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Altitude, humidity and cooking times

berrygoodberrygood Posts: 372
edited 11:39PM in EggHead Forum
I have noticed that my cooking times are shorter than most - almost without exception. (Yes, my therms are properly calibrated). And, even though I cook to temp and not time, time is rather important on longer cooks - "Hmmm, I wonder if I have time to sneak in a quick nine holes before this butt is finished?"

The only substantial difference between my environment and most others on here is altitude and relative humidity - Albuquerque is high (6,000ft at my home) and dry. Do either of those factors substantially affect cooking times? Is it related to water boiling at lower temps at this altitude?

I know some of you (GG, Thirdeye, Molly, etc) live in similar environments - do y'all experience the same thing?



  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    I don't think your location is the reason for your food cooking faster.

    Actually, high altitude cooking requires longer times.... it has to do with lower atmospheric pressure. And low humidity (like both of us have) tends to make foods dry out faster. So we need to adjust time and take steps to keep things moist when cooking.

    Now speaking of time, since water boils at a lower temperature, the higher in elevation you go, cooking time has to be increased. At my house water boils at 202°, you can't get it any hotter, so times listed in cookbooks can go 20% higher.

    Moisture and cooking time are why above 5000', braising is an option to roasting, and basting is common. It's also the reason for taking canned beans when you go into the high lonesome... you would need a calendar to time a pot of scratch beans above 8000'. I cooked a pot of pintos for three days once on an elk trip. Hehehee.

    A pressure cooker changes things up a little as they increase the atmospheric pressure.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
    "it seems" to me cooking times are a bit quicker. At any given cook temperature I can't seem to cook as long as others are reporting. I especially notice this when cooking ribs. I am pretty close to 1hr/lb when cooking pork butt.

    I would defer to thrideye's comments.

    There are a couple of eggr's that are in the Albuquerque area so you should be able to get some information there also.

    From what I have heard Albuquerque is much like this valley. (Mountains, temperatures, moisture etc). You are 1,000 feet higher than where I cook.

    What I have paid attention to is the time to light the eggs and the potential stalling of temperatures in the egg. With a couple of work-a-rounds I have for the most part overcome those issues.

    When braising I have to have a higher temperatures in the egg.

    The cooking times I have talked about haven't been a real problem. I do have to pay attention to the start time when doing the long and low temperature cooks. I try to use the rest time to correct for my poor planning.

  • Thanks for the comments guys. It really doesn't pose much of a problem anymore, as I just plan for faster times.
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