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View Full Version : The Chemistry of the Barbecue “Stall”



Mucho Bocho
09-04-2012, 03:54 PM
Thought folks on this forum might appreciate this, except Hax that is, delving into kitchen science really isn't his thing <smile>

http://modernistcuisine.com/2012/08/barbecue-stall/

Zwiefel
09-04-2012, 04:10 PM
Nice! Great food science share!

Jim
09-04-2012, 04:20 PM
Interesting! I wonder what would happen if I left the 2 gallons of hot water out of my smoker:rofl2: would it not stall?

hax9215
09-04-2012, 04:34 PM
BLASPHEMY!!! :doublebanghead:

i would submit that the results would be different with a bone-in meat such as ribs or a shoulder with the H-bone left intact, forget chicken; plus there are the religious implications involved in putting smoked meat in a hi-tech montrosity as a sous-vide. I have seen smokers put the brisket directly into the fire-box for a few minutes to dry it out and end the stall, but I leave most of the fat cap on precluding this. I have never viewed leaving the meat in the smoker long enough to end the stall as a problem; the more smoke the better plus I usually have a butt or two going at the same time so killing the fire is not a priority. LOW AND SLOW!!! :bbqsmoker:

Mucho Bocho
09-04-2012, 04:38 PM
Glad you could chime in Hax! You know i'm only ribbing you, no pun intended ;)

Eamon Burke
09-04-2012, 04:40 PM
So, wait...why are they trying to prevent the stall?

And doesn't sous-vide prevent the meat from drying out at all? How you get a crust in a sous-vide bag?

brainsausage
09-04-2012, 04:49 PM
I can attest to the veracity of this info. Since I've started placing a pan of water in my smoker, I've noticed a significant decrease in the stall. As well as a juicier end result. The smoke can only adhere to so much of the meat, so unless you're slicing your product into long thin strips- the length of time smoking isn't nearly as important as the wet bulb temperature. I've also had far tastier results smoking with dry, unsoaked wood. I know that sounds blasphemous to some, but the flavor profile of the smoke is much deeper and less acrid IMO.

Mucho Bocho
09-04-2012, 04:53 PM
Eamon, I sous vide a prepared butt (brined, pumped and ot tumble vac) for 48hrs at 140F. Then chill, then season, then pop it in the smoker until desired temp and bark is formed. its cool because you can break up the cooking process. I can go from 42 to 195 in three hours after meat has been sous vide. I'll post some pics later

brainsausage
09-04-2012, 05:02 PM
Eamon, I sous vide a prepared butt (brined, pumped and ot tumble vac) for 48hrs at 140F. Then chill, then season, then pop it in the smoker until desired temp and bark is formed. its cool because you can break up the cooking process. I can go from 42 to 195 in three hours after meat has been sous vide. I'll post some pics later

The restaurant group that I work for is in the beginning stages of opening a BBQ joint, and we're leaning pretty heavily towards this technique utilizing C-VAP'S as opposed to sous vide, as well as some more traditional methods of course.

hax9215
09-04-2012, 05:47 PM
No worries, I view this as missionary work i.e. preaching to the heathens. :biggrin: I know I am getting old, and I am not the fool that saw a giraffe for the first time and proclaimed "There ain't no such animal" but combining sous-vide and smoking is against my religion; even if you align the sous-vide machine on a back azimuth to Memphis. :joec:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

hax9215
09-04-2012, 05:51 PM
And here, brothers and sisters, is incontrovertable proof that THERE IS NO BARBEQUE NORTH OF PHILIDELPHIA!!!! :soapbox:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

hax9215
09-04-2012, 05:56 PM
Actually, I prefer dry wood on a slow fire and a half-pan of water in the smoker box with the meat. :bbqsmoker:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

brainsausage
09-04-2012, 06:06 PM
Actually, I prefer dry wood on a slow fire and a half-pan of water in the smoker box with the meat. :bbqsmoker:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

I wasn't singling you(or any one else) out with that blasphemous quote Hax btw... I just don't follow the religious zeal that some people have when a comes to certain cooking techniques. There's a multitude of different methods out there, and I'd like to try the majority of them before I'm in the ground. I prefer to have an open mind and a full stomach:D

hax9215
09-04-2012, 06:16 PM
I hope I did not offend, Brainsausage. One must examine different scriptures in their search for the truth, and as heresy goes your statement was relatively menial. I wish you a good journey towards the light. :joec:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Zwiefel
09-04-2012, 06:18 PM
IME using soaked wood for smoking just wastes your charcoal, and adds an element of chaos to temperature control. proper attention to venting should be able to control the amount of O2 getting to your smoking wood, and thus force a smolder instead of a burn...and if you have good equipment, you can even control the rate of the smolder :)

Lucretia
09-04-2012, 06:18 PM
I have some problems with the interpretation of the graph. The wet bulb temperature shows humidity increasing until about 1 1/2 hours into the cook time, and then it declines at a steady rate. The author says that the stall is caused by evaporative cooling while the surface of the meat dries. If that's the case, the humidity levels should reflect the stall--if the meat came out of the stall due to its surface drying and the roast generating less moisture, the wet bulb thermometer should decrease at a faster rate once the roast is dry.

