Author Topic: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.  (Read 1765 times)

Nhseacoast

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Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« on: May 04, 2020, 01:14:37 AM »
Hi. Iíve posted about this problem before, and Iím still having it.  I have a #1. Purchased maybe 6-8 yrs ago,  I use it infrequently. I smoked a 6 lb Boston butt today. I started it at midnight. It was about 50 degrees out. By 7 am it was in the 60ís and by late morning in the 70ís outside. By 4 pm, 16 hours in, the meat temp was only 179 degrees. I had to wrap it and bring it inside to finish it to 203. The interior of the smoker was mostly around 202-205 degrees. The rheostat was cranked up to 250. The interior of the smoker never got above 210. Whatís the deal? A 6 lb butt takes 24 hours? I put a washer on the smoke outlet hole. Heavy duty extension cord. Digital thermometers tested and confirmed  accurate at 32 degrees and 212. Also I ran it empty last week and it got to 247 when cranked to 250. I feel that this just does not have enough oomph to get the job done with a load. I really feel that the interior ought to be able to get to 225 -250 with a load or not. Anyone have any thoughts?  Is this normal?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 01:21:41 AM by Nhseacoast »

old sarge

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2020, 03:12:30 AM »
Not sure what you mean by infrequent use but regardless, your smoker may have a lower wattage element.  New models have the 400 watt. Are you using any kind of liquid container in your smoker?  The added moisture can contribute to a lower temp.  Also, the use of an extension cord  always reduces efficiency of any electrical item, not just a smoker.  The loss is minimal and may not be noticeable on a motor driven device but on a heating element, it can result in longer cook times.  Also, you may need a new element. In the dark, does it have a bright uniform glow or are there dead or dull sections?  This link may help to narrow down the issue if the element is bad.  You can always order a new element, controller if necessary.  The second link is to calculate voltage loss.

http://www.appliance411.com/faq/test-element.shtml

https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 12:22:54 PM by old sarge »
David from Arizona
US Army 70 - 95
SI 3D & Big Red Controller
CS 066 (retired to my son's home)
Lodge Sportsman Grill
Weber Kettle
Ducane Meridian 42 inch Grill
LEM MaxVac 1088A
LEM Big Bite #8 Grinder
Chef's Choice 665 and Rival Slicers
Old Hickory Knives
InstantPot Duo80 Plus

Lonzinomaker

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 12:22:30 PM »
I've only had thermostats fail in the off -no heat or fail stuck in full on- always heating (and it may still turn off with control). Never had one fail with low heat.
So like Old Sarge said check your element for an even red glow, no dull spots except right at the ends of element. Replace if it isn't even
The thermostat is only $30 and element is $25 so I would probably replace both while the back is off.  If you do replace thermostat, be careful not to kink the capillary tube or it will not work right.
Let us know what you end up doing.
Dave
Smokin-It #3 main smoker.
1400 Smokin Tex (same size as #2) for Snowbird time.
Smokin-It #1 for camping trips.
Big Chief with mailbox mod for cheese smoking
Blackstone 22in griddle with Bakerstone pizza oven
Spokane, WA

Nhseacoast

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 12:20:59 AM »
Thank you guys. I had upgraded the element back in 2016 to 400 Watts because I had been having a similar issue since purchase. When I say I use it infrequently I mean- once a year.  The same thing happens each year- I get excited to use it in the spring, then I have this same prolonged cooking - canít get the job done experience and put it away for the rest of the year. Iíve literally used it maybe 8-10 times.

Anyway, I use a heavy duty 12 gauge 25 foot extension cord, but I have used it once without an extension cord with no difference in results. I did not use a water pan.

It would be hard for me to believe the element is already shot with such little use. But I will evaluate the element tomorrow. How long should it take to glow red hot? Thanks again.

