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Dry meat struggles

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by Matt champagne, May 13, 2019.

  1. I am fairly new to smoking, I've done mayne around 6-7 cooks since I bought my smoker last year. I have a Masterbuilt SE ThermoTemp Smoker and every time I make something with the exception of chicken it comes out pretty dry and tough. I've done ribs a few times a pork shoulder and brisket a few times. Most recently i did a brisket. I always follow instruction recommendations. So for example for the brisket I put my rub on the night before, took it out of the fridge to allow internal temp to get close to room temp, ran the smoker at 200-225, only applied smoke for the first 6 hours, pulled it when internal temp hit 195, and wrapped it and let it rest in an insulated cooler for an hour. I'm lost as to why all my food comes out dry I follow directions pretty well. Looking for help and any insight on whats going on. My next move would be getba new smoker because maybe the model I got isnt very good
     
  2. fivetricks

    fivetricks Smoking Fanatic

    195 is too low for brisket. Shoot more for 203-205. But it's more about "probe tenderness" slide your probe in once you cross 198 or so from time to time and when it sticks in there like butter , that's when she's done.

    Edit: plus you should ensure that all your thermos are reading accurately. The ones included on the smoker should generally be ignored. You may have been cooking at a lower temp than you thought
     
  3. Dantij

    Dantij Fire Starter

    Is it a whole brisket or just the flat? Are you wrapping it after 6 hours? You can probably take the internal temp up to @200°.
    I've been cooking my briskets at 275° and pulling them when they hit @200°. I'm still experimenting with a new smoker but this method has been consistent and tender the last 3 briskets I've done. Also, check the accuracy of your probes. That can really screw you up. It very well could be your probes and temperature gauges.
     
  4. WaterRat

    WaterRat Smoking Fanatic

    A few questions and some advice. How long was you total cooking time on the ribs and brisket? How did you determine the ribs were done? How did you determine the brisket was done? A big thing to understand with smoking meats is that times from recipies are only rough guidelines. To know when our meats are done we do tests. For ribs I do the bend test - starting at 5 hrs on spare ribs (4 on baby backs) I pick up the rack and see if when holding in the middle it will break under its own weight, if so, done, if not check in another half hour. This will vary a bit depending on how you like your ribs but you'll get the hang of it. You can also grab the ends 2 bones and see if they will easily pull apart. Briskets get the probe test (as do pork butts, chuck roasts, beef short ribs): I use my thermo pop but any fine sharp probe will do and stick it into the meat - it should slide in easy with hardly any resistance. If you feel it catching and sorta breaking meat fibers as you push through - not done. Start probing at 190°F IT. On my particular smoker these type meats don't probe tender until ~205°F, that's just how my unit rolls. Chicken you can go by temp.

    Edit: Lol, looks like we all posted the same thing at the same time ;)
     
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Most propane smokers from the factory cannot cook at 200-225F... I think your temps are off...
    Like others have suggested, get a good therm to monitor your temps....
    There are fixes for getting lower temps...
    Low pressure regulator with a needle valve to lower the propane flow... Then block half up to 3/4 of the holes in the burner to get bigger flame when the propane flow is reduced....

    Propane Burner adjustment.png Burner BTU reductiion2.JPG Burner BTU reductiion.JPG Burner BTU reductiion3.JPG
     
  6. Dantij

    Dantij Fire Starter

    Busy day at the office.QUOTE="WaterRat, post: 1956240, member: 204844"]A few questions and some advice. How long was you total cooking time on the ribs and brisket? How did you determine the ribs were done? How did you determine the brisket was done? A big thing to understand with smoking meats is that times from recipies are only rough guidelines. To know when our meats are done we do tests. For ribs I do the bend test - starting at 5 hrs on spare ribs (4 on baby backs) I pick up the rack and see if when holding in the middle it will break under its own weight, if so, done, if not check in another half hour. This will vary a bit depending on how you like your ribs but you'll get the hang of it. You can also grab the ends 2 bones and see if they will easily pull apart. Briskets get the probe test (as do pork butts, chuck roasts, beef short ribs): I use my thermo pop but any fine sharp probe will do and stick it into the meat - it should slide in easy with hardly any resistance. If you feel it catching and sorta breaking meat fibers as you push through - not done. Start probing at 190°F IT. On my particular smoker these type meats don't probe tender until ~205°F, that's just how my unit rolls. Chicken you can go by temp.

    Edit: Lol, looks like we all posted the same thing at the same time ;)[/QUOTE]
     
  7. jbolt001

    jbolt001 Newbie

    My ThermoTemp 340 will hold down to 160 no problems with the only modification of adding a gasket to the doors.

    The dial on the ThermoTemp can vary 10 to 50 degrees depending on the conditions. Best to place a remote probe just below the factory temp sensor.
     
  8. So I do not go off of factor thermo on smoker i bought a oven thermo and hang it on the center rack to get a more accurate temp. My brisket was just the flat and I did not wrap it. I also was under the impression that opening and closing the door even to prob test was bad because then the unit is has to get baxk up to temp. One thing i don't understand that everyone is basically saying is 190 is to low so i should have kept it in longer? That just confuses me because if it was dry at 190 wouldn't 200 be worse. I cooked the brisket for 11.5 12 hours and i believe ribs were around 4 or 5. To be honest I have a book that I get my times from because being new I don't know how long things take.
     
  9. fivetricks

    fivetricks Smoking Fanatic

    I'm going to guess that your brisket was actually "tough" a sign of being underdone, rather than dry which would manifest itself in the form of a crumbly brisket once sliced.

    Tough briskets are underdone, crumbly ones are overdone.
     
  10. jbolt001

    jbolt001 Newbie

    Something to mention, use quality meats. Inexpensive lower quality meats have little chance of success.

    I'm not a pro, just someone who has been fiddling with smokers for 30+ years. Also take into consideration that my thoughts below are based on simple cooking with dry rubs at most. I don't sauce, mop, brine or turn as a personal preference.

    Dry meat in my experience is cooking too long at too high of a heat. For fatty cuts of pork and beef I find just above boiling, 215 - 225, works well for me . Leaner cuts of meet do not benefit from low and slow. You would be served well from a good remote thermometer probe placed at meat level to monitor your smoker temp.

    I use a dual probe remote thermometer. One probe for the meat and the other for the smoker. On the my ThermoTemp 340 I put the smoker probe on the third rack near the sensor for the gas valve. The grocery store oven thermometers that sit on the rack can be inaccurate. Probes can be checked for accuracy in boiling water.

    I'm not a fan of brisket so I don't do them very often but the method is similar to doing a pork butt.

    I cook pork butts by time and temp. Most times they finish around 196 - 200 internal on the largest piece. My typical cook times are 18-22 hours depending on what texture I want. At 18 hours the muscle will retain some firmer definition. At 22 hours the meat will be softer. 16 hours would be my minimum.

    Pork butts and brisket have a stall point where the temp does not move for several hours. This is where all the magic happens as the connective tissues are broken down. You can't rush this.

    Ribs are a mixed bag. I find that ribs in my ThermoTemp 340 can get dryer than I like compared to my WSM charcoal smoker. I believe it has to do with the extra airflow required for the gas burner and the smoke wood vs a charcoal smoker. I am currently experimenting with some things to overcome this. For now, doing ribs in the gas smoker, I get better results if I smoke for 3 to 3-1/2 hours then foil and finish in foil.

    I think most people when they start smoking meat want to try a little bit of everything which can become overwhelming when trying to understand how to cook different types of meat. It comes down to understanding your smoker and at what temp it needs to be to hit your target time and temp which comes with experience. Every smoker I have used has its own sweet spot.

    For long cooks pork butts are much more forgiving than brisket so I recommend honing your skills on those first. For medium cooks, whole chickens and pork roasts are a good place to gain experience.

    A final thought. My kids grew up on my pulled pork which I spent 15+ years perfecting. This is their gold standard for pulled pork. When we would go to restaurants or events that served pulled pork one of us would usually order it and my kids could tell you to almost the hour how long it was cooked/smoked and what type of smoker it was cooked on just by the texture.

    With the ThermoTemp being my first gas smoker, having come from years of charcoal and offset smokers, it may take several years to get the results I want.
     
  11. Dantij

    Dantij Fire Starter

    Guys,
    I've cooked briskets and butts for 12+ hours at 225-235° on my WSM and I've cooked briskets at 275° for 8 hours on the Lang. I will forever cook my briskets at 275°. In all fairness, I havent cooked a brisket at 225° on the Lang, and I do not see a reason to. Weather permitting, I'll be smoking butts this weekend @250°(1st attempt on Lang).
    PS. Feel free to share that recipe!