Cooking temps

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by davekat, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Hey guys i see in practically every recipe smoker temps and meat temps are spoken about. But as im new im interested to understand this properly.

    On my offset smoker obviously there is a hot side (closest to fire box) and a cold side (furtherest point from fire). If a cooking temp of say 225 is needed would i be correct in saying i need to find ahere on my grate is that temp amd that is where i place my meat?
     
  2. Times and temps can be simplified by learning the cooking zone of the smoker you are using. The "zone" is where we find meat cooks in a manner which can be reproduced and tracked.

    A box temp, and a Internal temp in that zone allows you plan your cook.
     
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes and no...If you wish to just jump in the deep end, Yes get the smoker stable and find an area closest to the temp you wish to use then babysit it. Now, with a basic offset smokers there are Mods that can be done, extend the stack, sealing the unit, tuning plates, baffles and so forth, that can be done to achive a specific temp and have that temp relatively even over the entire cooking surface. Look below...JJ

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/newsearch?search=horizontal+offset+mods
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  4. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Can you please explain more about the cooking zone mate

    I have heard of the mods but im still unsure how to go about cooking at a specific temp. In my head i figure if it wants to be cooked at 225 and u have that spot on your grill plate thats where you should cook if the recipe recommends for eg 8 hours cooking. Obviously if you put it in the hotter area it will cook faster and in the cooler area it will cook slower thats about all i sort of understand and know
     
  5. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Just on the mod of the exhaust stack would closing the vent off help slow the flow of heat escaping
     
  6. Seems like you were looking for a cooking zone already. They are not hard to find. The amount of heat, and humidity determine each zone. I use thermometers for this.

    In a single rack horizontal offset smoker I would have 3 oven thermometers in it at different intervals on the rack. Then I know how heat flows through the smoker, and with a well versed journal I could keep track of my zones. This would then allow me to focus on my cuts of meats and how I need to research each in the way they cook.

    I however use vertical smokers and have multiple zones of heat and humidity depending on rack height. My meats go in according to size Largest at the top, and as drippings fall it slows the cooking of the lower smaller pieces yet increases steam to the higher larger pieces.
     
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    No problem...What you say is true. With cooking in general, meat cooks slower at low temps and faster at high temps. You set your Oven to bake a Cake, the bottom of the oven is going to be hotter and the top a little cooler so the Sweet Spot, where the Cake bakes best, is in the middle.  Now with smoking meat items like, Pork, Beef, Chicken, and Hot Smoking in general, a Range of temps with a desired average temp is perfectly fine and finding that sweet spot is not as critical. You will get a similar result cooking at a steady 225 for 8 hours or 8 hours at a temp Range of 200 to 250°F, resulting from temp swings while trying to maintain the fire, air, etc. You just try to stay close to 225 as much as possible by learning your smoker and how big a fire to maintain and how. So, for a single Roast you wish to smoke at 225, find the Sweet Spot but don't sweat it if the temp swings a bit.

    When maintaining a steady temp becomes critical is with Cool Smoking like Cured Sausage, Hams, Bacon, and such. A typical Kielbasa Recipe will call for smoking at 130°F for 1 hour then bumping the temp 10°F every hour to no higher than 170° and holding steady until the Internal Temp (IT) of the Kielbasa reaches 150°F. Anything else and you will have an inferior Kielbasa.

    As far as the Mods go, some make maintaining a specific temp easier. Some are designed to get even temps side to side. This becomes more important when you are Smoking 6 racks of Ribs and/or 4 Porks Butts for a big party. Having a Hot spot near the fire and a Cool spot at the other end means you have to constantly be swapping and moving meat around for even cooking at the Desired Temp. I hope this helps, but feel free to keep asking questions. There is a lot to learn...JJ 
     
  8. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Nailed it mate that makes sense to me. Looks like a few mods are in order as i got a few mates that wanna come have a cook up so i wouldnt want to disappoint
     
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Best of Luck Dave and Welcome to the SMF Family. Won't be long and you will be passing on how to get a perfect Cook...JJ
     
  10. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Thanks mate its a big wide smoking world out there hahahaha
     
