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Tale as old as time: Trouble with "The Stall"

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  • 13Bravo
    Club Member
    • Jul 2020
    • 4
    • NYC, NY

    Tale as old as time: Trouble with "The Stall"

    Hey all, first off: absolutely love the site! Thank you for all the great intel and recipes, you've helped me wow some folks and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

    One to my question/issue...it's a tale as old as time I guess but I could really use some insight: I keep struggling with "The Stall" and I'd really like to get through it without the crutch.

    Here is the latest example as it has me really frustrated: Just smoked a pork butt yesterday in my masterbuilt electric smoker...the pork butt, was a meager 3# 8oz...I smoked at 225 for 8 hours...never got about 158F! That is more than 2 hours per pound and still didn't get through the stall. I then increased to 260 for another hour and 20 minutes...got to 163 but was moving at a crawl...the natives were getting restless, so I threw in the towel and pulled it, shredded it (with some difficulty as it didn't pull without a fight) and we had some real good but could be better pulled pork. Don't get me wrong, we all enjoyed it (especially with your memphis dust on it) but it wasn't that awesome melt away moist tenderness you say you get at 203 (which I have never gotten to...yet!).

    Any thoughts? It seems crazy that 9 hours and 20 minutes in on a 3# 8oz butt and 163 is all I could get to....Thanks in advance!


    13Bravo
    U.S.H.A.!
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 3521
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

      Cookers
      • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (2021)
      • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
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      • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q & Rotisserie (2007)
      • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
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      Beverages
      • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

    #2
    Butts are not cooked in hours per pound but more like hours per inch of thickness. Take a 10 pound bone in butt, slice in half, with the bone being in one half, and smoke. It will take about the same time as the full 10 pounder.

    At 225F, a typical butt will take 12-14 hours for me.

    To push through the stall without wrapping, a measly increase to 260F won’t do it. Try 300 or 325 even! In fact, next time, I suggest trying your entire cook at 275 instead of 225. A butt is a very forgiving hunk of meat and can take the heat.

    Anything below A internal temp of 195 is chopped rather than pulled pork territory.
    Last edited by jfmorris; July 4, 2020, 09:57 AM.

    Comment


    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      + 2 listen to jfmorris. Thickness of meat determines cook time. I am betting that your little butt was a boneless one tied up and at least 4” thick. How close am I?
      Last edited by LA Pork Butt; July 5, 2020, 04:41 AM.

    • Ahumadora
      Ahumadora commented
      Editing a comment
      +3

    • BFlynn
      BFlynn commented
      Editing a comment
      +8!

      Ive seen a pork go into a 9 hr stall.

      Only other advice is start earlier, even over night. If it finishes early you can hold it in a cambro or oven.

      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...my-pulled-pork
      Last edited by BFlynn; July 4, 2020, 06:07 PM.
  • Steve R.
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 2504
    • Elizabethtown, KY
    • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

    #3
    I started out with that Masterbuilt electric and 8 lb butts routinely went 20 hrs or more for me. I never had any idea when it would be done, and that's just too much stress when you are having guests over.

    These max out at around 275, so crutching is the best play here. Life got easier when I quit letting a dead hog dictate what time we get to eat.

    Comment

    • Sweaty Paul
      Founding Member
      • Aug 2014
      • 1622
      • Hays, KS
      • Green Mountain Grill - Jim Bowie
        (I've never regretted having too much grate space).

        Weber Genesis Gas grill
        Weber Kettle grills x 2

      #4
      jfmorris is spot on. Remember not all butts are the same either. I do a variation of what he does. Often I will start at 225 and cook that way for several hours to get more smoke flavor (I'm cooking on a pellet smoker Yoder's YS-640). Once I get to the stall territory 150-165 internal I kick the heat up to 275-300 depending on when I want the darn thing done. If I'm really pressed I will use the crutch and wrap. If I have time and want to crisp up the bark and I wrap then I open and crank up the temp to 300-325 for 30 minutes more.

      Good luck and keep cooking!

      Salutations from Hays, Kansas!

      Sweaty Paul

      Comment


      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks man, appreciate it! I'm thinking the next one I'll just figure 12 to 14 hours....still go 225 and see what happens. If I still have a problem, I'll start increasing the temp.

        Not exactly around the corner but I was stationed in Ft Riley for awhile...some of the nicest folks I've ever met were those I met in KS!


        On a related note: Just noticed the comment field, haha! Sorry to all for my multiple posts below!!
        Last edited by 13Bravo; July 5, 2020, 10:28 AM.

      • Sweaty Paul
        Sweaty Paul commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the Kansas compliment. Keep cooking, posting, and trying new things and you will find folks here love to help and your food will get better and better.

