Actual Temperature in Your Smoker and Common Smoking Misconceptions

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Lots of good info in that post Ray and good read! Glad you touched o the room temp meat point too. It’s always funny to me to hear people say they bring their 15 pound packer or 10 pound butt up to room temp before putting it on the smoker. Was it left out for 12 hours?

Thanks. OSS! I've tried researching the origin of that advice but had no luck finding an answer. So it's probably an old wive's tale that's persisted through the years, passed on from generation to generation. Either that, or some celebrity chef said it without testing it for accuracy and it stuck.
 
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I had to jump off to go grill chicken thighs. They were bone-in, skin-on thighs, 10 in the package with a total weight of about 5 lbs, so roughly 8 oz per thigh.

I bought the meat Thursday morning and stuck it on my "meat shelf" in the fridge when I got home from grocery shopping. The "meat shelf" is the lowest and coldest shelf in my fridge it is next to the cooling vent. It typically keeps meat at roughly 34F. The meat was not frozen when purchased.

I pulled the poultry from the fridge and put it on the counter to prep for grilling. It had been on the counter maybe five minutes by the time I got the idea camera to take the first picture. So, total time from beginning to end was approximately 52 minutes. Couldn't wait an hour because I was getting a late start fixing dinner and the hungries were already starting to rumble. When I first turned on the therm it read the house temp of 71F.

First pic, warmest piece of chicken from the end of the package furthest from the cold vent. The piece nearest the vent was 33.2F and had some ice crystals around the skin.

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Second pic. Camera time shows a 47 minute difference.

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I will acknowledge that the skin of the chicken was about 7 degrees warmer, or 52F (no pic) so there's that.
 
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Nice! I spent 8 hours yesterday with 6 digital chamber probes in my empty Mes 40. With the four racks above the heating element I flipped over the element to center it in the bottom of the smoker vs the original right rear corner. I placed a rectangular disposable alum baking sheet on the retangular bottom rack. There's a couple inches all around the baking sheet so airflow goes around the pan towards the walls as it moves to the top right rear 3" vent. Different probes are faster than others so I looked at faster as a truer reading than the slower ones. The Auber PID sensor is inbetween fast and slow reading. I used to put it up on the top rack back wall centered so heat would have passed the roast before getting to the sensor. I was thinking the roast was getting hotter than the displayed temp with the sensor above the roast. The top rack is to hang probes and manage cables, then my go to food rack, then 2nd food rack, then bottom rack for baking sheet drip pan no water. Im thinking hanging my PID probe on the right side a couple inches from the right wall at 2nd from top rack level or a little lower so airflow and heat get me the temp just at or below the meat on the display without overheating the meat compared to if the probe was higher a little above the meat. This is mostly for not overheating the meat the first half of the smoke because when the meat is hot with the PID the area inside the smoker is very uniform. So if my PID sensor is away from the roast off to the side a little lower than the meat in good airflow would that be the best logical choice to keep the meat more at the displayed temp than the sensor in good airflow above the meat with the meat being a cold sink? Since the top is hottest I also want to not roast the top insulation in the smoker. I have done this before with the stock controller with its sensor on the lower back wall and a probe on the right of the meat a little higher than the roast but the lower sensor cycled too soon and my smoker never got to the desired temp I wanted. So I was thinking the auber sensor next to or slightly lower than the meat keeps it at display temp more than hotter for the first half of the smoke.
 
Nice! I spent 8 hours yesterday with 6 digital chamber probes in my empty Mes 40. With the four racks above the heating element I flipped over the element to center it in the bottom of the smoker vs the original right rear corner. I placed a rectangular disposable alum baking sheet on the retangular bottom rack. There's a couple inches all around the baking sheet so airflow goes around the pan towards the walls as it moves to the top right rear 3" vent. Different probes are faster than others so I looked at faster as a truer reading than the slower ones. The Auber PID sensor is inbetween fast and slow reading. I used to put it up on the top rack back wall centered so heat would have passed the roast before getting to the sensor. I was thinking the roast was getting hotter than the displayed temp with the sensor above the roast. The top rack is to hang probes and manage cables, then my go to food rack, then 2nd food rack, then bottom rack for baking sheet drip pan no water. Im thinking hanging my PID probe on the right side a couple inches from the right wall at 2nd from top rack level or a little lower so airflow and heat get me the temp just at or below the meat on the display without overheating the meat compared to if the probe was higher a little above the meat. This is mostly for not overheating the meat the first half of the smoke because when the meat is hot with the PID the area inside the smoker is very uniform. So if my PID sensor is away from the roast off to the side a little lower than the meat in good airflow would that be the best logical choice to keep the meat more at the displayed temp than the sensor in good airflow above the meat with the meat being a cold sink? Since the top is hottest I also want to not roast the top insulation in the smoker. I have done this before with the stock controller with its sensor on the lower back wall and a probe on the right of the meat a little higher than the roast but the lower sensor cycled too soon and my smoker never got to the desired temp I wanted. So I was thinking the auber sensor next to or slightly lower than the meat keeps it at display temp more than hotter for the first half of the smoke.
I've been keeping my Auber probe clipped to the top right rack. I also cook most of the stuff on that same top rack, usually 2-3 inches from the probe. Since I installed the Auber, thanks to your excellent advice, my cook temps are more stable and cook times more consistent. It makes sense to me that the top is the hottest place. So if I moved the probe to the middle left area, and still cook on the top rack, wouldn't the temp at the top meat level be much higher than the center left probe area?
 