  11. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Sad part is im yet to get my smoker its currently on lay-by should have it in a week or 2. So figured the more i research now the less im going to head scratch come the big arrival
     
  12. Hey shoot some pics. That Q'view always gets me going.
     
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    We have not even got into Fuel types and what's available to you locally, Woods for smoke flavor and how they vary, various Cuts of meat and how they are best cooked and the whole world of Spice Rubs, Sauces and side Dishes!. You are off to a good start and found a good bunch of people to help you get going...JJ
     
  14. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Yea jimmy im bloody excited mate. Would you happen to know of any good youtube links or forum links that explain in extreme dummy terms for the following.
    1. Seasoning a new smoker
    2. How to maintain and keep ya fire going.

    In relation to the fire would i be correct in saying that the heat would come from charcoal and the smoke from the wood or once the smoking has taken place you would combine the 2 fuels for generating heat
     
  15. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    As a relative new guy to these kind of details myself I'd advise you not to worry about it too much. I'm not pretending to have cracked a code but smoking is as much an art as a science. BBQ (smoking) was deliscious before blue tooth digital thermometers helped us understand hot spots. My friends and family (and I!) enjoyed my BBQ (smoking) before I joined this forum and began learning more about the hobby/craft. For now just focus on the ITs, I believe that is what advanced my cooking more than anything.

    So ...yes cooking temp for now is where the probe is and will change. It's going to be different at different locations in the box, but screw it. No matter what, the IT of what you are cooking will be definitive. Once we (I'm in your boat!) are comfortable with how to get the IT consistant at locations in the smoker the other advice/science is easier to understand.
    Good luck!
     
    davekat likes this.
  16. Holy moly we forgot about true hole in the Ground pit smoking...........
     
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Seasoning is easy. When I got my Offset I gave it a wash with a little dish soap to get off dirt and manufacturing oils. Then built a fire with Charcoal all vents open, and let it dry. The easiest way to season is to spray the inside and racks with Pan Prep Spray Oil or you can wipe it down with Veg Oil. Let the Fire burn Hot 150°C for 2 hours then add some chunks or Splits to make smoke. These may have to be added to the side and just touching the fire. We want smoke not flames. Let this go another hours or two and the seasoning is done. The only thing you clean is the racks, any future grease build up and the ashes in the fire box.

    Building a fire is a little more trial and error with a lot of practice. Usually add a couple of Kilos Lump Charcoal or Heat Beads to the fire box. Next light some more, 500g or so, of either in a Chimney Starter. When blazing hot dump these on top or touching the unlit fuel and add some Chunks or Splits. Close the smoker up and watch the temp. When getting close to the desired say 107°C, shut the Fresh air Damper on the Fire Box to an opening of 1cm. Watch the temp. If it keeps climbing shut the damper more. If the temp keeps dropping, open the damper another cm or two. This is where you monitor and play around until you get a steady temp at what you want. All that is left is keep adding Smoke Wood as needed to keep a Thin Blue Smoke flowing and more Lump or Beads to maintain temp.

    Yep...Lump or Heat Beads generates heat and the Smoke Wood makes smoke. Eventually the Wood will start to burn and add to the heat of the fuel. You add more wood to the side and choke down the Damper. As the temp drops open the damper. The whole deal in the beginning is a Crazy Dance and some frustration but patience and practice wins the day. You may find that the Doors on the fire box and cooking chamber don't seal well and there are lots of air leaks causing temps to fluctuate. This is where it may be necessary to seal the doors with Oven Gaskets or High Temp RTV Silicone...One of the Mods you can look at...JJ
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  18. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Awesome bud thabks heaps.
    Was nice to see you use some metric inits in your post where are u from mate
     
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Born and raised in the States but throwing an Aussie Brother some courtesy. I trained to cook in both systems. When you get into Cured Meats, you will be right at home as most recipes measure in grams...Check out Moikel. He's in the Sydney area. Mick is a long time member, makes some crazy awesome recipes and is a great guy...JJ

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/u/46119/moikel
     
  20. davekat

    davekat Fire Starter

    Bloody ripper mate good on ya and thabks heaps to yaself and the others for there comments
     

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