Author Topic: Temperature Fluctuations  (Read 7480 times)

Offline Michael

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Temperature Fluctuations
« on: September 03, 2006, 04:49:45 PM »
I’m new at barbequing.  In fact I thought I had been barbequing for years until I bought my digital BS and joined this forum only to learn I had years of “grilling” experience and no barbequing experience……  In any event, today was the first time I barbequed a couple racks of spareribs ( just shy of 10lbs) and I noticed what I thought were excessive temperature swings on my digital BS.  Here’s the details:

I did a dry rub and set the smoker temperature at 200 with what I understood would be an estimated 6 hours of cooking.  Once the smoker oven reached the target temperature I expected that it would remain within two or three degrees of the target but that was not the case.  Apparently the digital thermostat is set to only click on once the oven heat drops to ten degrees below what it is set for.  Is that how all the digital BS work?  Here’s what happened:

The pre-heated BS dropped to 158 degrees after loading and it took 17 minutes to reach 200 degrees again.  I thought that was okay since I had just put in about 10lbs of ribs.  After reaching the desired 200 degrees I could hear the heating unit click off.  The temperature would sometimes go up to 201 degrees and it would then level off at 200 for about 6 minutes or so before the temperature would slowly drop.  It would take about 4-5 minutes to drop to 190 degrees and I could again hear the heating unit click on.  After the heating unit clicked on the temperature continued to drop to between 189-187 degrees before climbing again.  It would take about 7-8 minutes for the temperature to again reach the preset temperature of 200 degrees.   

After about 4 ½ hours the internal meat temperature was only 135.   My target temperature was 170 degrees.  I opened the door for a 2nd time (1st time was to rotate racks) and stuck in an instant read meat thermometer to confirm what my digital meat thermometer was reading and it read the same temperature.   Thinking it was cooking too slowly due to the temperature swings I bumped the oven temperature up to 210 degrees and then again to 230 degrees.  At the 7 ½ hour mark the internal meat temperature read 153 degrees.  I was now concerned that the ribs might be drying out too much and I then removed them from the BS, wrapped them in foil and stuck them in my preheated oven set at 225 degrees.  At the 8 hour mark I noticed the internal meat temperature rising relatively quickly and they reached the 170 degree internal temperature at the 8 ½ hour mark. 

Is what I experienced normal?  Should I have started with a higher oven temperature setting considering the 11-12 degree in temperature swings?

On a side note; I had never before had ribs cooked with just a dry rub.  All the ribs I’ve eaten at restaurants or grilled here at home were wet, (Kansas City style?).  These were very tasty.  I was surprised at how flavorful they were with only a rub.  I thought surely I would have to add some Bulls-Eye sauce.  No so!  My wife liked them better because they were not as messy or sugary.  My son liked them also but said he prefers the wet style.   I’ll try the wet style next on some baby backs.

Sorry for yakking so long… - Mike

Offline Oldman

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2006, 05:20:37 PM »
Michael,
I wanted to say greetings. Also, I personally have never done ribs in the Bradley; plus I have the older model, so I will leave it to the members who have a digital to answer your question(s). Perhaps Icerat will join in as he has a digital and does a lot of smoking.

Quote
In fact I thought I had been barbequing for years until I bought my digital BS and joined this forum only to learn I had years of “grilling” experience and no barbequing experience…… 
I know this will shock some folk here but I don't completely go alone with this statement. Some of the best Q (pulled pork and ribs) I've ever eaten came off of an open pit. Furthermore, IMO I would not call smoked bacon, fish, or ham Q.

Your knowledge of many years will be of much value with the Bradley. As with anything new there is always a learning curve. However, the Bradley is almost to easy when you are smokin'.

And don't throw out your grill.  ;D  There is a place for it all.

Again welcome to the forums.

Olds

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Offline SmokinScott

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2006, 07:10:06 PM »
Hello i have been reading the forums for a while now and just registered to be able to post.  I have the same problem with my DBS it seems to fluctuate 15 or so degrees up and down.  It also seems to take way longer than the stated 1 1/2 to 2 hour range per pound of meet is this normal.

