First off guys, the 40-140 in 4 rule only applies to Ground, Injected and BRT meat. I spoke to Ajax and the Brisket was Intact. The " Rule " does Not apply. Next the beef was well seasoned with a Rub containing Salt. This goes a long way toward inhibiting Bacterial growth. While the USDA " guideline " recommends smoking at 225, that temp offers a wide margin of safety taking the above non-intact meats and mishandled meat by inexperienced cooks into consideration. Bacteria is also killed at lower temps. Look at Sous Vide cooking where Chicken can be cooked at 149°F for as little as 1 Hour...https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/sous-vide-time-and-temperature-guide ...In an Oxygen Free Bag! The most dangerous Bacteria are Anerobic and only grow or only grow well in low Oxygen. For Decades, it has been common, in Restaurants, to Roast Beef at the desired finished IT. A temp controled oven that holds moisture is set to the desired IT, say 130°F, and the Beef is roasted for 3-4 hours per pound until the IT hits 130°F and the meat is done. Here is a published example using a Combi Oven but 25 years ago I spoke to a Chef that did his in an Alto-Shaam, which is basically a Holding Oven...http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/08/AR2008010801295.html
Ajax Smoked the intact brisket for several hours at 150-160, the IT reached 122 and Bacteria was killed. Now the Smoker dies. Did every Bad Bacteria known to man see this and make a mad dash to recontaminate the meat? No, not likely...Ajax caught the failure and put the meat in a 225° Oven to finish the cook. In the event that some bacteria made their way into the smoker, they were killed in the oven. Yeah Chef but what about Botulinum TOXINS!?! From the CDC... http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/Botulism/clinicians/control.asp
- Despite its extreme potency, botulinum toxin is easily destroyed. Heating to an internal temperature of 85°C (185°F) for at least 5 minutes will decontaminate affected food or drink.
Should you smoke at 225? Yes, SMF recommends it because it covers a variety of errors, including smoker failures and mishandled meat anywhere from slaughter to smoker, and offers a broad margin of Safety. If you cook Intact Meat, covered with a Salty Rub, at lower temps or the smoker dies for a couple hours will you create the next EPA Super Site in your Smoker? Not Likely! Each situation is VERY different and ALL the criteria and circumstances has to be taken into consideration before a recommendation of " TOSS IT! " is automatically made. There is a lot more to learn about Safe Cooking than just what the USDA Fact Sheets for Home Cooks recommends. The more I study the more I learn...There is no need to Toss the meat...IN THIS SITUATION...JJ