Purchased an Amerique last summer and have used it often with great results. However, yesterday I was smoking 6 racks of ribs. The recipe call for 4.5 hrs at 250 degrees. I loaded the bottom 3 shelves each with 2 racks of ribs. The spareribs were wide and covered the entire shelf.
I failed to observe the temp after 2 hours, but opened the smoker to rotate the ribs as I had previously found that the bottom ribs were more tender if you didn't rotate. Ok, heres my question...after 4 hours I noticed that the temp. was only 197 degrees. I opened the smokers and the grease on the bottom immediately
ignited in flame. My thoughts, did the large ribs hold the heat to the bottom of the smoker? The ribs had shrunk by then so the heat could rise to the top. Never had this happen before. I'm thinking I might have over loaded the smoker. Any thoughts out there?
Thanks, Mark Clay...new to smoking
Original Post
* I don't know the position of the Amerique's oven temp probe so this is just a "maybe".. however this is possible on my 020:

loading oven and allowing cool meat to fully contact/cover the internal/backwall oven probe will cause extended lo readings while cooking. Meanwhile the oven heats and heats trying to achieve setpoint = hot oven.
In my AmQ the oven temp probe is located just above the 2nd shelf from the bottom. So it may be that with 2 racks of ribs on this shelf that the probe could be compromized. I always try to remember to check meat to temp probe proximity anytime I use the 2nd shelf.

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