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Smoking with inconsistent temp.

fire956

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I tried searching for this topic, but couldn't find the answer to my question. For financial reasons, I don't have an actual smoker yet, so I smoke on an old grill I have (Getting a custom made smoker soon). The grill I use has quite a bit of leaks and is difficult to keep a temp without constantly feedingthe fire. I normally smoke brisket at 215-250(Max), but today I put the brisket in at 275 degrees. The temperature is dropping, slowly but surely, and adding charcoal to keep a consistent temp is becoming a pain in the butt! So My question is - will the inconsistency of smoking my brisket at 275 starting temp and letting it slowly drop to around 220 by the time it's finished affect my brisket badley?
 

cliffcarter

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I cooked this way for over a year, you should be fine. One thing to watch for is ash build up from the spent charcoal, too ash much will cut down the air flow and make it harder to keep temps up. Using lump charcoal is a better option than briquettes when cooking this way.
 
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SmokinAl

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How did it turn out?

Al
 

3montes

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People go to great lengths and expense to maintain a consistent and constant temp and I'm not sure whats to be gained by it other than a more consistent length of smoking time to when the food is done. As long as you follow the danger zone guidelines for your meat temp you are good to go. I can run my stick burner within 10 to 15 degrees of target temp all day but there are times I get distracted longer than I should and I might lose 50 degrees or so. Add a few splits and in a half hour I'm back where I was. It adds a bit of time to the cook but you get to enjoy another cocktail!
 

fire956

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Joined Jul 16, 2016
3montes, that's exactly what happened to me! The temp was fairly consistent, so I decided to "Set it and forget it" for a little over an hour, then BAM dropped below 200. I'm not sure how, but this pit just isn't good for these kind of jobs I guess. Although I've had success with it before, it's always hard. Final product was a bit unevenly and undercooked. I pulled it out at 195 internal temperature at the thickest part, vented it from the foil for about 20 minutes (I wrap at 165 internal temp) then let it rest for an hour, wrapped in towels and inside a cooler. I sliced at 165 internal temp. My conclusion - i should have trimmed a bit more fat from The cap and it Might also by time for a new probe thermometer.
 
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mike5051

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Points for your persistence!  That brisket looks great to me!

Mike
 

okie362

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I know I'll get flamed for this but...

Smoking meat has been going on successfully for way longer than my iGrill2 has been around.  I can remember using the first homemade smokers for family gatherings years ago.  We had no probes and not therms on the CC.  We placed a pan of water in there and would gauge the CC temp based on the boil/evaporation rate of the water.  I can't remember ever having a failed cook with this method but we didn't watch the time either.  We'd start the fires (and the beer) the evening before we were told to have the food ready.  Cook and chew the fat through the night and into the next day and we would pull meat as it was done (Gauged by sticking a sharpened green willow branch through large pieces and by the look and feel of ribs/chicken).

That being said, I have more gadgets that you can shake a stick at but I am convinced we buy them for the cool factor moreso than the absolute necessity of having them to produce edible food.  Let's face it, a hole in the ground with a fire and a pig isn't a fine tuned technical miracle and produces some darn good food.  Smoke on!!

Edit:  I like the grill/smoker it has character and I bet if it could talk.....
 
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fire956

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Joined Jul 16, 2016
I understand where you're coming from, Okie. I didn't start using probes or temperature gauges till this year. The problem with this grill is that it has holes from where it's rotting away slowly, it also has several other leaks. Normally at cookoffs, I'm the one cooking beans, which I do well in and requires almost no modern technology, but I want to perfect the brisket and ribs, and during competition, you have to be accurate in both temperature and time.
 

smokeymose

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I could make a sandwich or 3 from that!
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I understand where you're coming from, Okie. I didn't start using probes or temperature gauges till this year. The problem with this grill is that it has holes from where it's rotting away slowly, it also has several other leaks. Normally at cookoffs, I'm the one cooking beans, which I do well in and requires almost no modern technology, but I want to perfect the brisket and ribs, and during competition, you have to be accurate in both temperature and time.
Hey, SOMEONE has to do the beans!

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