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Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by pandemonium, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Now I'm confused. A newbi is concerned that "he's all the way up to 135˚ after only 5 hours", which is still in the danger zone, and we tell him to "Lower" the temp???

    Please straighten me out on this. I always worry about getting over 140˚ in less than 4 hours. Am I misunderstanding the whole theory.

    Most of my smokes have been of cured products, which don't have a danger zone, so in regular smoking, I'm still inexperienced, and that answer really confused me.


  2. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Yes I screwed up!! I did not even realize that he was in the danger zone still. Glad you said something, I was just thinking about his grill temp and didnt even catch that. Ive never really even paid attention to that on my smokes, but the way I understand it if your external temps are at 225 or more you should not have to worry about the danger zone? I am no expert on this so hopefully someone will speak up on this. The only time i hear of that problem is when trying to smoke a turkey thats too big to get to temp in time.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Bear, the latest info we have now (posted in the food safety forum by bbally) states that with whole muscle meats (not punctured, cut/filleted or ground) we need only be concerned about the outer 1/2" of surface, and this temp range is 40-138*, for the 4-hour time frame. For ground meats (fatties, including stuffing) or meats which have been injected or punctured in any way (including temp probes), fillets (example: stuffed pork loin) which are re-closed etc, then, the entire interior of the meat must pass through this temp range in 4 hours.

    I don't worry when I have a 9lb butt or 16-18lb brisket still below 138* I/T after I'm 8+ hours into the smoke...and yea, I've had it happen, too.

    Here's the discussion:

    Hope this helps with any confusion.

    Smoke on brother!

  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OK, thanks,

    I still am confused, but at least not on this one.

    There was one the other day that confused me, but I didn't want to pizz anyone off, so I shut-up thinking there must be something that I don't understand. There was a small pig that was at 148˚ after 7 hours of cooking. I'm thinking, "What temp was it at 139˚ if it was only at 148˚ at 7 hours?"

    As long as we're here, maybe you can explain what other variable makes that ok. Is it because he's going to keep cooking it a certain length of time after that, that makes being in the danger zone too long OK, or what. 

    Curing & smoking Bacon is SOOOO much easier to me than regular smoking, because I've done a lot of it, and taught a lot of others how to do it, and there is no danger zone.

    Thanks again,

  5. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Eric,

    You got that answer in before my last post (I type with one finger), but I guess that means anybody who still puts his probe in right away still has the problem I worry about. 

    I gotta go eat now, but I'll read bbally's thing later. If you can add anything about the early probers, please do, because I'm betting 90% of smokers probe when they start her up.


  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No prob brother!

    Yea, as for probes, there's not much point in sticking it right away, IMO...unless you like to sit and watch it slowly climb...kinda like watching the grass grow...J/K!!!!!!

    Seriously though, if you inject your meats with a brine or marinade, use a penetration-type tenderizer (the kind with needles), if you pierce the meat to add pockets for sticking garlic cloves into, or if you insert a temp probe before the exterior 1/2" has reached at least 138*, any of these actions could likely introduce harmful bacteria by pushing it through the surface and deeper into the meat...that's my take on how I read bbally's post awhile back.

    Hmm, you know, I think I need to review that thread again very soon, so I can make sure I'm still in the game...a lot can happen to one's mind after 6 months or so has passed.

    The older version of the safe time/temps rule that we all tried to follow was 40*-140* within 4 hours...period...without any deviation for whole muscle meats vs ground/injected/punctured, stuffed/filleted, etc. This was a much more stringent rule to follow, and thus many of us were doing our best to achieve this goal, so IMO, we were erring towards the safety side of things...and no harm was done. Now, it's 40-138* in 4 hours, with consideration of the above mentioned conditions.

    Anyhow, for the really big cuts, I wait for 7-8 hours now days, 'cause I know I'm nowhere near foiling or finished temps anyway.

