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Is there any effect on a butt (actually, picnic roast) of allowing the temps to drop below desired cooking temps, other than obviously taking longer to cook?

I started out at around 225 for about 7 or 8 hours (8 lb picnic), but then allowed the temps to drop, at one point below 200. I fired it back up to 250, but am wondering if I messed up by allowing for such drastic temperature drop.

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You'll be fine.

I don't think there's any food safety issues.

You'll just extend the time an undefined period of time.

I know some who cook their butts at varying temps, first to get a bark, then drop the temp.

The only problem, when you target temp gets too close to your smoker temp. For example. If you're shooting for 190 and you pit is at 200. It will take forever to come to temp.
The main thing is to ensure that the temperature does not drop below 140 F cause of the bacteria thingy going on. Remember the danger zone for food is from 40 F to 140 F. As long as you keep it out of the danger zone you should be ok for small drops in temps, it just makes your cooking times longer.

Sorry I didn't reply, but after 20 hours, the butt came out great, if I may say so myself. The temp never dropped below about 195. Next time, I think I need to try to maintain the temp consistently near 250. Fortunately, since this was my first attempt, I didn't invite guests, so I wasn't rushed to finish it. I'm still enjoying the leftovers for lunch!


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