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Does low and slow dry out meat

I did a pork shoulder this weekend.  Put it in the egg at 9am, about 250 degrees.  It hit internal 158-160 at about 2pm and just stayed there. I finally let the temp get to 300-325 to get it done.  Around 6pm it got to internal 190 or so, so I took it off and did FTC for an hour.  It turned out great, with delicious bark, good smoke ring and tender inside.  The next time I'll leave more fat on (I cut off most of the outside fat before going in the egg). 

Some of the outside meat got kind of dry.  Even though it was still delicious, my guests noticed it.  So what made it dry out?  If I had more time and could kept it at 250 for the entire cook, would that have eliminated the dryness?  Or did the dryness result because of the long cook, irrespective of the temperature?

Comments

  • How big was the shoulder?  And was it bone-in or bone-out.  It seems to me it cooked rather quickly which can happen.  What you experienced is called the stall.  I won't go into the details but there has been plenty written about it here if you do some searching.  Low and slow on the egg will not dry out meat.  But keep in mind that every piece of meat is different and some may need to go higher than 190.  When testing, your thermometer should slide in and out with little to no resistance.  If I run into time constraints and am gonna bump up the temp of the egg like you did.  I would usually wrap the butt in tin foil.  That will also help it cook a little quicker.  Hope this helps.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • n2wdwn2wdw Posts: 47
    It was about 10 pounds with the bone.  after FTC for about an hour, the meat was definitely done, but the bone did not slide out like others have written.  the thermometer went in easily but I wouldn't say like butter.  do you foil from the start?  wouldn't that keep the crust from forming?
  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 3,590
    Yep, what size was the shoulder and was it bone in or out? Low n slow definitely wont dry out meat. I usually dont even start checking the meat until 195IT. If bone in, the meat will be ready when the bone slides out with no resistance. Keep practicing. You will get it. Throw extra sauce on it if it sems dry and then use the leftovers on pizza, calzones, eggrolls, etc. Next time buy bone-in, and cook it longer.
    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • rholtrholt Posts: 354
    Don't foil from the get go. No smoke with reach your butt if you do that. I usually foil at around 160 and take it up into the 200's. Not a dry piece on that bad boy when I do that. I usually do a turbo style running at about 300 until 160 then I bump up the temp slightly. Happy egging.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,934
    n2wdw said:
    It was about 10 pounds with the bone.  after FTC for about an hour, the meat was definitely done, but the bone did not slide out like others have written.  the thermometer went in easily but I wouldn't say like butter.  do you foil from the start?  wouldn't that keep the crust from forming?
    you probably needed to cook it just a little longer, the bone should be very loose when its done.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,229
    Most likely what happened is that when you bumped the temp up above 300, the surface of the already partially cooked butt dried. I've heard it refereed to as a "dessication zone." While the surface eventually chars, the inside begins to cook more slowly because the air heat cannot contact the interior moisture. The interior heating slows as a result.

    It can happen at lower temps, also. During longer cooks, I'll peek after 8 - 9 hours to see if anyplace is getting dry, and brush that down.

    If you foil midway thru the cook, and then unfoil before the end, you will save a lot of time, but the bark IMO will not be quite as good.

    Don't remove till internal is 205. I use a 10" fish spatula to get butts off the grill because by the time they reach 205, they often cannot even hold their shape. I had one fall almost in half when I tried lifting just one side.
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