      • Mosca
        Mosca commented
        Editing a comment
        Do 275, not 225. It will be great. You gotta trust the group on this one.
    • smokenoob
      Club Member
      • Dec 2017
      • 1133
      • Gulf Breeze, Florida

      #5
      Ya know when to take it off the smoker?
      When it’s done! That would be 202/203 degrees and time is difficult to predict. My pellet pooper takes about 18 hours to get there at 225 and the a few hours in the faux cambro, just back up the clock from your targeted serving time. And, as many have said, you can bump it up to 350 deg after some time at 225 to keep the guests from draining your libations and taking all their cloths off..,...or not
      Last edited by smokenoob; July 4, 2020, 01:03 PM.

      Comment


      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        18 hours, good Lord! Now that puts the slow in low and slow. Unfortunately, my MB electric maxes out at 275 so I couldn't hit those notes unless I threw it in the oven. I'm going to give the next one 12 to 14 and see how that goes.,,then I'll start upping temp.
    • smokin fool
      Club Member
      • Apr 2019
      • 2249
      • Mississauga, Ont

      #6
      I now smoke my butts at 280 to 320.
      Low n slow has its merits but I’m into instant gratification
      Even doing this timing is never perfect

      Comment


      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        You'd think as a NY'er born and raised I'd be interested in quicker gratification as well but I think I'm a southerner at hear, haha! I like slow roasting, don't mind taking my time (although one comment talked about 18 hours...now that might be pushing my patience).
    • Argoboy
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 407
      • Southern Ontario 70 miles from Detroit

      #7
      Click image for larger version

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      There was a post a while back called turbo pulled pork and the author cooked at 325F after the meat was injected with apple juice and I have had good success doing this way. It shortens the cooking time and the results are good.

      Comment


      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        That looks fantastic!
    • Donw
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 3495

      #8
      Welcome from Maryland. I personally cook almost everything at 275. In the good old days when we could have people over for a BBQ with set times I always started my butts early enough planning on at least a 3 hour hold or I just smoked them a day early. Great thing about butts is they hold in a faux cambro really well and if done the day before pulled pork reheats so well.

      Comment


      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the welcome!!

        So at 275, what would you say was a typical cook time in your experience (with no crutch)? And were the results that same tender gold I keep reading about?
    • ecowper
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 3659
      • Maple Valley, WA
      • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
        Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

        Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
        Thermometer = Maverick ET732
        Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
        Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
        Thermapen Classic = Grey
        PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

        Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
        Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
        Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
        Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

        Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


        Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

      #9
      Crazy enough, my pork butt today powered right along, got through the normal area for the stall just fine. No issues at 160. Got all the way to 186 and then stalled hard. Finally had to crank the temp up to 300+ and power past it. No good reason I can see other than just being a stubborn piece of meat.

      Comment


      • ecowper
        ecowper commented
        Editing a comment
        13Bravo yeah, sounds like it’s your smoker per what you’ve said and others have said. I’ve never had a pork butt take that long, not even cooking at 225-230.

        Side note: Were you, or are you, Field Artillery? Assuming that 13B may be your MOS :-)

      • 13Bravo
        13Bravo commented
        Editing a comment
        Hey ecopower, I'm going to invest in a good digital thermometer next and see if its running true.

        Yes sir, I was one of Hamilton's own, 13B, a looong time ago but once in, always in is how I feel about it!

      • ecowper
        ecowper commented
        Editing a comment
        13Bravo .... retired here, started life as a 19D (scout), then got enticed into tanks with a big re-enlistment bonus and spent the rest of my time on M60 and M1 tanks. (19E and 19K).

        Yeah, no matter what a good digital thermometer will be a worthwhile investment.
    • 13Bravo
      Club Member
      • Jul 2020
      • 4
      • NYC, NY

      #10
      Thank you everyone for the feedback!! Obviously everyone sees the newbie neon sign floating above my head...have a lot to learn still and your feedback and this site really are gold!

      "LA Pork Butt commented
      Yesterday, 01:36 PM
      + 2 listen to jfmorris. Thickness of meat determines cook time. I am betting that your little butt was a boneless one tied up and at least 4” thick. How close am I?
      Last edited by LA Pork Butt; Today, 04:41 AM."


      Hey LA, you hit it on the head exactly...incredible! I'm thinking you've done this once or twice before.

      couldn't fine a bone-in roast so went with a boneless, tied it up and yeah, it was definitely right around 4" thick...

      OK, so in all the reading I've done I've come across comments, almost seemed to be made in passing in my view, regarding thickness of meat. But the majority of the guidance seems to talk about time...hence the 90mins/# average (with the variable disclaimers on cut, size, thickness, etc). So I figured if I give that 2hrs/# then I should be good and man was I wrong.