I've been keeping my Auber probe clipped to the top right rack. I also cook most of the stuff on that same top rack, usually 2-3 inches from the probe. Since I installed the Auber, thanks to your excellent advice, my cook temps are more stable and cook times more consistent. It makes sense to me that the top is the hottest place. So if I moved the probe to the middle left area, and still cook on the top rack, wouldn't the temp at the top meat level be much higher than the center left probe area?
That's what I think so a top right rear vent ultimately airflow goes that way to get it to the hottest temp in the smoker. I really like the top rack to suspend probes and manage cables so the next rack down is what you are doing on your top rack that I was wondering about. So maybe moving my Auber probe to the right side towards the right rear corner a little below the meat will keep the meat at or a little below set point. I usually cook butts, briskets and ribs at 275° but I don't want the meat to be exposed to heat hotter than that in our vertical smokers so tweeking the placement and your set up sounds perfect. When doing one rack smokes the top rack your doing sounds great but a two rack smoke with using the top two racks may have the top rack much hotter so rotating them or use the middle two racks with the auber probe on the right side lower roast and the probe slightly lower to keep roasts at set temp?
 
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So here's what I got going , tonight at 1am putting on an 8 lb butt, top rack, 2-3 inches away from the Auber probe. Was planning on cooking at 250'. Rechecking every 2-3 hours. Figuring it'll take til 3 or 4pm Saturday to be done. Noon Saturday putting on a rack of spare ribs middle rack also keeping temp set at 250'. Ribs usually take 5-6 hours at 240' for me, so they should both be ready to serve by 6pm, hopefully. I rarely use 2 racks at the same time, and this seems to add up, since the butt takes longer, and can use the higher temp, ribs are ok on the 2nd rack I think. Or when I put the ribs on, should I move the butt to second rack, and do the ribs on the top? Normally when I do just ribs, I use the top and cook at 240.
 
So here's what I got going , tonight at 1am putting on an 8 lb butt, top rack, 2-3 inches away from the Auber probe. Was planning on cooking at 250'. Rechecking every 2-3 hours. Figuring it'll take til 3 or 4pm Saturday to be done. Noon Saturday putting on a rack of spare ribs middle rack also keeping temp set at 250'. Ribs usually take 5-6 hours at 240' for me, so they should both be ready to serve by 6pm, hopefully. I rarely use 2 racks at the same time, and this seems to add up, since the butt takes longer, and can use the higher temp, ribs are ok on the 2nd rack I think. Or when I put the ribs on, should I move the butt to second rack, and do the ribs on the top? Normally when I do just ribs, I use the top and cook at 240.
You probably can let it go since they started at different times and see what happens. I don't usually wrap and hold in a cooler with crumpled newspaper or towels but if the butt is done, then it can rest/hold for hours in a cooler while ribs smoke. If I'm doing one meat, then I wrap and leave in the turned off smoker with a therm in it till ready to pull and if it gets down to 140 IT I just turn the PID on to 140. I noticed my center two racks are close in temp compared to the top rack. So I use the two center racks and can always rotate and spin racks 180° if the cuts aren't uniform and one side has more bark etc.
 
You probably can let it go since they started at different times and see what happens. I don't usually wrap and hold in a cooler with crumpled newspaper or towels but if the butt is done, then it can rest/hold for hours in a cooler while ribs smoke. If I'm doing one meat, then I wrap and leave in the turned off smoker with a therm in it till ready to pull and if it gets down to 140 IT I just turn the PID on to 140. I noticed my center two racks are close in temp compared to the top rack. So I use the two center racks and can always rotate and spin racks 180° if the cuts aren't uniform and one side has more bark etc.
Good advice, as usual. I moved the Auber probe to the rear of the top rack, kept on the right side, now it's almost directly under the vent, clipped to the top rack. I felt like the chamber temp got up to 250 in the same amount of time as before, but temp swings seem to be less. Maybe because it's around 68-70' here already.
I'm 8 hours into the Butt cook. Got 3 inkbird probes in. each end is reading 151' , middle reading 153'. Weird to me that the center of the meat is hotter than either end. I'll change positions slightly of the meat probes in an hour to see if it changes. Usually doesn't.
 
Excellent advice. Thank you. Another thing to consider is a supplemental smoke generator such as the
products from AMAZN. Anything close to them will receive radiant heat. There are times using the
pellet tube that I have put an aluminum foil barrier between the tube and the meat. Shiny side towards the tube!!
Happy smoking!
 
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