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How Low Can You Go? (Temperature-Wise)


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How Low Can You Go?  

                   Limbo Rock

Chubby Checker, 1962

 

I’m really asking about kamado temperatures.  Is the smoke at 170°-175°F bitter?

 

I can use my Rock’s Stoker to control the airflow for amazingly precise temperatures.  So—is it advisable to extend cooking time by significantly lowering my KJ temperature?

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I do bacon in the 160-175 range, makes for a nice long smoke since I usually target 150 IT.

 

I haven't noticed bitter taste, but typically let the bacon rest for a week in the fridge before slicing and eating.

 

Everything else is 225 or higher.

 

I don't think I would smoke anything for a long period of time at such a low temperature unless it has previously been cured. Too much time between 40-140 can make nasty things grow in your food.

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The only time when I stayed really low was using an Amazen tube to smoke some cheese one winter and that was only for about 90 minutes.. 

 

I can't think of a time when I had tried to deliberately go below 225F. 

 

Most times I stabilize somewhere around 250F, add the wood, then the protein.

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For brisket, ribs, butts and normal BBQ meats going an extra low temperature will only extend the cook time way beyond reasonable. If your final temperature is going to be 200* than any kamado temp less than that will never get you to your target temp. (meat will never get above 150* if your kamado is cruising at 150*). Leave the extremely low temperatures for the specialty smokes. 

 

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15 hours ago, ckreef said:

If your final temperature is going to be 200* than any kamado temp less than that will never get you to your target temp. (meat will never get above 150* if your kamado is cruising at 150*).

 

 

Thanks.  Understood.  I want to get a few hours of smoke on some items that will then be cooked elsewhere, e.g., sous vide or stovetop.  But I want to avoid foul smoke.

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The rules of the "danger zone" apply, but other than that, you can get some great cooks at temperatures under and sometimes well under 200*.

 

https://blog.thermoworks.com/2018/05/down-through-the-temperature-danger-zone-on-cooling-for-food-safety/

 

 

I have a temperature controller.  I can hold 165* easily.

 

These thighs were started at 11pm and cooked at 175 ish (going from memory).

 

 

20180504_230403%20-%20Copy.jpg

 

 

8AM the next morning they looked like this.

20180505_083232%20-%20Copy.jpg

 

They got through the "danger zone" on time and were juicy with extra crispy skin.

 

20180505_083421%20-%20Copy.jpg

 

20180505_083501%20-%20Copy.jpg

 

I wish I could find the temperature graph, but they spent hours above 150 degrees which is more than acceptable for killing bacteria. Temperatures were verified with a

Thermapen as well.  145 degrees for 8.5 minutes is as effective as taking chicken to 165 degrees.

 

https://blog.thermoworks.com/2016/04/thermal-tips-simple-roasted-chicken/

 

Safety first of course, but don't fear going below 225 or even 200.  That's just my humble opinion.

 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, T Yelta said:

The rules of the "danger zone" apply, but other than that, you can get some great cooks at temperatures under and sometimes well under 200*.

 

Safety first of course, but don't fear going below 225 or even 200.  That's just my humble opinion.

 

I agree.  I've been cooking at rather low temperatures for years with an original Bradley with Auber PID, a pellet smoker and sous vide.  But when I ask for advice and receive replies that I don't agree with, I rarely challenge them.  After all...I asked.  I just acquired my KJ and have little experience with low temperature charcoal cooks.  My charcoal experience has been at higher temperatures in a drum smoker and the ubiquitous Weber kettle.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I posted my cook from last weekend where I smoked fish and garlic at under 200. I didn't mention that I also threw some peppers on to munch and those were the first thing I've cooked that had any bitterness from the smoke and they were quite bitter. Didn't relate it to the low temp, I just figured I added them on when it was too smoky.

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On 7/8/2018 at 4:36 AM, T Yelta said:

wish I could find the temperature graph, but they spent hours above 150 degrees which is more than acceptable for killing bacteria. Temperatures were verified with a

Thermapen as well.  145 degrees for 8.5 minutes is as effective as taking chicken to 165 degrees.

 

The big problem I find with chicken is without god heat you don’t get good rendering of the fat and the texture isn’t right 

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23 hours ago, Johnnie5 said:

 

The big problem I find with chicken is without god heat you don’t get good rendering of the fat and the texture isn’t right 

 

I guess texture is subjective so what I like might not work for someone else.  I am far from a professional or competition cook.  The cook that I posted pictures of was moist and juicy.  Thighs are very forgiving and given enough time and heat fat will render.  I do trim my thighs a bit so that they aren't too fatty. What came out was extra crunchy skin and what I would call good texture. Theoretically, low and slow for far too long would make jerky :-D that's not what these were like though.  I'll have to cook this again in the same style and post the whole thing. When it is all said and done, I had a fire already burning from another cook or else just burning because I put off the cook for too long,  I had some thighs that needed cooking.  I put them on knowing that if the heat was too high then they would be ruined by the time I wanted to take them off in the morning so I turned down the heat and went to bed and overnight something good happened to them. I have done this more than once so I don't think it was a random thing.

 

As far as thighs go, I avoided them for years.  I don't particularly like fried chicken thighs.  When it came to grilling chicken, I always gravitated towards breasts because that's what I knew. Having tried thighs this way and also hot and fast, I think they are fantastic and I can see why competition cooks use thighs vs breasts.

 

Thanks for commenting:)

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On 7/27/2018 at 10:20 PM, ckreef said:

How about ambient temp for cold smoking. I've done it 3 times so far. No temperature just smoke. 

 

I suspect that you used an auxiliary smoke-generating device (e.g., a Smoke Daddy).  I tried an A-Maze-N-Tube once.  It made horrible yellow-white smoke, not the "airy" blue smoke I prefer.  I took it out of the enclosure and haven't tried it or any other devices since.

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On 7/29/2018 at 3:04 PM, T Yelta said:

 

As far as thighs go, I avoided them for years.  I don't particularly like fried chicken thighs.  When it came to grilling chicken, I always gravitated towards breasts because that's what I knew. Having tried thighs this way and also hot and fast, I think they are fantastic and I can see why competition cooks use thighs vs breasts

 

I no longer buy breasts for any cooking whatsoever 

 

just find them too bland and tasteless , a by product of mass produced chickens today

 

thighs are great as they have great flavour and are far more flexible for cooking and much harder to end up with a dry piece of chicken than with breasts 

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