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14 Hours, Never Above 180
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paulw Offline
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14 Hours, Never Above 180
I had a little (just under 5 pound) Boston Butt on for 14 hours yesterday, at around 220 degrees in the kettle, and even after that long the meat wasn't up to the 190 degrees I was shooting for. Just 180 degrees. At that point it was bedtime, so I pulled it off and we ate it. I'm new to this low and slow thing, but I sure thought it doesn't take over 14 hours to get a little butt up to 190. Is this normal?
08-25-2008 09:36 AM
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Jaybird Offline
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Re: 14 Hours, Never Above 180
You can always wrap in foil to speed up the process and get it to temp. Probably could have done that at the 11th hour or so and taken to 14 hours. I'll bet you would've been at 190-195 by then.

Otis and the Bird BBQ Team
08-25-2008 09:49 AM
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paulw Offline
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Jaybird;p="11177 Wrote:You can always wrap in foil to speed up the process and get it to temp. Probably could have done that at the 11th hour or so and taken to 14 hours. I'll bet you would've been at 190-195 by then.

Wrap in foil and leave the kettle at 220, or wrap in foil and bring the kettle temperature up?
08-25-2008 10:08 AM
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sampson Offline
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Re: 14 Hours, Never Above 180
One of the best things I ever learned on this site is "It's done when it's done". I've had 8# butts be done in 8 hours and I've had 8# butts that still weren't done at 14 hours. No rhyme nor reason to the whole thing... Just keep practicing and eating your mistakes Smile

Rockin' on two 22.5 WSM's, a GOSM gasser and missing them old drums...
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08-25-2008 10:09 AM
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SoEzzy Offline
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Post: #5
 
Now this may sound silly, forgive me if it does, but are you sure your thermometers are accurate?

Have you tested them in boiling water, (SL Valley you'll be around 204 for boiling point due to the elevation above sea level).

If you also test with ice cold water, that has ice sitting it for at least 10 minutes, and that is 32 F no matter where you are.

14 hours and I've had a whole WSM full of butts (6 in total) cooked to 195 +, though I do cook a little hotter 225 - 235 at the grate level.

Respice, adspice, prospice. Latin proverb.
Respice = you didn't use enough spice the first time! adspice = you ought to add spice, you know? prospice = you should be an advocate for spice!
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08-25-2008 10:10 AM
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Jaybird Offline
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Post: #6
 
paulw;p="11180 Wrote:
Jaybird;p="11177 Wrote:You can always wrap in foil to speed up the process and get it to temp. Probably could have done that at the 11th hour or so and taken to 14 hours. I'll bet you would've been at 190-195 by then.

Wrap in foil and leave the kettle at 220, or wrap in foil and bring the kettle temperature up?

Up.

And check the therms like SoEzzy says. Where was your thermometer placed while cooking?

Otis and the Bird BBQ Team
08-25-2008 10:27 AM
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paulw Offline
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Jaybird;p="11184 Wrote:And check the therms like SoEzzy says. Where was your thermometer placed while cooking?

My thermometer for the kettle temperature is a Taylor candy thermometer stuck through a top vent opening. My thermometer for the meat is just a little meat thermometer (a dial on a stick) that I poke into the middle of the meat for a quick read every hour or so once the meat has been on a long time. I stuck them both into the meat at the same time, and both into the kettle air at the same time, to see if they read about the same, and they were pretty close to each other. If they'd been off, I'd have assumed one was busted. I'll try them against a known temperature.
Thanks to all!
08-25-2008 11:26 AM
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SoEzzy Offline
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Post: #8
 
What pit were you cooking on? Ooops a Kettle.

If you were cooking at 200 through the top vent you are probably at 180 on the grate and your meat wont get any hotter than that.

If it's a WSM or on ECB or a Kettle and you want to be around 240 - 275 at the top vent, in order to be in the 215 - 250 at grate level.

