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First Smoke Question - Am I Messing Something Up?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey All,

 

First of all, just wanted to start out with a huge thank you to this community for all of the info that I've been able to read up on so far. From searching and consistently scouring the site, I've been able to learn an immense amount before trying out my first smoke.

 

The Basics

As I mentioned, this is my first smoke. I have a Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smokehouse and am trying out the Basic Pulled Pork Smoke. I bought a 11.8 (I realize this is abnormally large, but it was what was available) non-frozen pork shoulder from the local butcher, and let it sit in the refrigerator for around 14 hours with one of the recommended rubs on it. I put the smoke on at 7:00a yesterday morning and am now exactly 22 hours into the smoke at 225 degF.

 

The Problem?

As mentioned, I'm now 22 hours into a smoke, and have been stalled at ~175-180 degF IT for nearly the last 4 hours. I expected the stall, but am wondering two things: 1) Should I be worried about health concerns (I've read up on the 40-140 rule a bit now. I can't be sure if it was actually up to 140 within 4 hours of starting the smoke...I know it took 10-12 hours to get to 165 and wrap in foil), 2) Is this normal? I have verified with two thermometers (note: they are standard meat thermometers, so I have to crack the door to see the temp), but have no good way to verify if both are wrong.

 

I know that the time on these things can vary greatly, and even expected the stall, but to be honest, just didn't expect the whole thing to take this long. I'm not finding many examples on the forum of folks who's smokes are taking them over a full day and want to see if there's anything that I should do, if I should pull it early, etc.

 

Thanks in advance for the advice.

 

Cheers,

 

Mike


Edited by irex511 - 9/22/13 at 2:44am
post #2 of 4

1) Should I be worried about health concerns (I've read up on the 40-140 rule a bit now. I can't be sure if it was actually up to 140 within 4 hours of starting the smoke...I know it took 10-12 hours to get to 165 and wrap in foil),

 

You're cooking a whole muscle hunk of pig.  If you didn't inject, the inner meat is not at risk of bacteria because it is still in tact.  The 140* in 4 hours is for the outside of the meat.  I am sure the outside was up to 140* in 4 hours if in a 225* pit.  To clarify -- your thermometer is measuring deep in the meat - it does not have to be 140* in 4 hours deep in the meat -- just the surface where the bacteria is.

 

2) Is this normal? I have verified with two thermometers (note: they are standard meat thermometers, so I have to crack the door to see the temp), but have no good way to verify if both are wrong.

 

Your pork butt has stalled for a long time because you are cooking at 225*.  If you were cooking at a higher temp it would not stall as long.  It's absolutely normal

 

My recommendation: drink a cup of coffee and read the paper.  Let that pit do it's thing and you will be rewarded. (don't open it anymore and don't crank up the heat.)

post #3 of 4

22 hours at 225° in an electric sounds like a normal experience judging from other posts from members in situations such as yours.

I have two points that I always bring up when someone asks a question like this, first don't be afraid to cook at a higher temperature, 225° is a recommendation not a hard and fast rule. Cooking at 275° will get that butt done faster and will not compromise the results.

Second, the best way to determine when a butt is done is not by temperature but by feel. When a probe can be inserted into the butt with no resistance, like sticking a toothpick into a custard or very soft butter. The other test is if the bone pulls out cleanly with no resistance, then you're done. I have had butts done at temps as low as 182°. Placement of the probe is also critical, too close to the bone and you will get an inaccurate reading. Good Luck.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for the great help and advice. I ended up pulling it out at 190 degF after 27 hours due to consistency and it was moist and delicious. Appreciate all of the great advice!

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