Newbie - Fighting through a "stall"?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by civileng68, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. civileng68

    civileng68 Newbie

    First off, I hope I don't get "smoked" for asking something that probably has been stated in the search feature. I've searched and learned of the term "stall" which I've encountered many times not knowing what was happening. It wasnt until coming here this weekend that I found this is a common occurrence. However, in my search I've seen much of "stalls" but not much detail about how to deal with it or if one should even do so at all.

    My question basically is, what causes the stall (in layman's terms. I saw a very detailed explanation thread that was way over this common man's head). But, moreover, what to do when the stall happens? Ive been smoking since April but honestly have not had the results I've wanted until this past weekend after joining this thread. In the past my meat was way too undercooked or way too overcooked and dried out. I've really had a hard time understanding when to cook low heat (say 225) for long hours vs. cooking higher heat for shorter times.

    First, I use a Masterbuilt Electric smoker. I love it. It's the smaller one with the window. But, I learned recently the thermometer is off by a good bit, so I got another one to use independently. That helped. This past weekend I learned some things here and pulled off a fantastic beef roast and having a sammy as we speak. This guy is proud. I'm convinced few things make a man feel like a man than putting a hunk of meat in an oven that spits out a crazy good smelling smoke.

    Anyways, the one thing I believe that's been killing my meat is the "stall". Before I upped the temp to get through it, ruining my meats with overcooked, dry, tasteless results. My question is (yes, I finally got to it, sorry :(), is this a bad thing?  Can I avoid it?  How do i deal with it? Does it mean the meat is "ready" in any way or "close to being ready"? 

    Thanks so much guys! Learning here each day now.
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard. The "dreaded stall" as many refer to it is the bane of many a smoker. In layman sterns it happens due to the breakdown of the connective tissue in the meat, which in turn begins to evaporate which cools the meat. Some swear that this stall is when the " magic" happens, and the best course of action is to just ride it out for as long as it takes. Others are more proactive and wrap their meat in foil at around the 160 mark thereby concentrating the heat in the meat and shortening the stall. Still others ( I'm in this bunch) smoke at a higher temperature all the way through, greatly reducing or completely eliminating the stall altogether.
    In short, all are right. There is no one way to deal with it. The most important thing is to keep track of the internal temp of the meat and not over cook it. If by increasing the temperature to get through the stall you're drying out your meat, you're just leaving it in too long. Make sure you know what temp you're going for and make sure you take it out just as it gets there.
    civileng68 likes this.
  3. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Good advice....I just allow plenty of time to ride it out as opposed to foiling or bumping the temp.....however, to each his own
    civileng68 likes this.
  4. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep yep yep.  Three basic ways to deal with the stall:

    1. Crank up the temp and power through it.  You can do this right when the meat begins to stall, or right from the beginning with a higher heat smoke.

    2.  Wrap meat in foil at around 150ish to help power through it.

    3.  Leave things alone, open another beer and ride it out.

    I guess technically there's a 4th method which would be some combination of any of the above.

    BTW, the "stall" itself really isn't a problem and doesn't harm anything.  The issue is with the reaction to the stall as it drives some people borderline crazy.   All of a sudden, you start thinking that your perfectly functioning thermometers MUST have suddenly malfunctioned, even if you have 2 or 3 of them.   Or that something must be wrong with your clock / timing calculations as there's no way your meat should be taking this long.   Or maybe your fuel source defies the laws of physics and the 225 you are cooking at is that much different than everyone else's.
    civileng68 likes this.
  5. civileng68

    civileng68 Newbie

    Wow. Thanks guys for being so helpful!  I really appreciate it!

    Since we're on the issue of temps, can I ask one further question.........and excuse me for lacking correct terminology. I have a new thermometer (I don't trust the one built into the unit I have) but the one I have is the same "type" which is a metal "rod" connected by cable to a main unit.

    When I put this rod into the meat, is there a limit to how far it should go in? Also, since part of the rod is through the center of the meat and part of the rod is near the exterior of the meat, where is the temperature being read?

    Thanks again guys!
  6. sb59

    sb59 Smoking Fanatic

    5th method, I set the clocks back 2 hrs. at the start of the stall, then I'm actually ahead of schedule!
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Patience , Grasshopper[​IMG]
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    To answer your thermometer probe question, the tip of the probe is where the temperature is measured. Try to place the tip into the center of the meat but at least a half an inch or more away from any bone. Also avoid placing the tip in fat layers if possible.

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