oil Drum Smoker Issue

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by adenjago, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi All

    After a successfully Pulled Pork smoke below below thread .....


    Brimming with confidence I got the Smoker out again to do another Batch of Pulled pork and another Fatty ready for the weekend get together but all did not go as plan, and had a couple of issue's

    Maverick Temp Probe being weird

    using the maverick which worked fine and flawlessly in the above thread was not happy, the one probe for the bbq and one for the pork the temp, but second probe was stuck on 36 for ages ? and that the Pork was 318 ?,  I tried changes the connections on the transmitter as I thought I had them mixed up, turning both the devices on and off the only way of correcting them was to put the Drum probe in the Pork and Pork for the Drum and then it kicked it life correctly, is this a common issue or just a blip ? 

    Area Pork of Pork Shoulder not pulling  

    the pork was in there from about 10am till 8pm, plus an hour wrapped in a towel,  but when it came to pulling most of it was fine apart from a big lump that felt different and would not pull (3rd picture) not sure what it is or how to avoid it in the future ?

    Water at the bottom of the Smoker

    After every smoke, there seems to be a build of water at the Base, i think it's water and certainly it isn't fat,  but I'm curious to know if maybe I need more vents on top top to let the Smoke out as my exhausts are around the Side of the Lid ?

    any idea's on what is causing the build up ??

  2. Hello Ade.  I told you I didn't know it all.  The Mav is a new toy I have that I haven't tried.  If I had my guess on the "chunk o pork" that didn't pull I would say the probe wasn't deep enough.  The centre of the pork was not quite up to temp.  As for the water:  YES.  I would say your vents are not up to the job.  There MUST be some steaming going on.  I would change/add vents AND:  take a BIG hammer ( sledge hammer ) and "whack" a dent into the centre of the bottom of the UDS ( from inside to outside ).  Then drill a 8-12mm hole in the middle of that dent.  Allow the water to escape.  PAINT that hole inside and out with high temp paint and or seal it in some way so the rust doesn't get started.  Rust will eat that UDS in a heartbeat!  Sit your UDS on 3 scrap pieces of 2x1 and let 'er drain.  The exhaust changes should take care of most of the problems.  Just my opinion.  Keep Smokin!

  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You might have a bad Maverick unit there. They are usually pretty good about replacing bad probes and stuff. Give them a call. I agree with Danny you need more ventilation. I can't tell what size your bottom intakes are from the build thread but it does look like you need some more holes or bigger holes in the lid. I use a regular flat barrel lid with one 2" hole and one 1" hole. No water in the bottom ever. I do open two of the intakes when I'm not using it for air circulation so it doesn't get condensation in it as bad. One thing i found out with my maverick is to replace the batteries that come with the unit. They are really crappy and cheap. New fresh batteries and make sure the probes are all the way in the sockets too. I had a problem one day and the plug had come out a little bit. I also agree with Danny that pork in the center was not quite to the pulling point yet. I bet it was kind of tough to figure out when it was done with the thermometer like that. Well, good luck for next time. Happy smoking. timber
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Hey can you post a picture of your UDS please. 
  5. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi All, 

    thanks for the response's, the Probe was near the centre and close to the bone but not touching the bone, the probe  was in the centre I aimed it towards there, of course  the internal temp got up to about 188, but as already mentioned the therm was not playing ball,  but it could always be that it was not pushed as far in as I thought it was

    there is a bone running through the centre,  I'll see if I can get a decent picture of it up.

    as you can see in the pics the probe is about  half way in, and as you know the probes are quite long

    yes Im certainly need another inlet for the air intake, as once i lift the Lid and more air gets to the Fire I get a big Spike in Temp by 50-100, the size of the intakes is just under an inch in diameter.  once I have shut the fire is out I do ensure both the inlets are open like you for air circulation,

    The water is normally is after the smoke, which will be higher up than the existing two but I agree there is some steaming going on so I maybe it needs a round type vent (like the ones on the Weber kettle) in the middle of the Lid ?

    Also what do you guys in regards to getting the probes into the Smoker ?,  at the moment they are going through the air exhausts the top,  Im considering either a small hole at the side with a grommet or a little notch near the lid, as it is i pain when taking the lid off, 

  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Ade

    I always get my butcher to de-bone the shoulder before I smoke it and I cook it flat (not rolled and tied). This gives more surface area for the rub and also helps it to cook more evenly.
  7. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Cheers wade it wasn't a rolled Joint,  it was pork a shoulder as close to the neck as possible, and was cut in front of me, the butchers I goto is on the back of there abattoir, which is great as they will bring part of the neck (or what ever I want out)  should out and cut which part I want (of course, I could have got the Pork shoulder area wrong)

     I have always been led to believe that "bone-in" improves the flavor ?

