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Unread 06-29-2008, 10:58 PM   #1
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Default Indirect heat/direct heat

I always hear that indirect heat such as an offset smoker is the best for smoking/cooking. I think 225-250 degrees is 225-250. I use a UDS smoker and I think there's no differance in cooking temps (225 is 225]. If a offset smoker cooks at 225 degrees at the grate and my UDS cooks at 225 degrees at the grate, then whats the differance?

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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:11 PM   #2
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So what you are telling me is that there is no difference if I am smoking above a bed of coals in my large Egg without a plate setter as there is with a plate setter? I may have to do a comparison analysis of side by side cooks on my 2 large eggs and see if it so. I am guessing the direct heat will give a crustier bark on the bottom of the meat but that might be good if it is a brisket!
I guess this would be considered food for thought!
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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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There are reasons that offset and indirect are used for smoking. It is used to do long low-temp cooks without drying out the meat and causing it to be shoe leather.

Let's try this on for size. Would you want to be cooked in the sun at 250 degrees for 18 hours and have the blistering or cooked in the shade at 250 degrees and still be moist & plump? (This is not meant as sarcasim just an example)
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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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Are you kidding, UDS cooks low and slow, if it got any slower I would have had to post this question yesterday. My question is whats the differance between 225 degree vs 225 degrees? Direct cookers (such as BGE or UDS or offset smoker). I say if the grate temps are the same then there's no differance. 225 degrees is 225 degrees.
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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:39 PM   #5
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225 degrees is 225 degrees.

But I know that a brisket and/or butt cooks faster in my UDS than my Bandera. Don't know the science behind it, but there is a difference.
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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:49 PM   #6
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trp1fox, I wrote this post because most articles say offsets are the best cookers since they are indirect heat. My opinion is 225 grate temp is 225 grate temp. Your right though the UDS cooks faster, I like my UDS. Easy cooking. I had an offset and I got tired of feeding the fire.
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Unread 06-29-2008, 11:58 PM   #7
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i really tried to answer this.. but cant...

All i know is 225 direct is very different than 225 ambient. One will have a direct radiant heat effect, the other is swirling air. A UDS is direct/radiant and will cook faster than the convection effect in an offset.

I am going to try to get Jim Minion here to see if he can answer.
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Unread 06-30-2008, 12:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBBQ View Post
trp1fox, I wrote this post because most articles say offsets are the best cookers since they are indirect heat. My opinion is 225 grate temp is 225 grate temp. Your right though the UDS cooks faster, I like my UDS. Easy cooking. I had an offset and I got tired of feeding the fire.
I think at that low of a temp the distance from the direct source may play a role as to cooking faster than drying out a piece of meat much like having a rottisserie.
Direct is more for grilling than smoking in my opinion.
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Unread 06-30-2008, 12:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQchef33 View Post
All i know is 225 direct is very different than 225 ambient. One will have a direct radiant heat effect, the other is swirling air. A UDS is direct/radiant and will cook faster than the convection effect in an offset.
Exactly right-

UDS is radiant and convection heat
Offset is just convection heat
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Unread 06-30-2008, 06:25 AM   #10
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I don't believe it's the temp in the smoker as you are saying. 250* is 250* but the size of the smoker and the environment created by the temp is what makes a difference. A UDS, cabinet smoker, or an egg creates a moister cooking atmosphere inside because it seals better which helps in the faster cooking than say in an offset which doesn't seal as well. The grate temp and air temp is 250* in both but to average 250* somewhere the temp has to be hotter and that will be right in front of the fire. Distance from the fire or offsetting from the fire eases the radiant effect and then the created environment takes over. JMHO
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Unread 06-30-2008, 08:02 AM   #11
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I want to play..........

Put a thermometer an inch above the coals - the air coming off of them is much hotter than 250. So, in a direct method, you have much hotter heat source rising up to the meat, then getting diffused and averaging out to 250 at the grate.

In the indirect, the diffusion occurs prior to the heat getting to the meat, so the air touching the meat is never above 250.

Maybe?
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Unread 06-30-2008, 08:44 AM   #12
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To add to this.. I have this thing i discovered years back playing with my WSM without a water pan trying to crispy chicken up on the top shelf. I called it a 'heat shadow'. Maybe a real name for it.. but thats how I described it.

Its the spot UNDER the meat at the grate.. its was about 20 degrees hotter than the ambient air in the pit and even more of a difference from the spot directly ABOVE the meat. Think like this.. A brisket set on a grate 18 inchs above the coals in a UDS is actually doing the same thing as as a diffuser plate or heat shield when it comes to something on a rack above it. Its trapping heat below it, and diffusing it around the sides and up. That heat shadow is trapped heat, and thats where the radiant heat effect comes in that cooks the meats faster.
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Unread 07-01-2008, 10:18 PM   #13
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the effect of the meat dripping on the coals.

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Unread 07-02-2008, 01:21 AM   #14
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There is that, the drippings and I think they add to the flavor but don't really affect the cooking time. My guess is that most offsets have big variances in the grate temp next to the firebox as compared to the far end at the exhaust stack. I know it was around 50* in my Bar B Chef and I could not even it out. I tried water pans below the cooking grate, one on top of the cooking grate next to the fire box, added a heat deflector to try and push more heat towards the far end before it rose to the meat.

Some offsets I am sure don't vary that much especially for the comp guys, but for the average backyard guy you gotta do alot of smokin to fix that problem. In the UDS I think the temps are not so varied. I also agree that having the meat 24" from the heat source must have something to do with it but not being a scientist don't know what it is but know it works.
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Unread 07-02-2008, 02:49 AM   #15
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You would be suprised at the difference in temps on a UDS. How are you measuring the temp? A gauge on the side is not what the temp is center grate. Too many variables. On a larger offset you have a bigger mass. On a drum that is 16 gauge metal a little breeze will affect the temp as it will rob radiant heet off the metal. The main reason the UDS cooks faster is it is running hotter than most think it is.
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