what happened to the plateau?

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Apr 10, 2007
Arlington, TX
I did the all night brisket smoke Sat. night. I've done 5 or 8 briskets before and Ive always watched the internal temp go up to around 170 and then just stop for 3 or 4 hours. I know this is the plateau. But Sat night I put my 10.5 lb. brisket on at 6pm @ 225 degrees. Well, there was never a plateau, the temp just kept going up and never stopped. My 10.5 lb brisket was DONE at 1am after only 7 hours in the smoker @ 225. I was stumped thinking maybe my thermometer was broken, so I went and bought a new one at Walmart at 12am. When I got home and inserted the new thermometer it read 200 degrees. So I pulled it off the smoker and put it in the cooler to rest until morning. All night I was thinking to myself "there is NO WAY that brisket is done", but sure enough when I took it out of the cooler and unwrapped it, it just plum fell apart. It was so tender that I couldnt even cut it. It made the most delicious sammys I have ever eatin.
Anybody else ever seen a brisket with no plateau period? I'm still stumped.
I've only smoked one brisket and it was only 5 lbs. I really don't remember if it had a plateau or not. I'm leaning towards not, because when I did my pork shoulder I know that sucker just sat still for about 3 hours. I plan on doing a brisket and anthing else I can shove into my GOSM this week end.
On my three previous smokes (a brisket and 2 Boston butts) the plateau was reached at 155-160* today the temp went up steadily to 170* and its been there for 3 hours now. Go figure, I guess every time it's a brand new ballgame.
Happens a lot, sure someone has a reason for it, but like billy said, it's just Q. I did a 10# packer a while back in 7 hrs, and it was the best iv'e done to date, cant explain the non stall but makes for a nice short smoke!
It really depends on the amount of connective tissue and fat within the meat. If you get a real lean cut, there's not much to render. I've only had one lean cut, and it did basically the same thing yours did. I've learned to really look at the meat before I buy it and make sure there is good marbling within the meat. A good rule is to take the brisket and place it over your wrist about the middle of it, if it wraps around it (cryopak allowing if so packed), and almost touches ends on the bottom, then its gonna be a pretty good chunk of meat and should be pretty tender. Also need to make sure the fat cap is at least 1/4 inch.

Yep... I too have had a couple do that... it is really scarey, as you think it isn't done, or something is really wrong with it.... just accept it, and enjoy the early bedtime.....

I guess I've been pretty lucky I've only had one brisket and one butt plateu on me (nad tey were the first I'd ever done) but it does happen especially to newbies. I think we get so excited we grab a big-ole-hunk-O-meat and run home with it without really looking it over well.
The age of the beef also plays into the picture too. A young animal will still have connective but it won't be as dense as an older animal. Like was mentioned earlier, enjoy the early bedtime.
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