Obsessing over pit temps?
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Obsessing over pit temps?
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Thread: Obsessing over pit temps?

  1. #11

    NEWBIE Trying to take the first plunge

    I just assembled my Brinkmann Pellet Smoker and Ortech Digital Controller, and am trying to make sure that my "inaugural" BBQ dinner won't be a bust. My smoking experience (BBQ,s, that is) is confined to a fifty dollar special, bullet type water smoker that rusted out in about a year. Fast forward ten years later, and I decided to take the plunge again, perhaps to afficianados, I just put my foot in the water, not wanting to make a $1000+ expenditure. Still, the Brinkmann seemed to have equal to or better than build as the Traeger's I saw at the local Barbeque's Galore. (It didn't help, that the Owner's comment about the Traeger was confined to, "This is the one I'd get!", that seemed to be based upon "This is the one I carry and have in stock.", when asked what the comparative benefits were)

    Anyway, I digress. I've been unable to follow some of the suggestions of the BBQ Bible Cookbooks, that recommend "seasoning" the grill, because the smoker doesn't heat up unless and until one puts pellets into it. Hence there's no "dry run" or "break-in" mode. Consequently, I've got to take the plunge and just go for it.

    If I believe what the Ortech folks tell me, I should have tight temperature parameters. I want to go with baby-back ribs for my first go around. Do you have any recommendations on temperature? Any hours per pound parameters?

    Thanks in advance.
    Sam U Rye

  2. #12
    225 to 275. Baby backs can be anywhere from three to five hours. Depends on temps and how you like them, how long in foil etc. I would do the first 2 hours then foil for a hour then without foil until they pass the toothpick test.
    MAK Grills ,BPS Drum Smoker, Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP, Hasty Bake Legacy KCBS CBJ

  3. #13
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I always go 275 for ribs and I agree with Jim's timeline of 2-1-?. With me, the ? is usually 30 mins for St Louis spares which is all I ever cook. What helped me big time in the beginning is going by temp between the bones. mid to high 190's produced a perfect KCBS tug off the bones. If you want fall off the bone then go up to 205-210. The temp test is not perfect. Ribs that are lean will throw off the temps and give you a lower temp reading. I am in the minority here as most will never recommend going by temp between the bones. It worked great for me but I had a Thermapen which helped dramatically. I recommend you buy one quickly if you don't already have one.
    I was never comfortable with the toothpick test. Don't know why just never got the feel of it.
    The bend test was pretty reliable. Grab the rack from one end with tongs with the end of the tong in the middle of the rack. Pick up the rack off the grate and let the other end dangle. It should bend and the surface meat nearest the tong end should crack a bit. They're done at that point.

    Don't get hung up about having everything turn out perfect! You're in a huge BBQ learning curve now. You will make many mistakes along the way and that's perfectly fine as even the mistakes are edible most of the time! Learn from everything you do right and wrong! And most importantly, keep a detailed log of EVERYTHING you do so you'll be more able to repeat success than failure.
    Take lots of pics.
    Last edited by scooter; 11-08-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member SmokinSteiny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Central IL/Afghanistan
    Saw this one pop back up with activity so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents as kinda an update on my situation. My Traeger when cooking doesn't matter weather will swing 20-30 degrees either way, adjusted the "P" setting with no real change. My 2012 MAK 2 Star General is a champ! I've noticed that she sits about 10 degrees lower then the set temp, which is no problem there easy to adjust temp. Also, the swing is very lil maybe 5-15 degrees usually 5. All and all I believe you get what you pay for!!!

    If I wouldn't of found this forum I would of probably still been cooking on my Traeger and pissed off about it's lack of performance.....

    Thanks BPS for the forum and Great products!!
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  5. #15
    While we're on the subject of pit temps, when it comes to the stick burner guys I see on TV. (I have a built in stick burner too) Why don't they build a fire in a separate fire pit like one for sitting around, and use the embers to load their pits? I see these guys throw logs on that shoots their temps up 100 degrees or more. If they were to just add hot coals they could control pit temp much more accurately. Aren't they suppose to be the "best of the best"?

  6. #16
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    La Quinta California
    bill the temps dont riose 100 degrees it is a controlled airflow chamber that is choked down when each log is added then opened as the log dimishes...also you dont get the smoke from the embers.

  7. #17
    This is timely for me. I have a GMG Daniel Boone I got last November. It usually fluctuates around 5 degrees. Today I had much bigger swings almost 20 degrees. I did use an Amzn Smoke Tube so not sure if that threw it off.

    I have also noticed that my pit readout is usually 20 degrees below what the thermometer says on the grate. I have used both an oven thermometer and a digital probe to verify. Also, when I use the meat probe (works of GMG controller) it also reads about 15-20 degrees lower that the actual meat thermometer in the meat. Is this normal?

    Kind of bummer thinking your cooking at 180 and your really cooking at 200.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by stewart040
    I have also noticed that my pit readout is usually 20 degrees below what the thermometer says on the grate. I have used both an oven thermometer and a digital probe to verify. Also, when I use the meat probe (works of GMG controller) it also reads about 15-20 degrees lower that the actual meat thermometer in the meat. Is this normal?
    If it was just the pit temp that was off, I'd say maybe your temp sensing probe is dirty, but a 20° difference in the meat probe as well seems pretty off to me. You might want to call your dealer.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
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  9. #19
    Thanks. I called the dealer and they will send a new meat probe.

    After I did a long slow smoke at 180 (and had these wild variations), I bumped it to 250 to finish it off in the foil. At 250, the pit and thermometer almost matched. The pit also held at +/- 3 degrees like it always does. I'm thinking that maybe my GMG does not like cooking at 180, even though it says it can. Next time I will follow the advice on the on the BPS brisket thread and try 225 the whole time. I used an Amaz-N Tube for more smoke and got an excellent smoke line, so I don't think I will waste the time and pellets on going lower than 225 in the future.

    Ted, I see you have a Stoven. I got mine last summer, its what got me started on pellet grilling.

  10. #20
    i didnt understand the solution you given. Explain it in more easy words.

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