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A case for still using the ol 225...sometimes

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    A case for still using the ol 225...sometimes

    While I think many of us are in agreement that for many situations, the old pseudo-standard of 225 as the ideal smoking temp is a myth that is largely busted (vs. say 250-260), I *did* find a situation where I think it is indeed helpful. Last week I was hunkering down to self-isolate with my sister and brother in law, but had the foresight to ask them to go grab my Weber kettle and my barrel cooker before we sealed ourselves off, and they said they had bought a beef roast that was on sale that afternoon. Turns out it was an inside round, so not typically the first thing I would reach for to smoke (vs. say, cubing it for stew beef or using a SV machine) BUT I do know they're good oftentimes if you do them really and truly low and slow AND you slice them nice and thin. They're great for a French dip or any kind of sandwich but being that they're typically very lean, it's easy to dry them out and ruin it if you're not careful.

    So I set my barrel very conservatively (and the temp outside of about -5 C was actually a bit helpful in this regard as it kept it from overshooting), and eventually got it up to about 245 and held it between there and 220 for about 2 hours, letting the beef come up to temp very slowly and just letting it do its thing. Pulled it off when it read 129 internal on the Meater and let it sit for perhaps 20 mins and noticed there was actually very little carryover. Peaked at maybe 131, and it was definitely more rare in the thicker part (it was an odd sort of wedge shape and despite me putting the wide side closer to the heat, I believe my heat deflector (a large stainless bowl with water in it) in the barrel almost worked too well as in this case I actually wanted the one end to be a little hotter, and the deflector made the temperature "too" even. So when I do the other one (it was a large, 5 lb roast we had cut in half, doing the other half tomorrow) I think I'll take the deflector out but still figure out a way to get a couple of cans of water in there as I think the water I had in there definitely made a difference in keep the roast moist, as it was very lean as I mentioned and also cooking at altitude in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in the winter when it's very dry, I think it's super key to keep whatever you're cooking in nice and humid inside.

    Anyway as I say, usually I'm quite happy for most roasts, ribs, really almost anything to be smoked at a little higher temp, the only difference most of the time is you finish earlier with the same delicious results, but in the case of very lean cuts like inside/outside round or eye round, the old 225-230 may actually yield some benefits in terms of keeping the meat from drying out.

    Anyone found the same results? Or indeed, am I just weird and you can smoke round roasts at the higher temps too? In my experience I haven't had much luck that way but maybe I've been doing it wrong.

    #2
    If I'm cooking something to medium-rare eventually and doing some indirect with it, I want it low and slow. If I have pastrami going (like I have now) and don't need it done until tomorrow afternoon, I want low and slow.

    Everything taken to 200-ish dries out regardless, that is one of the results of taking meat that high, the moisture hits the trail like a cow patty. Amazingly my chicken breasts are still juicy when taken to 165, could be I'm still 40 degrees below dryness.

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    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      " the moisture hits the trail like a cow patty"? wow. I think I like this "new" Jerod.

    #3
    Can't say I've tried it with lean beef per se (other than a slow reverse sear on a steak). Sounds like another beef roast might be in my future, not a problem at all!

    I typically find a hotter (and thus quicker) cook works good for lean pork like loin, or chicken breast, so with these meats the opposite of what you're saying

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      #4
      Yeah definitely agreed for chicken. Typically I do chicken up close to 300 or so and have had great results. (Usually it's whole chickens so I'm not sure if this is appropriate for say, boneless skinless breasts for example but I would imagine it would be probably best to go hotter rather than cooler for those as well.) Pork tenderloins I also do tend to do on the hotter side as well (275ish) and have had great luck there. I'd be interested to try a round roast going hot and fast actually, to see if there is any difference. Maybe next time they're on sale.

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        #5
        I still 225° everything but poultry. It works for me. If it ain't broke, I don't fix it.

        Comment


        • surfdog
          surfdog commented
          Editing a comment
          Yep...LONG before I really started this journey and became “educated” I learned that 225° was THE temp...so that’s what I aimed for and learned to hit. All these years, and multiple cookers later, I’ve seen no reason to change that.

          Agree on the poultry as well.

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          surfdog bet it's gonna end up like ties. They went wide, then skinny, then wide, then skinny, and right now, they are trending to widen back out. Bet in the next 5 years there is a movement to go back low and slow.

        #6
        Yeah I certainly have no problem with 225 as long as I have nowhere to be. It still works great of course, but given that in a lot of cases, 260-275 can yield the same results in less time, I'm usually inclined to go that way so I'm not having to start a pork shoulder at like 7:30 in the morning.

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          #7
          adamcoe , I didn’t see in all of this where you reported on how it came out as far as tenderness & taste... I can cook a roast to medium rare at any temp as long as I pull it at the right time, but did the 225 cook yield reasonably tender roast?

          Comment


          • adamcoe
            adamcoe commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah it worked out great actually. I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out really nice. And was excellent the next day for sandwiches as well which was a nice little bonus.

          #8
          The "slow" part of a steak cook gets 225°, (or thereabouts ). I haven't done an overnight cook since reading here that higher temps work, but if I ever need to have a long cook ready for lunch, I'll go with 225° overnight again.

          Comment


            #9
            I agree that 225 works great for this particular cut, but it isn't absolutely needed. This cut is very common here in Sweden, and a lot of people try to make a beef stew out of it. That I don't get. It is very lean, and a waaay better choice is to use chuck roast (for example).

            Inside round is just perfect when making roast beef on the other hand. I cook it just like you describe, but I still cook at 250-260° F. You do have a point about bringing it up to temp slowly to keep it super moist, but I've done both (225 vs 260) and can't tell any difference. However (this is where we get technical/nerdy, since it is such a forum ) the key is to let it rest. If you cook it at a lower temp, there's is little/no carryover, as you discovered. If you cook it at slightly higher temps, there's just a bit more carryover, which can be compensated for by letting it rest 30 minutes extra.

            Anyway, thanks for bringing this up, interesting discussion, and it makes me want to do another smoked roast beef using inside round!

            Comment


            • richinlbrg
              richinlbrg commented
              Editing a comment
              At the higher temp, do you still get the even wall to wall doneness?

            • Henrik
              Henrik commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, 250-260° still isn't that high in my opinion. But if I were to go higher (say 300), then the wall-to-wall would begin to suffer.

            #10
            I smoked my last pork butt at 225 so I could drop it in just before bed and have ready for dinner the next day.

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