the danger zone

Discussion in 'Pork' started by flanntastic, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. i have read here before that 40-140 degrees is the danger zone and should only be that temp for 4 hours.   BUT last night i put butts on, they hit the grate at 37 degrees smoking at 250 and i bet they were under 140 for 8 hours at least.   BUT everytime i smoke its the same way, its never been a problem before.   its been 15 hours and i am now at 185, if you slow cook isn't it always under 140 for that long?
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You are OK if you didn't probe or inject the meat. If that is the case the outside 1/2" is the only part that has to reach 140 in 4 hours. If you did probe them than you are taking a chance at getting food poisoning if the IT isn't 140 in 4 hours. This is why many of us don't put a temp probe in the meat until 3 or 4 hours into the smoke.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I think I'd be checking the smoker thermometer
  4. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I agree, your therm is off kilter. 
  5. i set my MES 40 to 275, and my maverick says its 253 inside
  6. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds to me like you are depending on the stock thermometer in the smoker when checking cooking temp...  You need to use a good thermometer that you know for a fact is calibrated correctly.  the themometers that come built in are notorious for being junk...
  7. teleburst

    teleburst Meat Mopper

    According to the USDA, doesn't apply to intact muscle meat, which is why Smokin' Al is correct on all points. I don't even ever use a probe since I've got a pretty good handle on when to start checking the internal thermometer (the bone). There's a pretty wide spread of pullable temps (195-205) so its not super critical to get it right on the nose as long as you start checking early enough. I start tugging on the bone around the 1.25 hr/lb mark. If there's no give, I wait another hour. If there's some give, every 30 minutes. This is based on my own cooker and cooking techniques (which admittedly is unconventional and heretical). Others might want to err on the side of caution and stay checking at the 1 hr/lb mark.
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    teleburst, you are obviously a very experienced smoker. I agree with you when you say when the bone will come out clean in a butt it's perfectly done and I also agree that the temp may vary between 195 & 205 for pulling especially if you don't foil. For the more inexperienced guys the therm is the best guide. They will in time gain the experience you have & will be able to judge the doneness of a butt by pulling on the bone, until then the therm is their best friend.

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