I’m a bit annoyed by vague recipes. Instructions like “Add some oregano” or “Add your preferred amount of garlic” are meaningless the first time I follow a given recipe. Moreover, charcoal cooking temperatures, like medium-high, are especially worthless to me. I know, I know, some of you will say, “Just cook it to the proper internal temperature irrespective of the heat.” I do, but grill heat plays an important role in meat texture and Maillard reaction production.
So, since a medium temperature on my Kamado Joe is significantly different from the medium temperature attainable on my two-burner hibachi, I set about trying to determine if there’s an actual temperature consensus among professional cooks. The first (and only) cookbook I reviewed is a collection of other authors’ recipes, Weber’s Greatest Hits, by Jamie Purviance. He doesn’t differentiate between grate temperature and dome temperature, but his definitions appear to be–
High............ 450° to 550°
Med-High.... 400° to 500°
Med............. 350° to 450°
Low............. 250° to 350°
So, what temperature do you use when you read Low, Medium or High? And do you measure at the grate or dome?
BTW, I prefer grate temperature since I consider dome thermometers to be unreliable, and even if accurate, don’t tell me much about the heat surrounding the meat.
By Red River Smoke
Made a Costco pack of pork shoulder (15lbs) on Saturday, this was actually my first really long cook with my Akorn, turned out great! Used Meathead's rub recipe, and dumped on some Pig's ### sauce (nice surprise how good that was!) after it was pulled. Otherwise just let it go almost 12 hours with some hickory thrown in with the lump pulled them off around 197 degrees. The shoulder I thought was larger got done about 45 minutes quicker, really loving having multiple probes with the Fireboard. I think the wind was swirling a bit as I had a little harder time than usual maintaining pit temps, I was aiming for about 240 at the grill, but I did let it climb a bit at the end trying to push through the stall. Also the first time I really noticed a stall, so I'm thinking that my other ways I've done pulled pork before I had a kamado were running hotter than I thought and I didn't have a good way to monitor it. Had some happy family and friends with the end result and I had fun cooking anyway, also made some cheesy hashbrowns to go with.
I've had a feeling that my Pit Boss temp probe was a bit out so I tested it tonight in boiling water and it taps out at around 180f (my Thermopen read 211.6f). It doesn't look like you can calibrate it - I had a look at the end and although there's a ridge that a screwdriver can go in it doesn't move.
I've seen a few people replace their gauge and Tell Tru brand pops up a lot, is there a particular model everyone recommends and where would I get it online? I'm in Australia so online is likely the only option.
By Bob Fletcher
A quick report on my first use of the new Thermoworks Smoke wireless thermometer. I did two game hens. My set up was on the Big Joe with a divided firebox and both halves of the D&C plates stacked on the indirect cooking side (non charcoal side.) I would think heat from the bottom up on that side would be pretty minimal. Set to cook at about 350 F. I found that when my grate thermometer reached 350, my dome was up around 420.... no wonder I have been having some really slow cooks delay dinner! The birds took maybe 10 minutes more than anticipated, but not too bad. Interestingly, the tops hardly browned at all. When the Smoke meat probe was reading 165 F, I double checked with the Thermowork ThemoPop and there was no point in the birds less than 165. I thought they might taste dry and over done but not so. While there was a slight pinkish color in the dark meat, the birds were completely done, and super moist. This was also my first time cooking game hens on the Joe, and while I didn't use any smoke wood, just the charcoal flavor was excellent. The boss said they were the best game hens she has ever had.
Since I am so new to Kamado cooking and this is my first wireless two channel thermometer, I can't really do a comparison or decent review, but my initial thoughts are - for $100 I am very happy so far.