what about REALLY low heat?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by drdrew, May 6, 2011.

  1. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    okay, hi, i'm new...i believe i have a 30" MES...it was bought at bass pro.  i've smoked a couple times in it.i have been grilling for like a thousand years and now trying to get into smoking a bit more.

    anyway.  this weekend it will be baby backs.  was going to go for something like the 3-1.5-1.

    most smoking recipes i see call for 225.  my question is whatabout going lower and slower?  does it dry it out? 

    also was going to add in some thighs...but i'm thinking if i do cook at 225 i better leave those guys for the last couple hours then add?

    my smoker is digital controlled and so far holds constant temp very nicely.

    and then to complicate things more i'd like to ask for tips on beef ribs.  they are my nemesis but i so want to master them.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome Drew!

    First let me say you should go to "Roll Call" and introduce yourself, so All can welcome you properly.

    I do my Beef Ribs  3-2-1 at 225˚ smoker temp.

    You can do some things with lower temps, like ribs, at maybe 200˚, but anything large needs the 225˚ to get through the Danger Zone-----From 40˚ to 140˚ internal temp, in no longer than 4 hours.

  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Generally you want to stay above 200°, unless you are cold smoking. Yes the mantra is "low and slow", but there is also the 40-140 rule: which means getting your  meat from 40° to 140° or above in under 4 hrs. time. The 40-140 rule is a health safety guideline to prevent you and your family/guests from getting sick.

    Most people consider "smoking" and/or "BBQ" anything you do between 200° and 300°. For poultry a lot of folks go 300+°, for ribs and smaller cuts of meat 250°-300°, and for large cuts of meat 200°-250°. Those are very generic rules of thumb, but should help..... also make sure you have acurrate thermometers to check your smoke chamber temps. Most of the thermometers that come with the smoker from the factory are off by 50°-100°.

    Good luck! and don't forget the Qview!
  4. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    ooh, wow i never thought about the "danger zone" but now it does make sense!

    so i guess though with little ribbies its not as much of a concern.  i'm thinking though about skipping the "2" part and cooking at like 190-200 and spraying apple juice every hour....my (likely flawed) hypothesis being lower and slower is more tender?  have i lost my marbles and should stick with what works?  lol

    oh, another question...sorry apparently i have lots.  using wood chips and wifey informs me she likes more mellow smoke flavor so far cherry wood seems to be working for me there.  i have read people using like only 1-2 loads for the whole cook time as more makes the meat bitter?  then i'm reading more today and it looks like quiet continuous smoke might be a better way to go....like less chips at a time but adding more often?  my (again likely flawed) instinct tells me if i'm smoking then i should be smoking the whole time.  i get the wisdom of not wanting the thick white smoke....that makes sense...
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    First of all, welcome to SMF. The advice given above is all good. A lot of us smoke ribs at a bit lower temp. I smoke mine at 210. I think the most important thing you can do is get an accurate digital therm. You need to put a probe on the grate next to the ribs to see what the actual temp is that you are smoking at. It can vary by as much as 50 degrees. Also to make sure you are safe as far as the 40-140 rule I would go directly from the fridge to the smoker, don't set the ribs out & let them come to room temp. before putting them in the smoker. We smoke beef ribs & pork ribs the same 3-2-1. If you are going to add thighs, yes wait until the last couple of hours & when you take the ribs off, crank the temp up to 275 to finish the thighs. When you say

    " i'm thinking though about skipping the "2" part and cooking at like 190-200 and spraying apple juice every hour....my (likely flawed) hypothesis being lower and slower is more tender? ". If you mean just leaving the ribs on the smoker for 6 hours straight, that's fine, if the temp is at least 200 degrees like Johnny said.. If you want fall off the bone tender juicy ribs then follow the 3-2-1. You asked about adding wood chips. Add the chips in small amounts every 30-40 minutes, through the whole smoke. You do not have to add chips while the ribs are foiled, unless the thighs are on then. As you seem to have figured out you want thin blue smoke, not billowing white smoke. Good luck & don't forget the Q-view.
  6. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great bit of information from a friendly member. I moved your thread to roll call, so that everyone has the chance to give you a warm welcome. Save the planet... it's the only one with Q.
  7. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    thanks guys all really really really helpful info!

    will likely try 3-2-1 tomorrow on the pork.

    sunday i may have to try the 3-2-1 on beef ribs! 

    cant wait for this work week to get over with already!
  8. Welcome and good luck.
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are worried about to strong of a smoke flavor, only apply the "flavor" smoke for the first 3 to 4 hrs., or only add chips every other hour or so. After a couple of other smokes you will get a feel for how long to apply the flavor smoke to achieve the desired results.
  10. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    You might try taking a look at the WIKIs and using the handy dandy search tool up top.

