, and fat.
These reactions create the taste we crave from BBQ like the salty smoky flavor and a hard outer layer known as bark.
When the crusty bark and caramelization have been achieved it is time to wrap and doing so, protects and locks in the juices thus keeping the meat moist.
Fun Fact: Brisket is typically cooked for 10 hours and needs constant monitoring throughout the different stages of cooking. It’s a science!
When Is the Best Time to Wrap Brisket?
The best time to wrap a brisket is when the meat stall at around 140°F or towards the last 3 hours of the cooking process
It’s also vital to be monitoring the internal temperature of the brisket with a probe thermometer as this is another indication of the best time to be wrapping the brisket.
If you don’t get the timings right then you could end up with a burned and bitter hard brisket bark or no bark at all on an unwrapped brisket.
Neither of these outcomes is worthy as we want to be getting the most tender piece of brisket or cooked meat there ever was!
What Do We Mean by Stall?
What does stalling mean when cooking our meat?
The dreaded stall is when the internal temperature of the brisket does not increase or even starts to drop when it’s meant to be sizzling away.
You see, the cooking process is a journey right, you want it constantly moving and if the temperature doesn’t gradually increase then it’s stopped, hence a stall like a car!
If the cooking process plateaued or has even started to drop inside the meat, then it could be inedible and unsafe to consume.
It can also lead to you serving up your mates a chewy steak as the proteins and fat have not broken down enough or have them waiting way longer than expected.
Usually, a larger cut will stall when the internal meat temperature is around 150F and can last an average of 5 hours before it starts rising.
How & Why Does a Brisket Stall?
A larger piece of meat like brisket is known to stall because of water evaporation.
When your pellet grill starts cooking brisket, the temperature change will naturally start heating the water molecules inside the proteins.
These water molecules will then start to evaporate into the air which acts as a cooling effect within your cooking chamber.
Depending on the amount of moisture, this process may take a while until the water has been fully evaporated and for the temperature starts to start rising again after balancing out.
How Long Should You Cook For After Wrapping?
You should continue to cook your brisket after it’s been wrapped until it reaches 204°F
Then you want to pull it from the smoker and wrap it and place it in a cooler.
How Wrapping a Brisket Affects the Stall
So how does wrapping the tasty brisket stop or prevent a stall?
Check out our brisket recipe here to understand the whole process of cooking a brisket.
– Wrapping the brisket will trap excess moisture and stop the evaporation.
– Wrapping the meat in foil will also help keep the internal temperature at a constant rate by locking in the heat.
Monitor your meat thermometer closely after applying the brisket to your grill of choice and if you notice no increase in temperature then act quickly.
I want to state that before we get into it there will be lots of different opinions!
but hey, that’s what we love about cooking, the subjectivity and a constant attitude toward improvement!
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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