    At the very least, wait at least 4 hours if your pretty sure the meat will not reached your target temp before that time...smaller cuts may hit your target in under 4 hours, especially if you run higher chamber temps (250-275*).

    bbally's post really gets these issues out in the open, and it's not based on's straight from the federal level...I recommend it to anyone who is not certified as a food handler and has not read it yet, please do so.

  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    OK, now I have read it twice, and probably have more questions than I had before. The ones about holding this or that for this temp for 3 minutes, or that for 12 minutes are very confusing (seems to easy), but I don't think I have to worry about them, because I just want to know the basics on the danger zone, and not what I can do to make a commercial product legal.

    So I can use my infa-red to tell what the surface temp is at any time, but how is that going to tell me what the temp is 1/2" deep without probing? Do I probe it after the surface hits 140˚? Is it safe to insert the probe as long as I'm getting a 140˚ reading on the surface? I always scrub my probes before inserting & after use, and I also just started using alcohol wipes.

    And as for the 250˚ to 275˚ thingy, I doubt I could get my MES that high in the winter.

    I'd like to get to know this stuff as much as I now understand curing & smoking various kinds of Bacon with TQ.

  8. daddyzaring

    daddyzaring Smoking Fanatic

    I'm a little confised here too now?  You're not supose to put a meat probe in until it reaches a certain temperature, but how do you know when it reaches that temperature?  Is it not good at all to cook with a probe in, because I know I like to use my Mav. ET-73, so I can keep an eye on the smokers temp as well as the meat without have to linger around my smoker the whole time.  I'll have to take a look at BBally's post too.  I haven't really done anything too big yet, but I went to the store yesterday morning to just get a few quick breakfast items for the kids and wife, and ended up getting a 15lb butt, and a 10lb pork loin (they were on sell for $1.79/$1.99 per lb).  They probablly sit in the freezer for awhile, until I get the nerve to smoke them, but this is definately some information I will need to study.
  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I can make that 10 pound Pork loin easy for you!

    Just go to my signature above, and click on "Boneless Smoked Pork Chops/Canadian Bacon".

    Then all you'll have to worry about will be that big butt of yours. Sorry about how that sounds.[​IMG]

    I think there was something about that basic 4 hour rule being for "Dummies". They may have been referring to guys like me.

  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea, I know it seems kind of off-the wall...this was discussed in more details in bbally's thread. I'm having trouble remembering which direction it turned at this stage...something along the lines of the exterior 1/2" of the meat surface should reach at least 138* in (x) amount of time with a chamber temp of 225*. I just can't remember the time frame now...30 minutes...maybe 60? It's in the thread though. I know for sure now that I need to review it again...LOL!!!!!!!!

  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I read it three times now, so after you review it, let me know how you tell the temp of the meat at 1/2" deep.



    Darn, Now I gotta leave---Tomorrow's another day.

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Woah!! I see what you mean about that thread I linked you to, started by bbally...most of it's content is gone.

    Rats...I'll do a bit of digging if I get a chance (still doing prep for my upcoming road trip) and see if there's other similar posts to refer to now. I did see a couple of thread titles in the food safety forum that looked promising.

  13. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    this is too much thinking cant we just go back to arguing? lol just kidding, good info I think
  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Oh man, you almost brought tears to my eyes with that one! Crap, I'm still laughing...........

  15. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Thats what I try for [​IMG] haha
  16. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That was funny!!!

    Besides, we weren't arguing; we were "passionately discussing" opposite viewpoints.

    Damn! There we go arguing again!
  17. daddyzaring

    daddyzaring Smoking Fanatic

    Just out of curiosity, do they have a back up of the old site?
  18. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    why do you want to go back Daddy? [​IMG]
  19. daddyzaring

    daddyzaring Smoking Fanatic

    Not go back, though I am still kind of undecided about how much I like this new format or not. lol  I just meant to be able to retreave information that didn't transfer to this new format.
  20. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not arguing here, though pans post was pretty funny! Actually just waiting to see if there is a tried and true method to know if the outside 1/2 " is up to temp.

    "passionately discussing" opposite viewpoints. Good one AK1, i like it.

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