What is the Brisket Stall and How to Handle it?

Do you love to barbecue but don’t know how to handle the dreaded “brisket stall”? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we explain the brisket stall and provide tips on handling it. Read on for all the details!

What is the Brisket Stall?

The brisket stall is a process that occurs when smoking or barbecuing large cuts of meat, such as brisket. During this process, the internal temperature of the meat will stop rising even after several hours of cooking time. This is caused by the conversion of collagen in the meat to gelatin which happens more slowly at lower temperatures. The stall can last up to six hours before the temperature starts increasing again, and it usually takes place around 150°F. It’s difficult to know exactly how long a brisket stall will last as it can vary from one hour up to five or more hours. To beat the stall, you should start cooking early in the morning and wrap your brisket if increasing the temperature doesn’t help.

Why Does the Brisket Stall Happen?

The brisket stall happens when a piece of meat, such as brisket, is placed on the grill, and its internal temperature begins to rise. At around 140°F and 150°F, proteins in the meat start to denature due to the heat energy. This process causes them to unfold from their complex 3D shape. As a result, the internal temperature of the meat stalls at around 155-165F.

The stalling can also happen with other large cuts of meat during long cooking sessions. It is caused by evaporative cooling, which occurs when moisture evaporates off of the meat surface and cools it down. As this happens, your brisket will stay at this temperature until enough moisture is released to continue cooking. To avoid this issue, you should use a smoker that has a tight seal so that less moisture escapes while cooking. Additionally, regularly basting your brisket can help keep its internal temperature by providing additional moisture.

Recognizing When You’re At a Plateau

Recognizing When You’re At a Plateau

Recognizing when you’re at a plateau is an important part of cooking. Whether you are preparing brisket or pork butt, the dreaded “brisket stall” can occur in which the internal temperature of the meat seems to plateau around 155-165°F for hours. This is completely natural and nothing to be worried about, but if time is a factor, then there are ways to beat the stall.

The primary way to beat a brisket stall is by wrapping the meat, also known as a “Texas Crutch.” This traps moisture and helps reduce the meat’s surface evaporation, which helps prevent stalling out. When your brisket’s internal temperature reaches about 150°F, it’s time to wrap it up with foil or butcher paper so that it can continue cooking without having its temperature plateau for too long.

Other factors like ambient temperature and airflow also play into how long your food takes to cook, so make sure you take these into account as well when planning your cook time. While stalling can be frustrating, remember that all good things take time, so let your food do its thing, and soon enough, you will have a delicious barbecue to enjoy.

How to Get Through the Brisket Stall

The brisket stall is a common occurrence in the world of smoking meat. It happens when a large cut of meat like a pork butt or beef brisket is cooking, and the internal temperature of the meat seems to “stall” or plateau around 155-165°F for hours. While it may be tempting to give up, there are some steps you can take to get through the stall and finish cooking your delicious meal.

The primary way to beat a brisket stall is by wrapping the meat – commonly called a “Texas Crutch.” The Texas crutch involves wrapping your brisket in foil or butcher paper about halfway through its cooking time, which helps trap moisture and heat so that your meat won’t dry out. This should help push your brisket past that dreaded plateau and on its way to becoming an amazing meal!

Another option is to wait it out. Start cooking early in the morning and understand that this wait is simply part of the process. You can also try increasing the temperature of your smoker slightly above what you normally would for smoking a brisket, as long as you don’t go too high (a 275⁰F to 300⁰F range would be safe). Wrapping the meat in foil or butcher paper will also help it retain heat and cook faster, but this isn’t necessarily recommended for a traditional brisket.

Even if your smoker is working properly, you may still have to contend with fluctuations in temperature during your cook. Your best bet is to be patient and wait it out. In the meantime, take some time to read up on smoking techniques, so you’ll be better prepared next time.

Don’t Rush it – Wait for Your Meat to Reach its Target Temperature

Don’t Rush it – Wait for Your Meat to Reach its Target Temperature.

Cooking a brisket can be intimidating for even the most experienced chefs. The key to success with brisket is patience. When cooking a brisket, it’s important not to rush the process. You must wait for the internal temperature of the meat to reach its target temperature range of 197°-203°F before removing it from the foil. This will ensure that your brisket is cooked through, tender, and full of flavor. If you remove it too soon, your brisket may still be tough and chewy. Also, do not overcook your brisket, or it will dry out quickly!

Wrapping Your Brisket in Butcher Paper or Foil

Wrapping your brisket in either butcher paper or foil is a popular cooking technique known as the Texas crutch. This method helps to speed up the cooking process and lock in moisture, preventing the brisket from drying out. The best time to wrap a brisket is between 170-185 degrees internally after it has gone through the stall.

When wrapping, use aluminum foil, butcher paper, or parchment paper. Start by rolling out a large piece of Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Foil and center your brisket in the middle. Then wrap it tightly so that no steam can escape. Make sure that you leave space around each side of the meat so it can cook evenly while sealed inside the wrapper.

Once wrapped, place your brisket back into the smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. The wrapping will help to keep moisture inside, giving you a juicy and tender result once cooked through.

By wrapping your brisket with either butcher paper or foil, you’ll be able to speed up its cooking process and lock in moisture for juicier results!

Check your Smoker's Temperature and Humidity Levels

Check your Smoker’s Temperature and Humidity Levels

Checking the temperature and humidity of your smoker is key to achieving the perfect brisket. The ideal temperature for smoking a brisket is between 225°F and 250°F. It’s important to monitor your smoker’s temperature as it can quickly change due to wind or door openings. Additionally, you need to ensure that the humidity levels are maintained to ensure that your brisket doesn’t dry out while cooking. If you are having trouble keeping a stable temperature, adding damp wood chips or a water pan can help regulate it. Finally, ensure you have enough fuel on hand, so you don’t have any issues with running out of fuel mid-cook!

