Go higher or go lower Re: temps?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mummel, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    So I'm trying to target 225F, with a range of 210F - 240F.  This would be "in a perfectly world" IMO. 

    My MES does a pretty good job of maintaining that range.  The 30F diffs is nearly the exact range, give or take 1F - 3F.  However, it doesnt always split the range into +- 15F each way.  This morning it was doing -18F and +12F around 225F (so a 30F variation, just not evenly split). 

    It sounds like I'm obsessing I know, but like most of you, I'm just trying to perfect my new hobby!

    The bummer is my MES only allows for +-5F increment changes, so for the most part, I was underrunning and overrunning this perfect world range by a few degrees.

    In short, would you guys rather go with a high of 243F throughout a cook or a low of 207F.  I read that temps above 250F are a no-no so I'm inclined to lean towards lower temps (even if the cook takes longer).  Thanks.
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Really? Aaron Franklin, perhaps the #1 BBQ guru in the USA, routinely cooks at or near 300°. Whoever told you that cooking at any temp higher than 250° is forbidden must be pulling your leg.

    If you are worried about temp swings then set the thermostat at 250° and stop worrying. Or even better, set it to 275° and stop worrying.

    Either way too high a temp is much less a concern than pit temps that are too low.
  3. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It will never be perfect. With time you'll be more comfortable with your smoker. Sounds like you're giving this too much thought and that's understandable and can also be fun for some people. I always had to make some adjustments to mine during the smoke. Under good ambient conditions, when the temp difference between smoke chamber and items being smoked gets smaller the less adjustment will be needed. The main thing to be concerned about is that you're not smoking at too low of a temp for too long. If the temp swing is say even 40°F total from your desired set point everything will still be OK as long as you're not too low for too long. By too low, I mean too low from 225°F

    [​IMG]  late again.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  4. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Is 207F too low?  It doesnt spend much time there.  Let's say the average is 225F.  But at some point too low is too low.  And whats the number?  205F? 190F?  I just need a benchmark.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  5. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    If you haven't read this you should.



     Some Guidelines are Standard on SMF...It is important for your Safety, that any Meats that have been Punctured, Probed, Injected or Ground be cooked or smoked at a temperature, typically 225*F or greater, that gets the Internal Temperature of the meat from 40*F to 140*F in 4 Hours or less...Frequently called the 40 to 140 in 4 Rule. (This does not include meats containing Cure #1, Cure #2 and Morton's Tender Quick.)

    This is how the rule was established...

    A Guideline like 40-140 in 4...aka the Rule (less letters than Guideline) is, Easy to remember, Provides a margin of Error, Has been gleaned from information provided by Multiple sources, including but not limited to, Professional Food service organizations, The American Culinary Federation, The ServSafe program, the USDA and Food Service Professionals with Years of Experience... Is, " 40 to 140*F in 4 " written down in any Government Food Service Law Manual, or Word for Word on any fore mentioned Website or Charter?...NO...But it Has been adopted by This Site and others to protect our members...

    Enjoy and stay Safe...JJ


    My apology, didn't mean to post the entire thing.

    I try not to allow my smoker to get and/or stay bellow 225° 
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  6. ... maybe a for a more practical  answer.

    Every cooker seems to have a  temperature that it runs best at.

    The 30 degree swing in temp isn't really a big deal.

    Imagine how a wood fired smoker swings in temperature.

    Smoking is a an art. Your not cooking to time & temp so a variation in smoker temp isn't as big deal.

    So don't sweat it.
  7. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Understood, but given the choice, would you smoke at 207F - 237F or 212F - 242F?
  8. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  9. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    For safety reasons or meat quality reasons?
  10. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    For both.... Safe to eat food that tastes good.
  11. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    I almost always set my MES to 275 unless I'm doing fish, sausage, or bacon. Ribs, butt, brisket, poultry all get 275.
  12. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    So I had the temps coasting perfectly between 210 - 240F on Thursday for my pork butt.  It came out great!  Hard to say if it was a lot better than the previous one, but this one I think was more juicy (but it could have been the 36 hour dry brine, hard to say).  But cooking at 210-240F resulted in a 16.5 hour smoke for a 7.1lb butt.  It seemed like a lot of extra time for marginally better meat.  Maybe better to cook at higher temps?
  13. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    300° works for me, your 7 pounder gets done in about 6 hours at 300°.
  14. I would do the 212-242°F as well.

    Not for safety but because at 200°F thing just cook too dang slow.

    BTW: I have  smoked a number of times at 200°F. Just depends on what your smoking.

    ​I would be concerned about food safety as temps near 140°F 
  15. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    It makes sense to cook at higher temps though if the meat comes out exactly the same, just because of the time savings.  If the meat starts becoming tougher then you've hit your limit.  I just wonder where this sweet spot is. 
  16. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I too, set my MES at 275 (it's max) for pork butt & ribs, at least.

    The extra heat powers the meat through the stall quicker, as well.


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