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simple question, where to put temp probe in butt - Page 3

post #41 of 51
Are we arguing? What part is being overthunked here. Simply stated... if you inject or probe or marinade or brine your meat... you must stay within the 40 to 140 degree in 4 hour internal temp or you risk illness. If you don't then you are within the intact muscle rule. Regardless of when you decide to put the probe in... simple. A very basic and important rule to live by when learning the art of smokin meat. I'm pretty sure that's what we are all saying here in different languages.
post #42 of 51
i just think some people overthink things man life is hard enough without worrying about meat probes, lol look at bizarre foods show meat hanging in the sun in veitname and they are fine haha
post #43 of 51
Yeah.... and you take a bite of that with your American intestines and see how sick you get..... whew..... icon_mrgreen.gif

I saw a guy on TV eat raw chicken once too.... good Lord. There are a lot of factors that come into play with all these safety issues. The guidelines are just that... guidelines. They are there to try and keep everyone safe... from young children to older folks. I'm one of those better safe than sorry guys.... do a little research and see where bacteria live... how fast they grow when you give them what they like....... and then how sick you can get from ingesting them. If I'm going to give anyone advice it's going to be the safest methods that have been proven to work.
post #44 of 51
.30-06 PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #45 of 51
I don't want to hijack the food safety thread here, but back to the original question- where to place the probe?

I can understand how you probably want to place the probe in the thickest part of the meat, but is that absolutely necessary? I mean, with the low and slow method of cooking that smoking is, I assume at some point the meat starts to be pretty uniform in temperature.

I mean, when you hit a stall, I'd assume that the temp is pretty uniform- it's not like one part of the butt is stalled and the other parts are rising in temp, is it?

Yeah, after it passes that stall, there'll be a thermal gradient through the meat again, but I can't imagine it being all that much. If you're aiming for 190 while cooking at 225 over the course of hours, I can't imagine there being much more than a 5 degree difference between one part of the butt and another, except for possibly the very surface of the meat.

When you try to take into account carry over and then evening out when you foil, towel, and cooler it, how close to the center do you really have to be?
post #46 of 51
travco - .30/06 would be my choice too, if i had to choose between the two ~ ;)

fencesitter, thanks for bringing the discussion back on track. i'll offer my opinion and thoughts on the matter, then i am sure others will follow:

regardless of WHEN you place the probe, the WHERE is easy: you place it in the middle of the meat where there is no fat and no bone nearby to give you a false reading. the reason for this is found in the basic fundamental of barbecue:

there is cooking meat until it is done, and cooking meat until it is barbecue. technically, at 160, the meat is done (and all the little cooties are dead); but the fact remains that there is a lot of connective tissue, fat and collagen left in the meat. this is the stuff that makes pork shoulder, brisket, ribs etc the nasty, cheap cuts of meat that they are - they are hard to cook normally because of all of this stuff. if you were to set them in the oven at normal roasting temperatures, or fry them in a pan at pan-frying temperatures, they will be done long before this "stuff" breaks down, melts or whatever you want to call it - in fact,they would be burned AND dry as a bone, not to mention tough as an old boot.

by cooking large masses of meat at lower temperatures, you are giving the meat time to break down all the stuff while still remaining moist and not getting too hot too fast; in fact, the melting of the collagen and fat actually contributes to a moist, tender finished product that is now barbecue. this is why traditional barbecue meats are the large, fatty gristly things such as pork shoulder, brisket etc. ribs also fit into this category due to their make-up.

with brisket and pork shoulder, you are going up around 185 and in the case of pulled pork, up around 200 degrees. this is far past "technical" done but right into "barbecue" zone where all of your connective tissue/collagen and most of your fat has rendered out. this is the difference between "barbecue" and grilling, which is done hot and fast for tender cuts of meat such as steas, etc.

now, back to the probe. you want to place the probe in the thickest aprt of the center as mentioned above because this is the last point in the meat that will be done with its cooking, melting, and general transformation from meat to barbecue.

hope that answers your question. there is a whole lot of science involved but as i said before, we're cooking meat here, not building a space shuttle. my best advice is to put your engineering books away, start a fire and slap some rub on something. a whole lot more will be learned by doing it rather than reading about it.icon_wink.gif
post #47 of 51
But wouldn't that be fine as long as you cooked the meat to 195°?? I've lost count of how many times you have posted that advice.


post #48 of 51
Not follow the safety practices and getting away with it does not negate their requirement nor their effectiveness. It just shows that there is a whole lot of dumb still running around masquarading as scientific fact, when it is not.

