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Bad Pork Shoulder??? Dome thermometer offf by 35 degrees

egghead2004egghead2004 Posts: 423
edited 6:38AM in EggHead Forum
Well, here we go again. My first pork shoulder cook in almost a year. I have 3 10 # shoulders on the large. [p]I put them on what I thought was 1 225 - 230 egg yesterday at 3pm.
At 6pm i and wifey went out for a while the dome was supposedly at 235 and the internal was about 120 on all 3 shiulders. [p]We came home at 11 pm and the dome was at 210, lump still burning, internal about 135 - 140, now 8 hours into the cook. [p]I got the dome up to 230 again, and went to bed. [p]At 3 am, dome was at 205, internal still 135 - 140...what the?[p]SO now a grabbe my little pen thermometer adn stick it in the egg, 170 dome, not 205.[p]OH My God I am pissed off now.[p]
So I opened up the vents and just let it ride.[p]
OK, after all that...I know the outer part of the pork never went below 140, but does the 40-40 for 4 hour rule apply to the internal temp also? The meat is gernerously seasoned with salt, garlic, and dizzy dust, so that should preserve it some, right?[p]Am I all right here?[p]


  • OledogOledog Posts: 118
    Man now you got me worried; put an 8lbder on at 0200 this morning. The temp got away from me for a few hours while I caught some zee's (350). I thought I would be over cooked; but I have the dome at 250F and just checked the internal and it's at 163F.

    I should shoot for 195-200F right???

  • citychickencitychicken Posts: 484
    it's not unusual for a temp spike sometime during the cook. that has happened to me many times. don't really know why it happens. i usually don't compensate by adjusting the vents. usually the temp calms down assuming that you had a long established stable temp prior to the spike in temps.

    i would still look to take the meat off the egg 195-200 internal.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,512
    Boy, Murphy is on a rampage for sure! Sorry to hear of your woes. It's my understanding that bacteria can exist internally as well as on the surface of meat products.. In fact, certain toxins exist better in an oxygen-deprived environment. Your call but I wouldn't be in favor of saving it.

  • "Sparky""Sparky" Posts: 6,024
    I hate to say it,but I agree with Rascal.I would trash them.That is way to long to be in the danger range. :( Check your thermo by putting the tip in boiling water.It should read 212.If it doesn't,turn the nut on the back until it does.Good luck :)
  • OledogOledog Posts: 118
    I did not get a good estabished temp before I got some sleep; I thought I had hung in long enough but the result's were it went to 350 for a few hours. I have read that I sould pull it at 195-200 and put it foil and towels; place it into a warm cooler for an hour or so before pulling apart???

    Your thoughts?

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,382
    Here's my understanding. After 4 hours in the dangerzone, the growth rate of bacteria becomes so great that toxic effects will be felt. Also, at that point, the bacteria begin to grow into the meat. However, as stike pointed out 2 days ago, the bacteria on the surface are exposed to the ambient heat. Your initial temperature seems to have been a bit over 200. After several hours at that temp, any surface contamination is dead. The internal temp needs to get higher in case the meat was punctured during handling, and bacteria got inside.

    So if the butts were solid, with the only cuts being those that seperated it from the shoulder, its likely they will be OK. The only other puncture may have been from the thermometer. Not perfectly safe, but they were not being held under 140, they just may not have reached 140 internally.

    Also consider the age of those who may eat the meat. Children and elders a many times more liely to suffer from food borne pathogens than healthy adults. If you have any hesitation, don't let children or old folks have any.
  • Austin SmokerAustin Smoker Posts: 1,467
    I always use a Maverick in addition to my dome thermo on long cooks - but I like to keep the dome calibrated too - I literally just did the whole boiling water thing about 3 minutes ago.

    Sorry to hear you are learning the same way I learned! 30 lbs of pork but is a serious lesson.
  • BobSBobS Posts: 2,485
    Too bad about the shoulders.

    I think that it would be real hard to prove that 'lower is better' when we are talking about temps of 275 or less, on a lo-n-slo cook.

    All you are trying to accomplish is to avoid blowing by the 160 internal temp so fast that the connective tissue gets tough instead of melting and getting all tender, so the meat pulls easily.

    That is why you see a plateau at 160 -- it takes so much energy to melt the connective tissue (collogen -- sp?) that the temp does not go up, while it is melting. After everything liquifies, the temp starts increasing again.

    IMHO, once you are past the plateau and the internal temp is clearly on the increase, it is okay to push the pit temps, if needed to finish the cook.

    I have a guru and I don't set the temp below 250.

    People have successfully cooked lots of PP at lower temps, but going lower, especially without a pit controller seems like a throw of the dice I do not need.
  • citychickencitychicken Posts: 484
    you/ve read a lot grasshopper. sounds like you're right on track for good eats.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    I'm going to be in the minority here, but I would call them safe. You had 8 hours in 200* + in an environment that is extremely hostile to bacteria considering the smoke and heat and salt in the rub you used.

    If your internal temps got up to 140 your external temps were well well into the safe range.

    That being said, my risk tolerance is probably a little higher than most people. Consider your target audience before serving this.

    The only constructive criticism I would offer is to cook with a higher dome temp. 230 is too low and makes it that much harder to maintain a good fire. 250 works well, and even 270 will produce terrific pork. I doubt you could tell much, if any, difference in two butts cooked 20* apart. Secondly, calibrate your dome thermometer often - especially before long low and slow cooks.

    I hope it all works out for you.
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    i am with fidel

    happy eggin


    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Remember you said that if you ever stop by for dinner and get food poisoning :whistle:
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    You had 8 hours in 200* + in an environment that is extremely hostile to bacteria considering the smoke and heat and salt in the rub you used.

    this is the part i am talking about ;) ;)

    also if i get food poisining i Will not go back :evil: :woohoo:

    happy eggin


    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • OK, I know this could have been a disaster. However, I spoke with a few people who have roasted pigs many many times over the years. They all said I should have been fine. The main concern they had was if a salted the shoulders. I told them I crushed 1 head of garlic for each shoulder and used about 6-8 TBSP of salt in there along with pepper and Olive oil. I injected much of the mixture into the shoulder and covered the outside as well. Then I added Dizzy Dust on top of that.

    Everyone agreed that there was no way there should have been any issue with that much salt. Then my brother in law, who was planning on eating the shoulders anyway, told me how he and his relatives in Puerto Rico prepared whole pigs the night before cooking. They cleaned them, salted and covered in crushed garlic. Then they would place on a table with bags of ice on them overnight. The ice would soon melt and the pig would probably never get refrigerated below 45 or 50 degrees. No one ever got sick...the salt was they key.

    So we all ate and no one got sick, it was darn good too.
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