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I got into a hobby, if you want to call it that,  about a couple years ago. I went and purchased a smoker and decided to give it a try. Not a pellet or disc but a real log fire smoker. I don't know wh

Here is mine. I made it 25 years ago from international gas transmission line pipe. Mounted it on separate platform with a center peg so that I can swing it around 360*. Once it heats up it can do a s

If I had all the money I've spent on "disposable" grills over the years, I could buy 1/5 of DavidH's system.  🙂 You guys know - all of the gas grills that are great the day you first use it and then s

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A lot of great information and pics going on in this topic. I like the home made one by @danowood. Thats a pretty cool set up you came up with.

 

And Bman, that is a really nice smoker you have there. Very similar to mine except for the pellets and electricity.  Good recipes, ideas, and beers. I haven't seen some of those brands of beer. We have a farm market very near to the house that has an awesome selection of beer from all over the world. I will be going there to see if I can find the beers in the photo's. 

 

One thing I would like to add to the topic and that is preparing the meat. I found a jerky cure kit like 20 years ago that I like to use. It is the Hi mountain brand and there are a lot of flavors to choose from. My wife and I like spicy ribs and when I say spicy I mean really frickin hot. So Hi mountain has one that is just that. Inferno blend. If you like hot you gotta try this. I only use the seasoning part of course.

 

I put the dry spicy rub on 24 hours before smoking and put it in the fridge to absorb some flavor. I go out and get the fire started and get the temp holding steady at 240 then throw them on. After an hour and a half I pull the ribs off and wrap them in foil then put them back in for 5 more hours. 

 

Great point Bman brought up, gotta let the meat rest after taking it out of the smoker. Since mine is already in foil I just stack the meat on top of each other in a large bowl and put it in the oven. When its time to unwrap the meat I do it in that bowl to catch any juice that comes out of the wrapped meat. I use the juice for dipping the meat in while eating and also to make gravy for some other meal. So much flavor in that juice.

 

Another thing I discovered was, about a month or so back I smoked 2 chickens and put one in the freezer not knowing what the texture or taste would be like. It was a total experiment. Last week I thawed out that chicken and I was amazed at how good it tasted and also how juicy it was. So freezing doesn't hurt the smoked meat at all.

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Here is mine. I made it 25 years ago from international gas transmission line pipe. Mounted it on separate platform with a center peg so that I can swing it around 360*. Once it heats up it can do a slow smoke for 72 hours at 145* or whatever temp I need. I have a removable plate(on the ground) to go between the firebox and chamber. Also set it up to take an electric rotisserie. Cast iron grates so I can build a Hot fire in the main barrel and cook steaks. I need to re-dress the cooking platform and shorten the legs as I used to have it in the yard. It is a major BT to move!!

 

 

 

 

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Well I just had something happen that I have never experienced in 45 years of smoking before? I am smoking a pork butt for a NC BBQ and Mex tacos. It stalled at 158* (I have never had a pork butt stall-brisquits yes) so I did a Texas crutch and got it back on track but then it stalled again at 183* WTF!!! Never have I even heard of this happening! Gonna eat it anyway by golly!

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24 minutes ago, oldtexasdog said:

Well I just had something happen that I have never experienced in 45 years of smoking before? I am smoking a pork butt for a NC BBQ and Mex tacos. It stalled at 158* (I have never had a pork butt stall-brisquits yes) so I did a Texas crutch and got it back on track but then it stalled again at 183* WTF!!! Never have I even heard of this happening! Gonna eat it anyway by golly!

 

I've had that happen a couple of times. I just figured it was the wood I was using. 

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2 hours ago, B-Man said:

Please explain stall ? As in the temp refuses to increase ?

 

What I meant is the inside meat temperature just hit a roadblock.

 

The last time I had it happen, I moved the meat to my oven. Cranked the heat up, problem solved.

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A  stall is a phenomenon that occurs when, after a primal cut has been put on to roasting on a barbecue or smoker, the temperature of the meat suddenly stops rising. This stall in temperature can last for four or more hours, sometimes even dropping a few degrees in temperature instead. The stall usually happens at around 150°F,

There are many theories about why this happens, you’re likely to get a different explanation from different pit masters.

Popular belief is that a stall is caused by a phase change of collagen to gelatin in the meat. The collagen protein combines with moisture and converts into gelatin at about 160°F, which is just about the same temperature that the stall begins.

It has also been speculated that fat rendering (the process of lipids becoming liquid) is the cause of the stall, while others consider the cause to be protein denaturing (the breaking down of long chain molecules).

The underlying science behind all these theories is that the process in question uses heat energy to occur, which can lower the overall temperature of the primal. The amount of heat required for any of these processes, however, is not enough to halt the temperature increase for four or more hours.