There seems to be some hinky science behind this. I'd like to see a lot more information on their test set up before I'd say this is valid.

lowercasebill
09-04-2012, 07:25 PM
I have some problems with the interpretation of the graph. The wet bulb temperature shows humidity increasing until about 1 1/2 hours into the cook time, and then it declines at a steady rate. The author says that the stall is caused by evaporative cooling while the surface of the meat dries. If that's the case, the humidity levels should reflect the stall--if the meat came out of the stall due to its surface drying and the roast generating less moisture, the wet bulb thermometer should decrease at a faster rate once the roast is dry.

There seems to be some hinky science behind this. I'd like to see a lot more information on their test set up before I'd say this is valid.

well put..
phase change will absorb energy with out changing temperature.. think water to ice and the reverse it cannot be discounted ,, basic physics.
also .. get a big green egg and forget the water pan. if you are competeing wrap it for time control.

Carl
09-04-2012, 09:40 PM
I'm another BBQer. I don't know Hax, but I know the type. I'm much more Dr. Jekyll than Mr. Hyde when it comes to BBQ, and the end result is all that matters. In Hax language, if I have to sell my Dover sole to the Devil to get good BBQ... well, my choice is made.

I have an electric water smoker, a pellet offset smoker and a bullet charcoal smoker. I've smoked with water and without, chips, chunks, shreds, pellets, briquettes, wet, dry. While my water smoker cooks in half the time of the dry methods, bar none the best barbecue I make is last weeks barbecue. I don't mean the BBQ I made on Aug 28th. I mean whenever I make more Q than I need I freeze it in vacuum bags and simmer it in water on the stove to bring it back to life. It's always, and I mean always, better out of the bag. Let's be honest, it's impressively good out of the box, but it's always better out of the bag.

This is not sous vide in the purest sense, but it's about as close as I can get without expensive equipment, and it's all I need, a big burner, a big stock pot, and a big vacuum bag full of meat.

I've seen this type of demonstration before. Another demo can be done in a pressure cooker. It's hard to get smoke but super easy to get fall apart tender in the pressure cooker, and there is no stall in there.

Like it or not, smoke for 4-6 hours at a very low temp (as low as 180) and then sous vide it at your desired final temp, add sauce, mop or braising liquid in the bag to take it over the edge. If you want a bark, bring it in 5 degrees low and grill or broil to the end. There's not a lot of romance, but when you're talking about consistency and super high quality, what works works.

Carl
09-04-2012, 09:43 PM
I forgot to mention my question.

How much steam pressure was generated in the vacuum bag? It matters.

Jim
09-04-2012, 10:03 PM
I have some problems with the interpretation of the graph. The wet bulb temperature shows humidity increasing until about 1 1/2 hours into the cook time, and then it declines at a steady rate. The author says that the stall is caused by evaporative cooling while the surface of the meat dries. If that's the case, the humidity levels should reflect the stall--if the meat came out of the stall due to its surface drying and the roast generating less moisture, the wet bulb thermometer should decrease at a faster rate once the roast is dry.

There seems to be some hinky science behind this. I'd like to see a lot more information on their test set up before I'd say this is valid.

This is my issue with the article, the assumptions of whats going on are not supported. The results I have no trouble accepting. There is a lot going on in a BBQ- combinations of woods, water content of the fuel, water bath or not, super low volume smokers like the BGE or a stick burner that goes through a 1/4 cord of wood. They all experience a stall when cooking larger cuts of meat. Whats that mean? Hell if I know.

Lucretia
09-05-2012, 12:33 AM
OK, here it is. The definitive Barbie Q:




http://intradayfun.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/BarbieQ_barbecue.jpg

hax9215
09-05-2012, 08:48 AM
Now put THEM in the sous-vide and call it a Bar-B-Hot-Tub!!! :rofl2:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

brainsausage
09-05-2012, 10:45 AM
Now put THEM in the sous-vide and call it a Bar-B-Hot-Tub!!! :rofl2:

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

:rofl2:

Lucretia
09-05-2012, 11:52 AM
"Bar-B-Hot-Tub". Heh heh heh.