Am I doing this whole thing wrong?

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Aug 8, 2007
Wow, you all are mega technical. I never had any idea that there was so much to smoking meat. I've smoked all kinds of ribs, pork butt, brisket, chicken and anything else I can get my hands on. Most have turned out well. But, I don't get nearly as technical as many of you here. I've got a general idea of how long to cook things and at what temperature but I don't measure internal temperature. Is this "wrong" or is it just not as in-depth as I could be getting? I have learned quite a bit just lurking here for the last week or so. So, should i change what I'm doing or keep doing what has worked so far? I appreciate everyones input and like I said I've already learned a lot (and look forward to learning more). Thanks, Greg
One of my old high school teachers used to always say "if you do what you've always done you'll get what you've always got". So no way to know if you'll like doing it different until you try it. One thing I've found from reading these forums is there are lots of ways to do things and you just find what you like. One thing that I did get since reading these forums is a thermo and love having it.
If you like the results, there isn't really a need to change. But if you try some other techniques, you might actually find something you like better. I'd say give some new things a try at least once. Worse thing that happens is that you order a pizza for dinner that night. You wouldn't be the first one.
I also just found this forum and you are right about the tech talk. I love it for this reason: New cuts of meat do not seem an impossable task. I have mastered the pork sholder/but/hams ect..(without a meat therm.) but when it came to a brisket I was intemidated. I have not mastered the brisket yet but do believe I am on my way.

Also pork has its own natural therm. in them. called a bone.
Thanks for the replies. I have already learned to hit the meat with the light blue smoke instead of blowing it away with the big plumes of smoke. So, I'm sure I've got tons more to learn. I think I'll buy a good meat thermometer and see what i can come up with in terms of 'perfection' for brisket and pulled pork. I'll post pics as I progress towards my goal. I've wanted to do pulled pork but haven't known where to start. Here goes my next couple of threads. Thanks again, Greg
I know over time you can "ball park" your smoking times for certain cuts of meat. Internal temp digital thermomenters will put you on the pitchers mound. (get one with the 3 foot cord) I see nothing technical really about smoking. Different rubs or sauces are done for personal taste, nothing technical about that.
Using a themometer is no more technical than using a measuring cup. Because we sometimes take the toughest, stringiest, fatties cuts of meat and turn them into wonderfully delectible dishes it is very helpful to have a few tools of the trade.
gt2003, I too thought the same when first joining the forum. Tried different things after reading in the threads that pertained to what I was smoking and found some work, some I was doing and hadn't realized it, and some just didn't work with the way my smoker is set up.(Homemade 300 gal. barrel smoker with internal centered firebox) The things that I have found to work well have made my "Q" much better. One big one is the use of digital therms, before I just used dial therms and kept poking things to see what temps they were. This of course caused moisture loss and drying. Now I just insert the probe, and cook until temp is reached without loss of moisture and heat from opening the smoker several times. I guess what I am trying to say is what others have said, try different ways, if they help your end results, keep them, if not move on. No two smokers or people are the same and you are the judge of what your family and friends like and enjoy, so use what you can to improve you "Q" and smoke on.
I like all the tech talk because I am new to it.Just the way I am i guess
I like to follow diections and know what the outcome is going to be but that's just me.
Good Luck and Good Smoking
I was like a babe in the woods until I found this forum ... now I have a very positive attitude about the outcome, not just hope!
Therms, are now my best friends ... couldn't do without them!

Just my humble opinion!
About the only thing I can add to the replies you've gotten already is one very good reason to use an internal thermometer is to make sure you've cooked the meat enough to be safe to eat, especially when cooking pork and poultry.
The way I look at it is you can't have too many.I just put the forth one on my brinkman smoker.I have one on the door I just found a good one at Home depot on sale for $5.00 so I drilled a hole in the top of my smoker and then I have two more going thru the top of the smoker I run the wires thru a cork that has a hole drilled in it. One is for the inside meat temp
and the other one is for the dome temp above the meat. Ok maybe a little overkill,but hey I lkie to see the temp a differnt places.
Good Luck and Good Smoking
Redbrinkman 1955
GT2003, I use the therm. for a couple of reasons. As has been said, if I am serving to others I want to make sure what I am serving is safe with no doubts. Also I have found that sometimes the meat will plateau for a long period, and while most times I can get pretty close, the therm. makes sure I'm right.

I use the Oregon Scientific remote. I got it at Lowe's pretty cheap. It works great. You can either program type of meat and doneness desired or you can set temps or times or a combination of temps and times. It will alert you about 5 degrees from your desired temp. I like this feature because it will reach 300 yds. (in the open). If I'm doing a long cook and have an adult beverage or so I often don't hang out right on top of the pit all night. Plus with the time function, if you happen to doze it will wake you in time for adding wood, spritzing etc.
I've got the same wireless thermometer. Found it on sale at Lowe's at the end of last season, so I bought two!
I use the ET-73 by redi-chek, 14 of them actually. The remote receiver makes life much simpler, especially during long cooks. I especially like the fact that each thermometer has 2 probes and 2 for the smoker temp and one for the internal meat temp. The thermometers mounted on the door or top of the smoker tend to be omewhat inaccurate due to cost concerns of the manufacturer and also due to the location. Heat rises so the top of the smoker is hotter than it is where the meat is sitting. A check I also do on my thermometers on a fairly regular basis is to check the accuracy by using boiling water. Just bring the water to a boil and insert the probe. The thermometer should read 212, the boiling point of water. Even the best probes can be off, so it is a good idea to check them.
One-eye thats a good Idea putting the therm into boiling water I will check all of mine saturday.I hang one of mine right above the meat and have one in the meat, the door therm is at water level and I have one at grate level.
Good luck and Good Smoking
Are you saying that water won't boil after it goes beyond 212F? This really isn't a method I would use to calibrate my thermometer, but that's just me.
I am saying that it is a quck check for the average home/backyard cook . Unless science has changed since I was in school (and at my age, it just may have
) water boils at 212. Now it may be off a degree or 2, but is pretty close. It may not be an exact scientific method, but it is a lot more accurate than using the thermometer right off the shelf without checking, or using no thermometer at all.
Water boils at 212 F at sea level. At higher elevations it boils at a lower temperature because the air pressure is lower. Water can't boil at higher than 212 deg because it will already be a vapor. i.e. the steam you see coming out of the kettle. Its a good method to check a thermometer.... is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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