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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #1
Dgilleece
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Default Cooler weather smoker questions

I did some ribs last night and they were good but I have smoked ribs in the past few months that were way better. I just got my smoker back in July so this is my first Autumn and Winter that I will be smoking things. The last time I did 3 full racks of ribs I smoked them for 5 hours at around 225 and they were fantastic. I did 3 more full racks last night and I smoked them for 5 hours at about 225 and they were fair at best. Bought them at the same place, Kroger. The only real noticable difference was yesterday was about 20 dgrees cooler (still in the upper 50's to lower 60s) and it was very windy. So here are my questions.
1) With the cooler outside temps should I have cooked them longer?
2) Was the high winds more of a factor than the cooler temps?
3) Should I have cooked them hotter?
4) I had a real hard time keeping the temps up to 225. In the cooler weather months should I use less water or liquid in the drip pan?
I smoked a turkey breast about 2 weeks ago that turned out great (outdoor temps were in the low 80's) and I plan to do one at Thanksgiving so I need to find out if y'all think the outdoor temps make a difference with smoking meats.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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What kind of bbq do you have? The wind will kill you every time. Try to have your bbq in a place where it wont be affected by the wind. Also try cooking without puting any water or liquid in your drip pan, just wrap it in foil. Water take a lot of energy to heat.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:03 PM   #3
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It will absolutely change the cook. Even humidity will change it. Run water with snow and your meat will look boiled
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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Humididty prolly did you in :(
I would not run water when humidity is higher
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:31 PM   #5
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Actually humidity is normally high in this neck of the woods and yesterday it was extremely low. I guess the combination of low temps and high wind I should have started with no water in the drip pan. Thanks for the info.

I have a Master Forge two door vertical gas powered smoker. It seems to do the job for the most part or at least everything else I have cooked has worked well.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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Turn up the wick on that candle and block the wind, ditch the water. Those tin smokers are a PIA in the cold wet & wind, these things kill your temps.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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Cook them until they are done not time. When it is cooler it will take more time, kick up the temp to 270 and cook till done
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:40 PM   #8
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You said both cooks were 225. If the smoker is at 225 it makes no difference what the outside temp is. Now, depending on the cooker, it may be harder to get your temp and maintain it, but if you are measuring the actual cooker temp, then you are there. So, I'm a little confused.

I think you just have different pieces of meat and need to learn the bend or the toothpick test and cook until done, not to a specific time. You didn't mention the weight of the racks, could be very different, which will mean different cook times.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:57 PM   #9
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What kind of Rig do you have? I have an 18 WSM. Last year, we were over 100*F for 65 days here. That meant the first 100*F were free. I do temperature control for a living and it's always been amazing to me how it works.

Wind is huge. Google Dry Bulb temp and Wet bulb temp. Humidity adds to a heat index and wind adds to the wind chill factor. After it's all said and done, add more fuel on windy cooler days and less on hot Summer days. Adjust inbetween.

The basic law of thermodynamics is that Heat moves from hot to cold.

Experiment and adjust IMHO.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:09 PM   #10
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I've seen people put some sort of mod over the exhaust on those types of smokers to keep the wind from blowing down into cooking chamber too much. Think it was CD who did that.

But yeah, if you can try to cook at higher temps and don't go by time or internal temp when cooking ribs. They're done when they're done as judged by bend or poke test.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
I've seen people put some sort of mod over the exhaust on those types of smokers to keep the wind from blowing down into cooking chamber too much. Think it was CD who did that.

But yeah, if you can try to cook at higher temps and don't go by time or internal temp when cooking ribs. They're done when they're done as judged by bend or poke test.
Thanks El Ropo, I missed that. I was thinking of the thickness of the walls of the smoker and how much heat it will retain in the wind.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:53 AM   #12
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Thanks lads for all the info. Yeah I guess I should have said I tried to cook them at 225 but i had a hard time maintaining that temp. Sounds like the wind really messed me up. I did have the smoker in a different area than I normally do because I was having a paver stone patio being installed so I would have a nice patio to cook on after they finish. That area is a bit more protected from the winds.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #13
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Perhaps 5 hours was not enough, you didnt say how tender they were, I can cook spares for 5 hours at 275 and have some stubborn racks need longer.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:10 PM   #14
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I've always been confused by the idea that the outside temp affects the inside of the cooker. To me, if the temp inside the smoker is 250, then it wouldn't matter if that's the case if it's 95 outside or 25. The COOKER temp is where the meat is and that's what matters, right?

Now I can see how the outside air temp will make it more of a challenge to GET the smoker temp to where you want it, but once it's there, it's there. I've had to stoke the fire more or open air vents more to make the fire hotter, wrap the whole smoker in a tarp/blanket, but once it was there, I was good.

I can also see how humidity level INSIDE the cooker matters, but that's more dependent upon the amount of moisture in the cooker which is dependent upon the use (or not) of a water pan/bowl and/or the amount of meat. In other words, the moisture level inside the cooker will be higher if cooking 8 butts vs cooking 2 butts, but again......I don't know how the outside air matters once the cooker's settled in.



Just my opinion, which may not mean anything.
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