Just a follow up. I spent all day Sunday just firing up a basket of charcoal. No cook, just playing with my grill settings. Learned a lot. Can’t rush the process. Thanks to all who responded. This is a great forum.
Just wondering what anyone’s experience is with using the commonly available remote thermometers from big box stores.
Happy! Why consider more?
Not happy! I should have spent more in the first place!
A little while ago, my Dad's "ostentatious gas grill" finally blew a hose, and I seized the opportunity to show him that "something far better now existed." After dutifully taking him to hardware stores where he could consider "The Big Green Egg®," I took him to Lowe's where we bought – an "Akorn Senior."
Yes, "this one's bigger," but otherwise it's basically the same: insulated steel body, cast iron grate, "and a few extras." After showing him how to properly season cast iron, which he correctly did, and after acquiring another remote-reading wireless thermometer at Home Depot, we have since enjoyed many "grilling weekends" together. (He's becoming quite good at it ...)
"These are the times to remember, for they will not last forever ..."
Finally, success! This time, my $27 beef roast turned out perfectly despite the lack of "official gear."
I began by salting the roast down with "Montreal Steak" mixture – and poultry seasoning. I let the meat then sit in the refrigerator for three hours, also soaking the "smoking chips" which would be placed in an aluminum-foil envelope. (To be punctured with a fork.)
After starting the fire and letting it coast up to about 250º, I added the smoke-chips envelope and a steel pie-pan, which would serve as a heat deflector. I added a small amount of water to the pan, periodically adding a small amount of water throughout the cook as necessary.
Then I added the meat, flipping it several times, until it reached 120ºF internal temperature. Then, I "opened all the vents and let 'er rip," in order to get a bit of last-minute sear with active flame touching the meat. Flipping the meat often, I let it get to 135ºF.
Then I pulled it off and wrapped it in aluminum foil to finish cooking off-heat. Final temp, as expected, was 145ºF – between medium-rare and medium.
P.S.: I continue to be mystified about "low and slow" reports of beef being cooked "for several hours." I still don't know anything about "that cooking process." How do you keep the meat from turning into a rubber bumper? How is it that you talk of "cooking meat until the connective tissue dissolves," without first destroying it?
In addition to what John said which is all correct, I don't think the comment above is necessarily true. I think what is important is to keep a "consistent fire", for lack of better words, because dampening or extinguishing a flame or a fire is what puts off the really bad, acrid smoke (ie, blowing out a candle).
Akorns are incredibly efficient, therefore, keeping a consistent fire usually results in a temp higher than some people want at low and slow and they end up putting out the fire and getting the bad smoke. I'm perfectly fine with smoking at 250 ish and my akorn jr will do that all day once dialed in.