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Meat is charred black in smoker - help!

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Post Tue Dec 16, 2003 11:18 pm
Guest

Hi,

I just got my first smoker grill and have tried cooking ribs and briskets. I smoke them slowly at abotu 200 degrees. My problem is everything goes okay until the meat suddenly get charred to a crisp on the top. What am I doing wrong? Should I cover the food in foil?

TIA!

Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:30 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Hi,

Let me tell you about my first experience trying to smoke a couple of hams. It was the day before Thanksgiving in the late 80's. I had no idea what to do. So I read the little book that came with the smoker and tried to follow them exactly. I started about noon and added charcoal every couple of hours. The temperature stayed in the "ideal" range on the gauge. I continued to smoke with Mesquite them overnight and when I removed the lid on Thanksgiving morning I found two black lumps. I was sure that I had ruined dinner. When I tried to take the hams out of the smoker what I found was very tender meat that was difficult to pick up without falling apart. It was an outstanding stroke of luck. I tried to do the same thing with chicken legs & thighs and wound up with rock hard drumsticks. I quickly learned that not all meats had the same cooking times.

The black could be the normal results of smoking and the crisp could be the results of cooking too long and drying out. The ribs must not be cooked as long as the brisket.

Along with the cooking temps, how big was the brisket? How long did you cook it? Where is the thermometer in relation to the meat? And do you have a meat thermometer?
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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 12:45 am
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC

Ah, smoke blackened meat. Yes, meats smoked/cooked in a classic smoker will get very black on the outside, and done correctly they will be pink, juicy and tender on the inside. It is the classic Mr. Brown and Miss White. I think one book…Ah, not Steven’s describes a good brisket as looking like a charred hunk of charcoal. To start, I would highly recommend following the recipes and instructions in the good Mr. Raichlen’s books.

Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:08 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
The guys are right, using a mop sauce or a spray will help a little too.
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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:01 am
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
Well congratulations, it seems like you got lucky on your first attempt and created a masterpiece! As for some advise the ribs will normally cook in 4-6 hours and the brisket will go for 12-15 hours or more to get it more tender. Something else to consider is where the temperature gauge is located on your smoker - you need to consider the diference in temperature between where your meat is located and where your temperature gauge is located

Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:48 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
BTW I believe the type of wood you smoke with and the amount you use will influence the color of the final product. I used a lot of Mesquite on the hams. You could hardly see the headlights of passing vehicles through the thick cloud of smoke. I was afraid the fire department would show at any time. I now know that it is not necessary to have that much smoke. Hickory doesn't seem to billow as much and the meat is more caramel instead of black...or is it that I just use less of it now? :lol:
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Post Wed Dec 17, 2003 11:53 pm
hickory pete well done
well done

Posts: 403
Actually sounds as if everything came out okay. A Family member always says, "when it's brown it's cooking, and when it's black it's done". I really believed he meant it, or maybe he was just being kind..hmmm...I think I'll have to ask, now that I think about it.

Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:42 am
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
No jokes about the smoke getting a neighbor to call the fire department. The first time I fired up my new Klose rig a neighbor across the street call the fire department and reported the fire - luckly the meat was just about finished and I had a few hungry firemen that were willing to sample my BBQ!! Since then I have been asked to do their quarterly BBQ at the station and I have made a bunch of friends. However about 3 out of 5 times when I am smoking I get a visit from the fire department (the fire station is about 350 feet from my house and they always look when they are driving by to see if I am cooking)

Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:24 pm
Guest

Thanks for your advice. After doing some reading on this forum, I think I made a bunch of small mistakes. i.e fire too hot & I choked down the oxegen too much.

I also tried a few chickens and found the skined blackened in a hour of two of cooking. Is this a case of the fire too hott or is this normal? Once I pied the skin, it tastes great. The legs were a bit dry however.

Anyone got any advice for smoked pulled pork? Do I start with a pork shoulder?

Thanks!

Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:23 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Pulled pork is made traditionally from pork shoulder which is also called Boston butt. The is an excellent method for preparing pulled pork North Carolina Style in 'Hot to Grill' on page 109. You prepare a basic barbecue rub and coat the meat the day before letting it marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the meat and let it set at room temperature for about 30 minutes so you don’t put cold meat in your smoker and bring down the temps. HTG also has a vinegar base mop that you should apply about every hour to keep the meat moist and add flavor. I cooked two butts at 250 degrees for about 8 hours. I also prepared the slaw that Steven has on the same page for serving on the sandwich and it was delicious.

Steven demonstrated how to make pulled pork on his BBQ-U show on PBS in episode 108 “Whole Hog”. Take a look: http://www.bbqu.net/108.html .

I hope you try this. I was definatly worth the effort! :D
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Post Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:00 pm
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
Bob listed the basics for the pulled pork - here are some of the things that I do:

I just use apple cider as a mop sauce for the pork shoulder - just put in a spray bottle and spray the shoulder every hour when you check the temperature and fuel.

I also use apple wood when i am making pork shoulder - I think it adds a unique taste

make sure the internal temp is 195 degrees if you want to be able to "pull" the pork easily. Many people think this dries out the pork, but if you continue to use some sort of mop sauce hourly the pork is very moist

Also let the shoulder rest for about 15-30 minutes and then start to pull the pork. You will need gloves so you do not burn yourself, but if you wait to long it will be very difficult to pull


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