Smoker Virgin - Need Advice

by Nancy

Please can you help? I am new to smoking meat. I LOVE the taste of smoked pork, turkey, beef and chicken. I bought a Brinkmann offset smoker and tried my first pork shoulder today. I have a couple of questions that really concern me. Do you trust the built in thermometer? It showed I had a good, consistent heat of between 225 and 250 all day. However, when I put an oven thermometer in there to double check it showed I only had a heat of 150. The oven thermometer may be in question as it never agreed with my oven either but it concerns me whether I really had the proper heat. I smoked a 6 pound shoulder roast for 8 hours and it still was not to temperature for pork. In fact, when I cut into it it was a bit bloody near the bone (but I did find a vein in there). I put it in the oven for 90 more minutes and it tested properly for temperature and all the "bloody" juice was gone. It is still very juicy and tender even after cooking it in the oven. The smell and flavor are outstanding but the fact that it didn't cook fully in 8 hours does concern me. Am I doing something wrong?



You’re doing everything right and by that I mean you’re taking a step by step approach to perfection. From what you’ve written it would seem as though you
need to calibrate your thermometer and if you are comparing the Brinkmann gauge with a thermometer that doesn’t match your oven then I’d go so far as to say that you need a new thermometer. Borrow an oven thermometer from your neighbor and test it in their oven, your oven and then your smoker. By then you should have a good idea about what’s the correct temperature.

Try working with a smaller piece of meat to get a better understanding of how to get the best results. For sure, 60 minutes a pound should be enough but if you get some meat with a nice piece of fat on it, maybe use a marinade and a water bath you’ll really be able to push the cooking time out and still have a nice moist result.

Remember it's not an exact science and there are reasons why your meat doesn't always come up to temperature at the expected time. Read my pulled pork barbecue recipe where I explain all about the temperature plateau that we all experience.

One other thing that you might want to consider is temperature probe so you can test the internal temperature of the meat.

Keep practicing and when you hit perfection you’ll know that it was worth the wait.

See Also:-
Barbecue Thermometers
Safe Cooking Temperatures
Brinkmann Charcoal Smokers
Brinkmann Gas Smokers
Brinkmann Electric Smokers
More FAQ's
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Page Updated June 2012

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Jun 03, 2012
Cooking Temp
by: Anonymous

Always check meat temp to be sure it is done.
A quick read thermometer works great for this.

D Zimmerman

Sep 12, 2009
Thermometer Check/Calibration
by: Steve Dussault

The best way to check a cooking thermometer is to put the tip into boiling water. Water boils at 212 deg F at sea level. So boil some water on the stove and hold the measuring tip of your thermometer in the water (don't touch it to the sides or bottom of the pan). It should read close to 212 F. If it says 150 throw it away and get a new one!

If you are at altitude water boils at a lower temp than at sea level. You can find a boiling point vs altitude chart on the internet if you are really curious, but you probably don't need to be THAT accurate for smoking - it's not a chemistry lab after all!

Jul 06, 2009
Weber Grill Masters
by: Molly Koch

You are quite knowledgeable and provide great answers to a lot of the FAQs that most people just make assumptions about. I've never been able to smoke meat before but have always enjoyed it, this post provides a lot of good facts and information for the new smoker!

BTW… check out our new video series “Weber Grill Master”. Grilling experts Jamie Purviance and Steven Raichlen compare notes on grilling techniques, what inspired these classically trained chefs to pursue the art of cooking with live fire, and find out what led to their biggest grilling mistakes.

Jun 30, 2009
Low and Slow is the way to go!!!!!!!
by: Dave

It sounds like you have the proper thought, but
it all revolves around the techniuqe and time.
I also have a backyard offset brinkman smoker for
my smaller functions.
I have a commercial smoker that is wood fired and cooked with inderect heat.
To answer your question, first you need a good
dry rub, which can be anything that you like, it
is something you have to experiment with.
A good cooking time for a pork butt around 6-9
lbs. would be 12-14 hours.
Let it cook unwrapped for 6-8 hours, then wrap
in foil. This will hold in the moisture, and keep the meat nice and tender.
As long as you can pull the shoulder bone clean and easy, it is ready to go.
But like anything else, time and effort will take care of itself.
Good Luck and Keep on Smokin

Buckeye Boys BBQ

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