Quote: " As for putting the thermometer in too soon and Chef Jimmy can correct me if I'm wrong the reason is that if there is bacteria or other "nasty" on the outside of the meat you just pushed it well inside the meat. The same can be said for not sterilizing a probe before using it. It doesn't really need to be 4 hours I think is was a meat surface temp of more than 140 degrees but don't remember for sure. "
Yes this is true....BUT....There are many other factors involved.
Is there bacteria on that surface? Commercially packaged meats are packed in highly controlled environments. This is why the meat the butcher cuts and wrapped is shot in 3-5 days yet Sealed commercial pack meats have 3-5 WEEK shelve lives.
Many folks wash meat. Simple running water goes a long way toward removing surface bacteria...NO it's not sterile but the risk is lower as long as care is taken to not splash water around the room contaminating other surfaces.
Many of us apply a coating of Salt and Sugar with our rub...These chemicals quickly suck moisture out of the bacteria's cell structure killing them or simply bind up available moisture from around the bacteria and they can't multiply.
Why does the USDA and all smoking sites preach smoking un-cured meats at 225°F or higher? Because this is a temp that not only kills surface bacteria very quickly, has been shown to be effective at getting the IT of the most commonly available meat cuts above 140°F in 4 hours.
Is there there a chance that " Probing " raw meat will make you sick...Yes. If for whatever reason the meat was probed raw must we lambaste the newbie into tossing $100 worth of meat...NO!
There are no Black and White rules to smoking only PROVEN guidelines developed over many generations of trial and error, that will limit the risks. In general...No single or multiple occurrences of bacterial contamination from Probing and Injecting etc, alone will kill you. Nor will things like closing down the exhaust (all smokers are different) to limit oxygen. IF the smoker temp drops below 200°F for a couple hours, no big deal or IF it takes my meat 6 hours to get above 140°F, It does not matter....Food Poisoning is the result of Gross Mishandling or Multiple mistakes. If you probe or inject and and only one thing goes wrong, it takes 6 hours to get to an IT of 140°, there is no reason to panic. As long as we learn under what circumstances Bacteria can harm us, learn how to manage the situation and limit to only one mistake...There is little reason to beat each other up and as usual, RUDE posts or text will be deleted at managements discretion...JJ