Crash Course on the

Oven Breakpoint

The breakpoint is the most important factor in a smokehouse or dehydrator.

This one feature of an industrial oven is directly responsible for cooking your product, coloring your product, and either increasing or decreasing your product yields, depending on the strength and velocity of the breakpoint.

As important as the breakpoint is to cooking in a smokehouse or dehydrator, most people don’t fully understand what a breakpoint is and how it affects their product.

In order to help you better understand the breakpoint, we put together this easy to understand guide complete with explanations and videos to help you understand what is going on in your oven and why it is important to purchase an oven that can control the location and duration of the breakpoint.

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Download our Easy to Understand Guide to the Oven Breakpoint to learn more about how the breakpoint affects your product consistency.

Breakpoint Defined

Back in the late 1950’s, an innovative new way of cooking product in the meat processing industry was discovered — an innovation that is still in use in industrial smokehouses and dehydrators today.

This innovation incorporated the use of alternating dampers in forced-air ovens so air from a single fan could be delivered to product on racks.

The alternating dampers on either side of the oven create two opposing airstreams in the oven cabinet. The location where these opposing airstreams collide is called the breakpoint.

The breakpoint is the location where two opposing airstreams in the oven cabinet collide and move either horizontally or vertically through the cabinet (depending on location of breakpoint) to cook the product.

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breakpoint
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Oven Breakpoint

The location where two opposing airstreams in the oven cabinet collide and move either horizontally or vertically through the cabinet (depending on location of breakpoint) to cook product.

oven airflow breakpoint

Breakpoint Formation

The breakpoint is formed by a combination of the fan, alternating dampers, and the corresponding high and low velocity airflows created in the oven.

Airflow created by the fan enters the supply duct and hits the alternating dampers. The damper that is set to block the duct creates the low velocity airflow while the damper set to open creates the high velocity airflow. These differing airflows are on opposing sides of the oven.

The high velocity airflow travels down the oven wall, across the floor, and up the opposing side. The low velocity airflow travels a much shorter distance, hence being low velocity.

The collision of the low velocity airflow and the high velocity airflow causes the air to break towards the center of the oven — forming the breakpoint.

When formed correctly, the breakpoint has enough velocity to penetrate through the product on your rack before the air is drawn back to the return duct. It’s this breakpoint air that ultimately cooks your product.