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A little worried

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Having a hard timekeeping the smoker at the right temp.  Started out great, but battle the temp monster most of the night, getting up and adding more fuel.  BAH!


Anyway, can't seem to keep it above 200, and I need it at 225, for this butt.


Should I just keep plugging away, or just thow out my beautiful butt?  BAH!


Don't understand what's wrong with it the smoker, other than it's cooler than usual weather-wide.


At any rate, am I cooking up a big batch of belly ache, or is this salvagable?

post #2 of 22

What kind of rig are you using? Are the winds blowing pretty good? Just trying to get an idea of the conditions that might be causing your rig to not heat up.

post #3 of 22

More info will be helpful.  What type of smoker (is it the char broil offset in your signature?), how are you measuring your temp?  The therms that come with most units are not accurate.  So how and where you are taking your reading is important.  How long has it been cooking?


Don't give up yet!

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks, yes, I am using my small offset smoker, and going by the temp guage it came with.


Haven't had this problem with it before.  I DO have it in a slighly different location, so maybe it isn't catching as much air??


I have not checked the meat itself yet, as I usually wait to do that until I think I am near the end.


I should say that is smells really good!  But I am really concerned about it cooking at around the 200 mark all night.


Weather-wise, this is the coolest temp I have ever tried using the smoker.  It is by no means, cold out today though.  It's just usually hotter than heck when I use my smoker.


Maybe I should wheel it to a different location?

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Forgot to add, that it's been cooking about 8 hours thus far.  I have 2 butts in there actually.  They are the ones that come cryovacc'd from Sam's Club.  Total weight 17.6 lbs.  I have them in the center of the rig, with space between them.  Planned to swap their positions around at some point, but I haven't wanted to lift the lid and let out what precious warmth is in there!



I guess I could check their internal temps with my probe, just don't think it's "time" yet.

post #6 of 22

The location may be part of the problem if the wind is coming from a different direction than it would in the other location. If the air temp is cooler than normal you may simply need to add more fuel to keep the temp up. Also you might check to see how much ash has built up, too much will choke off the air supply to the fire.

post #7 of 22

I'd go ahead and check your internals. 

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Ok, WOW, here are the results:


Meat thermo inserted all the way into thickest part of muscle, midway between bone and crust:


Butt 1 closest to firebox:  160 degrees, I sis resist the urge to pull it though and instead moved it into position two.


Butt 2:  150 degrees.


They are swapped... or do you think I could go ahead and pull the first one and foil it now?


How paranoid am I?!!

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

I may also add that when I moved them, I got a sampling of the fist butt.  It tastes fantastic, and my rub rocks!!  LOL

post #10 of 22

yup your a bit paranoid!   kick back and just enjoy the experience. do your best to keep the temp up in the cooker, and if one gets done before the other just pull it off and let it rest while the other one does its thing.


I did an 8lb butt last weekend and I learned a few things that I can improve on next time, too much smoke, should have let it go till it was 200-205 internal instead of 195, just lil things.


It was very edible even with my rookie mistakes.  By the way I did NOT foil and it still turned out really moist and juicy.

post #11 of 22

They they said let it go.   I would take your thermometer out and do the boiling test with it.   I bet it is off    What does your probe say your grate temp is?  


post #12 of 22

The only problem I have is that you did not or do not know if they got to 140 in 4 hours or less.  If they did not then they can be bad

post #13 of 22

suggested reading:





as long as your cooker has been at 200 or a tad more I wouldn't worry too much, but read the above and make the call for yourself, as you know more about what has been going on exactly with your temps and how you have handled the meat.

post #14 of 22

I won't say whether its good or not I will let you make up your own mind. There are a couple different Food Safety standards that could apply.

Meat needs to go from 41-135 internal in under 4 hours BUT under the "intact muscle" standard if the meat has not been punctured then the outer 1/2" needs to go from 41-135 in under 4 hours and that can usually be easily accomplished by temps around 200. If you injected the meat or placed a thermometer probe in the meat or punctured it any other way the "intact muscle" standard would not apply


For those thinking WHAT the standard was reduced from the 140 to 135 in this years standards



post #15 of 22

Yea thats a real worry here if you butt hasn't got to the 140° after 4 hours you need to get that thing into the oven. Now it should be well over that but you need to make sure. Next time you might want to make sure that your smoker is out of the wind for it will mess with your tempstoo. The first thing that you need to do is go get a couple of thermo-meters and test them with the boiling water trick. You will hardly ever find a thermo meter that comes wiht your smoker that is correct.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!  I am confident that it got to temp in time, and I did not stick it in any way previous to cooking.  So I think we are good.  Butt B just came off the grill and is resting in my oven.  Butt A is still on deck.


It looks like a good smoke and seems to be falling apart.  Will know for sure after it rests.  Will post a Qview when I have one.



post #17 of 22



For those thinking WHAT the standard was reduced from the 140 to 135 in this years standards


I have an 8 lb. butt on that's just made it to 136 in four hours so I should be ok, right? Smoker's been running 225 - 250.

post #18 of 22

If that is the Char Broil American Gourmet you have, it may also be the ash build up as mentioned earlier. I have the same smoker and it doesn't have a pull out ashtray like my Char-Griller Smokin' Pro does. When I use the American Gourmet, I have to use an old metal spatula through the vent hole to get the ash out from under the charcoal grate. I also concocted a hook to lift the grate up by the vent hole with the firebox lid open. I know you will lose some heat doing this, but with practice you are in and out in under a minute. Air flow as you know is a very big factor when smoking. Too little and your temps are low. Too much and you have an inferno on you hands. This is just my experience with that smoker and I hope it gives you some help in the future. If anyone has a better solution, Please chime in because I still like using the small one for a single butt or two and other small smokes.

post #19 of 22

yeah DougE, you're good to go in my opinion

post #20 of 22

Thanks. I wasn't too worried about it. it hit 140 at about 4 hours and 15 or 20 min. give or take.

Originally Posted by DanMcG View Post

yeah DougE, you're good to go in my opinion

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