Can Chicken Stall? See If Your Chicken Stalls During Cooking

Wondering if a chicken can stall?

If you cook beef you’ll need that the stall can be a pain. 

Or maybe you are not even sure what a stall is?

Don’t worry below is a comprehensive guide on what a chicken stall is and howto beat it like a pro!


Chicken Stall – Will It Happen to to You?

When you’re cooking a whole chicken it doesn’t often stall.

This is when the temperature of the meat slows down.

It usually happens when you are cooking brisket and pork shoulder. 

Will Cuts of Chicken Meat Stall When Cooking?

Individual cuts like breast meat or chicken thighs will not stall.

Will a Whole Chicken Stall When Cooking?

A whole chicken is still very unlikely to stall.

But there can be an exemption to this rule.

Like if you are cooking multiple birds together.


What Is a Stall?

A stall is when the internal temperature of meat stays the same for hours of cooking.

This tends to happen on larger cuts of meat like pork butt or beef brisket.

From evaporative cooling from the natural moisture in the meat.

Evaporative cooling is when the water within the meat protein fibers evaporates.

The evaporation of moisture from the protein fibers is a higher volume.

In relation to the heat energy from your smoker or oven.

This is called a stall.

As your cooking device can’t emit enough heat against the additional moisture.


Why a Whole Chicken Is Unlikely to Stall

There are some key parts to note when chicken is in question.

And why excess moisture that causes a stall is not a problem!

The Size of a Chicken

An average size of a chicken is 5 pounds.

The lean meats in a chicken do not contain enough natural moisture to cause a stall.

The Cooking Temperature

The average cooking temperature for chicken is 225°F.

This temp is a little low to cause a moisture evaporation rate that causes a stall.

Especially when you also consider the below factors.

The Internal Temperature of the Meat Before Consumption

The common temperature for a stall to occur is when the internal temp 155°F.

This is only 10°F below the safe-to-eat internal chicken temp of the meat.
This means that your chicken will be ready just before a stall is likely to happen.

And at this time, you should be resting the chicken for the carry-over cooking.

Which will make up the extra 10°F.

How to Accurately Monitor the Meats Internal Temperature

Poultry meat can cause severe food poisoning and even death!

So you do not want to risk underdone meat.

Always use a digital thermometer in the thickest parts of the chicken.

I like to put at least one in the thighs and breasts of a whole chicken.

Which should be done for the entire cooking and resting period.

The Cook Time Isn’t Long Enough

At 225°F a chicken will take around 40 minutes per pound.

So the average chicken only takes a couple of hours for it to be done.

The stall commonly takes place around the 3-4 hour mark in the cooking process.


Is There a Situation Where Chicken Can Stall?

I mentioned that you are likely to have a stall if you are cooking more than 1 chicken.

So please bear this in mind if your cooking chamber is small.

And you have multiple chickens cooking at the same time.

As this will double or triple the evaporation rate.

What Can I Do to Avoid a Stall?

There are a few ways to avoid a stall.

Most of which can be applied to other cuts of meat.

Especially the ones mentioned previously like pork shoulder or brisket.

Spatchcock Your Chicken

Remove the backbone of the chicken and flatten it out.

This creates more surface area for the moisture to evaporate from.

And allows the meat to cook more evenly.

Thus reducing the chance of concentrated evaporation in the air.

Brine & Remove Excess Moisture

Brining is a popular method for chicken.

Adding a salt and water solution will help the meat retain moisture through osmosis.

But be sure you wipe down any residual brine on the chicken.

Don’t Cook More Than 2 Chickens on Your Device

This will depend on the type and size of what you are cooking.

A medium size pellet smoker will be able to handle 2 chickens.

But don’t try and squeeze more than 1 into a conventional oven.

What Can I Do if I Get a Dreaded Stall?

If your chicken or piece of meat is stalling then don’t worry!

Follow the below guide on how to slow down and stop it.

Lower the Cooking Temperature

Your cooking temperature may be a little too high.

Try reducing the heat to 20°F on your temperature gauge.

Less heat = less of an evaporation rate.

Cover the Chicken to Lock In Moisture

Below are some tips and tricks for cooking chicken.

One of which is covering the delicate breast meat with foil towards the end of the process.

As will protect the meat proteins and lock in moisture.

If the meat starts stalling you can do this earlier.

As the foil or butcher paper will deflect the moisture back into the meat.

Instead of evaporating in the hot air.

Maintain a Moist Cooking Environment

Spritz the chicken with a vinegar solution every 60 minutes

The easiest way to do this is to use a spray bottle.

This will keep the air moisture levels up to reduce the evaporation rate.


Tips & Tricks for Cooking Chicken

– Brine your chicken meat but remove any excess surface moisture.

– Use a spice mix of your choice.

– Smoke on a pellet grill at 225°F.

– At 225°F a chicken will cook at 40 minutes per pound.

Use meat probes to accurately monitor when the chicken is cooked.

– Cover the chicken with foil when the internal meat temp is at 120°F.

– Rest under foil for 30 minutes.

– Do not keep raw or cooked meat out of the fridge for more than 30 minutes.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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