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Unread 01-25-2012, 10:36 AM   #1
Full Throttle
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Default Meat coming up to temp too fast

Long time lurker, first time poster... Don't cook comps, just for friends and family.

A frequent problem I have is that my meats come up to temp way faster than they should and before the meat is really cooked well. Even though the temp says its done it is often tough and seems undercooked. It's happened with brisket, pork loins, chickens, and turkey. It also is on 2 different pits and at different temps. A smoke vault gasser and a home made trailer mounted 30x60 stick burner. I've used 2 different thermometers which are both Accurite digitals.
Got s jambo backyard on order and want to get this figured out before it arrives!!! Suggestions??? Thanks
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Unread 01-25-2012, 10:52 AM   #2
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Generally speaking temp is just a guide of when to start probing or otherwise testing for doneness. Keep on cooking until they are actually done.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Throttle View Post
...

A frequent problem I have is that my meats come up to temp way faster than they should and before the meat is really cooked well.. .
Need more details, because of the explanation, not sure what to say.

If it's coming up fast, then you could be simply cooking hot and fast.

Define "faster than they should". It sounds like your thinking based on someone elses time it's fast.

Give us specifics (what you cooking, temp, durations) and maybe we can help.

As for "before the meat is really cook well" are you pulling it before it's done? The thing to focus on is what your cooking and how to determine when it's done.

And BBQ is about "it's done when it's done" meaning there is a lot of variation.

We can help, just need more info.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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Thanks Okie....

I'll give you an example.....

I used to never use a thermometer and would cook 5-6 lb pork loins for around 4 hours at 225-250 and they would sometimes turn out perfect, but sometimes would be too dry. (I typically wrap with foil after 2 hours) I thought I maybe overcooked them when they would get too dry. Then I started using a thermometer and they would get to 160-170 in two hours so I would assume they were done, but obviously were not. The same thing happens with all the other meats I've cooked and the guidelines I've followed for when it "should" be done.

I guess what I'm trying to figure... If you are not using a thermometer to tell you when the food is ready to pull off the pit, how do you determine?
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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As you know, there is "done" and then there is "BBQ done." A pork butt cooked to 150F internal is "done" in the sense that it is cooked and safe to eat. But, at that temperature it isn't pull tender. The connective tissues in the meat need time to break down and that takes more cook time than just reaching a USDA safe temperature.

So, you need to cook pork butts until the bones loosen up and you can easily remove them. Internal temperature isn't always a gauge for that.

You may want to try your hand at a Night Train brisket to learn how to tell when a big piece of meat is BBQ done going only by how easy it is to pierce. Here is a link -

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=57815
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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Pork loins don't benefit from long cooking times and high internal temps. The FDA recently revised the minimum temp of pork to 145. Pork loins are done at 145. If you are cooking them to 160 that is why they are dry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Throttle View Post
I used to never use a thermometer and would cook 5-6 lb pork loins for around 4 hours at 225-250 and they would sometimes turn out perfect, but sometimes would be too dry. (I typically wrap with foil after 2 hours) I thought I maybe overcooked them when they would get too dry. Then I started using a thermometer and they would get to 160-170 in two hours so I would assume they were done, but obviously were not. The same thing happens with all the other meats I've cooked and the guidelines I've followed for when it "should" be done.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:33 AM   #7
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^^^Yeah what he said when cooking pork loin.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Throttle View Post
Thanks Okie....

I'll give you an example.....

I used to never use a thermometer and would cook 5-6 lb pork loins for around 4 hours at 225-250 and they would sometimes turn out perfect, but sometimes would be too dry. (I typically wrap with foil after 2 hours) I thought I maybe overcooked them when they would get too dry. Then I started using a thermometer and they would get to 160-170 in two hours so I would assume they were done, but obviously were not. The same thing happens with all the other meats I've cooked and the guidelines I've followed for when it "should" be done.

I guess what I'm trying to figure... If you are not using a thermometer to tell you when the food is ready to pull off the pit, how do you determine?
Could be you have pulled some meats just when they went into stall...
Keep an eye on it for a little while and see what it does.
If the meats too dry, you may have a temp. problem. Try a different thermometer and check the smokers temp. I had to replace one that suddenly was off about 75° at low temps.

