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Arduino - Low Temperature Oven Test

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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Georgia

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:25 am    Post subject: Arduino - Low Temperature Oven Test Reply with quote

I posted some instructions here years ago regarding NC Pulled Pork BBQ, but seems it's been so long that I had to create a new account!

Anyway, in 1999 I started programming some ATMEGA microcontrollers to control the inlet air temperature on my smoker so I could make some BBQ without having to baby sit it all night. I like to cook mine at 185 - 195 dF for 24 hours (pork butt, about 8 lbs). I've been making my own charcoal recently, but that's another post.

I recently made a controller to use with a roaster to use as a cheap Sous Vide. That worked pretty well, but it looked ugly in our kitchen when I used it, so I bought a Sous Vide Supreme and keep it in the kitchen full time.

Years ago, I had also used a flower pot BBQ oven ala Alton Brown, using a hot plate as the heat source. Sometimes, when all of our ovens were in use for large family gatherings such as Thanksgiving, I also used it to cook bread. It did a great job!

Since making BBQ requires low temperatures for a long time, as does Sous Vide (and for the same reasons I might add), I decided to make a low-temperature oven using the flower pot. However, the hotplate temperature controller was rather crude, so I couldn't control the temperature as accurately as is done with Sous Vide. However, for a test, I went ahead and used it as it was.

After doing a lot of research on the safety associated with cooking at low temperatures, I conducted my first test with the flower pot. I cooked a piece of beef chuck, about 4 - 5 lbs, for 2 days at about 165 dF in it. It was pretty tender, although not as tender as a Sous Vide waterbath. Overall, it was good, but not great.

We recently decided to go to Edisto Island SC for a month. I've recently gotten interested in working with Arduinos, so I bought a thermocouple shield and while here at the beach I wrote some software to make a controller. I don't have much equipment with me, so I am limited on what I can build, so I decided to use the existing house oven, put a 250 watt light bulb in it as a heat source, and control it via an Arduino. I didn't have any access to relays that could take the wattage, so I bought a cheap 'Dusk-to-Dawn' photocell control, and I drive it with an LED output from the Arduino.

Using this chewing-gum/bailing-wire rig, I cooked a 6 lb Top Round. I started it off at 200 dF for about 3.5 hours, until the internal temp of the meat came up to 130 dF, then cut the temp back to 140, where it cooked for 2.5 days.

This is a very tough, very lean piece of meat. Since it was a test, I wanted something cheap - it was very cheap at $2.99 per lb. However, it is so lean that it is lacking in flavor; I won't use it again for this type of project.

If you are interested in the test, you can review it in detail here:
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
Posts: 142

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the site,looks interesting for sure!!

I reckon cook times WOULD BE GREATLY INCREASED using lower temps..
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