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High temp stall at high elevation (5,800ft)?

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    High temp stall at high elevation (5,800ft)?

    Edit: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...nd-only-at-189


    Looks like a mundane issue? Crutch and crank the temp to 250-275f?

    Hi all,

    I live in Colorado and have seen this before a couple times before when smoking a small partial brisket (7-8lb? and no crutch) and was targeting a 203F meat temp. Those times I simply pulled the meat at ~190F as it was dinner time. Good dinners but I wonder if it just needed more time. I scheduled about 2h per pound this time for a 10lb bone-in pork butt.

    Primo XL Grill, both D-plates in, Fireboard thermostatic controller and meat thermometer, Kingsford charcoal with 3lb of hickory and apple chunks scattered in the charcoal, 10lb pork butt dry brined (1/2tsp/lb) for ~4h, Memphis dust rub, went on at 7pm last night. We were under a high wind warning last night and my grill temp went up to almost 300F shortly after midnight and then slowly dropped overnight back to 225F by 7AM. The meat slowly and steadily climbed overnight, plateaued at about 6AM at 190F, dropped a couple degrees, and has hung there for the last four hours now.
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    Chemically, water boils at a *lower* temp here, ~204F IIRC so I’m not clear what’s happening, i.e. stall or something else.

    So the question is do I:
    A. just pull it at this 190F plateau?
    B. crutch it and wait?
    C. crutch and crank the Primo to 250-275F?
    C. leave it and wait? (Wasn’t planning to serve it for another 3-4u h)

    Happy Super Bowl Sunday - be safe.

    Current appearance
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    Last edited by Jayhawk; February 7, 2021, 12:41 PM.

    Is it probe tender? If it is, why wait?

    I have a lot of trouble with some butts and points getting to temp. I don't have an explanation other than there's a lot more fat than a brisket flat. Why that matters I can't explain.


      I hadn’t seen a description of this problem in Meathead’s book (that I recall - could be there though) nor on other forums. Thanks JCGrill and to the respondents in the two threads I tacked on the top of my original post - cleared it up well for me.

      Yeah, a Thermoworks probe (roughly same size/gauge as the Fireboard probe) goes in easily. Only one spot where there was a little stiction. Maybe crutch and crank it up to 275F targeting a meat temp of ~195F? That’d likely still leave time for resting it at 170F in an oven. I’ll run with that.

      Yep, it was jiggly when I wrapped. Yummy bark too.
      Last edited by Jayhawk; February 7, 2021, 12:53 PM.


        10-4 toss it in the oven to finish.
        No harm no foul.


          Colorado native here -- you'll drive yourself insane trying to hit sea-level temperature marks and / or cook lengths. Or at least I did. Cooking to a certain temp, for me, was often hit and miss, but when when a thermometer was busted and I had to go solely by feel it was always good -- five years of that and I finally learned to ignore my probes at the end. Go with what JCGrill said, if the texture is right, you're fine.


            I’m not to far off of elevation from you, being at 5200. I’ve never had to take a brisket or butt over 200*. I’ve found with my smoker, 195-198* is usually where I get probe tender results. Sometimes even lower. I use the 190* as my start checking for probe tender point and go from there.

            but, sometimes, you just get those cuts that stall and then stall again later. So, like others said, if it’s not probe tender and needs a bit of time, finish in the oven or crutch and turn the heat up a bit.


              Living at 9100 ft, I feel your pain. If it is probing tender I would pull and wrap until you are ready serve since trying to push it to 203 just means you are boiling out the moisture. I have found my best target temp is 6-7 degrees below the boiling point of water, and I cook at a lower temp (2 degrees lower for every 1000ft above 2000ft in altitude), so I cook around 210 to give the tough cuts extra time to break down..



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