Uneven meat temps in shoulder. what to do


 

G.Siek

New member
I am cooking two shoulders at one time one is a good thick piece and the other has a smaller end to it which made up a good portion of it When i placed them on the smoker i stuck one temp probe in the uniform thick piece and two in the other. one in the thick meaty portion and one in the thinner portion. i was hoping to get lucky enough that the thin side would temp out at 205 and the thick meaty ones would make the 190ish mark...long shot but hoped.. well the thinnest portion is at 189 and the thicker portion as well as the other butt is at 179 do i pull the uneven piece cut off the cooked part and return the rest to the smoker. or just sacrifice it and let it ride for a little and see what happens with the temps. the meat will be pulled..
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Leave it alone, ignore the temps, and remove the meat when it soft, tender, pullable.

Alternatively, rotate the butts to possibly even the cooking then: Leave it alone, ignore the temps, and remove the meat when it soft, tender, pullable.

[This is a good example of why I - probably alone on this board - do not temp meat during cooking nor advocate doing so.]
 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by K Kruger:
[This is a good example of why I - probably alone on this board - do not temp meat during cooking nor advocate doing so.] </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You're not alone. I don't temp during the cook but I think it helps when you're learning. What I do is a hybrid. After the cook has gone on long enough that I start checking for doneness, I use my Thermapen to check it. This gives you the feel of a probe (cook to tender) and gives you some understanding of where the temps are at.

What I find most interesting is that the temp and tenderness do vary throughout a butt. I usually have some of the butt that could go a little longer, but when most of it is ready, I pull it off the smoker. I don't want to have a lot of meat that is mush just to get the last bit of butt soft.
 

G.Siek

New member
its gaining temp slowly about a degree an hour. at 181 i was afraid i would dry out the outside waiting for the inside to finnish. its all still on there i did finally pull the lid and take a look all looked good had a good bark(by my newbie standard and took a couple temp readings most of thick meat all had the same temp. Didnt seem to be dry when pressing on it. so i pulled a thin piece of corner off and it was starting to get a little dry just under the bark but not through the smoke ring. piece was about 1" thick So i figured let it ride.. Thanks for all the help Still Cooking if it goes much more than two hours Ill be adding Coals
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I don't temp during the cook but I think it helps when you're learning. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I don't. It fosters the temp-is-the-focus issue, something that (even among those with many cooks under their belts) often causes or creates problems. It becomes an increasingly difficult thing to abandon and, imo and ime, cooks hold themselves back in their barbecue skill development by their attachment to internal temp. (I don't buy the "I use internal temps as a guide only" that one often hears.) Getting rid of all this monitoring means the only thing left to do is focus on the look, smell and feel of the meat - precisely the things that will tell you when it's done.

******

Carry on G. Remove the meat when it's the butts are soft, feel tender and pullable. You can flip the butts over during their rest to even out interior moisture (the dryness at the surface is common) or you can leave them oriented the same way they are now during their rest and simply pull and mix the meat well when it's time to pull the meat.
 

G.Siek

New member
Thanks kevin they are coming off to get foiled. did some searching and your camp on non temp cooking seems to apply here. had a guy I know who raises pork and beef and used to run a large smokehouse by chance gave me ring was driving through. He took a look at it he said looked good to him and we had a discussion about what you just said. sort of a discussion withall the Friendly Jabs and all. So Into the foil. Thanks for all your help. I was going back and forth between the smoker and the laptop. All I can say is WOW this is Fun cant think of a better way to spend X-mas eve. Home with the family, My, little kids 3 and 4 helping to make a rub and pulling pin bones from some fresh caught steelhead..For tomorrows lunch. And this The seemingly never done pork Butt.. there is alot to learn for this young grasshopper. Thanks everyone for the help and This Great website full of information that helps to shorten the road to Great Q.. Besides my kids think its the best and thats fine with me. Merry Christmas Everyone
 

Ethan G

TVWBB Super Fan
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by G.Siek:
Besides my kids think its the best and thats fine with me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I couldn't agree more - if the kids ask for seconds then it is a success, hands down.
 

