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Jeez, who'd a thunk! Smoking is a Science apparently!

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    Jeez, who'd a thunk! Smoking is a Science apparently!

    I love Smoked Brisket, then ribs, then chicken and lastly Salmon.

    I tried cooking a brisket on my grill, once upon a time. When I finally pulled it out of the death chamber I found this little football shaped piece of charcoal that resembled a piece of meat I put in many hours earlier. I gave up after that.

    Then, I was watching one of those cooking shows - BBQ cook-off of some sort. I got so hungry watching them cut into the meat I thought that I'd try again, but, with a smoker.

    There was a sale on Electric Smokers in the Winter and I bought one. It's alright.

    I read a little on this site and they recommended gas over electric for ribs and brisket.

    I just got a cheap-ish gas smoker and have just tried my first rack of ribs. They are just ok. Although I finally tasted the smoke compared with the Electric. I had used Pecan. I grew up with that tree and the smoke smell.

    I didn't take the advice about the "built in" thermometer. Bad decision!

    I just received my new dual oven / meat thermometer today and I'll be danged if it isn't between 20 and 30 degrees off to the Cool side. Wow, Really? Are the factory thermometers that bad?

    I'm just pretty much stunned. That could mean a lot in food safety besides making the recipe improperly.

    Is there a way to test the new thermometer? Or, just take it at what it's worth? I know I should just be happy with a more accurate reading, but, It'd be neat. (It's the dual temp therm recommended)

    Anyways, Glad to join the group here and hope to keep learning.

    It's seems at first that smoking is easy. Now that I learn the variables are almost endless, I want some help. It could get expensive throwing out bad recipes or techniques.)

    Anyways, Who'd a Thunk that this could be so complicated! My goal is to make a Brisket or Rib that I can reproduce and that I'm happy with and excited to feed my family with. Any Help is appreciated and I hope to learn a lot from reading the posts.

    Thanks Everyone!

    Welcome MylesB. We're glad you're here. You can calibrate that new thermometer using boiling water. Water boils at 212F more or less. You may need to tweak that number a little based on your barometric pressure. When you're testing you want to place the probe tips in the boiling water, but do not submerge the entire probe.

    While you're getting used to smoking I suggest you try cooking pork butt. It's a very forgiving meat and can produce great results even when the cook doesn't go as planned.


      Welcome Aboard MylesB


        Young Fella, Welcome to the Pit! The two responders above this one know what they are talking about! As do those who undoubtably will follow. By reading your post I believe you are well on your way, you are concerned about the right things. Carry On, have fun! Dan


          Welcome. I just got a smoke vault 24" and calibrated the thermometer that came with it. It was 5-7 degrees low. I know the temp reading will be general and at that level on the door. I use another at the level of the lower meat rack. Will have to get another one yo take temp of higher rack go see what the diff will be, because I learned hot air rises.


            Welcome, I did the same sort of thing, I just figured if the heat is on it is cooking so who cares if it is a little off, but it does make a difference. As Pit Boss mentioned you can test in boiling water and freezing water, depending on your elevation those should be constant. I keep my probes in a drawer by the stove, every once in a while when I am boiling water I just pop them in for a few seconds to make sure they are still good .


              You can also test the lower range of the thermometer by putting it in ice water. It should read 32 F.

              In addition to exploring the wealth of information on this web site, you might want to read Aaron Franklin's new book. "Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto."

              Good luck and welcome aboard.



                Welcome to the Pit MylesB ...

                Looks like you're on your way to becoming a real Pit Master. Learning your cooker and how to control the temperature is the magic. The recipes are easy to replicate once you've tamed your cooker.

                We're all here to help you on your BBQ journey.😎


                  Welcome to the Pit. Your education has just begun.......


                    I've found that you study it like it's a science...but you care about it like it's art.

                    I wonder what the BBQ muse looks like?


                      Hi Myles


                        Welcome to The Pit MylesB! Glad to have you here. It's worth noting that if you want to be exact on your thermometer probe reading, check your city's elevation. Water doesn't always boil at 212F, only at sea level. Where I live in central MI water technically boils at 210. 2 or 3 degrees really doesn't matter much, but like you say, it'd be neat to see exactly how spot-on they are.

                        Since this is your first post, please check out our homework assignment post for new members, it contains a few how-tos and please-dos.

                        Also, it's very important that you add the domain AmazingRibs.com to your email safe list in case you are ever drawn as our monthly Gold Medal Giveaway winner!

                        Hope to hear & see more from you!


                          My city is Denver and I'm at almost exactly 5,300 ft.
                          I'm wondering if the stall temperature is much lower or higher?
                          The latest brisket I'm trying is kind of stalling at 134-140 for at least 2 hours.
                          Am I confused about this? Yes I am. Which way should it be? More or Less?


                            Welcome MylesB! We're glad you're here. The stall happens sooner at elevation. The boiling point is lower, which drives down the stall temp.



                              This place is great.

                              On 2 occasions I had cooks that went wrong and posted the problems in the pit. Since there are pretty much always a handful of pit members lurking at any given time I received immediate advice and in both instances this timely advice saved my cook. I cannot tell you how invaluable of a tool the collective knowledge on this site can be.

                              I look forward to some pics of your upcoming cooks.



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