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The Stall

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    The Stall

    Hello from Florida. I'm retired and have been smoking for 30+ years, better now than 10 years ago. After growing up with a barrel smoker, then a vertical New Braunsfels offset, I went over to the dark side 3 years ago with a Rec Tec 590 pellet smoker. Last weekend a buddy of mine and I cooked for a large group and had an unintended nearly controlled experiment and since Amazing Ribs.com and Meathead's book have been my Bibles for BBQ techniques, methods and myths, I would value your opinion on what happened.

    My buddy and I each have Rec Tec pellet smokers. We each cooked a 15lb brisket and a 8.5lb pork shoulder. Each was trimed and prepared the same. We both set our smokers to 230 degrees (computer controlled). My brisket roared through the stall in just under an hour. His took nearly 3 hours to get through the stall. The only variable was I put a water pan in mine, he did not.

    After thinking about this I propose an explanation might be that the humidity in my pit was higher therefore there was less surface evaporation and hence less cooling of the meat. Analogous to the comfort level of perspiring on a hot day in a dry climate versus a humid climate.

    Your thoughts are appreciated.


    If the only difference was the presence of a water pan, it's the most likely explanation. There could be other things (wind in one area and not another, significantly different seals on one, etc) but given the info you provided, I'd lean to humidity as the cause as well.

    Also, there's nothing sacred about very low temps, so if a goal is to shorten time in the stall and cooking time in general I'd cook at 275 or so.
    Last edited by rickgregory; October 18, 2021, 12:07 PM.


      The one other, major variable is the meat. Different cows? Different pigs? Different levels of fat-to-meat ratios? I’ve had similar size briskets where one goes through the stall and one does not albeit cooked at different times/dates. While moisture could be partially responsible, I would think the meat variables played a major role.


      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        Havedta agree th meat could also be a Big factour; Poste up on here, I once cooked twoo racks of BBRs, they was within.o1 oz of each other, one rack took an hour longer than t'other...

      Thanks for the reply. Both smokers were side-by-side under a tent and his is brand new. Again. thanks.


      • tbob4
        tbob4 commented
        Editing a comment
        I like the experiment. I would do it again. Next time use the same equipment. Reverse who uses the water pan and see if results are similar. You can’t go wrong. Two briskets are better than one!
        Last edited by tbob4; October 18, 2021, 01:07 PM.

      Like GolfGeezer said, every animal is different...

      BUT there's a chance your pits are not equally calibrated too. Add in extra variables, like even if you both foil your heat deflector, one of you might have blocked airflow. Lots of little possible differences.

      And if none of those things are true, then that leaves us back at "every animal is different".

      Welcome to The Pit


        Welcome to the Pellet side of BBQ. Long Live "Pellet Heads".
        Combined with the above suggestions are temperature differences between grills.
        Is not BBQ fun? Got to love it. And just when you have the answer the question changes.
        Happy Pellet Grilling to you and PBR too.
        Last edited by bbqLuv; October 18, 2021, 01:05 PM.


          Originally posted by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs View Post
          Like GolfGeezer said, every animal is different...

          BUT there's a chance your pits are not equally calibrated too. Add in extra variables, like even if you both foil your heat deflector, one of you might have blocked airflow. Lots of little possible differences.

          And if none of those things are true, then that leaves us back at "every animal is different".

          Welcome to The Pit
          I assume they both checked pit temps with an external thermometer. If not, calibration could be an issue but it would have to be off by a pretty sizable amount to produce that effect. On airflow etc... Again, I have to assume they controlled for that.

          as to the meat being different... always a possibility but how likely is it that both the butt and brisket in one cooker were so different that they each behaved one way and the meat in the other both behaved the other?


          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Don't know about his model, but at least on the RT700 it's not uncommon for people to fiddle with the controller settings for various times of the year (feedrate, etc...). But yes it would have to be significant to be more than 5 or 10 degrees which wouldn't cause this massive difference. But if they are 20+ degrees different...

          Welcome to the pit from the bbq capital of New England, Massachusetts.


            Welcome to The Pit.


              Welcome to the Pit from Dallas, Texas!


                Welcome to the Pit from the California Delta.


                  Welcome from Western Massachusetts.


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                      I have Recteq RT-700. If that’s the dark side, well I want to be there. As for yor experiment, I have no idea. 🤷‍♂️


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