Newbie with my 2nd smoke tomorrow

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by ctobin, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. My amazing wife got me a 18.5" WSM for Christmas and tomorrow I am going for my second smoke ever on my 18.5" WSM. I'm doing a 9lb bone in pork butt I got from my local butcher that I will serve on Sunday as pulled pork. I am very excited and nervous at the same time. I was hoping to get some of your opinions. So recipe wise I am between going with perfect pulled pork and The Renowned Mr. Brown recipe. What are your opinions on them, or do you have an even better one? Also, what is the best way to reheat the pulled pork?

    My first smoke went really well, I did ribs but left them in a bit too long but they were still amazing. I used my maverick 733 and it worked awesome to monitor the internal temperature of the smoker. Compared to the built in gauge, it was 50 degrees off, easily the best purchase so far besides the smoker itself. I decided to use lump charcoal bc it's natural and for some reason I started caring about that sort of thing along with smoking. I found lump charcoal difficult to work with. I had a hard time keeping a steady temperature, is that common with lump? I also must add that for my first the weather conditions were terrible, heavy winds and pouring rain. I'm hoping the weather played a role in it bc I would like to continue using lump. I also found that a lot of the charcoal wasn't getting lit around the outer edges, is that common? What do you guys do when it's time to add more, I know people use tongs to add them but its a pain doing 1-2 pieces at a time. I'm hoping i can get it lit better tomorrow so I won't have to worry about adding more.

    Any tips or advice for my first pork butt would be well appreciated. Thanks for the help!
  2. I would rub it the night before and wrap in cling wrap and back in the fridge. The next day take it out of the fridge then go get the WSM going. Add your lump to the WSM with a couple of chunks of wood then get a chimny of lump going and put that on top of what is in the pan. Give that time to stableize and get clean smoke, Put a drip pan on the lower rack. Then add the butt. It is now time for the patience because it is going to take a while. Keep an eye on the temps and adjust as needed. Remember you are going to have a stall. That is when you decide if you are going to foil or go naked the whole time. I don't foil. For pulled you need to take it to 200°- 205° then wrap in foil for at least half an hour and even longer is better. If it is going to be a while before you serve it put the wrapped butt in a cooler with towels. It will stay hot for hours. then pull and enjoy. Put the pan drippings in the fridge for a while then remove the grease from the top and pour some of the juice over the PP. To reheat I vacuum seal the heat in hot water still in the bag.

    Happy smoken.

  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't over think it and freak yourself out. Pork butt is REALLY difficult to screw up. You can literally boil it for hours and still have it come out tender and tasty. That being said, there are a few things I've learned that help me get the results I like. I go easy on the rub. I'm not a fan of thick black crust, so I give a light dusting of a not too sugary rub and let the smoke be the main seasoning. As for when it's done, the probe test is really your best indicator. David's suggestion of 200-205 is spot on. Usually.
    Like briskets, all butts are different. The sweet spot can vary slightly, so the old poke test really is the only way to know exactly when it's done to your liking. I like it when my Thermapen slides in like warm butter but then meets just a little resistance when I get to the very center of the thickest part. This gives me a little more texture to the meat. Since I use a thermapen as a probe, I've noticed that the outer inch is usually in the 200-205 range, while the center is usually in the 195 range.
    For cooking temps, your WSM, since it's new, will likely want to run a little hotter. Don't sweat it. Let it settle in where it wants. At 300 you're looking at little or no stall and a total cook time of 6-7 hours. At 225 it's anybody's guess. 20 hours would not be out of the question. In my experience, the shorter, hotter cook works best for me.
    The most important thing as far as I'm concerned is that you have fun and enjoy the process. The second most important thing is the post smoke rest. Wrapped in foil and resting in a cooler covered in towels, the meat will stay hot for hours. It's also during this rest that additional magic occurs. The juices re absorb, the connective tissue continues to break down and the meat gently cools, leading to a wonderful, tender, juicy texture that is one of life's little treasures. An hour is good. 2 is better. 3 is even better.
    Let us know how it works out!!
  4. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit


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