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Chasing Temps, Cooking Butts

Hungry in LilburnHungry in Lilburn Posts: 756
edited 4:28PM in EggHead Forum
I have two large butts cooking this am. My ET-73 says the grid temp is 304 and the dome temp is saying 400. Is it possible for the difference to be that large? The darn grid temp was to low so I bumped the bottom vent open a little and it jumped almost a 100 degrees in about 5 min. Watching it closely now to see if it falls back. I want the grid temp to be 275. Ideas?


  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    Most definitely can be a big difference in pit vs dome temp. I don't even pay attention to the dome for smoking, I don't care what the temp is above my meat.

    Close it down some and don't keep opening the lid to try and make the temp drop. You let out some heat so the temp will drop some but you also let in a WHOOSH of oxygen making the fire burn hotter.

    Don't rush the Q, it'll come back down.
  • thanks. I even stopped trying to get the food probe to work right. The pit temp is now down to 285. I am hoping it settles there. These are large butts about 6.5 lbs each. Been on since 6 am. I am going to pull them at 3 pm, foil them and put them in the house oven at 350 and let them cook for another 3 hours. By then the internal temp should reach 195. I am using my thermapen to check the temp. Thoughts?

    I will do the entire lo and slo another day. I need to feed relatives tonight at 7 pm.
  • jphgatorjphgator Posts: 19
    Thanks for the comment about the whoosh of air; I'm a relative newbie (1.5 yr), and I used to try and chase temps by opening the lid, and it took me a while to realize the only thing to bring down the temp is time.
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    You may be getting close by 3 as it is, especially at that high of a temp and those really aren't "large" butts.

    I typically plan on 2 hr/lb but i cook at 230 until the meat is climbing out of plateau, and only then will I consider bumping the temp up to maybe 250-260. I also plan to have them ready at least 1 hour, usually 2-3 before serving, foil at 195 and put in a cooler wrapped in a towel.

    So I think your time is fine based on the size butts you got and when you started, at that high of a temp. I would have planned a little more carefully to have had them ready to come off at 6PM, subtract 12'ish hours for the cook so putting them on at 6AM would have been about right although I ma have planned a little extra time in there. But no biggie, butts are most forgiving.
  • Thanks. If they are that close at 3pm I will just leave them on and let them ride to 6 pm, foil them, wrap in towels, put in cooler and take to in-laws. Pull the pork over there. Besides, I could use the help and my brother-in-law likes to nibble when he and I cut up meat. And he has great wine! :woohoo:
  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,725
    Lots of reasons why the temp varies.

    where and how the lump is burning in comparison to where the thermometer is. lump burning backside, thermometer frontside.

    is the thermometer over the indirect piece or does it have a direct shot to the lump.

    is the thermometer to close to the cold meat, indirect piece or grid. to close from the side may not be the same as to close from top or bottom.

    how often are you opening the dome

    how open is the daisy wheel to vent air. ya gotta vent a certain amount of air to keep the lump burning. vent settings determines how fast the heat builds in the dome.

    I'm sure there are more, but this is all I got after couple cups of coffee.

    t ACGP, Inc.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I say the dome gauge reading is more important then the Maverick, even though it is ""above the meat". It represents a more accuracy reading of the Egg temp, which ummm is sort of important.
    In the words of one of the elders when I had a similar circumstance a couple years ago.. "To Hell with the Grid Temp".
    Grid temp reading can and will be affected by the mass of cold or cool meat that is situated on it. In my case, there was a 100deg difference tween grid and dome. I, like you should have never started messing with the vent settings.
    IMO the only thing the Maverick is good for is muddying the waters and providing a false sense of security.
    Yes the Guru and Stalker measure temp from the grid, but they also control the temp automatically which cuts back on overcompensating when making adjustments.
    The sooner you pitch the Maverick in the trash the sooner you can get on to becoming a proficient Egger.
  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,725
    how does one spot in the egg represent a more accurate reading of the entire egg temp vs. any other location.

    Do you think, heated air blowing over cold meat is affected by the cold meat? If so, then what happens to the dome temp as the meat temp rises? What's the impact on temp when the grid is loaded with 20 pounds of butts vs. couple racks of ribs.

    Do you think the dome thermometer reads the same if it is blocked by meat/indirect piece vs. having a direct shot to the lump. If so, does this impact how you set (guess) temp at the meat.

