One of my worse nightmares

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tatts4life, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. So I've been using my smoker for around three years now. I've never messed up my meat. It always come out perfect to me and my family. Only once did I have an issue with the wood not smoking. Either it was cold or I threw the meat in too early.

    Well this morning is a disaster in my eyes. I wake up to my two 10 pound pork butts reading 217 degrees. The issue is that in the past I would cook butts and they would take 16-20 hours. Last nights smoke took way under 12 hours. I put the meat on the smoker around 8 last night. When I went to bed at 1am the meat was just under 140 degrees and I know that butts can have a long stall. Well I wake up at 6 check my thermometer AND THE BUTTS READ 217 DEGREES. Now the meat looks over done to me and I never got a chance to spray my vinegar and cayanne pepper mix that I spray on during the last 25 degrees or so. So now the flavor is gonna be way off and way too mild for me. I bet if I had a chance to find two more butts and start them right now it won't be done until midnight tonight.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2015
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First off, sorry for the hiccup. These things can and do happen, and for you to go 3 years without any major issues is pretty remarkable.
    Main thing is to learn from the mistake, fix it, and move on with your life.
    A finishing sauce will allow some flavors to be added that didn't make it in during the cooking process, as well as adding some moisture back in. If it's really dried out, try adding some powdered gelatin (unflavored obviously) to the finishing sauce. It'll work wonders towards bringing the texture back. Just bloom a couple packages in cool water, then mix it in your sauce and gently heat it up until it melts.
    Lastly, relax. It's just meat. In the grand scheme of things, a lot worse things could happen.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  3. True my smoker could of crapped out. Or the power could of gone out. Two draw backs to an electrical smoker. I think I figured out where I went wrong. For the last three years I would set my smoker to what they said was 250 degrees. But I think it says in the manual that the temp depends on it being 95 degrees outside. For the last three years I only used the built in thermometer that measures the meat and not the ambient temp. I got a digital thermometer for Christmas so this is the first pulled pork cooking I've done with it over night. Anyways since it was cold I had to set my smoker to a higher setting because the thermometer was reading colder. So I set the correct temp and things were cooking good when I went to bed. This is just a wild guess, but I think when I would cook in the past I was cooking at a lower temp. I tried a little bit of the meat and while it doesn't taste the same. Texture wise it's okay. Next time I cook I'll just go with my previous setting and see how it works.

    I have no idea what caused this issue.
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If you were running at a higher temp you could have pushed right through the stall. At 275 the stall is pretty short and at 300 it is non existent. That would have caused the drastically shorter time.
  5. I have the maverick ET-732 or 733 and I tested it before my first use back during Christmas and it read accurate. So when I smoked last night it was reading 255-260 through most of the time I was up. I'll just make sure I don't screw with the temp next time the way I did last night. I'm hoping that it was a stupid mistake on my part.

    Edit: I'll keep in mind about the temperature for next time though and stick to what my smoker manual says and not my probe.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I never sleep while my MES 40 Smokes.

    That being said, since your house didn't burn down, the only problem was your Butts got a little on the hot side.

    That may be above boiling temp, but 217° isn't that much higher than the 205° target I usually shoot for. 

    I would think it was still quite edible.

  7. I usually shoot for 200. As for the taste the wife and I were able to save it. It tasted fine it was just missing that extra pizazz. So what we did as it was heating was spritz the vinegar cayanne mix on the meat. So I've learned my lesson.

    Bear when you make pulled pork how long does it take you and when do you start? It would be nice to not have to stay up all night.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Below is a 7 pounder. Started at 6:45 AM---203° IT at 5:30 PM (Less than 11 hours).

    If it's bigger than 7 pounds or doing 2 Butts, start at 6 AM or earlier, and use a higher Temp. Be done somewhere between 5 PM and 10 PM.

    7 Pound Butt:

    Pulled Boston Pork Butt         

  9. My family loves my pulled pork so much that I have to get two of them. Also I can only really find them around 8 pounds. So that's what I deal with. May I ask why you don't inject and also why putting the probe in after it cooks for awhile is better then right away? I take it it introduces bacteria into the meat from the surface? As far as I've been able to tell I've always been able to get the IT out of the danger zone just under the four hour mark. I like your rub method too. I do the same thing minus the mustard though.
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes, You got it:

    If you inject, temp probe, or break the seal in any way before it's been smoking for a couple hours (I do 3 hours), then you must treat it like ground meat, which means you should get it from 40° to 140° in no less than 4 hours. Like you guessed, it would push bacteria from the outside to the inside.

    This one took you 5 hours to get to 140°, but it didn't matter because you waited to probe it.

    I just use the mustard to help the cure to stick. You never taste the mustard.

  11. So do you inject when you make pulled pork? My wife got me a couple of cook books and in them and what I've seen online and on cooking competition shows people seem to always inject before they put the meat in.
  12. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    My Maverick alerts me when the smoker or the meat reaches my hi temp settings.  I sleep comfortably knowing that things aren't running rampant.

  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I personally don't inject, because I use low temps to get as much TBS or light smoke on my meats as I can.

    However if you want to inject, that's fine, as long as you use a temp high enough to get it from 40° to 140° IT in less than 4 hours. Depending on the smoker, this could mean only a difference of using a 260° smoker temp, instead of a 230° smoker temp.

  14. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    As @Bearcarver  said, if you inject you probably need to run at a higher temp. I injected one over the weekend with some home made chipotle marinade so I cooked it at 300 degrees. For a traditional style pulled pork smoked at 225 I don't inject as I don't think it makes a difference on regular pulled pork. 

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