question about tenderness

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jamesedw1, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. jamesedw1

    jamesedw1 Fire Starter

    So I have been reading people's posts about tenderness and internal temps, so does the internal temp tell when you when it's done? Or when it's safe to take out? And to get your meat tender should yoy cook it longer then the internal temp should be? I'm all kind of confused now lol
  2. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It depends on what your end results are your looking for and the cut of meat you are cooking.

    Pork lion for slicing 145
    pork butt for pulling 190-205
    All poultry 165
    beef for slicing depends on the doneness you desire. Rare 130
    and so on........

    Some cuts of meat are better at lower temps and others have to be cooked longer to get tender.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

     The connective tissue in meat breaks down at internal temps above 130°F, and is somewhat accelerated as the internal temp goes up. An 8lb pork butt smoked to an IT of 180°F in a 225 smoker, and held there for say, 24 hours, will get fall apart tender. Same butt smoked at 225 to 205° only takes 14-16 hours. Smoking at 350°F for about 4-6 hours will do the same as the IT gets higher faster. Adding moisture reduces the time the breakdown takes but has a negative on the bark...JJ
  4. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    James, all good points above.  Just remember that every type of meat (poultry, pork, beef, lamb, game, etc) is different and each cut of meat (loin, tenderloin, chuck, shank, flank, belly, etc) can have different target internal temps to determine when it is safe to eat and tender.  There are a lot fewer target temps than there are cuts of meat.

    Poultry is the easiest: coldest part of the chicken should be 165F internal temp, which on a whole chicken/turkey is usually the thigh. 

    Lean pork is usually 145F IT, unless you pierce the meat by injecting, then 165F.  Tougher cuts like the butt/shoulder need higher temps, up to 205F to be tender and melt the connective tissue. 

    Beef is all over the temperature map. 

    When you buy meat, do a search on the type of meat, then the cut, then the cooking style to get ideas of your target temps. 

    For example, type "What is the target internal temperature for smoking beef chuck roast" then enjoy the reading.  It isn't an exact science but you'll quickly learn what works best for you and your smoker.  I tend to aim for the higher target temps to start then adjust downward if necessary.  On tough cuts like brisket and chuck, a five degree difference in your final target temp can make a huge difference in moisture and tenderness.  195F can be tough and dry, 200 moist and tender.  On a different chuck roast it can be moist and tender at 190F.  Learn the "probe test" too to help determine when it is done.  A toothpick or long-tonged fork should slide into the meat like sticking it in a room temperature stick of butter.     

    My wife says she'd make a terrible smoker.  She wants exact measurements, cooking times and temps.  She's a great baker for that reason.   Smoking meat has a lot of variables that you quickly master with a little experience.        
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    James , your best bet is to start and keep a "Log Book " of all your Smokes . This is invaluable to learning to Smoke and cuts the learning curve in half...

    If you have any questions  , ask and we will help...

    Have fun and . . .
  6. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A MEN! A logbook for anything you do repetitively will provide you with very valuable information.

    Great things to track are pit temp, ambient temp, wind speed and direction (yes, it plays a role), meat temp at time you put it on the pit (fresh from frig, or was it close to room temp), average temp cooked at, and finally, the internal temp when you pulled the meat from the pit. Then add information about how the cook turned out, good, bad, ugly, made the dog sick, etc....

    Please note, nothing was said about time cooked.... The only thing you need with a dial and numbers is a thermometer.

    As you get more cooks under your belt, and info into the logbook, you'll begin to see a pattern.

    Also, as said above, different cuts/types of meats require different temps and also provide different levels of tenderness. Think steak, a ribeye at 130 will be a tender cut of meat and is cooked fairly fast. Now cook a sirloin to 130 and it's gonna be a bit tough...
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    ain't kidding , Buddy . ..

    I don,t always use a thermometer , but safety says to me , [​IMG], do it for 'Safety' . . .

    Oh, and as you BBQ . . .
  8. jamesedw1

    jamesedw1 Fire Starter

    Maybe I'm just over thinking things and just go out and cook.
  9. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Got questions, just shout!
  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The USDA recommended temps are a minimum for safety.

    For good food, the good folks on this forum are a great guide.

    Good luck and good smoking.

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