How long should a stall be and how do you get past it?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by danuary, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. danuary

    danuary Newbie

    Did my second brisket this weekend - a small one, a 4.5-lb point end - in a pan, in a MES, at 220. 

    I could explain the problem, but I tracked the temp, and the log speaks for itself:

    In at 0600

    Time        Temp

    0800        108

    0900        152

    1000        166

    1100        173

    1200        176

    1300        176

    1400        180

    1500        176

    1530        179

    1600        177 (raised temp to 250 here)

    1630        180

    1700        184

    1730        186

    When the brisket came out, it was tasty, but still quite tough. This smoke approaches three hrs per pound, which surprised the heck out of me. Suggestions for what to change next time? I'm thinking that perhaps I need to do a higher temp throughout the smoke. 

    Edited to add: I should note that I'm at about 7,000' elevation in CO and water boils at about 198 here.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Since water boils at 198, on the next brisket, I would run the smoker at 200 deg. for the entire smoke... when the brisket got to 185, I would hold it at that temp for 2-3 hours for tissue breakdown and hopefully it will come out tender.....  That could take up to 24 hours....   Plan ahead...  

  3. I see you are here in the high altitude state of Colorado, but I don't know what your altitude is. I'm at 8750 ft and found out some interesting "learning curves" when I did my first brisket, which took 39 hours in the MES 40!

    There is some good cooking at high altitude info here and should explain things a little better.

    I no longer use the MES for long smokes like brisket and pork butt since I now have a home built propane smoker and I do them hot and fast. 

    My MES temp is off anywhere from 10°- 30°, depending on what I set it at. If I want 250°, I have to set the MES temp at 275° and I still don't see 250°. Make sure you check the actual chamber temp of the MES, you might be cooking at a lower temp than what you think.
  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I am going to add my 2 cents here.  I don't mean to sound like a smarty pants....but some times the piece of meat has a mind of its own...and it will be done...and work thru that "danged" stall when it want too.  I have had pork butts take over 20 hours. Then I have had them take only 7 hours.  Same with briskets.

    BUT...get yourself a good digital thermometer and it helps keep you more on track with things.

  5. danuary

    danuary Newbie

    Yeah I think we've chatted before, I'm a little north of the Springs, 7,000 elevation. I think it's a combination of the altitude and me needing to learn some patience. :) I'm going to go back through the high altitude info again, but I think next time I'm going to try a hotter smoke, starting at 250 or 275 and see what that does for me. 

    It's not like the end result isn't tasty no matter what, I'm just a perfectionist, more so than I should be!
  6. x2 on in the 22hr+ pork butt wagon. butt (see what i did there?lol) talk about a more than worth while wait. its finished when its finished. be patient. and as was stated before.... PLAN Ahead! i love loooooooooongg smokes! especially on a weekend, nowhere special to running around, cold beer in hand...what else ya need?.
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also with the smaller brisket chunks it can be a challenge to keep them moist and tender - definately keep the temps down and if you don't have much fat on it consider wrapping it in foil at about 160° with a cup or so of low sodium beef broth.

    Raising the temp and rushing brisket is definately a no no. It just produces tastey shoe leather... lol.
  8. Tasty shoe leather you say?..??...where can I find this edible delectible leather? Lol.
  9. Your stall will happen earlier and be longer at lower pit temps.

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