Mike

old sarge

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 12:39:35 AM »
The meat could have hit the dreaded stall; that point  around 170 or so when it seems like it will never hit 180. Takes a couple of hours to climb out of the stall.  No doubt you temp readings on the smoker are good but are you sure you aren't taking them at the low point of the swing?  Not deliberately but just by chance?  I ask because you stated that empty, you hit 247.  Keeping that in mind, your meat sitting on a rack above the smoker temp probe will absorb a lot of the heat; unless you position your remote probe down near the built in probe, you may be getting a true yet inaccurate reading, if that makes any sense.  Also, I have included an article that explains the stall.

https://www.foodfirefriends.com/the-bbq-stall/
David from Arizona
US Army 70 - 95
SI 3D & Big Red Controller
CS 066 (retired to my son's home)
Lodge Sportsman Grill
Weber Kettle
Ducane Meridian 42 inch Grill
LEM MaxVac 1088A
LEM Big Bite #8 Grinder
Chef's Choice 665 and Rival Slicers
Old Hickory Knives
InstantPot Duo80 Plus

Nhseacoast

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2020, 10:30:19 AM »
Thanks for the help Sarge. I keep the digital probe above the meat hanging in the air. I do understand the stall, and in the past I have wrapped it up when it hit 170 to overcome this. But to me it seems that the meat has little chance of hitting 203 in a reasonable time if the interior temperature of the smoker itself is only hitting 203-205. I still have to check the element today.

old sarge

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2020, 10:59:19 AM »
If your digital probe is above the meat, the meat could be blocking/absorbing the heat before it reaches your digital probe.   Also, if you use the search feature for the stall, as well as recipes, there are some older posts where people have had overly long cooks with small butts but normal times with larger cuts. No good explanation as to why.
David from Arizona
US Army 70 - 95
SI 3D & Big Red Controller
CS 066 (retired to my son's home)
Lodge Sportsman Grill
Weber Kettle
Ducane Meridian 42 inch Grill
LEM MaxVac 1088A
LEM Big Bite #8 Grinder
Chef's Choice 665 and Rival Slicers
Old Hickory Knives
InstantPot Duo80 Plus

Nhseacoast

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2020, 11:13:25 AM »
So I just checked the element. No extension cord, set to 250, it gets hot but does not glow red at all after watching it for 10 minutes. Does it take longer to glow red hot ir is 10 mins enough? According to the websites you sent this sounds like a power input problem since it is warm but not heating up well enough. Correct?

old sarge

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2020, 05:45:53 PM »
I would try it when it is darker or in the shade open away from direct light. Look for dead spots.  10 minutes should have been more than long enough.  I don't know what else to say.
David from Arizona
US Army 70 - 95
SI 3D & Big Red Controller
CS 066 (retired to my son's home)
Lodge Sportsman Grill
Weber Kettle
Ducane Meridian 42 inch Grill
LEM MaxVac 1088A
LEM Big Bite #8 Grinder
Chef's Choice 665 and Rival Slicers
Old Hickory Knives
InstantPot Duo80 Plus

NDKoze

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2020, 01:53:09 PM »
I would try to put your smoker probe at or near where the smoker temperature probe is located. Placing it so close to the meat is definitely going to give you different readings than the smoker's built-in probe.

With the heavy duty insulation and steel walls of the Smokin-It smokers, the ambient temperatures should really have little to no effect on the smoke. I have smoked in -20F weather and other than a longer initial time to get to temperature, once at temperature the smoker had no problem at all staying at the desired temp.
Gregg - Fargo, ND
Smokin-It #3 (purchased in 2014) that replaced a Masterbuilt XL (ugh) and a 10+ Year-Old Big Chief (still used for fish), and few others over the years, along with variety of Weber Gas/Charcoal Grills, Anova Sous Vide, etc. devices.

Timinator

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2020, 10:23:19 AM »
I'm just trying to eliminate possible problems, but have you used different AC outlets before and had the same results, or just the one?  Do you have a digital power monitor/meter (WalMart $12.99).  You plug it in your wall and the cord into it and it digitally measures your watts/amps/voltage.  They are pretty neat to have.  You'll know if the #1 is "pulling" 400 watts when on full, how often it cycles, etc.   

LarryD

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2020, 03:50:05 PM »
Have you read this guide posted on the Smokin-It site?  https://www.smokin-it.com/v/vspfiles/files/HeatControllerAdjust.pdf
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EFGM

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Re: Need advice. Taking forever to cook.
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2020, 01:22:30 PM »
Now I am not a Pork Butt man, only do one about every 2-3 years, but am I recalling correctly Tony used to state the a smaller butt takes longer to smoke. ? Is a 6# considered smaller? Could this be a combination of issues, extension cord, small butt, possible checking smoker temp while on the down side of the swing? Just food for thought questions. I know this for a fact, once you get past this hurdle, you will definitely use your #1 more than once a year! 
Happier Smoking!
Doug
Carrollton
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