    Would it not be better to suggest, you can put the thermometer wherever you like as long as you have confidence and experience that the set-up maintains your desired temps. For you it's in the dome, for others it might be somewhere esle. ACGP, Inc.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I am of the opinion that being to close to the large mass of meat(particularly just below it) can result in a lower than accurate reading.
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    Placing your pit probe at the grid doesn't necessarily mean it's close to the meat. On my L or XL it can be quite far away depending on how much meat I'm cooking, possibly further away than the dome probe. What I see as the important fact is it's over the indirect piece vs being straight up the side of airflow which is where the dome thermometer is. Air moves upward around whatever you use, mine happens to be a pizza stone sitting on top of one of Toms fabulous woo2's ;) , and towards the dome, heat rises of course, so the dome should read hotter.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    In "this" case, it is a Large with 2 butts. I'd say the probe is pretty close.
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    I agree with you to pitch the Maverick, its junk. I wish I'd have put that $50 towards a Guru from the get go. It's better than Ronco, "Set it and forget it."
  • Hi. So are you saying I should use the dome temp? That means I need to go and shut this puppy down some more. I was thinking it is cooking awful fast. Even if the et-73 food probe is off by 20 degrees it is cooking awful fast. It says it is at 174 now after only 7 hours. If I open the dome and check it with my thermapen it will probably read 150. That is coming up a little fast don't you think?
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    To your original question, yes it is possible, as you saw it before your very eyes, assuming you checked the calibration of your ET73 in boiling water, 212 degrees.

    Do your own reading right here on this forum, there is gobs and gobs of info if you can find it, and pay attention to a few of the long timers, you'll figure out who they are pretty quick.

    I just don't think that your butt, after 3+ hours on a 300-400 degree egg, is super cooling the probe by 100 degrees, but that's just my own opinion. Do keep the pit probe as far away as possible from the meat AND inside the coverage of your indirect piece so hot air isn't rushing up past it directly. My theory is, it's called indirect for a reason, you hide your meat from direct heat with a platesetter, pizza stone, drip pan, etc, the pit temp should reflect that same circumstance. With 2 butts, put them parallel and the pit should be in the butt crack, :evil: and as far from them as possible, but not over the edge of the indirect piece.

    Some people do prescribe to the theory of attaching the probe to the dome probe, which, you should get the same reading so why bother with a maverick when you already know that info. If you had a Guru and prescribe to the dome theory this would work for you though.
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    Just consider this your first intro to the Myron Mixon "Power Cooking" method :)

    He claims it's fine, and he's got a lotta cash and grand champion trophys to prove it.
  • LOL! Well, I am still technically a newbie when it comes to smoking anything on my BGE as this is my first attempt at a lo and slo. I think I have blown the lo part already but now I am shooting for edible pulled pork for a big family dinner tonight. Even if it is not edible there is always $60 worth of Shane's Rib Shack pulled pork to feed them. Frankly this is kind of stressful. I did think this morning that I should just use the dome therm and not mess with the et-73. I will try another lo and slo and just do the dome therm. I will see how they come out.
  • Okay, sold! What is the Guru? Is there a specific model number?
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I would definately trust the Thermapen before the Maverick. Pretty positive nobody would disagree, but you never know.
    :) Sounds like you are going to have some serious bark on those butts.
    Honestly if it were me, I'd move them to the oven at this point(250) and regroup for next time.
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    $10 says everyone will love it, remember, most people you cook for will think that bbq can be made after a few hours in a crock pot. Don't say anything about this to anyone at dinner and they'll all rave about it. I, and the other thousands of eggers, will keep your secret...
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    Google BBQ Guru

    I use the DigiQ
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    Change your forum handle to "Turbo Butt". ;)
    Just kidding bud, you will get there soon. We all make mistakes when cooking, no matter what the level of experience.
  • Well, right now the only one that knows it is my assistant and she is watching the et-73 for me. I am writing a research paper on Malpractice Costs and Issues and Tort Reform and I am having a hard time concentrating on my cook. I really want to take a nap but I am afaid my cook will go up in flames! However, my assistant does not seem to over wrought over it. :woohoo:

  • LOL! I will have to consider that handle change. I kinda of like it!
  • pull them, wrap in foil, put in oven at 250? Check. Am I still shooting for 195 internal temp? Just checked them and the darn probe on ET-73 is correct! They are indeed in the 170 range.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    depending on how they look on the outside, i might finish those up in foil
  • Here is how they look using different lighting conventions:



    my research assistant is keeping an eye on temp for me
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    those look fine, just keep cooking. i dont usually foil because i like some crunchy bark mixed in with the pull
  • thank you sir! Happy Easter and Happy Weekend! Lots of cooking this weekend!
  • mb168mb168 Posts: 265
    So how did they turn out?

    I'm doing one butt tonight and this thread popped into my head when I went out to check everything about 15 minutes into the cook to make sure the temp settled back to where it should be after putting the meat on. Grid (Guru) and dome temps match up perfect and pit probe a few inches away and not affecting the reading. This makes the whole grid-vs-dome point moot. :laugh: Click for larger
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