Author Topic: DId a butt on Saturday and...  (Read 6358 times)

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: DId a butt on Saturday and...
« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2011, 02:20:11 AM »
The larger pan will increase the amount of moisture in your cabinet. The pan provides a large surface area for moisture to evaporate. With the larger pan, I would leave the vent wide open, but it never hurts to experiment and try adjusting the vent positions.

While you are still cooking you don't want to pan or bowl to go dry. The pan also is there to catch grease and other drippings. If the pan is dry that can create a condition to start a grease fire. Also with the load of butts you are cooking, keep a 2 inch putty knife nearby to scrap off the "V" pan (drip pan). If the vents get clogged that can also create a fire hazard.

Should you keep the pan of go back to the bowl? I don't use a pan, but in your case I look at it as a trade off. With the bowl you will need to empty and replenish about every 4 hours, so you will be loosing heat each time you open the door. With the pan you may not have to change the water during the whole smoke/cook. If you are rotating the racks, and opening the door anyway then you can change the bowl.

A lot of us have added a second heating element so we get those higher temperatures. Your cabinet temperatures seem average for what your load is. I'm guessing you have the OBS. With the OBS I generally move the slider all the way to the right. If I plan to smoke at around 200°F, I bring the smoker up to around 240°F or higher, while it is empty. Yours should be able to reach that temperature, while it is empty. The extra heat helps with recovery times, due to the heat loss you will have during loading. The other steps you are using are the same as what I would do. Leave the temperature controller all the way to the right and only adjust if the cabinet temperature gets too high. Also placing a brick in the smoker will help with the heat recovery.

Here are some useful tips:
Bradley FAQ's

Did you see any improvement in cabinet temperatures when you removed some of the meat and continued cooking the rest?


Offline Caneyscud

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Re: DId a butt on Saturday and...
« Reply #31 on: November 09, 2011, 07:25:02 AM »
I'm not privy to the original design parameters of the Bradley, but I bet it went something like this - "a smoking device that will produce excellent low and slow barbecue and other smoked goods that is dependable, safe, and is simple enough to be operated by anyone. "  I'm sure there was other things about cost and guvment regs in there also,   The Bradley does just that.  You feed it some pucks, turn it on, put water in the bowl, put your meat in, set it and then set back and monitor it.  Then that little sheet metal box chugs away until some hours later, you pull out great smoked goodies.  Other than the obvious differences in size, type of fuel, electronics, etc... there is one other big difference between a Bradley and a big stickburner.  That is heat storage mass.  A thousand pounds of 1/4" steel holds a lot more heat that a couple of pounds of thin sheet metal.  Both smokers work more or less as a convection oven - cooking with hot air.  Not by the the radiant heat of a heat source or by conduction like your stovetop.  When you open either, they will dump their hot air out into the atmosphere - with or without a PID.    When the stickburner dumps its hot air, it has not only the heat source but the stored heat in the steel to quickly heat up the air again.  The Bradley only has the element to heat the air back up.   Plus the 500W element will not produce as much heat as the typical fire in a stickburner.  The Bradley is slower to recover - but it will - with or without a PID.  Same thing happens in your kitchen oven, but it recovers much faster because of the typical 3000w+ element in it.  The Bradley, doesn't get much over 260 to 275.  It is not designed to.  It is not needed.  First might be cost, but more likely because any higher is not needed.  Remember this is low and slow cooking for a reason - low and slow is what makes barbecue flavorful AND tender.   But also remember one of the other design parameters is for it to be safe and another is that it be easy enough to be used by anybody.  They could have put in a 3000w element, but I'm sure that brings in a lot of other changes to the design that I'm sure brings in much more cost.  PLUS, the ease of correct use.  My wife is not the most observant cook.  She has one setting - HIGH.  And she overcooks and burns lots of food.  If they didn't make a high, she would probably be much more successful at cooking.   I've never burned anything in the Bradley.  Why not - the 500w element moderates that.  If they had put in a much bigger element, then burning would be a much bigger problem as many would probably try to always cook on high and might produce sub-par barbecue.  They could also have put in a wingding, high falutten temp controller to control the temps to +/- 1/2 a degree.  But again, that would likely to raise the cost considerably.  And for what reason?  That butt/brisket/ribs/etc... doesn't care much if there is a temperature range.  Read this forum, no read any forum and/or study how some of the pros do a butt.  Some cook at 180, some cook at 200, some cook at 225, some cook at 250, some cook at 350, even some may start out a brisket at 450 or higher.  They all produce passable, if not very good barbecue.  So what did I just describe?  I just described a temperature range.  If a butt can be cooked at any of those temps successfully, do you think it matters if during a cook the cabinet temperature ranges between 180 and 230?  Where it does make a difference is with some more tempermental and/or sensitive goodies like, sausage, fish, cheese, lox, etc....  Temperature control also makes a difference with time of cook.  If the temp ranges from 180 to 230 constantly rather than being on 230 constantly the cook time could be longer.  However, there are many more things that affect the length of cook time other than temps. 

I preheat my Bradley before a smoke to 260 or above.  Not too sure what all that does with a stock DBS like mine, but it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.  Remember when you open that door all that 260 deg air will dump out.  Now if you had some more heat mass in the cabinet, then the 260 preheat is worthwhile - then you have several pounds of 260 deg bricks to help recover faster.  The larger water bowl will also do the same.  But remember you will also be heating the water up also - so put in as hot of water as you can.   I've been lazy and never put in the bricks, I just wait a little longer for my barbecue - and that's ok with me - I've rushed around and stressed out over lots of things in my life - barbecue is not going to be one of those things.

Try for yourself putting the rub on the butt for a longer period of time to make your own decision.  But as far as me, I have, and found that it really didn't make much difference.  A butt is a thick piece of meat, and dry rubs don't seem to penetrate very far if any.  Brining, if you add some flavoring to it might bring flavor to the interior as the salt gets distributed thru the meat.  And of course injecting will definitely take flavor to the interior of a butt. 

As with Habs, I am also assuming you have an OBS.  And you mentioned having something on the bottom rack.  Nothing particularly wrong with having something on the bottom rack, but doing so can affect the temp for the rest of the racks.  A good visual of what happens is the 'Mother lode of Butt" recently posted by I think STC or maybe it was CRG - my skull covering is white so I have an excuse!  But in his photos you can see that the bottom racks cook faster and he had to rotate the location of the racks.  When you have something on the bottom rack two things can happen especially if there is a big chunk of meat on the bottom rack.  One is that it can literally physically block the heated air from rising up in the cabinet.  But perhaps even more important will be that that big butt is hogging (no pun intended) all or rather much of the heat from the element.  Heat travels to the place with less resistance.  And that cold hunk of meat is acting like a scantily clad street-walking hussy - it will attract that heat much better than the air.  That is the radiant heat produced by the element (which is considerable - just hold your hand close to it) is being absorbed by the butt - and will continue until the heat of the meat approaches the temperature of the air - then more will go into heating something else.  Its physics!

Now that is my 2 cents worth.  You can collect 25 of those and go buy yourself a half cup of coffee! 

“A man that won't sleep with his meat don't care about his barbecue” Caneyscud

“If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?”

Offline mlp311

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Re: DId a butt on Saturday and...
« Reply #32 on: November 09, 2011, 08:44:37 AM »
Thanks guys. Awesome reading and best of, all great advice. Many good ideas that I will definitely experiment with on my own.

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