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bmericle11

Newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2021
22
38
Hello all,
I had mentioned to my wife a few months ago about wanting to get into smoking meat and trying new things out. Well I “found” a webber oval charcoal grill that I thought would be perfect to try my hand out on smoking on. Boy was I wrong. No air control, no way to keep it sealed up and the air out. Needless to say I “smoked” my ribs in about an hour and a half and they were TERRIBLE LOL. Anyway, enough of the back story.
My wife just got me a char grilled Akron kamado for Christmas and was looking around and doing some research and came across some extra things you can do to help them be more air tight. With the newer modes do you need to do these mods to help with air control? Or have they taken steps to help with that over the years? Also I’m driving myself insane with how much lump charcoal to use, because with my last attempt I used way to much and that didn’t help.
ANY advice would be very much appreciated. I can’t wait to get into this group and swap recipies and things like that.
Happy Smoking
 
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Welcome to SMF from SE Ga !
Can't help you with the Akron but others will be along to guide you
Any general advice you might be able to give? Flavors, mistakes you may have made and learned from?
 
I would recommend watching smoking dad bbq on YouTube - he uses a Kamado joe but the same principles should apply

 
Any general advice you might be able to give? Flavors, mistakes you may have made and learned from?
One of the biggest and most valuable lessons that I've learned here is to ALWAYS smoke to temp and not time. It's ready when it's ready lol.
 
I would recommend watching smoking dad bbq on YouTube - he uses a Kamado joe but the same principles should apply


I have watched a few videos from this guy. He is knowledgeable and his videos are very informative.
One of the biggest and most valuable lessons that I've learned here is to ALWAYS smoke to temp and not time. It's ready when it's ready lol.
I had a buddy of mine tell me that. Said he did that once and it most definitely wasn’t ready lol.
 
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Welcome from San Antonio Texas!
texas_zpswacwwmhm.gif


We lived in Findlay OH for 5 years FWIW. Wicked winter winds! A friend who lives there really enjoys using his Akorn due to the insulated nature of this design without dropping big bucks on a porcelain cooker. So you definitely have a decent piece of equipment for that area.

FWIW pork ribs IME are not something I cook to a meat internal temperature. I use other methods to test readiness to remove from the heat.

Larger cuts of pork and beef, I definitely use internal meat temperature as well as mechanical resistance to probing to determine when to remove from the heat.
 
Welcome from San Antonio Texas! View attachment 520314

We lived in Findlay OH for 5 years FWIW. Wicked winter winds! A friend who lives there really enjoys using his Akorn due to the insulated nature of this design without dropping big bucks on a porcelain cooker. So you definitely have a decent piece of equipment for that area.

FWIW pork ribs IME are not something I cook to a meat internal temperature. I use other methods to test readiness to remove from the heat.

Larger cuts of pork and beef, I definitely use internal meat temperature as well as mechanical resistance to probing to determine when to remove from the heat.
What kind of methods do you use when you don’t cook to temp with a probe?
 
What kind of methods do you use when you don’t cook to temp with a probe?
To be absolutely clear, there are only certain circumstances where I cook meats to a certain minimum internal temperature. Those cases are solely when food safety guidelines, and note "probe tender" to mechanical resistance is the controlling circumstance where I determine the meat is at an appropriate point to remove from the heat.

Here's what I do. It's not "Right", it's not "Wrong", it's what I do. There are undoubtedly others who do differently. So keep that frame of mind while reading this.

With larger cuts like beef brisket, Boston Butt pork, pork picnic roast etc. I don't remove the meat from the heat until it meets low mechanical resistance when probed. This can be with a shish kebab skewer for example. Testing for mechanical resistance "probe temperature" doesn't require any temperature data for me at least.

Some folks would consider this somewhat overcooking such cuts, as there will be some "carryover cooking" after the meat is removed from the heat - the result of the internal meat mass equilibrating with the meat surface temperature which is so close to cook chamber temperature at that point I treat it as equal cook chamber temperature. Heat transfer is driven by difference in temperature (also known as temperature gradient) After removing such a cut of meat from the heat (i.e. while resting the meat) this difference will drive close to zero, or so close to zero it's negligible. At zero difference, there is no heat transfer. In my experience I can't say such carryover cooking has resulted in an overly tender, nr mushy, end product but I don't cook in competitions. Others may have different experience.

Poultry is a different matter, I always check poultry internal temperature for food safety guidelines before removing from the heat. Note large cuts of beef and pork as referenced in my prior paragraph well exceed internal temperature food safety guidelines by the time "probe tender" by testing mechanical resistance is reached.

