Wondering if a chicken can stall?
If you cook beef you’ll need that the stall can be a pain.
Or maybe you are not even sure what a stall is?
Don’t worry below is a comprehensive guide on what a chicken stall is and how to beat it like a pro!
Chicken Stall – Will It Happen to You?
When you’re cooking a whole chicken it doesn’t often stall.
This is when the temperature of the meat slows down.
It usually happens when you are cooking brisket and pork shoulder.
Will Cuts of Chicken Meat Stall When Cooking?
Individual cuts like breast meat or chicken thighs will not stall.
Will a Whole Chicken Stall When Cooking?
A whole chicken is still very unlikely to stall.
But there can be an exemption to this rule.
Like if you are cooking multiple birds together.
What Is a Stall?
A stall is when the internal temperature of meat stays the same for hours of cooking.
This tends to happen on larger cuts of meat like pork butt or beef brisket.
From evaporative cooling from the natural moisture in the meat.
Evaporative cooling is when the water within the meat protein fibers evaporates.
The evaporation of moisture from the protein fibers is a higher volume.
In relation to the heat energy from your smoker or oven.
This is called a stall.
As your cooking device cannot emit enough heat against the additional moisture.
Why a Whole Chicken Is Unlikely to Stall
There are some key parts to note when chicken is in question.
And why excess moisture that causes a stall is not a problem!
The Size of a Chicken
An average size of a chicken is 5 pounds.
The lean meats in a chicken do not contain enough natural moisture to cause a stall.
The Cooking Temperature
The average cooking temperature for chicken is 225°F.
This temp is a little low to cause a moisture evaporation rate that causes a stall.
Especially when you also consider the factors below.
The Internal Temperature of the Meat Before Consumption
The common temperature for a stall to occur is when the internal temperature is 155°F.
This is only 10°F below the safe-to-eat internal chicken temp of the meat.
This means that your chicken will be ready just before a stall is likely to happen.
And at this time, you should be resting the chicken for the carry-over cooking.
Which will make up the extra 10°F.
How to Accurately Monitor the Meat’s Internal Temperature
Poultry meat can cause severe food poisoning and even death!
So you don’t want to risk underdone meat.
Always use a digital thermometer in the thickest parts of the chicken.
I like to put at least one in the thighs and breasts of a whole chicken.
Which should be done for the entire cooking and resting period.
The Cook Time Isn’t Long Enough
At 225°F a chicken will take around 40 minutes per pound.
So the average chicken only takes a couple of hours for it to be done.
The stall usually takes place around the 3-4 hour mark in the cooking process.
Is There a Situation Where Chicken Can Stall?
I mentioned that you are likely to have a stall if you are cooking more than 1 chicken.
So please bear this in mind if your cooking chamber is small.
And you have multiple chickens cooking at the same time.
As this will double or triple the evaporation rate.
What Can I Do to Avoid a Stall?
There are a few ways to avoid a stall.
Most of which can be applied to other cuts of meat.
Especially the ones mentioned previously like pork shoulder or brisket.
Spatchcock Your Chicken
Remove the backbone of the chicken and flatten it out.
This creates more surface area for the moisture to evaporate from.
And allows the meat to cook more evenly.
Thus reducing the chance of concentrated evaporation in the air.
Brine & Remove Excess Moisture
Brining is a popular method for chicken.
Adding a salt and water solution will help the meat retain moisture through osmosis.
But be sure you wipe down any residual brine on the chicken.
Don’t Cook More Than 2 Chickens on Your Device
This will depend on the type and size of what you are cooking.
A medium size pellet smoker will be able to handle 2 chickens.
But don’t try and squeeze more than 1 into a conventional oven.
What Can I Do if I Get a Dreaded Stall?
If your chicken or piece of meat is stalling then don’t worry!
Follow the guide below on how to slow down and stop it.
Lower the Cooking Temperature
Your cooking temperature may be a little too high.
Try reducing the heat to 20°F on your temperature gauge.
Less heat = less of an evaporation rate.
Cover the Chicken to Lock In Moisture
Below are some tips and tricks for cooking chicken.
One of which is covering the delicate breast meat with foil towards the end of the process.
As will protect the meat proteins and lock in moisture.
If the meat starts stalling you can do this earlier.
As the foil or butcher paper will deflect the moisture back into the meat.
Instead of evaporating in the hot air.
Maintain a Moist Cooking Environment
Spritz the chicken with a vinegar solution every 60 minutes
The easiest way to do this is to use a spray bottle.
This will keep the air moisture levels up to reduce the evaporation rate.
Tips & Tricks for Cooking Chicken
– Brine your chicken meat but remove any excess surface moisture.
– Use a spice mix of your choice.
– Smoke on a pellet grill at 225°F.
– At 225°F a chicken will cook at 40 minutes per pound.
– Use meat probes to accurately monitor when the chicken is cooked.
– Cover the chicken with foil when the internal meat temp is at 120°F.
– Rest under foil lining 30 minutes.
– Do not keep raw or cooked meat out of the fridge for more than that 30 minutes.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with the boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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