New WBS and a noob question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by skorpyon, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    Hi all!

    I just finished a WBS project, based on a burgundy-style barrel I got from a vintner friend who has moved.  The construction went great, but the 1500-watt, 2-burner hot plate I'm using for smoke/heat only got the internal temperature up to 172 on the dry run I'm doing tonight.

    Is that enough to get a pork butt up to 150?  I'm going to finish them via braising in the oven, and I figure that ribs and brisket will be okay, given their thinner profiles, but I want to make sure that the pork shoulder collagen gelatinizes.

  2. domerskee

    domerskee Smoke Blower

    You'll get there but I'm guessing its gonna take a long time. A true low and sloooooow. Good luck. Can't wait to fire mine up tommorrow night. :grilling_smilie:
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Smoking any meats that are not Cured, or contain a Sodium Nitrite Cure, at any temperature below 225°F is UNSAFE whether you plan to finish in the Oven or not. Get a bigger Element or figure out why you can't get to or above 225°F. At 172°F it will take in excess or 4 hours to get above an internal temp (IT) of 140°F and although the risk of getting food poisoning from Toxins on the surface of an intact piece of meat is somewhat lower there is still a risk. If the meat has been Deboned, Injected, had holes punched in the surface to add Garlic, Herbs and Spices, or for whatever reason is no longer intact, there is a High Risk of Bacterial contamination to the Interior of the meat and that low smoker temp will only breed some Nasty Bacteria and possibly Deadly Toxins...Sorry for the bad news...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I would like to Welcome you both to the SMF Family. We take Food Safety very seriously around here because we value our Members and wish to keep them safe. I HIGHLY suggest you both take Jeff's Free 5-Day E-course, It is loaded with great info for newbies and experienced smokers alike. Please, spend some time in the Food Safety Forum reading about Safe meat Smoking practices. There is a lot of information that can save your life and those of your loved ones...Below are links to two articles from the USDA to get you started...Take care and be Safe my friends...JJ
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  5. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    Fair enough - thanks for the input.  I take food safety quite seriously, too - one of my first careers was "professional cook".

    Any suggestions for what I should add?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm no build expert but there are a bunch of them around here. It would be helpful if you could post some Pics of the Build. Being new, they will probably get held up for review by an Admin type, it's our software making sure you are a real person, but the pics will come up after review...JJ
  7. domerskee

    domerskee Smoke Blower

    Thanks for links Jimmy, good stuff.  I hadn't thought of the low temp being an issue as I've never cooked that low.  Appreciate it.

    Also, the 5 day course is great!  
  8. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    Well, now I have a new problem.

    After a bit of research, I picked up Brinkmann electric smoker converter unit - it's the one that's essentially an oven burner mounted on an aluminum plate.  I put it in the bottom of the smoker, put some wood chips in the pan, closed the lid, fired it up, and went to take a shower and do some work on my computer (I'm creating a virtual Hyper-V domain to test some SQL Server stuff, but that's rather off-topic :) )

    Here's the problem - less than an hour later, the temperature at the top of the smoker just past 260 degrees.

    Has anyone put a rheostat of some type on one of those things for temperature control?  What other methods would y'all suggest for temperature control?  I've thought of using a pan of water as a heat sink, but I don't want to steam my meat, I want to smoke it.  I could also vent the smoker more, to let the heat out, but that seems wasteful.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  10. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    I may invest in one of those, since the only "dimmer switch" devices I've found that can handle the 1500+ watts going through that heater cost upwards of $200.

    Now another question - what is the purpose and the effect of packing lava rocks around the heating element, as I've seen done a few times.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Lots of folks Spritz their meat or just like to look inside the smoker. Opening the door causes a major heat loss and lava rock or sand filled water pans create a big thermal mass that helps speed temp recovery...JJ
  12. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    Would the control dial from a 1500 watt electric skillet or griddle be "strong" enough to handle the 1500 watt Brinkmann adapter that I have for my heat source?  I realize that I'd have to do a bit of cutting and soldering, but I can handle that, I think.
  13. skorpyon

    skorpyon Newbie

    I've completed my smoker!!!!

    I got a 15 amp router speed control switch ($20 on sale at Harbor Freight), plugged it into the wall outlet and plugged my Brinkmann heating element into the controller.  With the dial set to the low side of the "M" range, the temperature at the top of my smoker held at 222 - 224 degrees for three hours.

    I need to check the temperature at the lower rack level, but I think I'm good.

    In addition to the dial, the controller has a three-position switch - "off", "dial power" and "full power".  The full power setting lets me heat the coil and rocks faster, then I switch to the "dial power" setting for cooking.

    One thing I noticed is that the back plate of the switch got rather hot - I think I'll attach a CPU heat sink to it to help dissipate the heat.

    I can't wait to do up some ribs/brisket/pork shoulder/whatever in it :)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014

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