Similarly, one of my typical holiday special entrees is a boneless pork loin I scroll cut, brine, stuff with cheese & fruit & nuts, roll + tie, then smoke roast. This dish I always test internal temperature of the center meat in the spiral for food safety guidelines before removing from the heat. Testing for "probe tender" via mechanical resistance is meaningless for this dish.

In these two particular situations, I don't require continuous remote monitoring of internal temperature, checking via either a tested electronic or analog meat thermometer when I judge the meat is "getting close" by cook chamber temperature (whether by analog thermometer or remote monitoring) and rechecking at my guesstimate interval until the meat internal temperature meets or slightly exceeds food safety guidelines.

Having said all that: for pork ribs I never use any measurement of meat internal temperature. This also falls into the category where food safety guideline temperature will be exceeded well before the end product is appropriately tender for consumption. The meat layer is relatively thin vs larger cuts as discussed in prior paragraphs. This causes potential issues of a temperature probe obtaining appropriate meat internal temperature instead of being skewed from being influenced by proximity to bones - and those bone ends exposed to cook chamber temperature are better conductors of heat than the meat. Also, it follows this relatively thinner meat layer has a lower gradient - difference - between the surface and the "middle" internal temperature between any two bones.

So I look for things such as how far the rib meat has pulled back (shrunk) from the rib bone tips, a mechanical via gloved finger & thumb "wiggle" resistance test on exposed bone tips, whether I see cracking along any of the meat surface, and other such things. Some folks use a "bend test", I dont because when I cook pork ribs I typically purchase either St. Louis Cut pork spare ribs or pork loin back ribs (aka baby back ribs). I cut these (vertically) into half racks, stand them vertically in metal rib racks, and cook them in one of my vertical bullet style smokers. So removing these portions from the metal rib racks and putting them back in if nt done is impractical for me, and a bend test is less reliable on racks cut in half. My approach is more efficient and easier (lazier) than cookng these in one of my offset smokers. I'll use one of my offset smokers if I purchase full size spare ribs. For those, I may include a bend test.

Ther are some thinner electronic temperature probes, both in handheld and remote probe models, that may be more suitable fpr usong pork rib IT information. I don't see value in my cooking as for one thing as-purchased meat thickness across slabs of ribs I purchase isn't uniform from one side to another, and I don't see value in trying to trim them to a uniform thickness. Other folks who cook to compete may have a different perspective and experience base. To me, I accept the fact that the sections with thinner meat may be ready to remove from the heat a bit earlier than sections with thicker meat. I compensate enough for my purposes by grouping the thicker half racks of pork ribs together in one metal rib rack, and similar for the thinner half racks of pork ribs. I'll put the thicker pieces on the lower food grate and the thinner pieces on the upper food grate in one of my vertical style smokers. For full size racks of pork ribs in one of my offset smokers, I compensate by rotating these racks that are laying horizontally on the food grates during the cook session.

End piece ribs ate what they are, and I'll eat them even if they're slightly more done, or a bit dry, than my wife likes in order to get the majority of the other ribs in a good zone. Especially when I reheat ribs as leftovers, I can somewhat braise those crisper end ribs while reheating them.

So now you have info not only how, but also why, I use different approaches in different situations. It's long winded but I think it's necessary for a more comprehensive understanding.

As always, YMMV.
 
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Meant to post this earlier in the thread. But I have never been happier to receive coal for a Christmas gift lol
Congratulations! If you aren't already aware, here's a website with reviews of many different brands of lump charcoal. The author has a set of protocols he follows, and his focus is primarily for use in ceramic kamado style cookers. You can also see ratings & comments from end users.

Many of these offerings no longer exist in the marketplace, others haven't been updated in over 10 years despite country of origin, and brand owner, having changed (Frontier brand for example). I don't agree with all his findings, but I've never owned a ceramic style cooker.

Despite the site name / owner username, it has nothing to do with nudity. Anyway it is what it is.


In my prior post, I don't want to come across as never using electronic temperature probes. I used a Maverick ET-732 for years and I now use a FireBoard 2 with WiFi connectivity., when the circumstances favor it's use (e.g. not when I'm cooking pork ribs).

My analogy is the cook chamber temperature is similar to a speedometer telling you how fast you're traveling to your destination. The meat IT is like an odometer telling you how close you're getting to your destination. For poultry, it also allows you to know when you reached your destination.
 
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