    There is tons of info here..

  11. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Welcome !!!  You have recieved some very good advise.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I thought we had you pretty well squared away, but you just confused me.

    The one in blue is good!

    As for the one above in Red, what Pork are you talking about for tomorrow?

    Also, 3-2-1 is generally only for ribs (Spare ribs & Beef Ribs). Baby Backs is usually 2-2-1.

    Most other Pork is cooked to temp for many hours.

  13. I think it was pork ribs Bear.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ok---I get it---Pork Ribs tomorrow, and Beef Ribs on Sunday!!!

    I'l drink to that!  Thanks Scott.

    Xin Loi, Drew!  I must have been half asleep!

    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  15. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

    This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

    Many of our members have years of experience in smoking meat.  They are more than happy helping Newbies learn the art.

    We have members who cure there own Bacon, Hams, Jerky, Snack Sticks, Make Their own Sausage, etc. if you want to learn,
    this is the place. 

    Don't be afraid to ask questions of them and follow their advice. You won't be sorry, you will be making great Q in no time at all...

    Just remember, when curing your own meats follow the instructions included with the cure to the letter, this is not something to experiment with.  

    Never use more cure no mater if it is Tender Quick or Cure #1 or Cure #2 than the manufacturer says to use, this can be very dangerous.

    Tender Quick and Cure#1 or Cure #2 are not interchangeable, neither Cure #1 interchangeable with Cure #2 or vise versa

    Tips For New Members.
    1. Go into your profile and Under Location put where you are.
    2. City & State or Area & State will do. This will help members when answering your questions.
    3. Go to ROLL CALL thread and tell us a little about Yourself and Experience & Equipment.
    4. Do Not Post  your other questions and smokes in the Roll Call Forum.
    5. Post your questions and smokes in the Proper Forum, Beef, Pork, Sausage, Electric Smoker, Charcoal Smoker etc.
    6. Use the Wiki Section, many of our members have posted great tutorials and instructional threads so take advantage of them.
    7. When you can't find an answer ask plenty of questions, we have some highly experienced members willing to help you.
    8. When posting about your smokes be sure to post plenty of Qview (Pictures) Our Moto, "No Pics, Didn't Happen".
    9. Get a good Probe Thermometer, Don't Depend on the Built in Thermometer in your Smoker (They are notorious for being off).
    10. A good choice for a remote dual probe thermometer is the Maverick ET-732
    11. Remember, We Always Cook by Temperature and NOT BY TIME...
    12. Sign up for Jeff's 5-Day eCourse.  Click Here
    13. Don't Take Chances, Always Follow USDA Safety Guidelines When Handling Meat.

    14. If you are wanting to get into curing meat, there are many members here more than happy to help and give good advice.

    15. If you are unsure of a procedure ASK, don't ASSUME, It will make your Smoking experience much more pleasant...
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  16. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    thanks again for all the great info.  i will take the course.  it was tricky.  it does appear my internal thermometer reads 40-50 degrees lower than the probe i placed inside.  but now im not sure what to trust.  i went with the probe.  dry wood chips would burn white smoke, then stop.  then turn to charcoal instead of ash....later when i cranked up the heat to finish the chicken. i think the charcoal started burning and finally created the blue smoke....so i'm confused as to what i should be doing, but thinking of trying a few more thermometers...lol

    the ribs came out good but not great.  i think there was some bitter smoke taste on there and they were not as tender (and a little dryer) as i had hoped.  sprayed apple juice every hour and did the 3-2-1 trick.  i still have much to learn, but that's okay.

    anyway from top to bottom, baby back ribs, st louis style spare ribs, and chicken thighs.  the appearance at least was very nice and the family loved them...i think i am quite a bit more critical however.

  17. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    hmmm lets try that last part again

  18. drdrew

    drdrew Newbie

    okay what did i do wrong?
  19. Did you calibrate your thermometers in boiling water first?
  20. Also, you might want to get the probe off the grate too. They shouldn't be in contact with metal I've heard. Use a block of wood or a potato or something to stick the probe through. To post a pic you can just click the image icon above and upload from your PC and you won't need to use image shack.

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