Whats the right temp?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Nov 6, 2005
Spring Hill,Fla
Does anyone have a problem smoking pork at 200 degrees instead of 220? I seem to have better results at that temp.At first I thought it was my thermometer, but all 3 show the same temp. Im just worried about batericea.(I wish we had spell check).LOL
200-210 is my target temp.

some folks go as high as 250.

my theory is that the lower temp you and I use is slower to "seal" the meat, thereby allowing a deeper smoke ring.

I wouldn't worry about the heebee geebee's.

Welcome to the Forum. Like SoFlaQuer said a temp of 200-230 is fine. The foods you smoke will take a little longer to reach your target temp. and that's all right (provided that plenty of liquid refreshments and munchies are on hand). Like I tell my clients when I'm teaching cooking classes " Go with what you know and are comfortable with. When you are ready to try something new or different, do so when you are ready to make the change, not when somebody else tells you".

We were all new at this at one time, somethings we have learned through trial and error and somethings we learned from reading forums such as this and asking questions. We are here to share tips and ask questions, so feel free to ask your questions about smoking-someone will be able to give you an answer.
Thanks guys! I knew you could set my mind at ease! Im just trying to "be all that I can be"lol.Ive been comming to this website for about 2 years now,and IMHO,It is the best one on the information highway. Jeff,you have a great bunch of people here! :D
We're glad when Lurker's finally come to their senses and join up. :D
To Dave11,

Just my 0.02 but I really think 200 degrees is too low of a temperature. I cook a pork shoulder and briskets to an internal temperature of 200F (measured by a meat probe thermometer). I tried 195F internal temperature and it did not reliably produce tender shoulders. I maintain a temperature of between 220F and 230F. At the point of about 1 hour per pound, I'll raise the temperature to 250F (and I keep the smoke up too). This yields a shoulder or brisket that is done in about 1.25 hours per pound and is falling apart tender.

Now here's why 200F is not good. The temperature rise of the meat is proportional to the difference in temperature between the smoker and the internal meat temperature. The temperature rises rapidly at first and then slows down as the gap in temperature decreases. There's a graph of this in the pork section, post: "Pork Butt Cooking time". This rise is mathematically described by a formula known as an exponential function. But think of it as a child's game. You walk half way to a wall. Now do it again, walk halfway to the wall. Repeat... Theoretically you will never reach the wall! An exponential funnction is that way (see the graph). You will theoretically NEVER reach an internal meat temperature of 200F with an ambient temperature of 200F. You will for all practical purposes reach it in many many hours but by that time you have made jerky and not barbecue.

God Q is a tradeoff between cooking time and temperature. Too long at too low a temperature and the Q will be dry and tough. Too high a temperature will result in done meat but not tender meat because the meat did not linger long enough to render the fat and allow the collagen to tenderize.

I used to think that 180F was the right temperature. I just hadn't thought it through. Sometimes I made good Q and often I did not. I did not understand why. Now I know that when I made good Q, it was probably that I did not actually maintain 180 at all but the old smoker drifted up to above 220 long enough to get a good cook despite my (mis-directed) efforts.

Good Luck,
Aubrey Page
Dave11, welcome to the forum. If you haven't already, take time to browse the many topics. Many newcomers don't and jump right in and ask all of their questions without realizing that the forum contains all of those answers with all variations already posted in convenient form.

Welcome aboard.

Aubrey Page
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