Odwalla picked up dropped apples up off the ground for years. Inspite of being warned in 1995 that the possibility existed they buried it and continued to do it "the old fashion way" as the marketing types felt the past safety record showed they were OK. Food Scientist resigned over it, and....... wait for it....

in 1996 they successfully killed people due to contamination of their apple juice. Proving the old way we do things is dangerous, and because it has not reared its head yet... it will with time.

Only if the safer methodology are demanded. If a Laissez-faire attitude is adopted toward food safety is allowed to be the norm, it will continue until the first judge is killed. As with the apple juice it will happen, just a matter of when unless food safety moves forward.

Actually injecting meats and placing in probes early is only a problem if the temperature is going to be pulled and the 4 hour danger zone may be violated. Most injected meats are throughly cooked well above those dangerzone temps and most methods cook them up that way well within the time zone required.

As for policing the world on food safety, not our job, but putting out the correct information is:

Odwalla wrote 9 big checks because they had no legs to stand on in court. Allowing bad information to pass as fact or worse yet supporting bad information, has the same legal precident... it sets you up to have your assets attached in a civil court of law. Which if you own nothing is not a big deal, but if you do......
post #49 of 51
Perhaps one of the better summaries I have read on the probe insertion question. Very nicely said!points.gif
post #50 of 51
I'm glad to see so much interest in this subject. Most people, myself included, believe barbecuing is supposed to be a laid-back affair. I believe that food safety is important enough to intrude on this sacred ritual, but it really doesn't require much effort to be safe - only a bit of forethought.

To address the original question: the reason for placing the probe as deep as possible in the meat (and away from bone) is so that you'll be measuring the last part to reach final temperature. You're not actually measuring the final temperature; the meat will only reach that after being removed from heat and the temperature of the entire mass is allowed to equalize. While the center of your butt is at 190, the outside is 215 or higher (depending on weight and the temperature of your smoker). When you foil it and place it in a cooler, you allow heat from the outside to be conducted to the inside; this is the same process as cooking, but without adding any more heat. You'd be surprised to find that many restaurants do not cook to the point that the internal temperature is at a "safe" level, but that the meat has enough total heat that it will average out to the proper temperature after resting.

As an aside, probes stuck into cold meat are very common in commercial kitchens - without violating FDA regulations. Most of the time, meat is cooked considerably faster than we do in the backyard. Time spent in the "danger zone" is usually very short. If your setup does not allow the outer meat to reach 140°F in two or three hours, then you are harboring higher concentrations of bacteria than you should be comfortable with.

Now, if you're willing to wait a little bit before placing the probe in the meat, there's good news: just about everything we do contributes to sterilizing the outside of the meat quickly.
  • Changing the pH of the surface. In processing, alkaline scalding water kills bacteria faster. In our use, acidic rubs and mops have a similar effect. Yellow mustard is also acidic.
  • Adding wood smoke. Wood smoke is an excellent antiseptic. The flavor we all love so much is derived from the same thing that has saved people from food poisoning for millenia. Clearly a win-win situation.
  • Holding consistent temperature. Heat-sensitive bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella don't necessarily need to be heated to very high temperatures, but to be held at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. For example, beef held at 140°F for 35.6 minutes will see 6.5 decimal reductions in Salmonella - enough that it is considered safe to eat. As long as we're not peeking in on the smoke too often, the outside of the meat is brought up slowly and then held at high temperature for hours. Those that sear their briskets before smoking probably kill everything off at the beginning!
That was rather long-winded, but poisoning your guests is a big deal. Be safe, and enjoy.
post #51 of 51
Hey Phil,
You sound like a very informed person who we all could learn a lot from. Especially in the area of food safety, which is obviously a "hot button" issue around here.

I went to look to see who you were and noticed you didn't stop into "roll call" and introduce yourself. If you would, please do so, I'm sure everyone would appreciate learning more about you and how you're so knowledgeable about this subject. Your input will be highly valuable around here.
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