You wouldn’t want to invite your friends over for a Labor Day barbeque and not be able to provide top quality meat, right? Imagine this, you invite them over for a delicious beef brisket or for some pulled BBQ pork. You start early and place the meat in the smoker and you measure the temperature consistently to make sure that it keeps staying at a desirable point.
The first two hours go by and everything seems fine. However, all of a sudden, the temperature is no longer rising and it remains constant for hours, as your friends go hungrier and you are forced to order something to eat. We hope that this Labor Day horror story doesn’t scare you away from cooking a strong barbecue.
What we described is called the Stall (the Zone or the Plateau) and it represents the bane of aspiring pitmasters everywhere. Commonly found in low-temperature cooking, the Stall is still firing up debates as to what exactly causes it.
As with every other story, there are two sides to this one. First, some believe that a protein in meat, called collagen, when combined with water it starts to form gelatin at the 160 degrees Fahrenheit point. On the other hand, it is possible that the fat rendering is turning lipids to liquids. Of course, science had to be used in order to get to the bottom of this.
Greg Blonder, a professor from the Boston College, started making experiments with cooking meat and he managed to come up with a definite answer. Apparently, the stall is caused by evaporative cooling, which means that as the meat starts cooking, it also starts to sweat. In doing so, it releases moisture, which evaporates and starts cooling it.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.