      So, in addition to needing to allow more time obviously, it sounds like the general consensus here is also, forget 225 and go with a higher temp? Am I correct in that assumption? Or go with the crutch (which I am stubbornly trying desperately to avoid)...

      My masterbuilt electric maxes out at 275...in y'all experience, no issues with bark, ternderness, etc going at 275?

      Continued thanks in advance!


      13Bravo
      U.S.H.A.!

      Comment

      • 13Bravo
        Club Member
        • Jul 2020
        • 4
        • NYC, NY

        #11
        Originally posted by jfmorris View Post
        Butts are not cooked in hours per pound but more like hours per inch of thickness. Take a 10 pound bone in butt, slice in half, with the bone being in one half, and smoke. It will take about the same time as the full 10 pounder.

        At 225F, a typical butt will take 12-14 hours for me.

        To push through the stall without wrapping, a measly increase to 260F won’t do it. Try 300 or 325 even! In fact, next time, I suggest trying your entire cook at 275 instead of 225. A butt is a very forgiving hunk of meat and can take the heat.

        Anything below A internal temp of 195 is chopped rather than pulled pork territory.
        Thanks for the insight and the quick response JFmorris! It felt like chopped...pulling that damn thing was like wrestling the hog live...fought like a son of gun!

        Comment

        • 13Bravo
          Club Member
          • Jul 2020
          • 4
          • NYC, NY

          #12
          Originally posted by Steve R. View Post
          I started out with that Masterbuilt electric and 8 lb butts routinely went 20 hrs or more for me. I never had any idea when it would be done, and that's just too much stress when you are having guests over.

          These max out at around 275, so crutching is the best play here. Life got easier when I quit letting a dead hog dictate what time we get to eat.
          I got it as a Christmas gift from my brother...I'll stick with it until I get a lot more experience and then think about getting something new....biggest complaint is that I can't fit a whole rack of ribs on on grate, and I have to add wood every 30 to 50 minutes because of how small the bin is (basically maxes out at an ounce)...and after second add, need to open the smoker, take out the tray, and empty it or I won't be able to add more wood since its full.

          So, I'm just a friggin' stubborn SOB and I really don't want to do the crutch if I can avoid it...

          Comment


          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            Next best option then is run it like you have been doing, then crank it on up to 275 once the bark is developed.

            Also, I didn't know any better at the time, but I'm not sure how accurate that thermostat really is. You may want to check that to make sure you're not just cooking at a lower temperature than you think.

          • 13Bravo
            13Bravo commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Steve..definitely going to invest in a new thermometer to see how true my smoker is running, thanks!
        • xaugievike
          Club Member
          • Jan 2017
          • 732
          • Chicagoland
          • Weber Genesis 300 series
            Weber Summit Charcoal With custom grill center
            Primo XL 400
            Blackstone 22" TableTop Griddle
            Ooni Pro Pizza oven

          #13
          When I had a MES30 a few years back, and after struggling with some cooks due to duration, I finally bought a good external thermometer. That little external thermometer told me that the 225 I thought I was cooking at with the built in thermo on the MES was more like 195 where the food was sitting. After learning that and adjusting cook temp accordingly, my cooks became much easier and eventually predictable.

          Comment


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            This is what I am thinking. The Masterbuilt Electric might be smoking at a lot less than 225F. He needs to get a good thermometer (Smoke, Maverick XR-50, something) and see what the cooking temperature really is, versus trusting the smoker. Even more expensive smokers can be significantly off from the set point.
        • ecowper
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 3659
          • Maple Valley, WA
          • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
            Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

            Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
            Thermometer = Maverick ET732
            Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
            Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
            Thermapen Classic = Grey
            PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

            Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
            Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
            Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
            Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

            Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


            Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

          #14
          Hey 13Bravo do you have some kind of grill? A Weber kettle maybe? If so, you might try learning to smoke on the grill. Just a thought.

          Comment

          • CRO
            CRO
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 248
            • Northern Illinois
            • 22.5" Weber Performer
              Slow 'N Sear with Drip 'N Griddle
              18" Weber Jumbo Joe
              Pit Barrel Cooker
              ThermoWorks Smoke
              Maverick ET-733
              Thermapen
              ThermoPop
              Coleman Roadtrip Grill LXE (for Tailgating at Packer games)
              Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
              Favorite Beer - New Glarus Moon Man or Spotted Cow

            #15
            I smoked a 7.5 pounder on Tuesday, bone in.
            B&B, 280ish for 7 hours. 3 hour rest.
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