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Old 10-21-2008, 11:07 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by jminion View Post
That's interesting, so overcooking at a lower temp is different than over cooked at a higher temp.

I cook ribs at 260 to 275 and if they get over cooked it just happens sooner than if I cooked at 225 but they would still be over cooked.
Over cooking at a higher cooking temperature yields dry meat. Over cooking at a lower cooking temperature yields mushy meat since it has broken down too much.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:12 AM   #62
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You did not start out with enough charcoal in the firering to last for the whole cook. If you need to add coals and there is very little hot coals left in the cooker then lite them off before adding will ensure your fire will continue to burn. Also if you have a build up of ash lightly tap one of the legs of the cooker and get the ash to fall threw the fire grate allowing air to get to coals allowing them to burn.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #63
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Over cooking at a higher cooking temperature yields dry meat. Over cooking at a lower cooking temperature yields mushy meat since it has broken down too much.
Food science tell us that once meat reaches an internal of 200 degrees it starts lossing moisture and as the internal goes up it losses it faster.

Brisket as an example has much more moisture at 190 to 195 internal than a brisket that has been allowed to reach 200 plus with a mushy or pot roast texture. When you take into account the internal bump you get once the brisket comes off the cooker if you allow the brisket get to a mushy texture, no matter the pit temp, you will get an additional 10 degrees in internal temp before it starts to fall, causing even more moisture loss.

There are techniques out there for brisket and butt that use pit temps in the 350 to 375 range and they work well but your margin for error is quite small. It does produce very moist product.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:35 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by jminion View Post
pacanis
You did not start out with enough charcoal in the firering to last for the whole cook. If you need to add coals and there is very little hot coals left in the cooker then lite them off before adding will ensure your fire will continue to burn. Also if you have a build up of ash lightly tap one of the legs of the cooker and get the ash to fall threw the fire grate allowing air to get to coals allowing them to burn.
From the virtual Weber site: Firing Up Your Weber Bullet - The Virtual Weber Bullet

"The concept behind "The Minion Method" is simple:
  • Place a small number of hot coals on top of a full charcoal chamber of unlit briquettes.
  • Using the bottom vents, carefully control the amount of air entering the cooker to keep the fire burning low and steady.
  • The unlit fuel catches fire gradually throughout the cooking session, resulting in long burn times of up to 18 hours, depending on weather conditions. "

This is what I did on a windless, 55F, sunny day with my smoker on the corner of my porch and basically starting at 250 and trying to dial it down to the magic "225" I kept reading about. This is why I thought I would get a much longer burn than the 4-6 hours when things started dying out. This is why I said that the lump charcoal I used must not have been any good. I can't imagine the conditions one must have to get 18 hours before more fuel is needed. Desert Q?
And this is why it's confusing to learn this craft from the internet, but like I said, I'm certainly not giving up. The meat came out, it's my methods that need worked on. I'm hoping with a fuel change I can get a little closer to that long burn time, but I also know now not to rely on that. I need to learn when to recognize that I'm losing my heat before it gets so low, but I also don't know how much time is required inbetween vent adjustments for things to settle in. Someone later told me 5-10 minutes, but I wa giving it much longer.

Live and learn.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:17 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
From the virtual Weber site: Firing Up Your Weber Bullet - The Virtual Weber Bullet



"The concept behind "The Minion Method" is simple:
  • Place a small number of hot coals on top of a full charcoal chamber of unlit briquettes.
  • Using the bottom vents, carefully control the amount of air entering the cooker to keep the fire burning low and steady.
  • The unlit fuel catches fire gradually throughout the cooking session, resulting in long burn times of up to 18 hours, depending on weather conditions. "
This is what I did on a windless, 55F, sunny day with my smoker on the corner of my porch and basically starting at 250 and trying to dial it down to the magic "225" I kept reading about. This is why I thought I would get a much longer burn than the 4-6 hours when things started dying out. This is why I said that the lump charcoal I used must not have been any good. I can't imagine the conditions one must have to get 18 hours before more fuel is needed. Desert Q?

And this is why it's confusing to learn this craft from the internet, but like I said, I'm certainly not giving up. The meat came out, it's my methods that need worked on. I'm hoping with a fuel change I can get a little closer to that long burn time, but I also know now not to rely on that. I need to learn when to recognize that I'm losing my heat before it gets so low, but I also don't know how much time is required inbetween vent adjustments for things to settle in. Someone later told me 5-10 minutes, but I wa giving it much longer.


Live and learn.
Pacanis
I'm am Minion in the "Minion method", when it says fill the fire ring I would fill it up mounded. Lump charcoal does not get as long burn times as briquettes and the method was born back in 99 using old formula Kingsford which gave us longer burn times than the new formula does.

Once you make a vent change give it 10 to 15 mins and see what you have.

I have always read the pit temp at the top vent so when it reads 250 that would mean I was about 225 at the top grate. I don't find anything magic about maintaining 225 in the cooker. No matter what you cook on there is a range of temps the cookers goes through as outside conditions change, a piece of wood lites off, ash builds up, what ever the reason, this is not unlike cooking on your oven in the house. As the thermostat reads a low temp it kicks on heat and the temp reach a certain point it turns off heat and starts cooling. Those same things happen in a cooker. As the burn on a WSM goes more charcoals is lit off and the water in the waterpan is turned to steam and disipates normally the pits will climb, as long as that temp doesn't get the point it is burning the sugars in the rub I don't worry about it. 260 at the lid is 235 to 240 on the top grate and that is not too high for the meats we cook.

One last thing to think about when I'm cooking brisket, I take it straight from the frig to the cooker and it goes as soon as I lite the fire off and have placed the waterpan in the cooker. This does two things 1. gives you a better smokering and 2. makes the temp in the pit climb slower allowing you more time to adjust the bottom vents.

hope this helps.

Jim
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:26 PM   #66
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Thanks Jim. That helps a lot.
I had the fire ring full, but not heaping full. And I relaize that extra chimneyful or so of charcoal could have made a big difference.
But on the plus side, I did put the brisket on cold and had cool water in the pan
1999 instructions...... Sheesh
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:42 PM   #67
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As we get older we do hate change! LOL
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