question on plateau

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bigarm's smokin

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
Original poster
OTBS Member
Apr 19, 2007
BigArm MT
Hey everyone, I did my last smoke on sunday. I did a brisket point, about a 3#er. It hit a plateau at 165, stayed there for half an hr then dropped to 162, after about one and a half hrs it finall started climbing. I thought that with a smaller chunk of meat, it wouldn't plateau like a big chunk. Does any one know the cause of a plateau? If its already on here, I couldn't find it. Also, smoker temp was 225. Thanks, Terry
The funny thing about the plateau is sometimes it doesn't happen at all. I had a brisket plateau for around 2 hours. I think I read a thread some one wrote stateing that it has someting to do with the meat breaking down the string stuff in side of the meat. I forget the technical term for it, but I'm sure some one will tell you real soon. The first time it happened to me I thought my thermometer was broke. Luckily some one here told me about it. You should see how long a picnic shoulder takes. I had one plateau for over 3 hours.
My understanding is the plateau is a result of the internal fat melting, basting the meat from the inside which lowers the actual temperature of the meat. If I am wrong, which happens frequently, I am sure someone with more knowledge will come along and correct me.
I had a shoulder plateau for 3 1/2 hours last time and then creep real slow up to temp.. I too thought my thermometer was broken. Makes you want to crank up the heat too..

But, if you're looking at me for some scientific reason for the plateau....

It's probably because the smoke gods know we want to finish and are becoming impatient and they want to screw with us... (As scientific as I get)
Hey, that works for me! I'm not exactly a rocket scientist! I think the smoke Gods do it so we have to consume more adult beverage while we are forced to wait! See how much they care for us!!
If they ever find out the real reason maybe we'll learn how to avoid it. I had two brskets and 3 butts all stuck for 3 hours on Saturaday and the briskets were split into flats and point and well trimmed too - go figure?
The first brisket i did (point i believe not sure of the difference yet but it was about 3.5#) plateaued for around 4 or 5 hours at 135* I think thats how I got the brisket to be almost 50% smoke ring.
seems to me it was dutch that described it if i can remember right. the sugars in the meat start breaking down. a google search brought me back to jeff's brisket smoke(#1 hit) & deejay debi's site was the #4 hit- congrats.
The connective tissues take some time to break down and absorb a lot of heat during the plateau.

Hope this helps!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Brennan -

Here's a few pictures to illustrate the difference between the point and flat.

#1 When whole you can clearly see a thick hunk of fat that sepates the two pieces of meat (see the black line?)

#2 I grab the fat and it pulls apart I just hack at the fat tissues between the two piece

#3 you can see the two pieces slowly comming apart

#4 shows the flat (The big flat hunk) completely separated from the point (the thicker irregular shaped hunk) and most of the icky stringy fat trimmed off.

Just a note: IMHO points are great for making burnt ends. There's alo of fat everywhere and it makes for a great bark. Someone here (sorry CRS) either Chad or Cajun saves up the points and smokes a bunch of them at once for a burnt end feast. Yummmmmmm!

Hope this helps.




Meowey is right on the money. The connective tissue breaks down to collagen and water over time and steady low heat. That breakdown time is basically the plateau. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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