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Unread 07-29-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
LVBBQMan
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Default Temperature 101

Lets say you have a half dozen racks of ribs, two briskets, and two pork butts in the smoker. What should you continuously measure? The temperature of at least one butt, one brisket, and one of the racks of ribs? The temperature of each piece of meat? Some other combination? What strategies and thermometers do you brethren use to measure what you believe needs to be measured?
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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Just to shake thing up a little, I'll say to forget the therms. Go by feel. Ribs - bend test - pick up one end with tongs, when it bends like an "L", maybe the skin cracks a little, the bone's loose, a toothpick slides in easy, they're done. Brisket and butts - when a probe slides in "like buttah", they're done. For a brisket it could be from 190-205 I've heard, I don't know, I've never used a therm. Butts, about the same, probably more like 195-200, but if you have bone-in, when it wiggles like a very loose tooth, it's done. Let it rest and the bone should pull out clean.

Now, therms are good for knowing when to start checking for probe tenderness. I'm not aware of a really good place to put a therm in ribs. If you're leaving a therm in a butt or brisket, maybe put it in the smaller pieces since they'll most likely get done sooner - but that's not a given - every piece of meat is different and you will be surprised sometimes. If you're a foiler, foil at 160 - that's when "the stall" happens - collagens, etc. breaking down and the meat is becoming delicious.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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I agree with the 3 meats above but for Chicken a meat thermo is a must.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:16 PM   #4
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I'd probably put a probe in the smallest butt and brisket and just check the ribs for the bend test when the time is right. The internal temp, as mentioned here, is just an indicator as to when you need to start checking for the cook to be finished.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ View Post
I agree with the 3 meats above but for Chicken a meat thermo is a must.
I totally agree. Therms are also a must (at least for me) for roasts, pork loins, turkey, etc. In fact, I think a chuckie might be the only other cut I'd do without a therm.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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Question BBQ story problem 101

Moved to a new thread... Sorry
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:36 PM   #7
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Sorry... moved to a new thread...
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:53 PM   #8
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for brisket and butts I use the hour and 1/2 rule as a guide but that can vary for a number of reasons which I will not go into at this time. Ribs for spares which is what I cook I shoot for 4 to 5 hours, again this can vary and I use the bend test. For chicken if its whole I will go by the wing and leg wiggle test but from 45 minutes to 1 and 1/2 hours will usually get her done again depends on conditions. So determine your weights of the brisket and butts, put the heaver ones on first, usually the brisket and follow up with the butts, these two will take the longest. When you think the brisket and butts are about 4 to 5 hours out from being done ad the ribs and in a couple hours the chicken if you want it all to come of at about the same time. Now remember it will not hurt a thing to get the briskets and butts done sooner and have them holding in a cooler while the ribs and chicken are cooking. Just calls for some planning ahead, thats what competition cooks do every weekend for the most part.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ View Post
I agree with the 3 meats above but for Chicken a meat thermo is a must.
No it's not...you just need to know what you're doing.

In a restaurant situation I have cooked and served I don't know how much chicken. Never have I temped a piece.

I'm not trying to be argumentative nor am I saying to not use a thermometer. I am however saying that is is not a "must".

Knowledge is everything.
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Unread 07-29-2011, 10:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cook View Post
No it's not...you just need to know what you're doing.

In a restaurant situation I have cooked and served I don't know how much chicken. Never have I temped a piece.

I'm not trying to be argumentative nor am I saying to not use a thermometer. I am however saying that is is not a "must".

Knowledge is everything.
I hear that, can't tell you how many cases of chicken I have cut up and cooked with out any gauge.
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Unread 07-30-2011, 12:52 AM   #11
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Would you try these types of "ready tests" as a newbie like I am? I fear that until you have some experience in recognizing what the right feel is like I won't recognize it. If you cook towards a temperature and then perform these tests you can draw a correlation. Also, if you are not monitoring meat temperature how do you know if you are close enough to test. It would seem that it violates the "if your lookin' you aren't cookin'" theory particularly if you have no measure to indicate that you may be close. Or do you just do it based on a time and temperature correlation?
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Unread 07-30-2011, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVBBQMan View Post
Would you try these types of "ready tests" as a newbie like I am? I fear that until you have some experience in recognizing what the right feel is like I won't recognize it. If you cook towards a temperature and then perform these tests you can draw a correlation. Also, if you are not monitoring meat temperature how do you know if you are close enough to test. It would seem that it violates the "if your lookin' you aren't cookin'" theory particularly if you have no measure to indicate that you may be close. Or do you just do it based on a time and temperature correlation?
If you are new to this sort of cooking then yes by all means use a gauge for internal meat and external oven temps.

I can only speak for myself but I have tons of expensive temp gauges sitting on my shelve and have not been inclined to use any for a couple years now. I do however have a regular gauge mounted on my uds, gasser and Spicewine that I pay attention to and I do check brisket and butts for internal at an estimated time of say an hour before I think they should be done, if cooking chicken individual sections I will check about half hour before I think they are done, ribs its the bend test. As I said before I use the one and a half hour rule for the larger meats but thats just a guide line, for a general external oven temp of about 250. It must be said that sometimes you get a hunk of meat that is just going to change all the rules and take a lot longer or much shorter time line. The gauge on my drum is to get a base line temp and to warn me if my fire is going to far north or to far south and make adjustments if needed.

Since I seldom foil I don't worry or check to see if the 160 internal temp has been reached or been exceeded. Again have fun with it and don't sweat the small stuff, cook early and cook often.
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