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


We will first hot smoke the beef brisket FIRST, and finished via sous vide.

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

Hot smoke the brisket @225F/107C until it achieves 135F/57C internal.

The process usually takes 3 hours or thereabouts. Monitor the internal temperature frequently after it achieves 120F to avoid exceeding your target.

Once we achieve our target temperature, we pull the brisket and bag it. There is no debate about whether to use Ziploc bags, FoodSaver devices or a Chamber Vacuum. Why not? Because it does not matter. We only seal one end of the bag.

A whole brisket will not fit into most chamber vacuum machines. Channel vacuums’ heating strips are not long enough to seal a bag big enough fora whole brisket, at least not in a single step. This means we must seal half of the first opening at an angle first, and then the other. Sleeves of plastic large enough to accommodate a whole brisket are available–make sure they are appropriately temperature rated. 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 task of vacuum sealing.

Whether the bag is sealed at both ends or not, the brisket MUST be fully submerged during processing, for purposes of safety and uniformity.

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 to

130Fx18 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. It need not be so. Sous vide can take the anxiety out of meal service scheduling.

Let us pretend that you want to have a BBQ party on Sunday afternoon/evening, after church or between games, or whatever. On SATURDAY, sometime between the time you get up and noon (those may be the same thing), you smoke your brisket as described above–approx. 3-4 hours. Then, out of your smoker and into the bag, overnight, for 18 hours.

No alarm will sound, unless you set one. This is another amazing feature of sous vide. The meat does not suddenly turn to pudding if your interval extends for another six hours. At those temperatures, there will be no noticeable change in the texture of the meat. Heck, you could serve it on Monday if you ran out of propane on Sunday. That is 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 can then be pan seared. Make it a habit to heat plates in the oven, and put a slice of Humboldt Fog goat cheese on the plate, very sinful. Heart of Butter lettuce, French, yes, FRENCH dressing. I make a version wife loves, garnish with avocado, olives, natural juices.

Sigh, SMH. Doesn’t that look good?

Professionally yours as always,




click to show/hide

Pitmasters and novices alike have witnessed the internal temperature of their “stalling” during the process of being smoked. This phenomenon usually occurs at approximately 150F internal. This inconvenience 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 s There has been a lot of speculation as to the cause for the stall. The short answer is a process called evaporative cooling. In familiar terms, the roast has the meat sweats! The loss of moisture causes many things to cool off, including people. A pot of water in the oven @212F will never boil--even though it evaporates. The energy lost through the dissipation of water/steam prevents the pan of water from achieving a temperature equal to its surroundings.

The pitmaster's remedy for this is frequently the Texas Crutch. This strategy calls for wrapping the roast in foil or other substances. The action reduces the loss of moisture from the roast. This in turn restores the thermodynamic response of the meat, and the internal temperature starts to rise again.

We are going to show how one can also use sous vide to prevent evaporative cooling from interfering with the quest for the iconic beef brisket; tender and moist.


We will build a custom rub, keeping the salt separate from the mix itself. Start with:

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


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.

Got Something To Say?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *