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Just getting into smoking. Need help

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by Mathews3, Nov 10, 2018 at 11:42 AM.

  1. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    Hey everyone,
    This is my first post and trust me, everyone on here probably know more about smoking meat than I do. I need to learn. I have a $300 masterbuilt electric smoker. I usually just use mine to make jerky and smoke deer and bear hams. I do well with the jerky, but with the deer and bear hams, it seems like the meat never gets done on the inside. It’s really tough on the outside but as soon as you get under that silver skin, the meat never gets done. What advice do y’all have? Thank you!
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  2. AllenRR

    AllenRR Fire Starter

    Smoking is about three things, meat, heat, and time. You are in the right place. There are smoking meat scientists in this forum. Give it some time. Those guys will show up and help you fix this. We need more info though. What temp are you smoking at and for how long?
     
  3. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you need to actually cook it longer, and maybe slower.
    Deer (Venison) is a "dry" meat because the fat is under the hide or in the body cavity. Not marbled like Beef or Pork can be.
    Bear, in my limited experience, is a much "greasier" roast. More like a much courser Beef, by comparison.

    I'm a low and slow kind of BBQ'r. Usually running lower temperatures for longer periods. My idea is that it keeps more fat and moisture in what I'm cooking.
    If you have a Dutch Oven, you could smoke your meat in the open oven, then put the lid on the oven to finish the roasting. Dutch Ovens are designed to hold in the moisture, self baste, and help steam the heat into the contents.

    Just a few refinements and you'll be happy. ;)

    Oh, and a Safety Item: Low and slow cooking requires some safety practices.
    I like cold beer to be immediately on hand in case of burns. If you burn yourself, hold a cold can of beer to soothe the burn.
    If the can looses it's contents due to "evaporation", fish out another so you have a cold one on hand. In case of burns.
    It's a safety item.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018 at 12:52 PM
    Princeau99 and AllenRR like this.
  4. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    Thanks guys, but here was my experience that got me yesterday. I put a bear ham in a bribe for 7 days. Put it back in the smoker for two hours at 120deg then put it at 180deg for 10hrs. I checked the internal temp and it showed 120ish. I then out it back in for five hrs at 210 while I fell asleep. The meat is very very pink and almost mushy. I pulled it and baked it in the oven and I think I just ruined it haha. I hate wasting meat though.
     
  5. AllenRR

    AllenRR Fire Starter

    Quoting SonnyE.. "Oh, and a Safety Item: Low and slow cooking requires some safety practices.
    I like cold beer to be immediately on hand in case of burns. If you burn yourself, hold a cold can of beer to soothe the burn.
    If the can looses it's contents due to "evaporation", fish out another so you have a cold one on hand. In case of burns.
    It's a safety item." LMAO! Just to add a detail.. I like to have a bottle of Evan Williams close by so I don't care if I got burned. To each his own. It's my way of dealing with the slings and arrows of the smoking meats process.
     
  6. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    We all choose our arrows and poison to dip them in.
    Sometimes it's PBR, sometimes it's Fireball on the rocks.
     
  7. AllenRR

    AllenRR Fire Starter

    You dip the arrows in poison? That is so badass. JK Sonny. Thanks..
     
  8. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

    We need some data. Let's start with the bear "ham". How was this cured? Unless injected I'd say it's doubtful it was fully cured. Also, IT is pretty easy to measure but it appears this has measurement been discarded. Smoking takes more time than most realize. That could be a factor. I'm all for dipping the arrows in poison but in the end we gotta eat and I don't wanna sit on the toilet the whole next day...
     
  9. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    It was about a 6lb ham. I cured it in tenderquick and brown sugar submerged in the fridge for about 7 days.
     
  10. You may want to get an electronic thermometer with at least two probes, one for the grate temp and one for the meat temp. MES temps are often not accurate. Yours could be off.
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  11. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

    Dry or wet cure? Sounds like dry but "submerged"? TQ + BS is the classic dry cure. Here, the rule is 1/2" cure per day of meat thickness. 7 days is 3.5". Now 6lb is not as big as I thought but still probably more than 3.5". Marianski says 2 days per pound. 12 days. I would do 2 weeks but that's me. I am not a wild game guy but did some digging for you and the silver skin should be removed as much as possible. I imagine it would affect the cure penetration as well as the cook.

    Now the smoking... Marianski says to take to 160F IT on large wild game (trichnae). Deer is OK to 140F... How you get there is up to you but anything called "ham" means a cold smoke prior to "cooking" to me. I would cold smoke 8-12hrs one day and then hot smoke/cook another up to proper IT. Rest a few days and then warm and eat.
     