Offline Michael

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2006, 11:34:47 AM »
I just finished BBQing two pork butts that totaled just under 16lbs.   I estimated 24 hrs of cooking based upon the 1 ½ hrs per lb of meat in order to reach the internal temperature of 187 degrees for pulled pork.   Per my reading the general consensus suggested I cook it at about 210 degrees or a tad bit less.  Because of the temperature fluctuations of the digital BS I decided to go higher and because the digital oven temperature goes up in ten degree increments that meant I set the oven temperature for 220 degrees.  I opened the doors to rotate the meat every four hours and was a good boy and didn’t do any other peeking….

I started at 9am and at the 9pm rack rotation the temperature of the meat in the bottom rack was 171 degrees.  After rotating the racks and putting the thermometer into meat that had been on the higher rack it registered 159 degrees.  Throughout the cooking process the top rack of meat was roughly 7-12 degrees cooler and that temperature difference shortened the longer the meat cooked.  Since the meat temperature at the 9pm rotation was now well on its way to finishing I decided to lower the oven temperature to 210 degrees

At 9:15am the next morning the internal meat temperature of the meat on the lower rack was 187 degrees.  I overshot my target finishing time by 15 minutes.  Not bad for a rookie…. :)

With the digital BS I think the best thing to do is to consider using a temperature setting of ten degrees higher than recommended or simply be patient, which I lack, and wait a little bit longer for the meat to finish.  The experiments will continue……….

By the way, the meat is FTCing but the scraps I tried that stuck to the rack were tender and OH SO GOOD!!!

Offline Oldman

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2006, 03:38:51 PM »
Congrats, and ya those small stuck pieces are for the cook~~~!

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Offline Chez Bubba

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2006, 05:37:12 PM »
Hello i have been reading the forums for a while now and just registered to be able to post.  I have the same problem with my DBS it seems to fluctuate 15 or so degrees up and down.  It also seems to take way longer than the stated 1 1/2 to 2 hour range per pound of meet is this normal.

Scott,

Yes, you will see some fluctuation, but the digital is an improvement over the rheostat. For those of us who cut our teeth on the rheostat, not a huge one, but for a newbie, I can see it shortening the learning curve drastically.

1 1/2-2hrs per pound is a gross generalization. 10# of ribs will cook way faster than 10# of butt due to the difference in meat mass-to-air ratio and surface area.

The cut can also affect it based on what kinds of tissue need to get cooked. Fat renders at a much lower temperature (faster cook) than collagen.

Hope that helps,

Kirk
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Ya think if next time I check into a hotel & they ask "Smoking or Non", they would mind?

Offline iceman

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2006, 09:41:38 AM »
Congrats Mike and welcome. Chez is right on about the time generalization. I find keeping a simple log book helps out. Ambient temp, smoker temp, type and weight of meat, etc. Glad to hear things are working out for you. ;)

Offline SmokinScott

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 07:01:05 PM »
thanks for your help chez

Offline asa

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2006, 07:15:45 PM »
Welcome to the forum Mike and Scott - glad you're posting your experiences. And Mike, I had always eaten ribs with sauce, but found these are so good with just the cooked/smoked rub that I frequently prefer them without sauce. At any rate, I always serve them dry, with sauce on the side so folks can try 'em both ways. I'm not at all surprised by your discovery. And see how your son likes Sweet Baby Rays sauce, available in many areas (check out the website to see if it is available in your area).

Again, welcome, and best regards,

          Art

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Offline Oldman

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2006, 03:14:38 AM »
Quote
Yes, you will see some fluctuation, but the digital is an improvement over the rheostat.
Ummm I don't see the DS as an improvement in one area. I don't have those types of Temperature Fluctuations everyone is reporting with my old original unit. For those that read this I don't have a PID controller either. Maybe one day when I get time I will make one.

The DS is a improvement for someone who never smoked anything in their life before. Believe it or not the temperature swings in the DS are no greater than what you get in a standard electric oven. With this in mind ask yourself just how many dinners were ruined in your oven due to its swing? More than likely none.

Just my 2-cents worth.
Olds

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Offline icerat4

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 07:12:30 AM »
Wow something else we agree on. ;D. I have 2 original and have no problem with temp swings.




Just another weekend with the smoker...

Offline Oldman

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Re: Temperature Fluctuations
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2006, 03:58:51 PM »
Wow something else we agree on. ;D. I have 2 original and have no problem with temp swings.

Ya but I said it first....  ;D

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