What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by danny45, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. danny45

    danny45 Newbie

    I hope this is in the right section.  My New Braunfels Hondo offset smoker is technically considered a charcoal smoker, but I use small wood logs to smoke with.

    I'm having a problem getting my food to the desired temp. I was using a analog dial type meat thermometer but bought a digital thinking it would be more accurate, and can be calibrated.

    When I cook on my smoker, I usually put my meat on the last third of the cooking side away from the fire box, for fear anything really closer will burn the outside long before the inside is done. I also use one of those aluminum foil roasting pans filled with about two inches of water. I place this under the meat to also catch the drippings. It's really easy to get the cooking chamber up to temp, and to keep it there.

    But, like last night, I had those roasts on there for 7 hours, and the internal temp never did get up to the 190 degree range. The only time I opened the chamber was to turn it over every hour, and spray them with some apple juice. Usually took only seconds to do, so the lid wasn't open very long. I finally pulled the meat off when it hit 165 degrees (took all of that last hour to get from 150 to 165).

    What am I doing wrong? Am I introducing too much moisture into the chamber by using that water pan?

    Thanks guys for the help!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Maybe the only thing you are doing wrong is running out of patience?  What is the temp of the cooking chamber.  Use your spare thermo to check that.  You need to be cooking at 225 - 250.  If you are trying to bring your roast to 190 you may consider jumping the temp to 300 or so once you get a good amount of smoke on at the lower temps. 

    Remember we have no control over how long it takes for a large piece of meat like a roast to come to temp.  All you can do is pull and put in the oven at 350 when you get tired of waiting or kick up your smoker temp.

  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Al said.


    I smoke roasts at about 230˚, and it always takes longer than 7 hours to get to 190˚ internal.

    Also from 150˚ to 165˚ in one hour is pretty good speed.

  4. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    don't know if the water is really keeping yer temps down since it is away from the firebox and it is under the grate......i have not tried that with my offset. i will say you need to find out the temp of the cooking chamber where you put yer meat maybe you just need to move it closer,  these are cheap and work.....


    another thing i do differently is i use both lump charcoal as well as wood. the lump will burn hotter and longer without a flame while the wood smokes and as it burns down i just roll it into the the coals...


    try these things and see where yer at..............
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well as you guys know my pork butt a few day's ago took 19 1/2 hours to get to 190. Smoking at 225. So like Al said you need to have patience.
  6. danny45

    danny45 Newbie

    Thanks for the replies.  According to the thermometer I had on the grate, the chamber was always between 200 and 250 degrees.  It did comply with the 4 hour rule, but just seemed to take forever to go from 140 to 165.  It was at 140 at 9pm, and it didn't hit 165 until midnight.

    That should be good enough.  160 is supposed to be "medium" so I think it'll be alright.  I just wonder why 190 is the target temp.
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I might have missed it, but I can't find what kind of roast, or what size roast you're doing, and that 190˚ target seems to have come from you. I was wondering why 190˚ was chosen too.

    The numbers I use are:

    135˚ to 140˚ for medium rare good cut of Beef.

    195˚ for slicing not so good cut, like Brisket.

    205˚ to 210˚ for pulling Brisket, Chuckies, etc.

  8. boykjo

    boykjo SAUSAGE MAKER Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Danny 45, May I suggest a simple inexpensive modification to your offset. I found my offset was too hot near the smoke box and too cold at the other end. You can try to extend you stack farther down into the smoker by adding a rolled up piece of aluminium flashing from lowes into the bottom part of the stack inside the chamber so the stack almost touches the grate. This seemed to give me more even heat throughout my smoker exept right near the smokebox which I still like to have when chrisping some chicken

    Just something you might want to try....
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Stop opening the lid so often and spraying a cold liquid on the meat. Reheat time for the cooking chamber and recovery time for the meat from the cold bath are slowing you down IMHO. No need to check it until at least the 3 hour mark IMO. If you want to baste use a mop sauce and keep it in the cooking chamber so it is hot when you apply it, JM2C.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  10. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Lots of good advice here. Like Bear asked what size and kind of roast are we talking here? Chuck roast, rib roast (aka Prime Rib) etc. If I am doing a Prime rib style roast then I want it pink in the middle so I am pulling mine around 140 internal temp but if I am doing a chuck roast or brisket then I usually slice mine and I pull them at 195. I agree with not opening the lid so much. Some smokers recover really fast but others don't and you are just letting out all the heat and putting cold liquid on the meat all of which are slowing down your smoking process.

    The old saying goes. If your looking  you aren't cooking.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  11. I have noticed when I have a water pan under my grate it takes longer. Since water can only get to 212, unless under pressure, it's mass will effect the chamber temp. The lower water temp will be absorbing some of the heat you would otherwise use for meat heat. It's a thermodynamic temperature differential thing.
  12. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So Danny were all wondering what kind of roast were you cooking?

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