Newbie getting a bit overwhelmed...

Discussion in 'Pork' started by cbiscuit, May 5, 2013.

  1. cbiscuit

    cbiscuit Newbie

    So, I got a Brinkman Smoke 'n' Grill (which I guess forum members call an ECB?) from my neighbor. I also have a boston butt (unknown weight). I did the prep that the instruction manual says to do for the smoker (you know, the light coat of oil thing for 2 hours...). I have not YET done some of the mods that I guess I need to do. I have True 'Cue lump from HD.

    I have been scouring the forums (and not just this one) for advice/directiosn/whatever. There is so much info out there that my head is spinning, so I have made this post.

    I would like to make my own rub and then smoke the butt and have a tasty meal. Would it be too much to ask to have some explain this process to me Barney-style?

    How to I prep the butt?

    How do I light the charcoal better?

    How do I measure the temperature to know when it is done (by the by, what temp is measured when people refer to smoking at 220?)

    Etc, etc, etc

    Thanks ahead of time. I look forward to smoking stuff!!
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  2. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Honestly if you're already feeling in over your head I would say to buy a rub and use that. I prep my butts by making sure they're not frozen and applying the rub to it either the night before or just before I throw them on. There are a number of ways to light charcoal, I don't know what would be better than what you did before. But you can use a chimney to light a bit of them and add them to the middle of a bunch of unlit coals. Search for the Minion method on here and the internet. You measure the temperature of the meat by using a food thermometer. When people refer to 225 they're talking about the heat in the cooking chamber at which you are cooking your meat on. Something like the Maverick ET (forgot the model number) has both a cooking chamber thermometer AND meat thermometer all in one at a good price. Good luck!
  3. What raymo said is spot on I love my maverick et-732. Try putting a light coating of yellow mustard on the butt it will help the rub stick and you won't taste it in the final product. Be patient the meat will be done when it's done. Do not open the smoker unless you have to. minion method works great. This is a good place to start it helped me a lot
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF! I see it is your first post here. If you would swing by role call to introduce yourself and add your location to your profile, this way you can get a proper welcome and in future questions things can be specified to your location if needed.

    OK so on to your questions........

    First thing is relax. This will be a long process for making Pulled Pork. If you cook at 225 degrees you are looking at 1.5 - 2 hrs per pound. I plan on the 2 hours. Not all meat will cook the same, so it will be done when it is done. If you get to a point where you can not tend the fire or need to speed up the process a bit, you can do the final foiling step in an oven if needed. the meat will not take any smoke when foiled.

    Charcoal: I use a chimney to light about 10 coals. I will make a "C" in the charcoal pan and place a few chunks of wood along the "C". When the coal are glowing I place them at one end of the "C", making sure it is not touching the other end of the "C". This is a method I saw here and tried it and it works great. Open the top vent all the way and use the bottom vents to adjust the air to the fire to control your temperature. This helps keep the charcoal out of the ash and maintain a more even cooking temperature.

    Water Pan: That is a personal choice on weather you use water in it or not. Some love it and others do not. I personally use a dry chamber and do not mop/spritz my meats as they cook. I would add some clean playground sand to your water pan (about 3" worth). I then would form a valley in the middle of the sand and line this area with foil to catch the juices and keep the sand clean for future uses. The sand will form a heat sync that will help even and maintain better temperatures.

    Temperature monitoring:

    Food: as stated a Maverick is great and I love mine. If you do not have time and need one now, try some of the Big Box stores like Lowes, Home Depot or even Walmart. Where they have the grills they will have a single probe version for about $25-$35. Make sure you calibrate it in boiling water. It should read 212. If not make a note of how far it is off and keep that in mind when checking the temps. If your on a tighter budget you can get a pocket thermometer from Walmart or Target in the cooking supplies area. They are about $10-$15. I prefer digital, they seem to be more accurate and less chance if dropped of losing their calibration like a dial style will. Just remember if your look-in you ain't cook-in and this will add time to your cook because of the temp recovery.

    Cook Chamber: Again Maverick style is best, but you can use the one that came with your smoker. Just check to make sure it is calibrated, most that are stock are way off. You can add others to your smoker, but I would go with a remote sensor style. this way you know what the temp is at the grate level for the meat. Your will tell you the temp at the top of the smoker where the probe is. You will still be able to smoke and get great results.

    Rubs: There are a ton on this site and others. As suggested if you are getting head spins with all the info, maybe use a store bought one to start with. Then move into making your own. But if you are wanting to tray your hand at it here is mine and a link to some of my cooks.

    This is the rub recipe I am using at this time for all of my pork. It is a sweet rub with a good balance of flavors.

    1c             Sugar in the Raw

    1/4c          Fine Ground Sea Salt

    4 1/2tsp    Granulated Garlic

    4 1/2tsp    Course Onion Powder

    2 1/4tsp    Celery Salt

    1 1/2tsp    Ground Oregano

    4 1/2tsp    Chili Powder

    4 1/2tsp    Fine Ground Black Pepper

    For some heat I would add 1tsp smoked chipotle powder. The boss does not like spicy food so I don't at home.

    This is enough for 2-3 butts or 2 shoulders or 6 racks of SL rib racks. Will vary on size and how much you apply.

    Mix all ingredients well and rub onto the meat generously..

    Here are some links of it being used:

    This is the link to the foil/finishing sauce I use...
  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good luck, cbiscuit!  I can't add much advice to what the guys are already giving...just remember to be patient.  There is likely to be a stretch of time in the middle of the smoke when you'll wonder if you're doing something wrong, because the internal temp of the meat isn't moving.  This is normal for a butt, its called the stall, and all you can do is ride it out.  Eventually the IT will start rising again.  Many are tempted to crank up the cook temp during the stall, but IMO its best to just wait it out. 

    Be sure to let us know how it goes...

  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    cbiscuit, Morning and welcome to the forum..... Please take a moment and stop into " /Roll Call/   " and introduce yourself and get a proper welcome from our members.... Also, if you would note your location in your profile, it will help in the future when answering questions about smokin'...   elevation, humidity etc....    

    We're glad you stopped in and joined our group...    Enjoy the long smokey ride....     Dave
  7. cbiscuit

    cbiscuit Newbie

    Okay. Finally (after waiting out the weather) ready to smoke my first butt tomorrow morning early. Here is my plan, so tell me if I am wrong...

    Light lump charcoal (I don't have a chimney, so I'm going the lighter fluid route for this time)

    Wait about 20 minutes for the smoking chamber to get hot

    Add the 6# butt (I rubbed it last night and it's in the fridge now)

    I plan to use sand in the water pan.

    When I put the butt on, I will add a handful of hickory wood chips to get some good smokiness....

    When done, wrap in foil, in a towel, and place in a cooler for about 30 minutes to rest.


    Since I only have one of the dial thermometers for this time, I plan to let it cook for about 8 hours before measuring the internal temp

    Since my ECB only has "warm," "ideal," and "hot," I will try to keep it at ideal and see what happens. I will put an oven thermo on the grate so when I check the IT, I will see what temp "ideal" is.

    I didn't want to get too financially committed on my first run; I might not enjoy my end result!

  8. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First thought is that lighter fluid is evil.  You might try some other way of starting your coals.  Additionally, you didn't specify whether you were going to use a "Minion" type method with your charcoal, or if you were just going to light it all.   What the "Minion" or "C" method described above does is it keeps you from having to add charcoal later.  You start with a small amount of lit charcoal and as it burns, it ignites the charcoal next to it, rinse/repeat giving you steady temps throughout the smoke. 

    Same thing applies to the hickory chips.  If you just throw a handful in on the lit coals, they will burn up in an hour or less and you'll have to throw more on.    Mix them in with the unlit charcoal and they'll already be there ready to burn.  

    I really would look at a small investment in a temp probe.  Even if you decide that smoking is not for you, they are great to use when grilling or even cooking in your regular oven.

    Lastly, the question of when it is done.   Looking back, I don't see that this was really talked about in detail.   Generally, there are two different methods that most around here use.   In the end, the IT should be around 205.   Some will just leave the butt on the smoker all the way through until it gets around 205 AND/OR PASSES other tests for being done (the "pullback" from the bone, does the bone pull out easily, and does a skewer/toothpick slide easily into the meat.   Remember, 205 IT temp is just a guide.

    The second method is that once the butt reaches about 165, some people will pull it off the smoker and wrap it in foil after giving it a good spritz/mop.   Then, put it back on the smoker and cook until it reaches about 205 and/or passes the other tests.

    BTW, the above temps presume that you are wanting pulled pork.   If you are going to slice or chunk the butt, the finished IT temp should be around 180ish.

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