Use a Digital Thermometer for Accurate Readings

Use a Digital Thermometer for Accurate Readings

Using a digital thermometer is the best way to ensure your brisket is cooked correctly. When you insert the thermometer into the middle of the densest part of the flat, angle it horizontally and make sure not to get it stuck in fat or gristle. This will give you an accurate internal temperature reading so that you can take your brisket off at just the right time. Many smoker thermometers have dual probes for accurate cooking, while instant-read digital thermometers like Thermapen One can also be used to read brisket. Remember that most cooks set their smoker temperature between 225-240°F, and cook time can range from 12 to 20 hours.

Increasing The Heat of Your Smoker and Adding Liquid Smoke

Increasing The Heat of Your Smoker and Adding Liquid Smoke

Smoking beef brisket is all about taking your time and paying attention to the details. One of the biggest challenges that novice smokers face is handling the BBQ Stall or Brisket Stall, which is when the internal temperature of your meat stops rising for a prolonged period. To combat this, increasing the heat of your smoker and adding liquid smoke can be very effective.

Increasing your smoker’s temperature from 225°F to around 325°F until the meat is done will help it cook faster and also ensure a better bark. You can also add some liquid smoke to enhance its flavor. Adding a pan of beef stock and onions beneath the meat during smoking can also help keep it moist while providing additional flavor.

Finally, wrap the brisket in butcher paper or aluminum foil after it reaches 165°F internal temperature to prevent moisture loss during smoking. This can slow down cooking time and make sure that you get perfectly tender and juicy smoked beef brisket every time!

Resting the Meat After Smoking It

Resting the Meat After Smoking It

Smoking a brisket is an art form that takes time and patience to perfect. One of the most important steps in smoking a brisket is allowing it to rest after it’s finished cooking. Resting allows the juices of the meat to thicken slightly, giving you that melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor.

This resting period is often referred to as the “brisket stall” or “stalling.” During this period, the temperature of the meat will plateau or even decrease slightly before continuing to rise. The stall usually lasts between two and six hours, with four hours being a common number. This stalling period is normal and necessary for achieving tender, juicy results.

To help ensure your brisket cooks evenly, take it out of refrigeration an hour or two before you plan on adding it to your smoker so that it can come up to room temperature first. Additionally, use a meat thermometer throughout the cooking process to know exactly when your brisket has reached its optimal internal temperature (usually around 205°F).

Once your brisket has reached its target temperature, remove it from heat and place it on a cutting board or platter—no need for wrapping at this stage. Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes before carving, and be sure to save the juices that accumulate on the cutting board to make brisket gravy.

Add Some Moisture To The Cooking Environment

Adding some moisture to the cooking environment when cooking a brisket can help prevent the dreaded “stall” that can occur during the cooking process. The stall is believed to be caused by evaporative cooling, with the surface moisture evaporating and preventing further cooking from taking place. To prevent the stall, you can add water or other liquid to your smoker or oven to create a moist environment. You can also cover your brisket with aluminum foil, which will help keep in moisture. Adding liquid to your pan or adding an additional pan of liquid will also help create more steam in your smoker and ensure that your brisket cooks evenly. By creating a moist environment, you can ensure that your brisket cooks without any issues.

Keep an Eye on The Internal Temperature of Your Meat

Keeping an eye on the internal temperature of your meat while cooking is key to achieving the perfect doneness. While each cut of meat has its own ideal temperature range, it’s important to monitor your brisket while smoking in particular. Brisket tends to stall at around 155-165F internally, meaning that after two to three hours, it can take several more hours for the internal temperature to rise again. This is why monitoring the internal temperature throughout the entire cook is essential for achieving a perfectly cooked brisket.

The only way to know that your smoked brisket is done is by keeping track of its internal temperature with a thermometer or smoker thermometer. When the meat has reached at least 145°F (63°C), it’s safe for consumption and can be pulled off the smoker and left to rest before slicing or serving. When you reach this point, you’ll notice that the surface of your brisket will have lost most of its moisture and will look dry and glossy. At 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit, collagen in the meat breaks down and renders, making it juicy and tender – exactly what you’re looking for!

To avoid any surprises while smoking your brisket, make sure you keep an eye on

Letting your Meat Rest After Cooking before Serving it

Letting your meat rest after cooking is important to ensure optimal flavor and tenderness. When you cook any meat, the heat causes the juices to move away from the center of the cut, resulting in a dry texture. Allowing the meat to rest for 10-20 minutes before cutting or serving will allow it to reabsorb its own juices, creating a juicy and flavorful meal. Resting also slows down the cooking process, allowing for more even cooking throughout and preventing overcooking.

When resting your meat, be sure to remove it from any wrapping or foil that was used during cooking. Place it on a platter or cutting board and leave it alone until you’re ready to serve. For larger cuts of beef like brisket, pork shoulder, or prime rib, it’s best to let them rest for at least one hour before carving. Wrapping your meat in foil during this time will help keep it warm without continuing to cook so that you can enjoy a perfectly cooked meal when ready!


The brisket stall is a normal part of the cooking process that occurs when the internal temperature of the meat stops increasing and stalls at a certain point for an extended period of time. This usually occurs between 140-160°F, as the collagen in the meat contracts and draws moisture in. To get through this stage, patience is key; allow your brisket to cook until it reaches its desired internal temperature. After that, you can use the ‘Texas Crutch method to finish off your brisket and let it rest before serving.

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