Respice, adspice, prospice. Latin proverb.
Respice = you didn't use enough spice the first time! adspice = you ought to add spice, you know? prospice = you should be an advocate for spice!
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08-25-2008 12:05 PM
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Jaybird Offline
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Post: #9
Re: 14 Hours, Never Above 180
I agree with SoEzzy totally.

Otis and the Bird BBQ Team
08-25-2008 12:18 PM
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paulw Offline
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Post: #10
 
SoEzzy;p="11194 Wrote:What pit were you cooking on? Ooops a Kettle.

If you were cooking at 200 through the top vent you are probably at 180 on the grate and your meat wont get any hotter than that.

If it's a WSM or on ECB or a Kettle and you want to be around 240 - 275 at the top vent, in order to be in the 215 - 250 at grate level.

I was using a Smokenator in the kettle, and supposedly the dome temperature is 10-15 degrees higher than the food support grill temperature, and so I'm assuming I was at around 220 degrees because most of the time the dome temperature (up by the vents) was around 230-240. The Smokenator did a lot better at keeping an even temperature yesterday than when I tried a butt a couple of weeks ago and started on a cloudless hot day, and ended in rain, lightning, and wind.
08-25-2008 12:47 PM
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mjerdmann Offline
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Post: #11
Re: 14 Hours, Never Above 180
So if your vent temp is 220, the grate temp is 20 degrees lower? How do you measure/monitor the grate temp? Is it a guestimate? Does this then drive the internal temp?

I am not sure how dumb those questions really are... BUTT....


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08-25-2008 03:00 PM
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Flexo Offline
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Post: #12
 
How we measure temp is, we have temp gauges on the lid but they are at a higher level than where the meat is. We put a temp probe in 2 small oak blocks and set it at the same level as the meat. Then we know the temp right where the meat is.

That sure was good stuff!
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08-25-2008 03:20 PM
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SoEzzy Offline
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Post: #13
Re: 14 Hours, Never Above 180
mjerdmann;p="11198 Wrote:So if your vent temp is 220, the grate temp is 20 degrees lower? How do you measure/monitor the grate temp? Is it a guestimate? Does this then drive the internal temp?

Hawg Gone Good

Go out and buy yourself 3 oven shelf thermometers from Walmart or any other store, about $4.00 / therm total $12.00.

If you have a side fire box attached to a pit, do this starting at the end nearest to the fire box, if you have a vertical pit, pick a side and remember where you start.

Place the 3 therms on the pit in a line cold to hot, front to back or side to side, the choice is yours.

Close the lid and let the pit get up to temperature, when the therm on the top vent is reading the steady temperature you normally cook at, get a pencil and paper, pop the lid of the pit up and read the 3 thermometers quickly, write down the results. Wearing a fire proof glove, move the thermometers to the mid point of your pit grate, and put the lid back down.

Allow the pit to run steady for another 5 minutes, and check the temperatures on the thermometers where they are now, write down the results, repeat at the 3rd position that you've not yet done this.

You will have now mapped the pit and you'll end up with 9 numbers arranged in 3 columns and 3 rows.

220 top vent.

190, 185, 180,
195, 190, 185,
185, 180, 175,

So closest to the fire box you're hitting 195 but farthest away from the fire box and near the front it's only 175.

You can now quicken things along by putting them where the temperature is higher or slow them down by putting them where the temperature is coolest.

Respice, adspice, prospice. Latin proverb.
Respice = you didn't use enough spice the first time! adspice = you ought to add spice, you know? prospice = you should be an advocate for spice!
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08-25-2008 04:13 PM
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paulw Offline
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Post: #14
 
mjerdmann;p="11198 Wrote:So if your vent temp is 220, the grate temp is 20 degrees lower? How do you measure/monitor the grate temp? Is it a guestimate?

It's what the instructions say happens in a 22 inch Weber kettle when using a Smokenator. I know for sure it's a little hotter up high than down below because there's a temperature difference just from shifting the thermometer so the tip is pointing straight down through the vent, or pointed across toward the top of the kettle. This is all poor person's cookery; most folks have fancier equipment, and from the posts here, its apparent that they've tested how it works.
08-25-2008 05:18 PM
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