G.Siek

New member
the pulled pork Came out pretty decent good bark the dryer edges and the bark moistened right back up after foiling. did flip them over in the cooler. opposite way they were cooked. but to me they seemed overcooked IMHO. Its like ribs for me I like them to be a steak like tenderness not fall completely apart. was kind of in between. But one thing I have learned is people like what they like. I have friends that come over for ribs and like them so overcooked that They sit on the smoker for two extra hours. but they love em that way.

i guess the outcome was everyone that had it liked what they ate. and i learned that the ATC is something that i will really enjoy using It frees me up to play around with the kids and visit friends without thinking of the smoker.
Tomorrow is another day the Smokers are all loaded up ready for tomorrows turkey and salmon which will be cooked using the guru. thanks again for the help and am looking forward to cooking more of the pork butts in the future.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I'm with you on the ribs.

As for the butt, now that you have felt what they felt like when you removed them from the cooker, next time pull them a bit before they feel that way.

One thing I do is to use a finishing sauce, which I add when I pull the meat - just a couple tablespoons or so for each handful of meat - which I mix in. This evens out the moisture, evens out the mouthfeel, and evens out flavors. The serving sauce(s) - that or those I've made to serve with the pulled pork - get served on the side.

Enjoy your day tomorrow.
 

George Curtis

TVWBB Olympian
i agree with kruger to a point. i think a remote thermo is a must especially at the beginning. without referance you can go about doing things blind. i don't use them as much anymore but then i'm not up to snuff yet. but i can imagine the day i won't need them. i rarely check grill temps anymore as i just let the meat cook till done no matter the actual grill temp.
 

G.Siek

New member
yeah george Im with you i think ill keep therm in for the butt smokes as a help aid. but check them along the way so i can learn to get by without. i dont use one for the ribs ir the fish but those are the things im a little more familiar with.

Kev I used the
Fat Johnny's Bastardized Piedmont Sauce
On the side I really like that kind of sauce but i really like the taste of vinegar based creations.
 

Wolgast

TVWBB Olympian
Well i dont really buy the no need for a Thermo argument. Why not use it if you have it? Sure it can be done without to perfection. But with a remote one you dont even have to go out and check for tenderness untill it comes up to that last 30-1h mark. No thermo you are not really sure...are you?. Time sure!? but we are looking for tenderness here. And to me butts can swing Hours in time. No thermo = No controll.(to me)

It doesent help you with the exact pulling time just as Kevin,Ethan,Jerry,Noe said. But it gives you a window to start looking for it.

And to not use it,is like having anti spin on your car. Driving home a dark winternight but set it on "off" becouse you know how to drive?!

No Honour in that.

New to smoking or King @ what you do,A thermometer will help.

Peace!
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">But it gives you a window to start looking for it. And to not use it,is like having anti spin on your car. Driving home a dark winternight but set it on "off" becouse you know how to drive?! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Odd analogy.

Keeping in mind the many dozens of posts about frustrating or 'bad' cooks from numerous members (several of whom claim to only use temp 'as a guide'), and the numerous posts of longer term members who focus on temps and who seem have taken quite a long time to get to a comfortable place with their barbecue ("still can't nail brisket"; "still can't get ribs right", etc.), if they're actually there yet, I will stand firmly by my opinion. Barbecue is pretty easy stuff - or it should and can be - even for non-cooks just starting out. Having read the travails of many cooks on this and other boards for many years the problem seems obvious to me: it's the 'other stuff' that gets in the way.
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Well i dont really buy the no need for a Thermo argument. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I'm not saying don't use one. I don't - can't be bothered - but I really don't care if one does or not. My point is that it becomes the focus - not the meat (this is obvious just from this board alone) and is the focus of a lot of frustration (along with time) when the meat doesn't come out as desired.

People can certainly use one - no harm. But it takes much longer for cooks - especially new ones - to hit the nail on the head, consistently with every cook and every meat, when the focus is on internal temps, disparity of temps between lid and grate, temp swings, etc. None of this stuff really matters in producing consistently good Q every time.
 

George Curtis

TVWBB Olympian
well, i feel that there has to be a referance to something. in almost anything you do. good, bad,etc. as i said, it takes a while but you do get there if yer paying attention. but if yer not then yer gonna struggle. i no longer have "problems" with purty much anything. i did have my mistakes(always edible)and learned from them. most folks need steps to guide them and thats what we need to be doing.
ps. by no means 'am i perfect, i'm just at that comfortable zone that pleases me.
 

Sheldon Koehler

TVWBB Super Fan
I quit using the food probe on my ET-73 and ET-730 and just use the pit probe to monitor/maintain temps. I will got out and poke my Thermapen in when the time is getting close to check for tenderness as well as internal temps. I will rotate my buts on my 18.5" WSM about half way. Then I foil for about an hour. I rely less on temp with butt and ribs and more on poultry like today's turkey.
 

 

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