Question about cook time

Discussion in 'Pork' started by johnstra, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. johnstra

    johnstra Newbie

    Hi folks. This is a great site! I have a question about cook time that I couldn't find a specific answer for.

    I have a custom offset smoker (built by a fellow in Colorado). I've done two small boneless pork shoulders and both have taken way longer than the standard 1.5 hours per pound to reach the desired 185. According to the thermo in the cooker, I kept the heat right at 225-250 and I cooked with a pan of water in the smoker.

    The shoulder I smoked yesterday was 2.7 lbs. That should have taken right at 4 hours. My digital thermometer at 4 hours read only 154 degrees, though, so something is going wrong.

    I checked the accuracy of the thermo in the smoker and it appears to be right on. I also compared the smoker thermo to the digital thermometer I used to check the internal temperature of the meat and they are extremely close to being identical. I tested this using boiling water.

    So what's going on with my cook time? Something is definitely off somewhere, but I don't know what it could be.

    Thanks for any insight and assistance.

  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi John,

    First off welcome to the site, be sure to go and introduce yourself in the roll call thread.

    You mention that the smoker was built in Colorado, are you cooking there at high altitude? If so that can mess with the times and temps for getting meats done. The higher the altitude the slower the cooking process I believe...
  3. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the site. Be sure to stop by roll call and say hello as that is where we learn about new members. Also, tell us about your smoker there as well as any smoking exp and some photos if you could. With that said, I was going to say check your therms, but since you did and you say they check out fine, I will ask you where on the smoker is the thermometer located? Is it at grate level? Or like most, a few to several inches above the grate. If so, then yes, the therm will give you the temp correctly, but the actual temp at the grate level can be quite different. Sometimes by as much as 75 degrees or more. Let us know.
  4. johnstra

    johnstra Newbie

    Thanks for the welcome and the replies. I'll post on Roll Call today.

    I'm now in the Seattle area, so elevation isn't an issue for me.

    Yes, the thermometer in my smoker is above the top grate. But another test I did was to suspend the probe on my digital thermometer from the top grate so it hung right about where I place the meat for smoking. The reading on the suspended digital thermo was actually about 10* higher than the reading on the top-mounted thermo in the smoker.

    At this point, I'm assuming something is goofy with at least one of my thermometers. Anything else I should look into?

  5. daddio

    daddio Meat Mopper

    you may have answered your own question, when you said boneless.... the bone helps in the cooking process..if all the themometers are on and close this maybe your problem try a bone in and see what it takes. my two cents worth anyway. [​IMG]
  6. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I never cook by time, just by temp. Sometimes the buggers will just stall out FOREVER, just have to be patient. Remember you can finish early and wrap in foil then in towels/blankets and place in a dry cooler for a long time, I mean even like 4 hours if you do it right. So I always start my "Butts" early so I don't run out of time. I usually get up a 5am and start the smoker so that we can eat around 6:30 and I usually do like 5lb roasts. They usuall take 8-10 hours depending on the ambient temps outside and how long the "stall" is.
    If you think it was the thermos you might just invest in a mini dial thermomoter to back up your digital. They can be calibrated in ice water then you know for sure. To check your digi' just put it in ice water and if it reads 0c it should be right.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like coffee said we don't smoke by time we smoke by temp. My first question to you is have you check your new digital thremo=meter with ice water and boiling water. Then check your smokers temp to see if it off. I have a Gosm and the thermo-meter is about 15+ off sometimes I have another digital meter inside my smoker all the time and sometimes my stock meter is right and sometimes it's way off. So check out you new meter just because it's new doesn't mean it's right.

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