I'm kind of new to smoking and seem to get various levels of success. The problem seems to be with cooking times. Most recipes specify a temperature and estimated time. But doesn't this vary wildly depending on how much you put in the smoker? The last time I did some nice meaty spare ribs they came out great after 7 hours at 225. Yesterday I loaded up the smoker with 4 slabs (first time was 2) and a pan of beans about 4 hours in and the ribs were still pretty pink at the bone after 8 hours. I don't like to open the door to check them since you loose so much heat but there has to be a better way. There just seems to be way too many variables.
Any guidelines for determining cooking time
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You always need to "cook.smoke" meats to the IT (internal temps required) not really a time. Now...on ribs that will depend on what cut you are using. Get yourself a nice good digital thermometer and that will help you not "look" at stuff and keep the heat going. I have a Maverick and love it. Its worth the money....
There are a lot of variables....but you will have to figure out which style of smoking are the best for you, your smoker and your family. BUT...the IT of the meats are to keep folks from getting sick from undercooked meats.
Kat's got you covered... They also come in black
By accurately knowing pit temp, food target temp and temp ranges for the different meats you'll be able to roughly estimate cooking times with practice.
Ribs i go 225, chicken 325, pork butts etc..250