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Pulled Pork Quandary?!

SkipmanSkipman Posts: 6
edited 1:29PM in EggHead Forum
Ladies and Gents,[p]I started 3 pork butts last night (each about 6 lbs) using Elder Wards recipe and instructions. I have used his recipes/instructions twice before with great success.[p]Started fire at about 6 pm using new lump, couple of chunks of hickory. Using plate setter and grate extender to fit 3 pieces on. Checked calibration of both my dome and Polder thermometers. Stabilized dome temp to about 250. Placed pork butts in at about 6:40 pm. Kept tweaking the lower vent for the next few hours to compensate for the load. When I went to bed at about 10:30 pm (early I know but I hadn't slept much the night before) the dome temp was at about 230 and the Polder read 136. This morning (6:30 am) I woke to find the dome temp at 190 and the Polder at 146. I am confident that the fire did not go out as I have since open the damper a bit and I am now at 260 dome temp and have tweaked back the vent. I am confident that the meat slowly raised from the 136 at 10:30 pm to the 146 at 6:30 this morning.[p]I am concerned about the health safety of the meat. I believe I have seen people talk about the unsafe zone as being about 40 to 140 degrees for more than about 4 hours. (Can't find the post) I am also wondering if it is possible that I could be in the plateau at about 146. I did open the top and found a fair amount of fat rendered into the drip pan. [p]I think I am in good shape and by the looks of the fine crust formed on the butts and I may be in for my best effort yet. I just want to make sure that I get some comments from some of you who have done this a lot longer than I if you think I am safe from bacteria.
Comments from you all would be appreciated.[p]Thanks in advance,[p]Skipman[p]


  • PugPug Posts: 57
    I think your good. The same thing has happened to me before. A little lower temp and I would be more worried but I think you caught it in time. We will see what others think.[p]Steve

  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 515
    I agree. If you're sure the dome temp didn't get below about 150, you should be fine. It's surface bacteria that multiply and produce toxins; if the meat surface temp is near that of the dome (it should be), you are good to go.

  • Skipman,
    Okay, I am not a expert on food safety at all and usually wait for the more knowledgeable folks to chime in. However, in this case I wanted to reaffirm my own information. I did some searching and found the following. I have no clue about it’s authenticity (can’t believe everything just because it’s on the web) but this does seem to reinforce the information that we see on a regular basis. Except that this says that danger zone is two hours long and not four. It also goes on to state that the majority of the bacteria that we need to be concerned about it on the outside of the meat, so as long as the outside of the meat was not in the danger zone for more than two hours it should be okay. [p]I believe that based upon what you described in your post would be just fine but please don’t take my word for it. If ever you are in doubt, use Mop’s suggestion and fling that thing as far away from you as you can (with new bungee cords, of course).[p][p]

    [ul][li]This is the first link mentioned above[/ul]
  • Wise OneWise One Posts: 2,645
    Skipman, I too believe you to be OK. I doubt seriously that the temp could have dropped even lower than 190 and then climbed back up so I think you are OK. In fact, sometime ago, someone advocated cooking at 190 for the entire cook (although we were all hard pressed to figure out how you got an internal of 205 from a 190 cook). Sounds like you are on your way to a great PP lunch.

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