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Low plateau--no need for alarm

'Q Bruddah'Q Bruddah Posts: 739
edited 4:43AM in EggHead Forum
I am doing four butts and they have chosen, of their very own accord, to plateau at 156°. I put them on last night at 11PM knowing I was serving at 6:30pm this evening. They hit 160 at 6AM and have been between 158 and 155 for about 6 hours. They just climbed a couple of degrees and I am hoping they contine in that direction. I figure I have about a four hour window to come up to temp. I want to be on the road at 4PM because I need set the room and finish my sides on site. I could be right on the money. Its just thinking I could miss it that is causing me concern. Its hard to tell 40 hungry guys that dinner will be late.
My dome temp is sort of low at 230°. I have been trying to bump it slowly by opening it up and wiggling. I am thinking that if I don't get some movement here pretty soon I will be a little more aggressive getting air to it.


  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    bump it up to 275
    Sounds like you are on track, however, that dome temperature (if the thermometer is correct) seems too low for my liking at this time in the cook. I would at least get it to 250° and wouldn't worry about as Pat said taking it to 275°

    The plateau doesn't sound all that far off.

  • We are thinking alike I just opened it up wide. Thanks for the confirmation.
    I wouldn't open wide, unless you like idea of chasing your settings.

    Unless you are running out of lump you shouldn't have any problems with that small temp increase.

  • GG, yep, I figured I was okay but it is nice to hear the reassurance.
    Keep an eye on the meat temp to see that you are indeed out of the plateau.

    If you decide to go crazy with the heat be careful of overdeveloping the bark. Much above 275° dome I would think about loosely putting some aluminum foil over the top of the meat. The pork can handle higher finishing cooking temperature.

    The meat, if insulated, will hold temp for 4 to 5 hour rest pretty easily.

  • Well, the truth be known, when I started my fire I hit it with a weed burner in several places so as not to have a center burn. I came back a mere 5 minutes later to a 600° egg. I immediately shut it down and it came down quickly. I am not sure how much fuel I consumed. I had a good load in it.
    Now, its hard to tell trying to peer around the drip pan but I know that its less than if I had hit my setting on the way up.
  • GG, Thanks. I KNEW there was a reason I posted!! I tried to reset my draft when it hit 275 and I just checked and it is back down to 250 so I think I am low on fuel. Looks like I'll be nursing and coaxing a bit more.
    I hate it when I get a low & slow start goes and stays hot. My guess is that you used less lump using the weed burner.

    Sounds like you have things under control low though.

    Just because you closed the vent down some when the lump is on a upward climb and then there is some fall back doesn't necessarily mean you are low on lump.

    You should have some idea where your vents should be for a 250° lump. If you have to have the vents open double that to maintain 250°, that would be indicative of low lump.

    Not sure where you are in the cook cycle but if you feel you are running out of lump or getting pressured for time You could well take each butt out, add liquid if you like, wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil then put in the oven to finish. If you do this put the fat cap up so the meat can absorb the drippings or if you added liquid absorb the liquid.

  • So, I surmise from your reply that there are no guarantees that as a veteran you won't sometimes run afoul. I couldn't believe my eyes last night when I saw the thermometer at 600 after 5 minutes on my watch. it wasn't "oh, I think it has been about 5 minutes" I was timing it. I thought it was broken at first.

    The dome is steady at 250° and the meat temp is climbing. It is at 165°.
  • I am wider so I agree that I am low on fuel, but not out. I still have time and the meat temp is finally rising.
  • 'Q Bruddah wrote:
    So, I surmise from your reply that there are no guarantees that as a veteran you won't sometimes run afoul.

    :woohoo: :laugh: :laugh: Don't know about the veteran part but I am well acquainted with running afoul part. - Almost every time I do something.

    My biggest problem is trying to reach desired eat times. I seem to always be pushing the end of the cook so I can get things done on time.

    A lot of people subscribe to if you are looking you aren't cook'n. However, for the most part for me that's horse pucky. On the other hand, I am not always looking either and if the cook is going fine I never look. If the cook isn't going the way I think it should go, I take a peek so I am not guessing at a problem.

    Open the dome and see the status of your lump.

    The danger of over opening the vents is should there be a good amount of lump in another spot or that can catch fire it is possible to have your temperature run away.

    I would open the vents but keep an eye for the pit getting out of control. What you don't want is to go back to the egg and see the temp jumped to 350° and now the bark of well over done.

  • Good Brother Grub,
    It is not all that surprising to me how close our thinking is. If it is going fine there is no cause for worry or peeking. However, and today is a classic case, if it isn't going according to plan I want to know why.

    I finally took it apart and found I was in serious need of lump. My tip was the last time the temp dipped below 250 after opening it up wider.

    I raked the ash huddled the embers and added a small amount of lump and we are back in business, running steady at 275° I still have more than an hour to hit my meat temp and I just might make it since it is coming along, albeit at its own pace.
    Good catch. I would think you have to be well out of the plateau by now so it shouldn't be too long.

    If you are feeling you need more cook temp. take it up but think about loosely tenting the meat to protect the bark.

    Good cooking.

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