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  #1  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:13 PM
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Default Smoking at altitude

I'll never forget the first summer me and my high school buddies went to Ruidoso Downs to brush horses. We rented a cabin for the summer and since we were all broke I was going to cook us up some bean burritos. Come lunchtime the beans were hard as rocks and after boiling for 12 hours we couldn't even eat them for dinner. I threw them out and found out the next day you had to use a pressure cooker at altitude.

This weekend I'm dragging my smoker for a big cook from 2700 ft on the edge of the Llano Estacado up to 7000 ft in the Lincoln National Forrest.

Please warn me now if my briskets are going to cook slower at altitude, because I'm gonna have a hungry crowd come dinner time.


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  #2  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:21 PM
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Default Smoking at altitude

Are doing a packer, point, or a flat? Whatever it is, what is the weight?

I've only smoked, cooked at altitude. It's a different ball game as you know.

I'm at basically 5300 ft, so water boils at 200 degrees depending on current air pressure. It also affects smokes.

In short, low and slow becomes low and slower. So, don't be afraid to raise the temp 10-15 degrees to try and compensate a bit.

You can also foil and seal tightly to help on the back end.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:50 PM
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Default Smoking at altitude

I'm old school, I cook to time not by temperature, even though I have a Maverick unopened in the box that my girls gave me for Father's Day... last year!!!

I smoke an hour a pound and use the Franklin method. I've probably cooked 40 to 50 briskets that way on my new reverse flow smoker and they come out darn near perfect every time. So with four 12 lb packers I'll usually go 4 hours on the grate, 4 hours on cardboard and 4 hours wrapped in butcher paper with a 2 hour rest in an icebox. My thermometer is turned to 275 as high noon and I try to hold that temp. About every hour to 90 minutes I'll add a log at 250 and it will spike up to 300 before it settles back to my 275 cooking temperature.

Should I add a couple of hours or cook at 15 degrees higher to compensate for the altitude... or both???




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Last edited by HornedToad; 08-02-2017 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:25 AM
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Might want to break out that thermometer just to be safe.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:32 AM
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I don't know if you use any Amazing Smokers, but if you have a Tray & a Tube, take the Tube with you for that High altitude smoke generating. The tray doesn't work too good at high altitudes.


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Old 08-04-2017, 07:10 AM
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I did my last packer at my cabin in Cloudcroft, NM which is 40 miles south of you and a couple thousand feet higher or so (9,000' above stress level). I found mine cooked pretty quickly but I just used the side baskets in a Webber 22" grill with charcoal and chips. Granted the cooking temp was a tad higher as it reached 300F a few times but I hit 200F IT in 7 hours on a 13# brisket. It is a little harder to get the coals going at altitude but once it is going, it funs just fine. The boiling point drops to 195F up there and about 198F at 7k'. If you are baking stuff add more flour to the recipes to account for the higher elevation.

Last edited by AJ; 08-04-2017 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:45 AM
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First, in Florida we don't have places that can be considered "at altitude"...except late in the evening.

My question, if at altitude say 2,500' and water boils at 200 - do you not have to lower your target temp to not "steam out" the meat?
I know here at swamp level we have to stay under 212, really 205. Just a thought??
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:48 AM
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Welll, okay, sometimes early in the evening!
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:17 PM
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I took my last brisket to 205 and it was fine moisture wise.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ View Post
I took my last brisket to 205 and it was fine moisture wise.
At what altitude? It does make a difference?
That post, again, looks excellent! But the question is. Maybe a better formulated question -
Does your finish Int temp need to be adjusted at altitude in relation to boiling temp?
Any thought(s)? (not here in swamp)
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:55 PM
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That cook was at 9000'. I cooked it the same way I do in Las Cruces which is 4000'. Like I mentioned it took longer for the coals to get to temp but that's about it.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ View Post
That cook was at 9000'. I cooked it the same way I do in Las Cruces which is 4000'. Like I mentioned it took longer for the coals to get to temp but that's about it.
Cool, question answered! Hey we don know in the swamp parts! Seems like it should make a difference!
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:01 AM
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Based on Abelman & AJs post I decided since I already smoke hot @ 275, instead of raising the temp I'm going to do my standard hour a pound 12 hour smoke for 12 lb briskets except I bought 10 pounders to compensate for the altitude.

I'll let y'all now how it turns out tomorrow, which is really today since it's after midnight and I'll be up in a few hours to pull the briskets out of the icebox to room temperature and start the fire.

I'm going to have either... beef jerky, a firm juicy slice or pot roast???


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Old 08-05-2017, 11:04 AM
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I definitely do not cook just by time. I recommend keep an eye on the IT and it will reward you in the end.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:06 AM
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From my smoke today I would say the altitude does matter. I thought buying smaller briskets would compensate and I cooked those the same time & cooking temperature as at home.

The flavor was good but you can see the fat cap didn't render out and the meat was not as tender.

One of these days I'll listen and take my Maverick out of the box.


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Old 08-06-2017, 03:03 AM
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The basic science you need to incorporate to make adjustments:

1. The lower the atmospheric pressure, the faster the water evaporate, at any temperature.
2. When water evaporates, it takes away a lot of heat (latent heat loss).
3. The higher the altitude, the lower in oxygen in air. Fire gets hot slower.
4. Thermal conductivity of any substance will remain the same at any pressure; in other words, skin temperature will travel to internal at the same speed at any pressure.

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