Originally Posted by pocoloco
I'm gonna try this for my next brisket and see what it does to the stall. I have a BGE so figure it's a valid example as the ceramic has decent thermal mass. The bigger question is will avoiding the stall provide for a moister product since it's not clocking unnecessary hours and losing unnecessary moisture to reach tenderness?
I believe you will find that it makes no difference if you cook until a birsket or pork butt is tender. What makes a long cooked piece of meat tender is the breakdown of the connective tissue that is binding the fibers of the meat together, this must be achieved without denaturing the protein of the muscle fibers themselves. You still need to denature the collagen, you will still drive off moisture that is trapped within the collagen bound tissues as it denatures. The collagen on BBQ does not render, it denatures and becomes a liquid, which is the moisture we detect in long cooked meats.
Fat does render, with the moisture evacuating the meat, while the fatty acid and long chain carbon sugars reamaining as a component within the meat. This is why a properly done pulled pork or brisket point has a sweetness and unctuous mouth feel. In this case, the water has been evaporated. There is physically less fat in the meat.
I agree with the physical explanation offered previously, in terms of how the need for equilibrium is the key factor in determining stall length, but, I still believe it is the process of denaturing the collagen that determines when the meat is done. I would add, I have had meat that easily finished in the 200F range, but, have run across meats that were done in the 180F range and others that never seemed to get tender.