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Why does meat "plateau"

edited 6:22PM in EggHead Forum
I am working with a Boston Butt now and it has plateau'd its temp at 156-157. I know this is common, but why? What is the scientific explanation for this phenomena?

Comments

  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    DoubleThis,[p]The "plateau" is when the connective tissue or colagen begins to break down to eventually render a most tender piece of meat. It's not uncommon for the temp to stall for hours in this zone or even drop a few degrees before once again begining to rise.[p]K~G

  • Mike in MNMike in MN Posts: 546
    KennyG,
    As the collagen breaks down, it breaks down into moisture/juice, which keeps the internal temp at a constant, cooler level. As the collagen disappears, the temp goes up and it's done....tender, juicy and good![p]I have 3 Boston blades going as we speak. They have been on at 225 for 18 hours and one is headed for the finish line, and the other two are still stalled.[p]Mike in MN

  • DoubleThis,
    In addition to what has already been said, it is very similar to the experiment that we all did (didn't we?) in high school chemistry where you mixed different liquids with different boiling points and then you measured the temperature of the mixture as you heated it. The temperature would plateau at each boiling point until that liquid boiled off, and then the temp would rise until you reached the next boiling point. It is also why you cannot, under normal conditions get liquid water any hotter than 212 (or whatever the boiling point is at your location). All the energy that is being put into the water is being used in converting the water from liquid to gas. Only once this has occurred can the heat be used to raise the temperature of the steam above 212. During the meat's plateau, all the heat being put into the meat is being used to break down collagen, etc. and so no heat is available to raise the temperature. [p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • The Naked Whiz,
    A less scientific explaination is what Mamma used to say: "Just because..." Grin![p]As I say in my computer classes: I have absolutely no explaination on how/why a piston engine works, but I can drive a car. Just buy into it...[p]Kelly

  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,808
    Kelly Keefe, reminds me of the poor parish priest explaining his need for a different car..."well, the brakes aren't braking; the wipers aren't wiping; the horn's not honking and the pistons aren't - well, they aren't working either"
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • The Whiz,
    Thanks, That makes a lot of sense, but now i've plateaued again at 173. If I was breaking down collagen at 156, what is happening at 173?
    DoubleThis

  • Mike in MN,
    OK i will bite...
    What is the difference between a Boston Butt and a Boston Blade?

  • doublethis,
    Since all the strange things that make up a piece of meat are made of different substances, I wouldn't be surprised if there were several mini-plateau's along the way. But at this point, I think I'd take the advice of the others who say they can't make an engine, but they can drive. :-)[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
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