    oops just noticed it has truncated part of the sentence,  it should read "Roughly where the bone inside was"

    not sure if the Video will  work, but it seems Seems to work  [​IMG]  
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Some have said that but I don't know. Maybe a blind taste trial is called for here.
  9. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I have seen a lot of these with the tall inlet pipes that get water in the bottom due to all the pipe there in the inlet creating moisture and it seems the 90 degree turn makes it even worse. I would do like danny said and make a drain hole. I just drilled a hole to get my probes in through the side. No grommet. I am just careful with putting them in and taking them out. If you can get a grommet that would probably be better. I would not want a center hole as any exaust port is a point where you might get a drip once in a while that could drip black stuff down onto your meat. Did you say you cooked the Butt to 188? If so I take shoulder's and butts to over 200 degrees. 188 is too low.
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    By the way I like bone in. That bone is great for making stock for a good soup or gravy. The dog loves it too.
  11. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    hi timber

    yes, it got up to 188 and then started going down, so I pulled it off....I read somewhere that between 190-200 is the magic number so I assumed I was closer enough but obviously not,  I think my main priority needs to be the extra inlet as i do struggle without open the lid to get it above 250..once the lid is off it shoots up so it the fire is not getting enough air

    200+ is noted for future smokes, thanks

    interesting theory on the water\moisture, not something i would have thought off, I assume it was dripping running down the sides ?,   I suppose for a quick test on my next smoke, I could take the pipework off and just have the valves come directly off the nipples.
  12. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Yes you might try that. I know that if you have a long chimney coming out of the top of a smoker you get a lot of condensation dripping down. So that is where my theory comes from. There was someone a year or 2 ago that had a center exhaust and it did cause a drip problem with him. I can't remember that far back who it was though. I like 205 for my shoulder's and butts. More fat renders out and it just pulls better. I don't like to have to pick fat out once I am pulling after the rest myself. Also I smoke below 250 myself. with 225 being my target temp. UDS's seem to like to run near that temp. It's just the nature of the beast.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    by the way you can get a stall at any temp and sometimes 2 or 3 different temps on the same cook. That center portion was trying to get done so that 188 stall was there for a reason.
  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't know if it because I cook my pork shoulder de-boned and unrolled but I don't recall ever having a stall - at least not since I have been data logging my cooks. Maybe that statement has just tempted providence though and my next smoke will take forever!
  15. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi Wade\Timber

    Hang on, so when you say Stall,  it was cooking the centre that did not pull,  so you saying this is to be expected\normal ?.......

    I didn't encounter or notice this on the previous cook i don't think it happened on the previous cook looking from my previous log

    so I should left it and maybe topped up the coals ? as the temp was staring to drop

    I normally pull the pork off when the Internal Temp starts dropping,  please bear in mind  this only my third smoke and the second using the Maverick, of which each smoke there is learning curve 

    Previous Pork Shoulder Log

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Ade

    If you look at your temperature profiles against time it gives you a better picture as to what is happening. I have put a horizontal dotted line at the temperature around which you should be aiming 230F (110 C). 

    You will see that towards the beginning there was a nice steady increase in meat temperature over time, however after the first 90 minutes the smoker temperature continued to drop until sometime between 2 and 4.5 hours the smoker was down to only 34 Deg F hotter than the meat itself. The closer the temperature of the smoker gets to that of the meat the slower the internal temperature of the meat will rise.

    You got the meat up to 185 F in just over 6 hours, however it was because the smoker was cooling down after that which was caused it to take so long to reach the 190 F 

    You finally got your pork to an IT of ~190 F (which is where I usually take mine) however as it took so long to get there in the cool smoker the temperature gradient within the meat (outside to centre) would have been quite small. Usually with the higher smoker temperature you would expect a larger gradient within the meat and once it has been removed from the smoker and over-wrapped in foil and in towels, the IT if the meat would continue to rise as the heat from the outside of the meat continued to radiate inwards. It is not unusual during the initial stages of resting for the IT temperature of the meat to rise as much as a further 8 Deg F (4.5 C). With your lower smoker temperatures at the end this is unlikely to have occurred.

    The thing to work on a little more is your temperature control and yes, I do think that you should have added more coals towards the end to keep the smoker IT around the 230 mark.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A quick question about your timings. I see that you wrapped the pork in the towel at 5:10pm but then pulled it at 4:10pm. Was this the next day?
  18. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Here in the states we mostly get untrimmed bone in Pork Butts. They are very thick and dense. It seems they trim yours differently there when they debone them most of the time so that it ends up to be much thinner. Then they roll them up and tie. I see that yours was more american style and very thick. You will almost always get a stall with one like that. Wade brought up a good point about your smoker temp being low. That certainly does not help. Next time try to keep the smoker temp.up to at least 225 the whole time. You can foil at 165 or so to speed up the process and even at that point take it to the oven. As it is foiled there is no more smoke getting to it anyway. Just keep your probe in the meat so you know when it gets to your target temp or better yet when it is probe tender. Very easy to slide a skewer or your probe into the meat. Like a hot knife through butter. Then wrap it again so it is double wrapped in foil and stow in a cooler dry with towels or a warm oven works too for a couple of hours. I swear it will be perfect every time if you follow this advice. Happy smoking. Timber.
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Also you should start with a full basket. You can always shut the air to the fire when you get done with the smoker and save the leftover charcoal for next time. I have never had to reload mine on a smoke and I had one go 26 hours. This is a good reason to sort out that lid and make it so you can close those vent holes when you need to.
  20. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you fill the basket you will not waste charcoal if you shut down all of the vents when you have finished cooking. Just shake out the basket to remove any ash and then use any un-burned fuel in your chimney starter for next time.

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