What Temp Does Brisket Stall? (Chef’s Guide)

Brisket is a delicacy loved by all, but the process of making it is highly challenging, especially when you have to face the dreaded stalling. Stalling is the phenomenon where the temperature on the probe thermometer of the meat does not change even one degree for hours! 

What temp does brisket stall? complete guide
What temp does brisket stall?

While cooking briskets, at one point, the moisture from the meat reaches the surface and starts to evaporate; this results in the cooling of the meat. This is known as stalling and is disliked by all chefs. This article will discuss stalling in great depth and identify ways to deal with it. 

What Temp does Brisket Stall?

Briskets stall at 155°F – 160°F internally. However, various factors affect stalling, and it can also happen in the 125°F to 190°F degree range. 


Temperature plays a major role in brisket stalls. A stall mostly happens when the brisket’s internal temperature remains the same for a long time. 

As the brisket is cooked, the meat muscles contract, pushing the moisture to the surface. As the moisture evaporates, the meat’s surface temperature is reduced along with the smoker’s temperature. This is popularly known as evaporative cooling. 

This process results in the stalling of the smoker as it’s unable to it enough heat.

Pro Tips

Once stalling happens, it can last up to five hours; thus, experts have come up with various ways to prevent it. Of all the methods, raising the cooking temperature is one of the best. Experts suggest making the brisket between 300°F – 350°F. This helps speed up the evaporation process more than the slow, low heat method. 

Tips for monitoring temperature during the cooking process: 

  • Use a thermometer probe to get an accurate reading of the meat’s temperature inside the smoker
  • The smoker’s temperature should ideally be 225°F made with indirect heat before you place the brisket
  • The smoker must be heated up to 90 minutes for each pound of heat

How Long does it Take Brisket to Stall?

The stalling can happen anytime after 2-3 hours you have placed the brisket in the smoker. By this time, the meat reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit and stalls. Stalling is a process that happens when the water present in the meat comes to the surface of the meat and starts evaporating.

How Long does it Take Brisket to Stall
How Long does it Take Brisket to Stall?

The process is commonly termed ‘meat sweating’ as it happens to our bodies. The resulting evaporation cools the surface of the meat. Once stalling happens, it can last for 7 hours before the temperature rises again. 

What Temp does Brisket Stop Stalling? 

Tough pieces of meat turn juicy and delicious when cooked under proper temperature control. To get the desired results, you must use a heat thermometer. Then wait for the brisket to reach the required temperature. However, when cooking meat slowly in low temperatures, evaporation leads to stalling.

Over the years, experts have tried to eliminate this occurrence, and one way to do that is by increasing the temperature. Once the heat temperature is increased, the cold molecules use more energy to get heated and evaporate in less time which reduces the evaporation cooling time significantly.

In this method, the cooking temperature is raised to 300°F – 350°F. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the brisket bark during this process. The bark must be crispy, not burnt. 

How do I Know if My Brisket is Stalling? 

One of the tell-tale signs of stalling your brisket is the formation of the bark. Ideally, a well-cooked juicy brisket should have a crispy superficial crust that appears dehydrated. In fact, the more the meat cooks, the surface of the meat, a.k.a bark, becomes dark.

How do I Know if My Brisket is Stalling
How do I Know if My Brisket is Stalling? 

If your meat has stalled, such a bark will not form, and the meat surface will still look raw and wet. Stalling negatively affects the juiciness of the meat. Another obvious sign is that the temperature of the internal meat does not change for hours. 

Techniques to Overcome the Stall

While stalling is a tragic situation to face while smoking brisket, thankfully, there are methods to prevent stalling. 

  • Increasing temperature: As the cooking temperature increases, the molecules use the energy to heat up, which significantly reduces the evaporation time. 
  • Waiting: By waiting, you can cause ‘exhaustion of the evaporation ‘ by dehydrating the meat piece. 
  • Foil wrap: Though controversial, many people have eliminated stalling by wrapping the meat in a foil wrap. 

Of all the three methods, foil wrapping is the best method to eliminate stalling. When the meat is rolled in foil, the molecules do not evaporate and stick to the surface. This achieves two results: 

Techniques to Overcome the Stall
Techniques to Overcome the Stall
  • The hot molecules heat the cold ones that reach the surface
  • The stagnation of steam inside the cooking unit reduced the cooking time, preventing evaporation

Wrapping the meat in foil has two major benefits:

  • It prevents evaporation without dehydrating the meat
  • It results in tender and juicer meat

In addition to these, a few other tips can come handy to prevent stalling:

  • Good quality meat.
  • Cut off the excess fat.
  • Properly calibrate the grill probes.
  • Use a proper rub and a good binder before the rub.
  • Maintain a constant temperature.
  • Avoid cooking the brisket below 0 degrees.

You May Also Find Useful: How To Tell If Brats Are Done? | What Temperature To Cook Bacon On A Griddle?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if you pull a brisket too early?

An early-pulled brisket is undercooked. It’s not at all juicy like a well-done brisket, as the collagen didn’t get sufficient time to turn into gelatin. However, it’s tricky to determine when the brisket will be done as several factors affect it.

This includes the size of the brisket and the cooking temperature. Ideally, you can take the brisket off the smoker when the internal temperature reaches between 190-203 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do Briskets stall at 180?

Interestingly, stalling while cooking briskets can happen twice. Even after you overcome the initial stall at 160 degrees F, a late-stage stalling can occur at 180 degrees. However, it’s not something unusual. One way to deal with it is to remove the brisket from the smoker and cook it in the oven at 300 degrees.

Should I wrap the brisket if it stalls?

Yes, some chefs like to do so to allow multiple smoky flavors to develop within the muscle fibers. It also helps create a crispy exterior. To get a thick and crispy bark, the temperature should be 170 degrees F.


Stalling, though it is a common process while cooking brisket, can be avoided if a few precautions are taken. Though most people prefer the slow-low cooking approach to prepare brisket, stalling happens at that temperature. Thankfully it can be avoided by raising the temperature. 

Once stalling occurs, it can last up to 7 hours, and Dan oy is stopped when the temperature is raised. Overall, temperature control plays a crucial role in preventing stalling and getting the cooking on track even after stalling. I hope now you have a complete idea regarding what temp does brisket stall? if you still have any confusion, let me know in the comment box.

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