Stall-Proofing Your Smoked Beef Brisket; No Texas Crutch Required


I decided to demonstrate a beef brisket that was smoked FIRST, and then “finished” via sous vide. That should lead to one result, yes? Don’t be too sure!

And so I rubbed.  Some people put on the Dr. No gloves and give the brisket a full Swedish massage, but I mostly sprinkle and pat sternly. I staged the brisket into the largest LIPAVI rack…and then…

Into the REC TEC 680 he/she went.

225F/107C until it the brisket hit 135F/57C internal. Well below 150F/66C!

This usually takes 6 hours or thereabouts, but your mileage may vary.


Once we achieved our first target temperature, we pulled the brisket and bagged it. There was no debate about whether to use Ziploc bags, FoodSaver devices or a Chamber Vacuum. Why not? Because it doesn’t matter. We only sealed one end of the bag. A whole brisket won’t fit into my Vacmaster anyway. In the bottom right slide, you can see the open end of the bag draped over the edge of the vessel. This is what we call SANS VIDE, which is the equivalent of sous vide without the tidy sock drawer.

MORE choices.

Those of you who read the previous article about briskets may be able to guess what comes next…

If you want your brisket to come out well done, the way briskets are usually  EXPECTED to come out, you set the immersion circulator or other PID device to

155F/68Cx18 hours.

This is what you will get:

and this:

and this

and this!


If you are crazy like me and you just can’t help yourself and you want your brisket to come out pink, you set the immersion circulator on

135Fx18 hours.

and you get this:



Now, what do you think about that?

How this affects your back yard event.

I suppose some practitioners get up way early in the morning and fire up the Q, hoping to serve their brisket before sunset. This usually requires some serious finger-crossing and even prayer. But it needn’t be so. Sous Vide can take the anxiety out of meal service scheduling.

Let’s say that you want to have a BBQ party on Sunday afternoon/evening, after church or between games, or whatever. On SATURDAY, some time between the time you get up and noon (those may be the same thing), you smoke your brisket as described above–approx. 6 hours. Out of the REC TEC, into the bag, overnight, 18 hours as prescribed.

But no alarm goes off after. The meat doesn’t suddenly turn to pudding. At those temperatures, you have at least a 6 hour window before a noticeable change in the texture of the meat. If you want to hold it longer than that, just lower the temp in the bath to 129F/54C. Heck, you could serve it on Monday if you ran out of gas on Sunday. That’s how flexible sous vide is!

No matter which you choose, you might want to consider making something like this:

Either brisket is tender enough to cut into a steak, which I then pan seared. I heated a plate in the oven, and put a slice of Humboldt Fog goat cheese on it, very sinful. Heart of Butter lettuce, French, that’s right, FRENCH dressing that I make and my wife loves, avocado, olives, natural juices.

Sigh, SMH. Doesn’t that look good?

Professionally yours as always,




Pitmasters and novices alike have noticed the brisket in their smoker inexplicably stop getting hotter once it hits 150F internal. This is referred to as "The Stall," and can drag on for up to four hours. "Texas Crutch" refers to a method used to overcome the delay caused by the Stall. Can Sous Vide/Sous-B-Q™ provide a solution to this problem? Read on!
The cause for "the stall" has been discussed at great length. The short answer is "evaporative cooling." In even simpler terms, the roast has the "meat sweats." The loss of moisture causes things, and people, to cool off. A pot of water in the oven @212F never boils--even though it evaporates. The energy lost as a result of the dissipation of water in the form of vapor prevents the pan of water from achieving a temperature high enough to actually boil.

The pitmaster's remedy for this is usually the Texas Crutch. This strategy calls for wrapping the roast in foil, among other things. That action itself delays the loss of moisture from the roast. To a limited extent, the water has no where to go! This recharges the thermodynamic process of cooking the meat, and the temperature starts to rise again.

We are going to show how to use sous vide to prevent evaporative cooling from interfering with our quest for the iconic beef brisket.


I built a custom rub. I keep the salt separate, and measure it out to

10Tablespoons Kosher Salt. This will season 10 pounds of meat.

Then I combine:

1 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper.
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp.
Chinese Star Anise
1 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp. Ginger,
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Oregano




2 thoughts on “Stall-Proofing Your Smoked Beef Brisket; No Texas Crutch Required

    • I consider the two models equivalent….which is a change of outlook for sure. One has the advantage of ending up with a preserved product that can be crisped. The other ends up with a crispy product that can then be preserved.

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