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I just got my Amerique a couple of weeks ago. I read a lot on the forum before getting started, so I didn't think there would be this much of a learning curve! So far, I have smoked a boston butt roast, brisket and baby back ribs. I used choice meat in all three cases. I used the meat probe with both the butt and brisket, and while they turned out OK, definitely not as tender as I expected. In both cases I used about a three pound piece of meat. I probed both to an interal temp of 190 degrees as stated in the forum. The brisket was very lean as it was trimmed of most external fat, perhaps this made a difference, but I don't think it should as chicken is very lean as well. With the ribs, I didn't bother to probe as I thought perhaps I had cooked the other meats too long and that is what made them tough. I based the time on what I normally would do in the oven at 250 degrees, and thought 4 hours should be about right. I should have only used one little chunk of wood instead of two, but thats another story! Again, they were OK(a little too smokey), but not falling off the bone tender like done in the oven. I also loaded all meat in a cold smoker, not sure if this makes a difference. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Well, I'll see if I can help. I have cooked two Boston butts in my 025 so far. Cooked to 197 Foiled and rested for two hours, they were really good. My brisket went to 193 and I foiled for about a half hour. It was good but needed more rest time in the cooler I believe. Don't get discouraged, try going with a bigger boston butt say 8 - 10 lbs don't trim any fat off it and try cooking it to 200 or so and double wrap in tin foil, wrap in a towel and put in a cooler for a couple of hours, I think you'll be happy with the outcome. I haven't made a spectacular batch of ribs yet so I'll keep my mouth shut on that. Big Grin
Last edited by bubbasz1
There is no such thing as choice pork,but that is more reading.

You said you used the probe,so that should have let you feel, if it was tender,although anything that was 3 lbs should probably be fried.

Can't picture anyone on these forums saying that 190* was tender,unless maybe you were slicing a pork roast,or ham?

Comparing chicken to brisket,because they are both lean, would be the same as comparing your Harley to your bicycle,because they are both red,have two wheels,gears,and a seat.

I think you might need to slow down a little and relax,and we'll get you on track. Smiler

Your post could be a three day teaching course in the classroom.

Some more reading in Smokin'Okie's 101 s should get you 95% to eating pretty decent bbq.

The FIND feature ,at page top,will give you threads on directions that might fit your specific needs.

Then,you will have some specific questions that we can address with info, that might actually help you.

Some of the other folks will probably stop by and break your post down into workable segments-as I'm on the way out the door.

You have a fine cooker,and you'll be fine.
The brisket and pork butt are pretty small. The ribs should be smoked until a toothpick slides like butter through the meat. Four hrs is close on baby backs and much to soon for full spares. With either, test with the toothpick to determine if they are done.

In the Cookshack Forum, Smokin's 101's cover the basics for cooking a number of things including butt, brisket, and ribs. Here's the link to them where you can pick up valuable information:

Smokin's popular Brisket 101, Pork Ribs 101, and Pork Butt 101 are back! Turkey 101 and Brining 101 will be along soon.

Handsome fellow aint' he?

With a little info and experience, you are going to love your smoker.
Got bad news. All the info to fix this is in the forum, but I don't think you read all 100,000+ items yet.

Good news, we can help.

Lesson: "tenderness" generally is a sight it wasn't cooked long enough (before someone gets onto me, I said generally)

Lesson: Fall apart bones are TOO tender, they're actually overcooked (if that's how you like them, you HAVE to overcook them)

You're trying to put a bunch on questions into one post, I'd recommend we attack them one at a time.

Basically, you have to know that temps are GUIDELINES only. Not a rule, not an absolute like baking a cake, they are guidelines, there is just too much variation in methods, in different meats, temp, etc, etc.

Brisket the guidelines would be 190 to 200 for slicing, but... it depends

Pork the guidelines would be 180 to 190 for slicing or 190 to 200 for pulling but.... it depends

See a trend? It depends... Big Grin

Ribs, can't be done on temp. And the #1 lesson for ribs is know how much each rack weighs and what type they are. 2.25 lb Baby backs will cook quicker than 4.0 full spare ribs. KNOW the weight.
I tried my first 3 lb brisket a few weeks ago and I had similar results. We cut off about a half pound and had that for dinner. Flavor was good but was more like a steak in texture. I put the brisket back in the smoker and 4 hours later, it was not bad. At the time I had not heard of a plateau in cooking meat nor did I cook to a specific temp.

Started reading this forum and now I should have a new 025 on Fri. It's a good thing that I don't have a smoker right now. Plenty of time to read without temptation Smiler
RELAX and don't stress over all the tricks. I personally had a very good time when I used the KISS approach. I bet you can find these on your own. You need to keep good notes and practice. What you are doing is going to be better than most Q shops. It will only get better when you learn your smoker and how to TEST for doneness.Listen to what Smokin" says everyone else does for good reason.
Thanks to everyones reply... From what I am seeing I guess I need to cook the meat longer to get it more tender and perhaps foil it at the end of the cook cycle. I guess I will have to go back and look at the approximate internal cook temps and better test for doneness before pulling out. If I am hearing everyone correctly, I can't really over cook the meat?(except baby backs which I guess I like overcooked!)I'm wondering how much the cooking temperature affects the final product. The only other problem I forgot to mention initially, is that the meat was somewhat dry as well, not real juicy.
Meat can be overcooked. The dryness was probably the result of meat itself. IMO,3lb flat with no fat cap will usually be dry.Some will put bacon over it to help with dryness, but 3lbs isn't what you should be smoking. Get you a 7lb PB cook on 225* until 195-200*. Check for doneness, probe should go in with little resistance. If you don't check for doneness probe could be in fat on bone or even not work.Have fun while learning!!!

I put about everything in a cold smoker.
Last edited by cal 2
Originally posted by carolcue:
Thanks to everyones reply... From what I am seeing I guess I need to cook the meat longer to get it more tender and perhaps foil it at the end of the cook cycle...
I'm no expert, but I've read 1000's of post(s) written by experts. Paying CLOSE attention their advice is the quickest way to bbq perfection.

This w/e I followed a Cook's Illustrated chicken soup recipe to the T, took 6 hours to prep/ cook. Threw it out - it was awful. The next day, I took a Cookshack pork butt to a Super bowl party and everyone said I should open a restaurant. Eeker

My advice: Apply the info in Smokin's 101 to a larger, untrimmed cut of meat - such as a vacuum packed whole pork butt with full fat cap intact(7/8# or larger). Attempting to make great bbq from small, fully trimmed, lean portions is recipe for disappointment. (IMO) But what do I know - that was some baaaad soup. lol
Last edited by redoaknc
Originally posted by carolcue:
... If I am hearing everyone correctly, I can't really over cook the meat?(except baby backs which I guess I like overcooked!)...

I don't think we said that, you most certainly CAN overcook anything.

Maybe start a new thread, down in the brisket forum and we can help answer a lot of the specifics. There are many. Foil is a 4 letter word for me, it's a crutch BUT it does help many overcome the limits of the meat they buy. Not everyone can buy choice packer briskets in Oklahoma.

We can get you there, so ask lots of questions and we'll prep you for the next one.

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