 

Science behind the stall

With experiments conducted by several scientists, chefs, pitmasters and barbeque enthusiasts, the definitive cause of the stall is evaporative cooling.  Evaporative cooling is just a fancy term for the effect of sweat. The same way your sweat cools your forehead down on a hot day, so the moisture in the primal evaporates and cools the barbeque down.

How evaporative cooling causes the  stall

The  stall is a naturally occurring phenomenon during cooking with lower temperatures. The fuel in your cooker burns and produces energy in the form of heat. The heat is distributed throughout the cooker, some of it being absorbed by the meat while some escapes through the sides and vents of the cooker. The heat energy that warms the meat also melts the fat and evaporates the moisture in the meat. The evaporating moisture cools the surface of the meat even as the cooker heats it.

After a few hours of this, with the temperature continually rising and increasing the rate of moisture evaporation, eventually the cooling effect of the evaporation matches the heating effect of the cooker. The cooling counteracts the heat and the temperature stops rising, at about 150°F.

During the  stall, the balance of heat and cold continues while all the moisture slowly evaporates away. After some time, there is no more moisture left in the meat and the temperature again begins to rise, signaling the end of the stall.

Beat the  stall with the Texas Crutch

There are several ways you can beat the  stall. Simply leaving it for hours on end will eventually solve it, if you can stand the wait! The most recommended technique is the Texas Crutch – basically wrapping your meat in foil right as you hit the temperature plateau.

 

I don't like the Texas Crutch if it can be avoided as I feel it dilutes the "smoke" flavor you have worked so hard for a you will find a lot of the flavor liquids are sweated out of the cut, but if necessary it's the only way unless you have an extra 4 hours or so for the cook.

Edited by oldtexasdog
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28 minutes ago, oldtexasdog said:

The most recommended technique is the Texas Crutch – basically wrapping your meat in foil right as you hit the temperature plateau.

I typically use the Texas crutch on my brisket when the internal temp hits 170, well after the stall.  I never thought of trying to avoid the stall. I just plan for it. My last 14lb brisket took about 10 hours to get to an internal temp of 195.

 

Thanks for the thorough write-up. There was a lot of good information in there.

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I have only had to use a crutch twice. Probably because I carefully chose my primal and the thickness of the steel of my cooker? Both of the two times it was on a cut of meat I was not able to chose-a brisket that was brought to me 15 years ago for a BBQ weekend party and then this pork butt yesterday that was chosen for me by the grocery delivery service. It did seem to have a rather thick collagen silver skin around the blade bone after I shredded it and not as thick fat back on top as I usually would like.

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That is good information on the stall topic. I guess I avoid the stall all together every time I smoke because I wrap everything after 2 hours of smoking. Never had any problem with the smoke flavor being in the meat. But that's just my opinion and I have only been smoking for 3 years.  But I am always up for learning new things. Can you wrap during the stall then unwrap and continue ?

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I guess I never paid enough attention to realize this was happening. I cooked my first brisket, thought I timed it poorly and ate dinner at 9:30 PM instead of the planned 6:00 PM because of it. Now when I cook one I make sure it is on the already warmed up smoker by 6:00 AM for a 6:00 PM dinner time.

 

Thanks for sharing the info James !!

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11 hours ago, Rob said:

That is good information on the stall topic. I guess I avoid the stall all together every time I smoke because I wrap everything after 2 hours of smoking. Never had any problem with the smoke flavor being in the meat. But that's just my opinion and I have only been smoking for 3 years.  But I am always up for learning new things. Can you wrap during the stall then unwrap and continue ?

If your going to wrap I would wait till after 3 hours as that is the period when the meat will take the smoke flavor the most.

 

Yes you can. Many do that to bring the outer bark back.

 

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The great information that one can glean on this Carversite is amazing. Now I can't decide if I should be thinking about upgrading my system, listening to some music, finding something funny or get my smoker out. So I suppose that I am going to get something to eat and decide. Thanks everyone!!!

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Here's a brisket from the Pit Barrel Cooker.

 

This cooker gets my vote and should be on everyone's list. It's now $350, and can cook for hours and hours with 40-60 pieces of coal. It's American made by veterans and is very high quality. The results have always been amazing. 

Finished brisket.jpg

Plated meal.jpg

Smoker and grill.jpg

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23 hours ago, ChrisTFM35 said:

Here's a brisket from the Pit Barrel Cooker.

 

This cooker gets my vote and should be on everyone's list. It's now $350, and can cook for hours and hours with 40-60 pieces of coal. It's American made by veterans and is very high quality. The results have always been amazing. 

 

 

Smoker and grill.jpg

 

 

Do you have a link for that cooker?  

 

Oh, found it:  https://pitbarrelcooker.com/ 

 

They have some interesting hanging accessories too, for specialty meats.

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