How long does the plateau last?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by matt44, May 27, 2013.

  1. I've been smoking a pork shoulder for almost 10 hours now at about 225. It has stopped at 173 degrees and stayed there for a bit over an hour now. I put it in the oven a half hour ago at 250. I haven't foiled it yet, maybe that would help. It weighed a bit over 10 lbs when I started. Any ideas?
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    1 hour is a short plateau. I've had low-temp stalls hit at around 145* and last for a couple hours, then hit another stall in the upper 160* range and last for 3-4 hours. Stalls are a normal part of cooking low & slow...just let it ride and be patient.

    I think there was some mention of the stall being caused by internal moisture evaporation from the meat. It causes a cooling effect, which is another good reason you should keep smoking when you hit a stall. This should help you understand the process a little better than I can explain it:


  3. Thanks Eric. It's tough being patient but the wait will be worth it. Would you recommend foiling it at this point? I worry about it drying out. Thanks, I'm still pretty new to this!
  4. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've had them stall for 6 hours. I always plan on 2 hrs. per Lb. plus a couple hours as an extra cushion. If its fone early you can wrap in towels and place in a dry cooler and it will stay hot for hours. Yesterday my 8 pounder took 19 hrs with no foil.
  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Depends on how it's trimmed. If it has a fair amount of fat cap to render-down during cooking, it wouldn't hurt to foil or stay on open grates, but I've found that smoke chamber humidity can play a role in what the outcome will be if lean trimmed. Also, are you using a horizontal pit, or a vertical? Water pan or dry?

  6. I'm using a MES 30 with a small water pan that I refill every so often
  7. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Eric is talking about  "evaporative cooling"   
  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ah, Ok...MES runs pretty humid from I hear...good for smoke reaction, but bad for drying out the meat later on in the smoke with meats taken to high finished temps. I've been advocating a wet-to-dry smoke chamber method for about a year now. High humidity keeps the meat's surface fibers loose and porous, which smoke likes, but as the cooking progresses, this loose, porous surface lets moisture evaporate from the meat at a higher rate than if a dry smoke chamber is used before internal temps get too high.

    I don't foil much of anything anymore as result of using this method, and I'm not sure what you might get for results in the MES, but a lot of folks do foil after the 160-170* may want to go that route, too.

    Here's some info when you time to read...a search from my signature line link "Wet/Dry Smoke Method"...look for Pork Butts or Picnic...the picnic smoke was just finished yesterday...there are plenty of other cuts I used this with, but the shoulder cuts are what you're working on right now.:

    Also, to better explain why humidity effects smoke reaction so much, among other things...lots of research in this:


    EDIT: man, I gotta slow down! I just realized I posted this link twice now....LOL!!!

    You won't have a full understanding of all of this in one day, and won't be able to apply much, if any of it, to your smoke right now, but in the future, you can be better prepared if you wish to use this method.

    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  9. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    just did 4 butts , started 6am got done at 3AM !!!!
  10. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The plateau does not happen if you cook at a higher temperature. 275°-285° or better and you can get the big cuts like pork butt done in a reasonable time with no compromise on quality.

    Better still no more sleep deprivation or finishing in the oven or worrying if it'll get done in time.[​IMG]
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As i  knew would happen, a lot of answers and a mixed - up Newbie.

    Matt, pork Butt is very forgiving and a great learning cut of Meat. Anyway you do it,it will be good(I haven't heard of someone tossing one unless it set too long without heat and spoiled.

    Go with the manner you feel good with and send us Q-view of the end product.

    As said, all sorts of ways to get there, I go @ 225*F umtil the temp.inside the center of the meat is 200*f for pulling. I use no foil and don't open the Pit door until mine reaches 200*f, it stays juoce, falls apart and has great Bark.

      The bone willpullout with ease and it will fall apart for you,

     see, no problem with it being juicy.

    I enjoy doing them by the Case...

      same foil...

    have fun and play around and find a comfortable method and send Q-view.

     as always . . .
  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I tried a high-temp butt once...swore I'd never do it again, but it was so long ago that I don't recall what temp I ran at...might have been closer to 290 or 300*. Butt wouldn't pull, almost wouldn't shred either, however, that was before I used the wet-to-dry smoke chamber method.

    When you smoke high-temp with butts, do you run a wet chamber all the way in a vertical smoker? And most importantly, how is the interior moisture after pulling it? I'm curious, as I may try this again with a wet-to-dry chamber next time around just for a better idea on what, if any, differences I might get in the finished product.


  13. Thanks for the tips everyone. Eric, looks like I have some reading to do - thanks! Going on 13 hours now and it's at 185. I'll let you know how it turned out and with some pics.
  14. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I do butts on a Weber kettle with a water pan, a 13"X9"X2" foil pan half filled with hot water to start. The meat stays moist and pullable, not tough. I do not foil.  
  15. It was done just shy of 15 hours. After it rested it fell apart just like you said it would. Looking forward to pulled pork sandwiches tonight! Thanks again to all of you for your help
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hmmmmm..... sandwiches, nectar of the BBQ Gods!
  17. smoke slinger

    smoke slinger Smoking Fanatic

    PP looks good, and like the others said it takes patience. And I'm really suprised I got into smoking as patience is one thing I dont have. But I have learned to at least master it when smoking as the outcome is

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