Shoulder Stall - physics or mojo?

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 26, 2009
Something I have always wondered about - I have done a few shoulders (and other larger meats like deer ham) over the last couple of years.  I have had some come right up with no appreciable stall as temps come up, while at other times, I have had stall after stall - or one LOOOONNNNGGGG stall that I never thought would break.  And in comparing "notes" with each experience, I cannot find a common thread.  I do know that meat that is right out of the fridge often takes longer to start the climb, but otherwise - there seems to be no correlation between weather, outside temperatures, sun, rain (well - rain can cause the smoker's temp to be hard to regulate - really tough for a smoker at 180-200 to get the meat to that temp!).  So - is there some great wisdom out there about what brings about such stalls?

This comes up, as I hit a stall today on the pair of shoulders on the smoker right now - hung up at 160, finally, after about 1.5 hours, it came up to 180 and has slowed again (but this is more normal - smoker is at 260).  Has been on about 7 hours now.  They are both starting to get pretty dark, so may have to foil a bit if things go on a lot longer.
Life's biggest question!!! I have no awnser for you, some cuts stall some don't. Must be the density of the meat and the connective tissue. All smokes are differant none are exactly the same. If you don't get a stall consider yourself lucky,when you do consider it normal.LOL What ever way just ride it out and you'll have some fine Q!!
  Battman, What is happening is the collegen in the muscle is breaking down ,starting to liquify.

  That is a normal thing to happen. I have had meat to get cooler internally for a while then begin to rise again.Reason, every piece of meat is different. Two identical pieces of meat can cook at the same time and one might take longer than the other(even off the same animal-depends how much exercise the muscle had).

   Thus ,it's ready when it is ready!

   Be patient Grasshopper...foiling is not needed either;makes for more bark.
Hope this helps and remember................
Thanks guys.  I have plenty of patience - I have done enough of these to have figured out the need to just wait.  The stall issue is just one of those interesting mysteries that we are destined to never fully grasp.

Deer hams are easier on the patience - I only take them up to about 140-145.  Usually little stall on those for me - though every so-often they hang about 120 or so.
Oldschool pretty much said it all. No 2 pieces of meat cook the same. Patience is a virtue in smoking. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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