Yesterday was the first time I've used my smoker or smoked any meat. I own a Brinkmann 810-7080-7 Gourmet Electric Smoker, which I just purchased last Friday.
Sunday, after curing it for 3 hours (as per the instructions), I let the smoker cool completely.
Next I lined the lava rocks with hickory wood chips that I had soaked in water for 24 hours, making sure that none of the chips touched the heating element. My first smoke is a Pork Loin (about 2.56lbs). We used the recipe from the Brinkmann book, which is Dijon Cognac Pork Loin. Following the instructions precisely, coated the pork loin on the grill rack itself, filled up water basin to 3/4 full with hot water and also added red wine. The instructions said to cook until the internal temperature reaches 180-F.
About 2:30pm, I inserted a wireless thermometer and put the meat on the grill to smoke. Oh, and the temperature outside was about 89-F. Around 4:30pm, a severe pop-up thunderstorm rolled in and the temp outside quickly dropped to 74-F with a constant wind. About that time the internal temperature of the meat had reached 145-F. Just before the rain came down, my wife and I decided to move the smoker closer to the house and rig an umbrella over it to keep the water off.
I lifted the top part off and set it on the patio, then scooted the base over with my hands. When I lifted the top part off, the sudden rush of air caused all the wood chips to suddenly ignite. When I put the top part back on, the flames immediately died down. Then in the course of the next 45 minutes, the internal meat temp rose to 150-F.
This is where the problem started. The temperature never climbed any more past 150-F. By 5:45pm, the internal temperature then started to drop. It dropped slowly to 142-F by 6:00pm. This is when I decided something was wrong. I jumped onto the forums here and looked under pork. Person after person said that 145-150-F is a good temperature for pork loin.
I pulled the meat off the smoker as is, cut into it, and seen that the meat was cooked. We ate it and it was delicious. Perfectly tender and perfectly cooked.
This is what disturbs me the most. If we would have cooked a chicken, and the temp stayed at 150-F, we most likely would not have been able to pull it off like that and eat it.
So what happened? What do you supposed caused the internal temperature to stop at 150-F, and then slowly begin to cool. Did pulling the top off cause this? Is the Brinkmann temperature/cooking chart flawed?