Let meat rest before smoking?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by scottlindner, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. I was talking to a coworker today that smokes. He said you need to let meat come to room temperature before smoking, but he couldn't recall the reason. I assured him I would get to the bottom of it. So here I am hoping you guys will make me look smart tomorrow. :)

  2. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I know some do it, but I don't see the reason myself.
    Hopefully someone smarter then me will chime in.
    I see it as just haveing the meat in the 40°-140° zone for a longer time which is not good.
  3. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I usually set mine out to rest while I get out the smoker, get it lit and fill the water pan. As far as I can tell, it just cuts down on the smoking time a bit.
  4. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    the reason is to that you're not dropping a great big chunk of 34 degrees into your smoker and bringing internal temperatures down. this plus the cold surface of the meat tends to increase the risk of condensation resulting in creosote, not to mention adds quite a bit of time to your overall smoke.

    having said that, i usually go straight from fridge to smoker. i feel that the reason i am able to do this is because my smoker is already at 250 degrees or is quickly on its way there. i've never had a problem with this, but i have noticed that the increased time that it takes the meat to rise in temperature helps promote a better smoke ring.

    this can cause trouble for people who are new to this art, and i don't recommend it for them, but once a person has gained some experience and understanding into the relationships between the smoker, the meat and the temperatures, then it is something that is worthwhile to experiment with. as i said, i've never had problems, but i will admit that up until this year that was due more to good luck than skill or understanding.
  5. Condensation causes creosote? Does that mean we should never put anything wet in a smoker? What about something slathered in oil?

  6. Fat cap up/ fat cap down

    Foil / no foil

    tomato/ tomaaato.

    In the infamous words of Richoso.... It's all good my friend.[​IMG]
  7. smokebuzz

    smokebuzz Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  8. My food was a vegetarian. NICE!
  9. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I always let my meat rest outside the fridge one hour before putting it into the smoker. Same with grilling.

    Nothing bad happens in one hour, and your fire isn't fighting the cold meat.
  10. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    As Dan said letting the meat sit out is just cutting into your 40-140 in under 4 hour safety guideline. If you let it sit out an hour now you have three hours to get it past 140.
  11. dmack

    dmack Smoke Blower

    After reading some the above posts I dug in a little to find out more about creosote formation. Found an article that you may find helpful. I can see what TasunkaWito was referring to. Lowering smoker temps could create the right situation for creosote to form. Here is a link to the article

  12. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I always let mine sit out and rest. Right or not, my theory has been so that the very cold center of the meat (if cooked directly from the fridge) takes longer to get up to temp while the outside gets overcooked.

    By letting it set and sort of "even out" the center of the meat doesn't lag behind as much. Yes, just by being insulated by itself, the center will take longer to get up to temp. But not as long as it would if it were cold.
  13. The reason is, especially with beef, is that you'll end up with a more tender, juicy piece of meat. If you go straight from the fridge to the smoker, by the time you get the internal areas of the meat up to temp, you will have overcooked and dried out the outter parts. If I'm cooking say a rib roast, I let it sit at room temp for a minimum of one hour. Of course i would NEVER let that cut see 140*, but still, it helps keep the meat tender and juicy throughout.
  14. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Another thing to consider is that the smoke ring stops forming at 140 degrees while the meat will continue to take in smoke the ring that we all seem to want stops forming at 140 so the colder it is when it goes in the longer you have to produce that smoke ring
  15. 4 hour safety guideline?

    I have never smoked for that long so it isn't much of a risk.

    So it seems there are two reasons to let it warm up.
    1. to avoid condensation which leads to creosote
    2. faster smoke times to avoid going over the 4 hour safety threshold

    Is that about it?

  16. I've never heard of the 4 hour safety time frame. I don't think it matters how long its been cooking as long as the internal temps are right to kill any bacteria or other junk that may make you sick.
    As far as resting the meat before the cook, it makes sense to allow it to come to room temp so you don't knock your heat back in the smoker.
    What about soaking wood chips? I've heard both trains of thought on this. One, it helps them last longer or two, it creates creosote and knocks your temp back. I vote number 2. I don't soak (I actually use wood chunks).
  17. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    thats how I look at it,

    I take the meat I am smoking from the fridge, get the rub on, and then on the smoker.
  18. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    scott - i might have used a poor choice of words in my post; it might be more accurate to say that the creosote IS the condensation. dmack posted a pretty good explanation of this, i reckon - you can also find some in-depth information by checking out the BBQFAQ, which deals with this subject extensively. here's a link to download a SAFE zip file of the BBQFAQ, which is in WORD DOCUMENT format:

  19. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The extra time is worth the wait. Toss it in cold and have the Smoker @220*F or so and let her go for 1.5hrs,per pound. Place a probe therm. into the thickest part and when it gets to 185*,wrap in foil and rest for 1-2hrs. in an empty cooler.Don't open the smoker till it's about done(no mop needed).Remember , open door = more time in the smoker.Mop the last 30min.to an hour, otherwise it could burn-sugars tend to do that...[​IMG]
    Good luck and ,
    Stan aka Old School BBQ [​IMG]
  20. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Don't forget soak/don't soak, flip/don't flip, mop/don't mop etc, etc, etc.

    Comes down to personal preference I think.

    I do think however if the outside of your meat is getting dried out before the inside is cooked then you've got bigger issues than letting the meat come up to room temp before putting it on the smoker.[​IMG]


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