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Weird Butt Experience #2

TheDirtyBurgerTheDirtyBurger Posts: 846
edited 1:08PM in EggHead Forum
Last night I threw on 2 butts, 1 5.5lbs and the other about 5.9lbs at 6pm. I had them near room temp and I had the LBGE set between 230*-250* all night. I checked the BGE temp every hour or so before I went to bed at 10, still holding steady right around 250*, never went below 230*. Set my alarm for 2am, same thing, temp steady. All during this time I never opened the dome. I came out at 6AM to check on the butts and noticed not only was my BGE temp down between 200*-180*, but when I probed my butt it was only like 125*

I got the fire back up to 250*ish but here is my question:

At a max of 4 hours (probably only an hour or 2 at max)at 180* are my butts still safe for consunption? I have no idea what the meat's internal temps were until 6am because it was raining and I did not want to leave my therm outside.



  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    the 4 hour rule doesnt apply to meat temps, only the pit temp. those butts should have been over 140 though, did you check your gages. its pretty difficult to get a butt over 140 in four hours, but overnight they should have been atleast in the 160's by morning with those smaller ones
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,836
    Like fishlessman said, an internal of only 125 is pretty surprising. But the meat should be safe. The outsides should have been sterile within the first hour.

    Just ot of curiosity, what was your set up? Platesetter with drip pan, just drip pan, other?
  • Tim, I would probably be concerned with accuracy of your thermometer. Have you checked it's calibration lately? Boil a pot of water, as it reaches a rolling boil, measure the water temp it should be 210-212 (assuming no extreme altitude adjustment). Be careful not to touch the bottom of the pan.

    If however, it is accurate I would be concerned with the butts, since they were at "near room temp" when they went on at 6pm you are looking at meat that has been in the danger zone (40-140 degrees) for nearly 14 hours.

    One more thing, to use a remote thermometer when raining, place it in a ziplock bag and place the ceramic rain cap over that; it will stay dry.

    Just my 2 cents,
  • I had 2 drop pans on the platesetter, with the grid on top of the platesetter (legs up). 1 drip pan under each butt. Again BGE temp ready around 250* for at least 8 hours and when I went by in the 12th hour it was only at 180* (at the lowest). These butts are for other people, should I just toss them?
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    ive had the temps drop as low as 180 dome, if the dome checks out in boiling water i would just raise the temp up to 275 and continue cooking. its the pit temp that has to stay above 140, not the meat temp, when you see people post 20 plus hour cooks, that meat temp didnt reach 140 for a long time, much longer than the 4 hours.
  • Ok so I posted this around 7am CST. That is about when I got the fire back up to 250*ish. I just went out there (815am CST)and the dome temp is between 280-300 (I brought it down) and the meat temp shot up to 155*. 30 degrees in 75minutes?
  • so as long as the temp in my bge was above 140 (again the dome therm said it was 180 at its lowest) the meat will be safe to eat?
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,836
    With a dome at that temperature, 30 degrees is not to extraordinary. I measured a large brisket once, and it gained 1 degree every 2 minutes till it plateaued with a dome of 275.

    As regards the safety of the meat, here's what I understand the situation to be. Pathogens can be spread across meats when a knife blade passes through them. Likewise, meat setting out is exposed to germs floating in the air, as in staphylococcus filled droplets from someone sneezing.

    However, these contaminant are only on the surface exposed to air or touched by the blade. After 4 hours between 40 - 140, they will likely have multiplied to the point where they have produced enough toxin to make many people sick. Some of the toxins, such as those produced by staph, cannot be destroyed below 250 degrees, so anything cooked lo-n-slo will remain tainted even after cooking. After 4 hours in the danger zone, some contaminants will begin to grow into the surface of the meat, although initially it will be slow.

    Most pathogens die off quickly above 140. In an ambient air temp above 200, all pathogens, including heat activated spores, die within a few minutes. So the surface of foods put into even a moderate oven should be sterile quite rapidly. Although the air near a large piece of meat can be fairly cool (I've measured 160 next to a cold butt in the first half hour at dome 250), even those temps will kill off pathogens.

    I would be concerned if a large piece of cooled meat went into a 200 degree cooker, because the meat surface might stay cool for quite some time.

    The situation is quite different with ground meat, which must be considered to be contaminated throughout until cooked.

    Also, cooked meats deteriorate faster than uncooked. 2 hours between 40 and 140 are long enough to ruin cooked meats, because the natural germ resistance of the muscle has been destroyed by cooking. A large hazard is cooked meats that have been contaminated and the frozen to slowly. Some contaminants continue to grow even when the meat is frozen, and will permeate meats frozen for months.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    i like to see it hotter because the grid level temp is lower than the dome, but ive done it many times where the dome has dropped to 180/190 degrees. there is also smoke and a salty rub that makes things safer. just make sure that dome gage is accurate
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    People have asked this and you have failed to answer. Was it your dome thermometer that got down to 180? If so the grate was at 160 or so. Is that Thermometer calibrated?

    You said this pork was for OTHERS? Are these others family? Friends? Colleagues? Clients? Are these other young and/or old?

    If it were me and this was a paid gig they'd end up in my freezer.

    Obviously you are concerned, if you have that much doubt toss them and start over.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    how long did it sit out at "room temperature"?

    in the future, don't bother with trying to put meat on at room temp. for one, the meat never gets to room temp. four hours on the counter and the internal would probably still be near 40s. another reason is that it is mainly for grilled items, steaks, that you might want to go on with a warmer center. still, an hour on the counter only warms the outside of a steak anyway. "but that's another show"

    the bacteria is on the outside of the meat (unless it has been boned). that's why everyone is not concerned about the internal temp so much.

    if the environment that the bacteria are in is above 140 (lowest your egg was, was 180), then bacteria can't survive. the internal temp may be lower than 140, but how are bacteria going to get IN to the meat? (that's rhetorical).

    after a few posts of folks trying to say the same thing, it still comes down to you being comfortable. no matter how many of us tell you it's fine, if you sit there looking at it out of the corner of your eye with fingers crossed, just throw it out.

    personally, i think it's a waste to toss it.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • "Was it your dome thermometer that got down to 180? If so the grate was at 160 or so. Is that Thermometer calibrated?"

    I thought I answered, whoops, yes it was the dome temp that got down to 180 for as little as 1 hour or at most 4 hours. The therm has not been "calibrated" but I cooked on the egg the day before and everything was fine (1 butt,5 lbs, 13hrs at 240ish (dome), with the meat topping out at 195ish before pulling).
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    i hope he got it that time, CHECK THE THERMOMETER
  • Oh the people
    My friends mom just died so I was going to cook the butts and bring them over to his family. I would say the oldest is in his early 60s. No young kids.
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    Very well put stike, that's about as plain as anyone can explain it. The part about him being comfortable is also important, especially because if for someone else.

    Great job as alway.

  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    If it was me I'd be on my way to the store to buy some more.

    You can let them finish. Pull them and freeze the meat for yourself, but I wouldn't be giving it for potential strangers to eat.

    Next time put your thermometers in zip lock bags, protect the probes the best you can and stop worrying about the rain.

    Unless you are cooking in a deluge your probes aren't going to get wet enough to be concerned.
  • Sounds good

    Thanks guys for the advice, much obliged. I have checked all of my meat therms and all but 1 is legit and ready to go (it was not the one I was using). After the butts hit 200* I will take them off and let them rest and toss them in ziplock bags for my own use. I will then check my BGE dome Therm to make sure that is all set. Thanks again everyone for your help

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