simple question, where to put temp probe in butt

Discussion in 'Pork' started by iceshark, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    Throwing butt on MES tonight. Do you put probe in top down or side of butt?
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    put it in sideways to the center of the cut, before you start the smoke;then close the lid and leave it closed until it gets to 190*F or the bone pulls out-wrap in foil and rest.The bone in is the best,simple and accurate[​IMG]
  3. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't matter, thickest part a the meat away from bone an fat pockets cause they'll give ya a balogna readin.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always put the probe into the thickest part of the meat and let her rip.
  5. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Do NOT insert your probe before you start the smoke. You're introducing bacteria into the meat. It's going to be a long smoke anyway. So wait a few hours then insert the probe.

    After that travcoman and mballi got ya covered.
  6. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    Being federal food safety certified I would have to disagree. This goes with the age old thought you should salt water bath chicken and pat dry before cooking. Both not needed.

    The simple reason is if your getting above the 140 degree safety zone and then cooking to proper min temp. In this case approx 160 for pork, then finishing at well above this then you have destroyed any harmful bacteria that may have been on outside of meat. Remember that cooking to proper temps is your safety friend.

    Do a search on the topic should you wash poultry or meats before cooking and you will find many FDA findings that you SHOULD NOT and that if you do you may have more problems with contamanation of surrounding areas near sink then if you just went and cooked to proper temp.

    Another example would be stuffing a turkey. That stuffing is full of the inner turkeys harmful bacteria and is only safe when cooked to temp or above.

  7. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I gave up on using a probe, for a 5# and up butt/shoulder I dont bother taking a temp reading until around the 9 hour mark. Then I use an instant read thermo.
  8. smokeguy

    smokeguy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You always want to put it into the thickest part of the meat because that is the last to get to the temperature you're looking for. You can measure how deep by holding it on the outside of the meat and estimating what halfway would be, then put your fingers there. When you stick it into the meat for real, stick it in until your fingers are right above the meat. Don't have it touching a bone if there is one.

    I'm not going to get into the "how quickly do you put it in" debate because there are people with a whole lot more knowledge about that than me, but that said, you can get around all of the arguments, on bigger hunks of meat anyway, by just being a cheap bastid like me. The longer you wait to put in your probe, the longer your batteries will last! [​IMG]
  9. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm NOT certified so I won't argue. But isn't there an FDA rule about breaking the intact muscle before the outside of the meat has reached the 140*F (now I believe it has been changed 135*F) and held at that temperature for 30 minutes?
  10. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's still good practice. You do introduce outside bacteria to the inside of the meat by probing before your first half inch reaches 140 and in a piece of meat like a butt your ok to put the probe in at the beginning of the smoke..... but lets say especially in the winter... your smoking temp drops below what your wanting and your internal doesn't get to 140 in the safety zone.. it could make the difference in throwing the meat away... or finishing it up and eatin it.
  11. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    gThe muscle tissue issue is derived from the mad cow disease issue mainly and would be a beef issue. However there is some argument on pork as well with tric bacteria. However there has been almost zero tric cases in past 15 years with the better food safety used compared to when most of use were kids. Still fair enough to be safe about it.

    As for the 40-140 zone in winter smokes. That would be a reason not to push bacteria deep in meat. However I am in Washinton and we are fortunate to be having a El Nino very mild winter, in the 50's. My meat went from 43 to 140 at 225 temp in my MES in just over 2 hours and now is holding at stalled 149 degrees. So at limits and should be safe. I will though use your advice from now on and wait. Any colder outside and I might have been in the danger zone too long for comfort.
    Thanks guys.
  12. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Wow this thread has sparked a lively debate...I love it when this happens, its good to share different ideas and viewpoints. That being said, I have started doing exactly Jim does with my butts. I know my instant read probe is accurate, and I don't have to check the temp with it until many hours into the smoke.
  13. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    Point and advice well taken. My butt is only 6lbs so it reached 140 at 2 hours and I am using a steady 225 with my MES so no worry about smoker temp drop unless I open door. (I dont)
  14. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry man but I have to disagree with you on this. I've been doin a lot of reading lately on food safety and curing and bacteria living on the surface of meat has been an issue way before mad cow. These bacteria live on the surface of everything. Even dirt. And even though salmonella and E. Coli are main culprits in food poisoning... botulism can be reproduced in the smoking environment if precautions aren't taken. This is an issue with pork, beef and poultry as well as fruits and vegetables.
  15. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    You absolutly right! Its the 135 degree USDA issue that is due to mad cow muscle disease.
    That said I pulled up the FDA page and it states that MOST bacteria will be killed when cooked to proper temps. Almost all will be killed when cooked to 190. However there are HEAT STABLE bad guys that thrive at any heat and can make you ill.

    So I will head the advice to probe later from now on. This time with stable MES temp and small 6lb butt we were 140 soon enough.

  16. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's what we are all here for... to learn.
    PS.... is a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game infected with the larvae of a species of roundworm Trichinella spiralis, commonly called the trichina worm. Not a bacteria. (Wikipedia)
  17. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    Thats why I love this site[​IMG]

    By the way, I am not expert. My job requires me to be Fed certifyed in food handling and safety. Just going by memory and their website. I do remember now that they goverment takes lots of pride in reduction onf Tric cases by that parasite to almost none for years in USA. Thats a good thing[​IMG]
  18. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I started doing them this way for a few reasons(none of which are food safety related):

    1) I broke my probe and havent replaced it
    2) I dont have to worry about the inevitable stall as I am well past that point when I take the temp.
    3) experience, knowing how long butts/shoulders take I just leave em alone and let the smoker do its job.
  19. iceshark

    iceshark Fire Starter

    What is interesting is if you do a search on the web you find no information on food safety regarding the use of a temp probe and even more concerning is my Maverick no my Taylor user information warns of possible harmful bacteria when not used properly.

    Maybe someone needs to get them to put this in there manuals. Safety is key!

    Thanks again [email protected]!

    PS. My Butt is not at 162 cooking for 5 hours in my MES. Hope it slows down. Don't want it done too early. My fish coolers are dirty and I plan on using the styrofoam cooler my Kansas city steaks shipped in to foil and rest it in for an hour. Want to eat about 4-5pm.

    But 6.25 lbs cooking at 225 in MES
  20. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

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