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Smoking is taking too long

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    Smoking is taking too long

    Amazing Ribs has really been a huge help to me! I recently bought a Camp Chef Smoke Vault and I love it. But, everything I cook on it takes way longer than Meat says it should in his book. I'm using a Maverick dual thermometer and everything I have cooked has tasted fantastic! I'm cooking at 225 and looking for 203 internally. But, I had to cook to Boston Butts for 28 Hours and I have a brisket on now for 14 hours and counting and it is only up to 185! Any ideas? Any tips? I'm very new to this, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    SmokinIt

    #2
    If you're cooks are taking that long @225 you can definitely kick up the temps to 250* maybe even 275*. They will both come out great.
    Are you wrapping or just letting them ride? That can also make a big difference in your times.

    Comment


    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      I don't wrap because of the bark. Good to know about the temp. Thanks!

    #3
    Check your thermometer(s)! (And buy more beer.)

    In all seriousness, what are you using for your thermometer? If you are relying on the builtin lid thermometer there is a very good chance it is way off, 50 degrees or more (mine can be off by as much as 100 degrees). It is essential that you have an accurate reading at the grate level where the meat is.

    Ok, just noticed that you are using a Mav thermometer, but that would still be my first suspect. I've had bad probes read low, but I suppose a bad probe could read high, too. When was the last time you checked your meat probe in boiling water?
    Last edited by boftx; January 17, 2017, 10:07 PM. Reason: Added comment about my being blind to the original post.

    Comment


    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      Man, I should have thought of the beer! Thanks!

    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      boftx two butts at 225 for 28 hours seems like a thermometer issue, for sure.

    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      boftx, I finally took the brisket off last night after about 15 hours. I did a boiling water calibration check this morning and both probes on the Maverick read 212 at full boil. My rack probe was on the same shelf as the meat. Still puzzled. Thanks!

    #4
    Hi there SmokinIt .... first things first ... welcome to the Pit!

    Okay, now here's a few questions for you, and a couple thoughts on the issue. And a caveat ... I have no experience with a vault style smoker. I think many issues are generic to grilling and cooking, generally, though.

    questions

    1. what grade brisket are you cooking?
    2. For the pork butts, are they bone in, boneless, how big, where did you buy them? Artisanal pigs, or factory farm?
    3. Where is your grate probe and where/how are you placing your meat probe?
    4. Did your pork butt hit a stall? For how long? What did you do about it?
    5. Are you using water pans in the Vault?
    6. Are you wrapping your meat (i.e. Texas Crutch)?

    Some tips

    And this tip is the most important one I can think of. I'm going to devote some time to it ... the meat's internal temperature is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. I have found, especially with quality meats (think Choice or Prime briskets, Costco level (or Artisanal) pork) that internal temp of the meat is less important than if the meat is tender. As you read through Meathead's recipes, one thing he talks about is that all meat cooks different and that meat is done when it's done. What this means is that you need to use that temperature as a guideline and the actual done-ness of the meat should be how you decide when it is ready.

    For example ... a brisket is done when a probe (something long and thin, like you might use to probe a pan of brownies or the probe of an instant read thermometer) .. when the probe goes into the thickest part of the brisket and feels to you like a knife going into room temp butter, the meat is done. Regardless of what the internal temp says. I find that a Choice brisket, generally, gets to that place somewhere around 198-200 and a Prime brisket more like 195. This is because the meat gets tender as the fat and collagen in the meat renders and breaks down. So, the higher quality, the less time needed to achieve that outcome.
    ys
    This same rule applies to pork butts. I use a probe test, like described above, or a bone twist test if it is a bone in pork butt. On Sunday I cooked a boneless pork butt from Costco and it was done at 194F ... after I was in a stall for 2.5 hours and going crazy over it.

    Okay, enough about that.

    Another tip, and maybe an easier one ... consider cooking at 250 or even 275. I know that Meathead says 225, but my experience is that pork butts cook very well at 275 and brisket at 250 ... general rule of thumb I use.

    I hope all this helps. I'll add more detail based on answers to my questions. :-)

    Comment


    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the welcome! Butts and Brisket were Choice from Costco. Yes on water pan. I smoked two Butts at once and they hit the stall for.........ever. I finally gave in and bumped the temp up about 20 degrees. Not using Texas crutch yet, don't want to harm the bark. Great info! Thanks!