  12. AllenRR

    AllenRR Fire Starter

    Like I said Mathews3, These guys on this forum are smoking meat scientists. I've not yet even cast my gaze on a bear ham. So, I'm content to just play comic relief and let the experts provide you sage advice.
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  13. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    Thanks for all the info! That’s good stuff. It was a wet cure. It was one I found online. What exactly is a cold smoke? There’s a lot more to this smoking stuff than I thought haha
     
    SonnyE likes this.
  14. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    That’s true! I will look into that for sure!
     
  15. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    What would y’all describe the final meat looking like? Just some kind of visual so I can get yalls thoughts.
     
  16. zwiller

    zwiller Smoking Fanatic

  17. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Cold Smoking is smoking meat below 100°. Hense "Cold Smoking".

    I modified my MES 30 so I could even use an Inkbird controller to maintain Sub-100°, but flip a switch and it is "normal" and runs off the stock control.
    Chronicled HERE, I call it my "By-pass Mode"

    In actual use I'm able to maintain grill temperatures (internal MES temperatures) within 6 degrees +/- of set point.
    But I am an extremist when it comes to control. :confused: I will reinvent the wheel as needed.o_O

    So instead of 100° to 275°, my MES can go from Ambient (or 32°), to maximum (275°), but in my case my stock controller ranges to 300° +.
    I cold smoke overnight with my AMNPS providing 11 hours of smoke, and as long as the temperature is below my set point, I've maintained 65°, + 4° and minus 2°.
    Sleeping soundly while my Salmon gets Cold Smoked.

    I'm embarking on Bacon. And plan to cold smoke two different kinds when the curing is done. Pork Belly, and Buckboard. Thanks to the wisdom shared by Friends here.
    I'm hoping one of them comes out as irresistible, and becomes a house favorite.

    Believe me, you have found the very best place on the Internet to pursue Smoking Meat.
    The collective knowledge here probably expands beyond the first piece of Dinosaur Meat thrown in a fire, to beyond what is available today to cook and smoke any meat.
    And it is all here, for FREE. (As information on the Internet was meant to be.)

    Sorry, too much information. ;)
    [​IMG]

    I just LOVE this place!
     
  18. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    That’s a wealth of knowledge there! Will my smoker be capable of cold smoking? I’m not sure if it’s lowest temperature. I’m out of town or I would check. Also, would you cold smoke and then smoke regular? I don’t even know where to begin with all this stuff haha but I enjoy learning new things and smoking meat is my next adventure.
     
  19. Mathews3

    Mathews3 Newbie

    Thanks for the info. Is the wet cure pretty much what I made and then inject it into the meat? Or is that something different?
     
  20. SonnyE

    SonnyE Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    "Will my smoker be capable of cold smoking?"
    If you just leave the heat off, and use an AMNPS, probably yes.
    As an extremist, I went to ... extremes, to insure tight control.
    But probably not necessary.
    Don't forget, a lot of the guys here use "dust" (sawdust) to get cooler smoke and set the AMNPS tray inside the smoker.
    Poof, Done.

    I was reading through DaveOmak's post on Bacon, and he was getting 4 hours of cold smoke from a tray (AMNPS) full of reconstituted pellets. (Dissolved with water, then dried to make "dust".)
    Whereas, a tray of pellets will run 10-11 hours.
    The goal is to try and stay below 100° to do "Cold" smoking.
    Masterbuilt has a threshold of 100° being the Low temperature designed into the current controllers. Too warm, IMHO.
    Maybe they will take a hint. Hint, hint....

    "Also, would you cold smoke and then smoke regular?"
    I don't necessarily Cold Smoke, then hot smoke. The reasons for cold smoking are to infuse smoke into things without cooking them in the process. Salmon (Lox) is cold smoked, Almonds are cold smoked, Butter is cold smoked (for obvious reasons), and Bacon is usually cold smoked. But many warm smoke their bacon, staying below 140°.
    The true joy is being able to be The Artisan :emoji_imp: in the process. Choose what fits youz.

    I generally follow a recipe the first time. Then I make it my own by adjusting the next time.
    Example: I will reduce salt content if the original is too salty for me. I like garlic, so will often boost that up, sometimes double what's called for. (Yeah, no vampires or mosquitoes around my stinky butt.) And Pepper, pepper runs in my veins.
    The important thing is to eat your mistakes. That way you never get questioned about it. If you eat it, good or bad, the next time it's seen, nobody would recognize it. :emoji_toilet: ;)

    And always have ice cold beer on hand for burns. :emoji_scream: