Cliff Temp Question for pulled pork

Discussion in 'CharGriller Owners Group' started by fpmich, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I saw a post of yours stating you cook Pork Butts at 285* to 315* without a stall.

    I'm not a fan of long cooks myself either. 

    I have a bone in butt 6 1/2 lb.  If I smoke it in CG, without foiling, should it be done in less than  8 hours rather than 10-13 hours at low and slow of 225*? 

    I would prefer cooking without foiling if it doesn't take forever.

    I would use combo of charcoal and wood chunks.  Chunks for both flavor and heat control, when I have to bump it a bit.

    My other option is to smoke it for 5-6 hours and finish in oven.  But I prefer it in smoker until done.

    Suggestion, my friend?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  2. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, I think you will be successful. If I remember correctly you have baffles or tuning plate to even out temps across the cooking grate, this should work to your advantage for temp control.

    Normally I cook butts on the Weber kettle which requires much less tending than the CG, and temperature control is much easier.(plus in the winter I can stay inside and monitor the pit when it's 10°outside)

    I guess the best advice I can give at this point is to try to keep the temps at 300°-315° range as much as possible and do not go below 285° for an extended period.

    If you can do these 2 things I think you will be done in 8 hours or less.

    Good Luck[​IMG]
  3. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you Cliff. 

    Sounds good.  I will be cooking this butt later today.  I'm not a fan of pulled pork, but wife is.  So....  you know the rest.  LOL   This will be my very 1st.

    When I dump an unlit 3/4 chimney of GFS Hardwood briquettes in basket, and then add a full, fully lit basket on top, it quickly rises to 340-350* or higher.

    I use this to preheat the smoker.  After an hour it usually settles in between 300* - 320* for awhile more.

    After maybe another 1/2 hour, it really settles between 280*-300* for quite awhile, before it drops below 270* and having to add more coals or wood to bump up.

    I don't add smoke until meat has been in drying for an hour.

    If I add 6 lb. butt at 340-350* to let it dry off,

    while smoker is slowly cooling down to 300* for an 45 min to an hour,  would that be okay? 

    Or would it make the meat contract too fast and remain tough?

    Also, if I maintained temps between 300-330* for the whole cook until IT of 200-205*, would it adversely affect the tenderness too much? 

    Been trying to read about higher temps for smoking, but most of the forum members are dedicated to 225-235* for some reason.

    Hard to find many threads about cooking at higher temps with good results.

    As for my tuning plates.... no I don't have any.  I'm still using foil pans or lids as temporary fix on top of the cooking chamber ash grate.

    They do help some, but now that I've experimented for a couple of years with them, I'm seriously thinking about some heavier steel plates to use.  Both for smoke flow and maintaining heat.

    Thanks for your help, yet again Cliff.

    You The Man when it comes to CG's!
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  4. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes the higher temps are OK, quality will not suffer.
  5. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Pork turned out great!  But hot and fast for one butt in CG is not the way to go.

    Even though I kept my temps up quite well, it still took WAY longer than I expected.  12 hours for a 6.63 lb. butt!

    I'm tired and still have pull it tonight.  Actually, I'm not going to pull it.  I'm just going to semi-pull it into chunks, add finishing sauce to it, bag it, and then into fridge.  I'll chop it tomorrow, and remix the sauce in.

    Taste is awesome!  I got some excellent bark on it!

    No wonder I didn't care for pulled pork before.  Never had it taste this good before.  I may have to change my mind on this.  LOL

    I'll post particulars as for temps and times tomorrow, and add a couple of photo's.
  6. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Very curious, this seems to indicate that the grate temp where the butt was sitting was lower than the temps that your pit therms were reading. By a lot.[​IMG]
  7. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    That was my first thought too Cliff, but.... (pardon the pun)...

    It was actually the other way around.  My grate therms on lid is about 2" above main grate level, but for this smoke I put the butt on top shelf, and used my maverick placed about 2 inches from the meat for top grate temp reading.  It ran 20* to 30* higher than the lower grate temps all the time.

    Smoker heated up @ 385*400*, for two hours before temp dropped down to 335*.  I brushed the grates off when it hit 400* for awhile

    Butt went in at 335*, after an hour on counter ,while prepping and waiting on smoker.

    Two hours maintained 300*-320* before having to add lit coals when it hit 270* briefly around the 2 1/4 hour mark.

    Six hours maintained between 280* and 295*, with some spikes to 315*-320*  Could not keep it above 280* without added small dry Maple branches for fire, but  I soon ran out of those.  Breeze had died to nothing, and I even took a fan out to blow on it, but that seemed to cool the smoker more than stoke the fire after dark.

    Didn't want to burn any more fuel as I wasn't getting high temps anyway,

    so finished in oven un-covered @ 340* for 1 1/2 hours.  Over cooked it a bit.  Didn't pull out until 207* IT.

    IT was at 187* when I brought it in, and I think I should've just tented it then, to rest.

    If my times in this post don't add up, it's because I miss-read my log.

    My conclusions:  If using CG, get some very dry small wood splits to use for heat.  Learn how to maintain them, for heat. 

    And Butts, Briskets, and Salmon probably do best in a smaller vertical smoker.  Easier to control the variables.

    But, it wasn't a disaster!  

    Just took longer than planned.  I think heat control was my problem, as well as well as a small chunk of meat in a large smoking chamber.

    Bone removed

    I had to force myself to remove and eat those shards of meat,

    so you could see the smoke ring on it too.

    There was no "Stall" as such.  IT Temp rose steadily, each and every hour.  It just did it too slow.  As Tim Taylor used say... "Ungh... MORE HEAT!"  LOL
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  8. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I made a finishing sauce, and dipped some of the still hot meat into it.  AWESOME flavor! 

    I should have ate more of it then, instead of restraining myself.

    Because when I made it into pulled pork last night for dinner, it was still just nasty pulled pork to me.

    Am I going to be kicked out of the group or forums for blasphemy?  LOL

    Flavor is great, but I just don't like pulled pork.  Texture thing, I guess.

    Wife loved both the pulled pork and the finishing sauce, and she is picky, picky, picky.  So I guess I done good.

    I am elected to make the finishing sauce for 300 lb. of BBQ Pork at her church festival for Veterans, and family fun day, this Saturday though.

    My step-son and his cousin is going to do the pork.  They have a large smoker on trailer doing that kind of thing.
  9. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    OH MAN!

    I'm disheartened!  I thought my step-son, and his cousin really knew what they were doing with their weekend sideline BBQ business.  I was so proud of Scott and his cousin.  They even manage to clear a few hundred bucks on their weekend cooks for large parties.

    I was proud until today, that is....

    They've dropped way down the list for BBQ folks to hire, and I'll never recommend them to anyone again.

    They brought their rig (a large fuel oil tank, cut vertically in half on a trailer) and a camper trailer to our house for the night before the party.  When they told me they were going to only haul the smoker (I call it a grill, because they use no wood, only Kingsford blue) to the site of the party about 5 AM and then fire it up with 4 to 6 bags of charcoal, douse with 1/2 gal of starter fluid and toss meat on when flames died down about 5"50 AM.  I almost choked on my beer.  Dinner was supposed to be served from noon on.

    Well, that is what they did.  Dinner was late.  They started serving undercooked pulled pork around 1:00.  Safe to eat temp, but way undercooked for pulled pork.   I seriously doubt any of it reached beyond 180*.   I noticed that the bones from the roasts, all had tons of meat still strongly attached to it.  It had fatty tough connective tissue all through the meat.  ICK!

    I ate one piece that was offered to me upon arrival, and told them it was good.  What the hell am I going to say at that point?

    Neither of them knew what they were supposed to do with the finishing sauce, and never even heard of a finishing sauce.  My wife had told them to bring squeeze bottles for it, but of course they didn't remember.  Didn't remember tongs either.  Had to run my 4 sets down to them.

    There is a lot more, but I don't want to bad mouth them too much.  They are relation.  Well step-son Scott is.

    But here is the KICKER!

    When they started to pull it, they were very carefully CUTTING OFF ALL THE BARK, with sharp knives, (which I also had to provide), because theirs were duller than butter knives.  LOL   I thought maybe they were cutting it off to chop into small pieces to mix back in so everyone would get some of the smoke flavor and crunch from the bark.    Nope....  They tossed all the bark into the trash can bag!     So people were served what was supposed to BBQ Pulled Pork, but may have well been done, in oven or crock pots.  It was just cooked pork.  Not BBQ!

    It was pathetic.   And a sad day for us.

    I guess I feel better about my bit overcooked first pork butt now.  At least it tasted like smoked meat, and not crockpot stuff.

    I told my wife if she, and her church continue this this next year, I will cook the pork ahead on my little smoker, and freeze until party.  At least they will have some smoky bark flavor, even if it's not crunchy straight from the smoker..

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