brisket stall help

Discussion in 'Beef' started by bamatmac, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    Hello all,

    I need a little advice here.  I was working on my second (ever) brisket last night (the first meat attempted with my new AMNPS) on my MES30.  I put the meat on around 7:30 pm last night.  I had a few issues with getting the AMNPS lit (had to keep taking it out, relighting, adjusting position, etc) so the first 90 min or so the smoker temps probably didn't get up to 225 very much....more in the 210 range.  Anyways, I finally got it smoking and the meat was up to 140 about 11:30pm (the 4-hour mark) and was up to 143 or so by 12:30am.

    At that point, I took a nap and had my Maverick thermometer set to warn me when it hit 160 (was thinking around 4am or so for this 8lb brisket).  However, I woke at 5:30 to find the meat temp only at 145!

    That's about a 5 hour "stall" where it only went up a few degrees.  Am I in trouble here?  I tried adjusting the probe and trying new probes...all with about the same reading.  

    At this point, the AMNPS had run out of pellets so I double foiled the brisket with some apple juice and put it in the oven at 225.  It's still at 146 now (around 6am).

    Is this just a "LONG" stall, or is something else wrong?  What should I do at this point?  Raise the oven temp?  Abandon ship?  

    Any ideas/thoughts welcome and appreciated....
  2. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    One other note was about water.  I had initially filled the water pan and had a pan underneath the brisket with a little broth (to catch the drippings).  After having trouble with the AMNPS and finding Todd's post about *NOT* using the water pan, I took it out, but poured about 1/2 the water into the "drippings" pan.  

    I had the chip tray/loader removed to stimulate airflow and ended up putting the AMNPS on top of the element housing on the right-hand side of the MES.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Have you tested your temp probes in boiling water lately.

    A 5 hour stall is a little unusual especially at 145, but probably not unheard of.

    It sounds to me like your smoker temp was lower than 225.

    And possibly the meat probe is not accurate.

    Do you have a back up therm you could check the meat with?

    If it's in foil in the oven you should see the temp rise steadily.
  4. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    Thanks, Al.  I had checked with a few different meat probes, all agreed with the 145.  I did calibrate the meat probes last week (in icy and then boiling water).  While they weren't dead on, they were pretty close.  I did order a new Maverick (since I was having trouble finding replacement probes), but it has not arrived yet.

    I had not calibrated the smoker probe (which I will do shortly), so I'm guessing that was the issue.  At 8am ( 2hours later), meat temp is about 180 so getting it out out of the smoker was the key.

    So, since it was over 140 when it stalled, I'm assuming the meat is still ok?  At this point, do I just leave the oven at 225 and let it finish to 190-200?  Or take it out and finish in towels/cooler?

    Thanks again for the help....
  5. bamatmac

    bamatmac Newbie

    To complete the story, I put the smoker probe on the oven rack while the brisket was finishing up.  It fluctuated between 225-250.  For instance, when I first put it in, the heat kicked on in the oven to regain the temp.  The smoker probe started climbing..ending at about 255.  However, when the heat cut off, it eventually went back down to 220 or so.  Overall, I guess that is about right.  

    The hard part about knowing if this corresponds to what I saw int he smoker iis that the MES (at least mine) has that habit of fluctuating 10-15 degrees as it tries to maintain temp.  If I set it at 225, it cuts off once it reaches that temp and cuts back on at 215 (although the probe temp usually drops to around 211 before it starts going back up).

    All in all, I'm still not sure of the exact reason for the stall...maybe it was just coincidence that the temp started climbing once I foiled and put in the oven?  Either way, here's a pic of the finished product:


    No smoke ring or anything, but the bite I had was pretty tasty.  Thanks again for the help...
  6. terry colwell

    terry colwell Smoking Fanatic

    Great job
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm glad it turned out well for you!

    It sure looks good!

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