Hello everyone, I've been a lurker for a while, butjoined today. Everytime I've searched the web for smoking or griling information, this site and its forums kept providing the most information without the "forum drama" I've seenin the past. So, well done folks!
I've read many posts about temp versus time, individual perferences, smokers models, etc., but my nagging question is if low is approximately 225 degrees, depending on who's talking, why not 180 if the smoker is capable of maintaining that temp? Is it a food safety issue to smoke below a certain temp? Or, it there another reason?
For a number of years I had a VERY cheap bullet shaped thin-walled smoker electric smoker that saw plenty of salmon, chicken, pork ribs, pork loin, and peppers. It never did a great job with larger cuts or beef, amybe it was me. It finally gave out, so I upgraded to a Masterbuilt 30" electric with fancy electronic controls to set temp and time, and has an internal temp probe. The unit's display checks out to be pretty darn accurate even when dropping down to 120 degrees. So, I return to my question: since I can accurately maintain a temp in the mid-100's, why not cook this low for a longer period of time? Again, I understand personal perference and time constraints, but is there a general reason not to smoke in the 150 to 180 range?
By the way, I corned a brisket for 7 days, cut it in half, put half in a slow cook to make corned beef, and the other half went in the smoker at 200 degrees at 3 hours for pastrami. The corned beef was AWESOME! but the pastrami was super tough even though I identified grain direction and cut very thin pieces across it . Very disappointed. This experience caused me to revisit the how low is low and why question.