Pork Shoulder Taking Too Long?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by itherrkr, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. itherrkr

    itherrkr Newbie

    Started a 8.5 pound pork shoulder at 6:15 this morning in my Smoke Vault. Temp has been around 225 to 240 using my ET7 dual thermo. One in the pork, one in a tater on the rack. After 6 hours and 20 minutes, the thing is still only 133 internally. Still in the danger zone, am I in trouble? Not sure why it is so slow. I have bumped the temp up to 250 over that last little bit.

  2. If you have another thermo I would try that one as well. You also want to make sure that the one you are using is calibrated.
  3. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can raise the temp more on the smoker and pork will take to that just fine.
    Lots of times you will hit a stall but that is generally after the 140 mark.
    An overall smoke time you are looking at 10-12 hours give or take.
    Try calibrating your probe, changing the batteries and try your second probe in the meat and see what that tells you.

    *Heh, Jeremy beat me to it... [​IMG]
  4. itherrkr

    itherrkr Newbie

    I have inserted my "spare" thermo and believe it or not, exactly the same. Both now 136. Running 270 now on smoker temp.

    No one has really answered my question about time in the danger zone. Going to be something close to 7 hours. I know with poultry this equals bad, but not really sure about pork.

    This is my first attempt at pulled pork. I could be paranoid (as usual).
  5. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    By the book..... if you inserted your probe in the meat at the beginning of the smoke you introduced the outside to the inside. By the book... internal should have reached 140 in 4 hours or less.... that means from 40 degrees internal. If you were watching your temp... that means four hours from the internal temp reaching 40 degrees to hitting 140. If you haven't punctured the meat with your temp probe when you started the smoke... I would say it is ok... if you have... then I wouldn't eat it.

    This is one of the reasons it's always a good idea to not insert your probe until your well into your smoke. When you wait until the external temp of the meat hits 140 it has killed any bacteria that could be introduced to the inside of the meat and your not introducing them to the inside. Usually a butt or picnic will reach 140 internal well before 4 hours into a smoke therefore it's not an important factor. If you are confident that the meat probe is accurate... maybe your smoker temp is off and your smoking at a lower temp than you think. Sounds like something is off.
  6. itherrkr

    itherrkr Newbie

    I agree something is weird. As I said I have a probe on the rack, which is the exact same setup I had over the weekend twice when I cooked two tbirds to perfection. I have no doubt 275 is 275 based on the turkey project, but 225, must not be 225, even though the probe says so.

    I think this has just become an $8 plus propane experiment. At least it is a cheap screw-up.
  7. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well if it were to make you sick I'm sure you would give 8 bucks to feel better. Might be a good investment in the learning curve. It's a funny thing.... bacteria that grow and look slimy and smell bad usually won't hurt you but the ones you can't smell or see in the meat are the ones that can hurt ya bad.
  8. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Would still like to figure out why it was taking so long to come to temp.
    Any chance your meat was frozen in the center when you put it on?
    Other than a probe being off or the smoker temp being off I can't think of why it wouldn't have come to temp by then.

    I do agree about the probe, I don't bother sticking mine in until 3-4 hours into the smoke on something like a pulled pork smoke.
  9. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like a thermo problem.

    6 hours at 225 is not gonna be 133 internal....
  10. itherrkr

    itherrkr Newbie

    Meat was definitely not frozen. As this has now become an experiment, I am testing several thermo placements. I suspect the thermo on the rack is towards the back of the unit, where the heat has a direct path up from the burner, and then directly out the top. Still miffed why this placement worked great for the turkey's I cooked, but not today.
  11. itherrkr

    itherrkr Newbie

    Confirmed. If I slide water pan all the way back against back wall, temperature goes down 30 ish degrees. Probe directly next to meat on the side, not on the back of meat, about 20 degree difference. So, I am guessing I was smoking along at something close to 190 to 200 degrees this morning, not the 225 to 240 I thought. Ahh, the joys of new toys[​IMG]

  12. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bummer kent, But next time you'll nail it!
  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    looks to me like you're right on schedule, but thee's nothing at all wrong with bumping it up to 250 degrees; some prefer to cook it at that temperature!

    as you gain experience, you will learn to recognize signs from the meat and from your pit about what's going on, and use those observations to know what to do next. having said that, it is always good to know what your themometers are doing. calibrating it with an ice slurry AND with boiling water (adjust boiling temperature to your altitude - where i live, water boils @ 207 degrees) and then you will always know that your temp readings are accurate.

    my method is to do the potato thing, in order to keep track of temperatures on the grate, until the meat "should" be done. from there i start checking it every half-hour or so until i reach 195 degrees internal, then foil/wrap in towels and rest at least a half hour.
  14. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    sorry, i just read the rest of your post and wanted to say that i don't see any reason to discard the pork.
  15. steevieg

    steevieg Fire Starter

    You know, I've never ever thought about the consequences of putting the meat probe in at the beginning of the smoke. It makes good sense not to and I won't do it anymore. However, if you were to put the part of the probe that is going in the meat into boiling water immediately before inserting it I think it would be OK. But, then again, why go to the hassle of that. Just wait 4 or 5 hours. Amazing the things you can still pick up after several years of this.
  16. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always disinfect my probe before inserting it into the meat... but the actual problem is the contact the probe makes with the skin and outside as it slides in. Those micro organisms are little tiny fellers and it doesn't take long for them to multiply in the right environment.
  17. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I really hope you have another thermo meter to check out the meats real temp because if it's really 133 for 6 hours To me your throwing this meat away. It's aways better to be safe then puken alot. I would also check the thermo meter in a differant place in the meat too just make sure your in far enough??
  18. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree with TasunkaWitko,
  19. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    we've got a member or two who actually work in food safety in the food products industry, so i will allow them to weigh in with their knowledge and experience and refrain from getting into specifics and arcane discussions on the matter; having said that, in general, i think there needs to be some common sense mixed in with food safety vigilance.

    it's of course advisable to use some normal safety precautions but it is also possible to carry this too far. there's a reason that people aren't dropping like flies all across america during backyard barbecues, and that reason is because you almost have to try to get sick in order to get sick.
  20. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use remotes all the time one in the meat and one stuck thru a spud.

    But I also stick a couple of the el cheapo $4.95 oven thermos from Wal Mart in on the rack. I place one on either side of the meat. That way you have 4 reference points to check. My electronic thermos have failed in the past but those bi metal oven thermometers never have. I have 6 of them sitting on the top of my fridge, a glance will tell me whether or not one of them has a deviation.

    When the meat gets to 140F all the bad little buggers have died. They leave behind a toxin which is what makes you sick. A lot of people think you can catch something from the spoiled meat but this is just not true.

    Food poisoning is just that, You are not being infected you are being poisoned.

    It is always a good Idea to Move the meat to a different spot in the smoker if you notice a very lower temp from the meat probe at a time when you think or know it should be higher.

    Also in lots of different types of smokers there are known hot and cool spots. After using the smoker a few times you will learn where these are then you can either learn to live with them or try to do some mods that will move the air around so as to even out the temps throughout the smoker.

    I have a MES and the back-right hand side is usually 15-20 degrees hotter than the rest of the oven, plus it has a greater air flo near the top vent. So I avoid putting meat there. If I have a full smoker I will rotate the positions of the meat 2 or 3 times during the smoke.

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