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Temp started to drop after a certain point

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm a novice meat smoker and I just recently bought a ET-73 and practiced smoking some pastrami from the corned beef I picked up on sale during St. Patty's week. Also, I was using a GOSM propane smoker. Anyways, I ran into a problem that I hope someone can help me out with.

So here's the situation... I started smoking my meat at about 10am (about a 3lb corned beef brisket) and I believe I got the meat to about 161 at about 7pm with a smoker temp (according to the ET-73) of between 225-250 for the whole day. I did run into a couple of snags that probably delayed my smoking a little more than I wanted but I don't believe these were significant enough to mention here. So I had to leave to drop someone off at the airport and when I got back about an hour later my meat had reached 179 degrees but my smoker temp had gone up to about 270 so I adjusted accordingly. I got my smoker back down to about 225 but about 30 minutes later my meat temp dropped 1 degree and started to drop even more later. To fix the problem I raised my smoker temp back up to 260-270 because the goal temp I was trying to achieve was about 185 (a temp I got from someone else's thread). So my question/dilemma is, is my ET-73's smoker temp guage wrong or am I doing something wrong? I know that the GOSM temp shows about 15 degrees or so higher than the ET-73 although from what I am being told, the GOSM stock temp guage is wrong.

In the future, I am going to try smoking some beef brisket and I've read that the temp should be about 190 but if I can't get to that temp with a smoking temp of 225-250 then it looks like I have a bit of a problem. Can anyone help me out?

On another note, I believe the pastrami came out pretty awesome for my 2nd attempt but unfortunately I got too excited and forgot to take a pic... sorry guys.
post #2 of 12
I have never tried pastrami but can offer some help with the meat temp. If your smoker is at 225 and the object inside is at a lower temp it can and will go up may just take a while longer than being at 270.

How much did the meat drop in temperature?
post #3 of 12
With the slight drop in temp your meat may have been on the dreaded plateau we all talk about. Just about every cut of meat hits a plateau at some point.
I have never noticed mine drop in temp when they do, but that's not saying they didn't... only that I didn't notice it. I may have been paying attention elsewhere or the Bud Light made it hard to see the drop in temp...biggrin.gif

Some last longer than others, I am guessing that is what happened to yours.
It most likely is not a problem with your thermometer.

Good Luck
post #4 of 12
If your concerned about the calibration of the thermometer, boil some water and measure the temp. boiling water is fairly consitant temp depending on your pressure altitude. graphs for that can be found on the net.
post #5 of 12
Nothing wrong with your smoker or thermometer icon_smile.gif. The meat temp will sometimes stall on ya. The plateau happens while the connective tissues are breaking down, this is good because the meat is becoming tender biggrin.gif. Don't raise the smoker temps to compensate, leave them alone and wait it out. The plateau will pass and the meat temp will start rising again. You will get the 190 :)

The reason your smoker temp crept up on ya was probably the meat was getting warmer and and was less of a temp load on the smoker.

Good luck on the brisket and post some Q-view icon_smile.gif
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
The meat dropped about 4 degrees to 175 before I upped the temp on the smoker.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Now that I think about it... the drop in meat temp may have been because the temp got so high while I was away and I dropped it to what it should've been. I'll have to try again.
post #8 of 12
Sounds like you got your thermometer question answered. I too have noticed a drop in meat temp of a few degrees towards the end if for some reason the smoker temp drops. Once the smoker is back in the zone though, the meat recovers.

Might I suggest when you do your brisket, you shoot for a smoker temp of 240ish to 245° or so. I think your brisket will progress smoother and still be plenty tender (if taken to 195° to 200°) and also plenty juicy. I think there are diminishing returns when the smoking temp is maintained at the lower end of the range. Seems like a lot of people talk about smoking at the upper end of the range (250ish) and they don't even get too upset if it creeps a little higher.

Good luck on the brisket.

post #9 of 12
I've noticed a slight drop in temp as the meat enters the stall zone. You were cooking for 9 hrs to just get to 160. That's in the middle part of the stall zone. That's a long time for a 3 lb corned beef. I think you should up your temperature a bit.

I've done 3 corned beefs now and the first two I did at 225-230. Took all day to cook a 3-4 lb corned beef. The last one I did at 270. It was a smallish one that just topped 3 lb. It was cooked to 205 in 5 hrs. It was just as juicy as the ones smoked at the lower temperature. I'm all for low and slow but I think you can push it up a bit without loosing the qualities you are shooting for in low and slow.
post #10 of 12
I cook brisket all the time at 300 and nobody can tell difference between 225 or 300- i have found the meat- the plateau etc is drasticaly different sometimes.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow, that's great advice guys. So I will aim a little higher then on my next barbecue. I'm glad I decided to post this question. I was just going forget about it too (although I'm sure I would've had a nightmare about it later or something eek.gif)
post #12 of 12
Aside frome the therm being questionable, you may think about the water pan. I also use a GOSM big block, and when the water pan gets low the cabinet temp will drop. I add more water and it brings the temps back up to where I had it. This backs up the theory that the water pan will stablilize temps, This is a personal observation, but it might be worthy of consideration in your case.
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