After you do it for years, it kinda looks right... that's when I probe it.
(I use a metal skewer or an old slim meat thermometer)

Some meats are done quicker than identical cuts of meat...
(Never questioned why)
If the probe goes in easy, check it with a thermometer...

Don't get hung up on smoking times.
If your temps are higher or lower, if the weather is hotter or colder,
these things can have an effect on cooking/smoking times.

IMO: The most forgiving smoker I've tried is the UDS.
I think it has to do with the height above the coals, plus the moist environment seems to work well for me.

Last edited by Ole Man Dan; 01-25-2012 at 11:39 AM.. Reason: format
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyw View Post
Pork loins don't benefit from long cooking times and high internal temps. The FDA recently revised the minimum temp of pork to 145. Pork loins are done at 145. If you are cooking them to 160 that is why they are dry.
They would have been at 145 in 1.5 hrs at 225 to 250. I should have pulled them then? How come they've gone 4 hours at the same temp and been perfect before???l I've pulled them at the lower temp and they are really tough, and can barely slice them.....
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Unread 01-25-2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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For pork loin I cook them to 140 and then rest before slicing. The carry over takes it past 145. It is possible, however, to cook a pork loin to a much higher internal and have it come out pall apart tender. Brother Willkat89 posted about this al ong time ago and Brother ---k--- tried it recently...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=124545

But, there is an area in the middle where the result will be hit or miss depending on the specific pork loin. Some may have more internal fat and will be fine while others will be dry or tough.

For the traditional BBQ meats like butts or briskets, as pointed out, they are technically done at a much lower temp that when they are at their optimal tenderness. That's part of the magic that happens in our pits. A brisket or butt that is "undercooked" will be dry and tough, but cook it longer and let the internal fat and connective tissues render and you have a moist, tender piece of meat. there is no specific temp at which this happens. It differs for each butt or brisket so most of us rely on the feel of the meat rather than a specific internal temp.

Poultry is similar to pork loin. It is better to cook it to the point where it is safe to eat rather than going past that like we do with briskets and butts. Poultry doesn't have the internal fat and connective tissues to render so it will dry out if you cook it too far. The exception may be the dark meat. Thighs and legs can be tough at the safe temp but will loosen up when cooked longer, but then will get dry if you go too far.
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Unread 01-25-2012, 12:14 PM   #11
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^^^ What Ron_L said above. The pork we get is generally cr@ppy. It is not like what we used to get 30 years ago. It is way too lean. Sometimes I get a good loin (with some marbling) and it comes out a bit tender. For most consistent results I generally take it to between 140-145* and rest, as Ron says. Any higher and there is a strong probability that it will be dry and miserable. I have gotten some good loins and one brand in particular that is decent. For best results with pork, I strongly recommend brining.

For those older folks, remember when pork used to look like this?



I got these in Spain last summer. They taste every bit as good as they look. Yes, that is pork loin. Yes, that is marbling. When was the last time you ever saw anything close to that at your supermarket?
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Unread 01-25-2012, 12:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Throttle View Post
Thanks Okie....

I'll give you an example.....

I used to never use a thermometer and would cook 5-6 lb pork loins for around 4 hours at 225-250 and they would sometimes turn out perfect, but sometimes would be too dry. (I typically wrap with foil after 2 hours) I thought I maybe overcooked them when they would get too dry. Then I started using a thermometer and they would get to 160-170 in two hours so I would assume they were done, but obviously were not. The same thing happens with all the other meats I've cooked and the guidelines I've followed for when it "should" be done.

I guess what I'm trying to figure... If you are not using a thermometer to tell you when the food is ready to pull off the pit, how do you determine?
First off, 160-170 is over done for Pork Loin. Pull it off at 145. Don't cook it like a brisket or a butt. It's way too lean for that\

When you are cooking briskets, butts and even ribs, poke them with your digital thermometer, a toothpick or an ice pick. If they slide in with no resistance like a hot knife through cold butter, then and only then is it time to take them out of the smoker.
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