    #5
    SmokinIt I think you have a temp problem. where is your grate probe in the vault? Cause at 225 those butts should have been jerky after 28 hours .... I think your temp inside the chamber was somewhat lower than 225. boftx?

    Comment


    • boftx
      boftx commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed, I think one of his temp probes is lying to him. Unless those are just HUGE (or YUGE!!!!) pork butts. 14 hours on the brisket might be okay depending on size. Mine typically take 16 - 20 hours for a full packer. I usually figure on 12 hours for a 8 - 9 pound butt.

    • boftx
      boftx commented
      Editing a comment
      tbob4 no, bad parenting.

    • tbob4
      tbob4 commented
      Editing a comment
      boftx - You are absolutely right and they tell me that all the time!

    #6
    Welcome SmokinIt

    Comment


    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the welcome, the pitt is gonna be a fantastic resource! My wife thinks I'm a genius on the smoker now. We haven't had a bad meal yet and I have cooked Butts, Salmon, Brisket and Ribs so far. Every meal has been delicious.

    #7
    ecowper, when I first started smoking I picked up 2 verticals to try. I did 3 butts and 1 took 14 hours and the other 2 took over 24 hours. Frustrated me to death as to why. I stuck them in the back and havnt used em since. Got another cooker. Now it takes 8 hours.
    My theory is the placement of the meat related to the heat source (one is wood only, the other has gas which is what I used last time). I didn't crutch them (which I think was prob #1 and 2, it started to rain that night during the cook and the outside air temp dropped).
    Since one was done I decided to turn the gas on overnight and go to sleep and see what happens to the next 2 in the morning. I thought they would turn to jerky also.
    Got up at 7 am and they just hit 203.
    What really surprised me was that they were delicious. They were so good that I took some up to my daughter who was sleeping in bed and woke her up. Now anyone who has a 16 yr ole daughter knows that they DO not like to be woken up that early especially on a Sunday to take try a piece of pork. I explained the situation , she sits up and grabed a piece and ate it. She looked at me and said "dang, your right, that is really good". Then she took another piece ate it then laid back down and went back to sleep.
    But why did it do it?
    i think it was temp. I maintained 225 and that with cooler air and placement of the meat to the fire.
    Now I cook in the 250 to 275 range on my good cooker and don't have that problem
    i will return to my vertical to test my theory when I do a lazy cook for myself and not pressed for so much time. I'm pretty sure it's the temp all along

    Comment


    • SmokinIt
      SmokinIt commented
      Editing a comment
      ecowper, I finally took the brisket off last night after about 15 hours. I did a boiling water calibration check this morning and both probes on the Maverick read 212 at full boil. My rack probe was on the same shelf as the meat. Still puzzled. Thanks!

    #8
    Welcome from Indiana!

    A lot of what ecowper mentioned and the questions he asked could definitely be factors. I would also definitely test that probe and thermometer to make sure it is working properly. Exposure to moisture and/or high humidity can cause it to act up.

    OR.....

    You could just get a PBC and not have to worry about those long cook times anymore!

    Comment


      #9
      Welcome SmokinIt! We'd love to get an intro from you over in the Introduce Yourself channel when you get a minute.

      Comment


      • SmokinIt
        SmokinIt commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the welcome! Will see about an intro when I'm not late to work!

      #10
      Welcome to The Pit. I don't have anything to add because everything I would have said has been said.

      Comment


        #11
        Everyone has given you some good advice. I don't know your cooker, but am wondering if the fact that we have cold weather is effecting things. I cook on a ceramic so heat does not dissipate rapidly to the ambient temperature outside the cooker. I am wondering if your probe being close to the meat is indicating one temperature, but much of your chamber is cooler due to dissipation to the outside. You might check your probe readings in cold weather by moving the probe to various levels in your cooker and taking a reading at each level after it has been there for 15 minutes or so.

        Comment


          #12
          outside of everyone here my experience is the same as yours. when i ran at 225 my butts would take 24+ hours and the brisket was similar. i upped the temps to float around 250-270 and my times have come WAY down with no impact on the quality of the food.

          it all depends on your smoker and your environment. just up the temp and you'll be fine

          Comment

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