Author Topic: Need some advice from the groups experience  (Read 354 times)

Offline Mthomas

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Need some advice from the groups experience
« on: May 29, 2017, 05:08:32 am »
I have a Digital smoker, history is fairly typical: first year struggled with getting up to temperature and mantaining,etc. added heat sink in the form of a foil wrapped rock. Made some decent pork shoulders and ribs, usually a real crap shoot regarding time. Second year had a bad element issue, followed by a fried fusible link. Never figured out why unit overheated, but got that fixed. Found this forum and learned how to make BDS useable. Did second 500 watt heater element mod and bought auberins PID. Life was good for a couple years.
This weekend I decided to fire up a few things. Made some pork ribs on Friday, everything was good. Started a shoulder Saturday night about 8 pm. It weighed 6.1 lbs so I estimated 7-10 hours needed. I put it on the second from the bottom shelf. Unit was up to 265 and holding when butt went in and smoke went on. I did make the rookie maneuver of not warming up the meat properly before starting, so it went in at 40 degrees, which I realized when I inserted the probe, so I estimated another 2 hours of cooking time. By 10 pm meat was at 65 or so and I went to bed. 8 hours later, meat is in the stall at 168.  Two hours later it is still at about 170, so I put foil on top of the meat, cranked cabinet from 225 to 250, closed the vent most of the way, and left the house at 830 am. I had the pid set to switch to a 130 degree hold when the meat reached 203. When I returned 6 hours later, the cabinet was at 250 and the meat was holding at 199. Apparently it never got to 203 so the cabinet could kick down to the lower hold temp.  Shoulder turned out ok, obviously a bit dry and over cooked in places, but edible.
My question is how in the heck could it have never gotten to temp in 20 plus hours? I had the cabinet temp probe suspended at the level of the meat and to the side. I was experimenting with several  aspects, first a higher finish temp as I usually remove at about 190-195. Second a smaller amount of meat as I usually am smoking at least a full shoulder vs the half that I did yesterday. Third the finish and hold step, which I never got to apparently, in order to allow for more flexibility while cooking.

It was not particularly cold or windy sat night or Sunday. Sat night low was fifty ish, and it hit 75 on Sunday.

What thoughts do you guys have on what went wrong?

« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 05:12:02 am by Mthomas »

Offline gricardsimplycol

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 05:14:21 am »
My guess the closed vent.

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Offline Mthomas

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 05:18:18 am »
why? Please educate me. I throttled it back to maintain moisture during a long hold. At least that was my intention.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 05:30:37 am by Mthomas »

Offline KyNola

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 07:16:55 am »
By trapping the moisture inside the tower it may have caused the temp to not rise like you wanted.  It is important to allow the moisture to escape from the tower as soon as possible.

Offline Mthomas

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 07:58:26 am »
Thanks guys. Still weird to me that with a fifty degree differential between the air in the cabinet and the meat that I never got to 203 degrees and kicked down. I can see where poor flow would have decreased convection as well. Guess I will just have to try it again next week with the vent open.

Offline KyNola

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 08:35:39 am »
Went back and read your original post again.  Noticed that your question was about how the meat didn't hit 203 in 20 hours.  I have had butts take up to 26 hours before.  It all depends on the pig in the long run.

I think everything went normally but you do want to keep your vent open for the reason posted earlier.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 01:23:58 pm »
From what I'm reading it seems you had no problems with the cabinet temperature. I use to adjust my vent when I had a single element. At the time of your cook, a lot of that moisture had been expelled from the meat, and that is when I would use a smaller vent opening, but I would not go beyond half closed. Though in this case, you still maintained good temperatures.

For doness, I go by texture, temperature and time; and not temperature alone. Each cut of meat is different, and when I get close to my target temperature I will use the fork test to test for tenderness, many will use a temperature probe - if the probe slides in/out smoothly, then butt is done.

You mentioned it was dry. Was it mushy or mealy in texture?


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Offline Mthomas

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 01:30:26 pm »
Parts of it were good, parts a bit too dry. Some of the meat ws what i would call mushy. Basicly overcooked.Live and learn.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Need some advice from the groups experience
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2017, 02:36:56 am »
I've had my share of over cooked butts. The mushy meat seems to work well in casseroles, while the dry/harder sections work well in chili - if you add the meat towards the end; about 30 - 60 minutes before the chili is done.

I'm still curious as to why the internal temperature peaked at 199°F. Maybe the probe was in a fat pocket, and when the fat fully rendered out it created an air pocket. So this reminds me of another tip - occasionally I will check other parts of the butt or brisket during the cook with an instant read thermometer, and if necessary relocate my probe.

Maybe testing the meat probe to see if it will go over 199°F to make sure the probe is not malfunctioning.


     I
         don't
                   inhale.
  ::)