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Old 11-06-2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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cooking temperatures

I am confusced about the correct cooking temps for a pellet bbq ,which I bought to get a smoked taste to my meats.
I have a book that states true bbq requires a continuous low/slow cooking at 225f for all meats .However,my traeger recipes suggest higher 350 f temps for many recipes .
I cooked a pork roast at 225 for the entire time , the taste did not compare to my previous experiences using a grill at 350f and am thinking for the future I should start off at 225 and then switch to a higher temperature.
Thank you for any advice that can be provided

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Old 11-07-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
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See if this answer makes sense. And I haven't used a pellet grill, so you have to adapt the ideas to your situation.

"Barbecue," what most folks mean by it, is an indirect heat method of low temperatures and smoke. This is opposed to "grilling" which is a direct heat method at high temperature, as high as 500F. With barbecue, the surface of the meat absorbs smoke to a depth of something like a quarter-inch, a very visible smoke line when it's cut. Grilled meat has a crusty caramelized surface and development of flavor from the Maillard reaction, which requires at least 310F. That doesn't happen in barbecuing, because the temperature is under 300F.

Now, starting with those two distinct traditional methods, what's ultimately true is that the right method it whatever works, meaning you get the results you want. You can already see why the flavor is different in your two examples, with one temperature above and one below the threshold for the reaction that's expected in grilling. When barbecuing, the smoke contributes the distinct (and different from grilling) flavor effect. I consider pork one of the meats where a combination of methods is useful, if you like the smoke flavor but miss the rich crust.

If I understand the design of most pellet grills, it might be difficult to begin with high direct heat and transition to indirect low heat. On a charcoal grill, I would begin with coals under the meat for browning and rake them aside for indirect barbecuing at low temperature. But you might have to brown the pork on the stove first, if you want that surface. I don't know if you can get that kind of rapid temperature response with a pellet grill. But you get the idea and maybe why you're missing the old flavor.

Keep in mind that the early browning does NOT "seal in the juices." So, during the indirect cooking, you might consider using a drip pan under the meat and mopping the juices over it from time to time or mopping it with a broth made from trimmings or from a can.
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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coking temperature

Thank you very much for your reply.What I have concluded is that for low fat,tender meats, I should first smoke (at a low temp to maximize the smoke flavor)and then increase the temp to 350 to achieve the crispness.For a Traeger ,a high temp is possible.
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