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Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal on a Mission! 17lbs of Butts...Progressive Q-View

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am determined to pull this one off...me, my heavily modded Charcoal fired Brinkmann Gourmet, and 2 large butts and sub freezing temps for a no-foil pulled pork. I've never tried to get butts up to finished temps without foiling before, as it seems to take an eternity just to get them above 180* without foil and then foil to reach 200* to wrap and rest, so I'm looking forward to making this happen. The unfoiled pork should have an incredible bark by the time it reaches 200* to foil, wrap in towels and rest, and that's what my quest is based upon for this smoke.


I finally was able see a break long enough for another all-night/all-day smoke and tossed this twin-pack into a 5 gallon covered bucket of water for 20 hours to start the thaw 2 days ago while monitoring the water temp (peaked out @ 37*), then pitched 'em into my 34* Q-Fridge for another 24 hours to be ready for tonight.


Ambient temp was 32* and falling when they went in @ 4:25 pm MDT.






Rinsed off and scored the fat caps @ 3/4 inch spacings:
















Rubbed heavily with a double batch to cover both butts with our family favorite and my "go to" Red Bell Pepper Rub (recipe found in the Wiki):







Into the Gourmet with a half-fist sized chunk of Mesquite for the initial smoke @ 240* target temps on the grates (EDIT): and dry water pan, monitored with digi-probe through the side of the barrel. My lower grate is supported by heavy gauge chrome plated wire hooks hanging from the upper grate supports. This only leaves about 1-1/2" clearance beteen the upper grate and the top of the lower butt, so I hope it's enough room when the butt starts shrinking and tightening up...they tend to grow upwards and shrink-up the grate foot-print, so we'll see how that goes in about 12 hours:













I started with about 5lbs of Kingsford blue bag, then added another 2lbs of hot coals after the first hour just to drive that initial thermal energy deeper into the butts before I let things settle in for the night's long ride. I pushed the temps to 250-270* for the first 3/4 hour, so now I'll try to hold around the 240* mark for the duration.


When the Mesquite is burned off, I'll drive it home with a chunk of Hickory. This should give 'em about 14 hours of TBS.


Should be another beautiful night for smoking, as the winds are dying down to near still air...I smell pork and smoke in the house already...neighbors will go nuts for blocks in all directions when they come home from work tonight...HA-HA-HA!!! Gotta love being able to dish out a good teaser!


See you with updates later...gotta go check on the smoke!


Thanks for peeking!



Edited by forluvofsmoke - 12/6/10 at 7:02pm
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 

3 hour, 55 minute update...


I added 2lbs of hot coals to pull temps back up, as it had slowly droped into the 220* range. I stabbed direct read thermometers into the butts for a quick temp and had 151* on bottom, and the top one was @ 142*. I'll rotate the two grate positions about 7-8 hours into the smoke to even out the internals a bit by the time they're getting closer to the 190-200* mark. This should get a more evenly developed bark as well. I want BARK on my butts!!! LOL!!!!!!



These are looking good enough to eat already, but, gotta wait about 10-12+ more hours until they'll even be in the foil to rest........can hardly wait...it's been WAY too long since my last PP smoke.














Back later, all!



post #3 of 12

Looking good, sounds like it may be a long night. Hang in there.

post #4 of 12

Stay on it!  I am really curious about that no-foil bark you're striving for!

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Tom37 View Post

Looking good, sounds like it may be a long night. Hang in there.

Thanks Tom, yeah, long night, but it's not my first rodeo...me & the brinky are having a good time together, with the usual fire/smoke checks about every 45-60 minutes, and all is well as could be expected...maybe even better than I expected. This is only my second cold weather smoke with it so far...well, cold for some folks, but not for me. Temp outside is now 27* and the forecasted low for tonight is 18*...it'll handle it just fine though, as I have my lower intake vent set at about 40% of full open, and I haven't opened my auxiliary intake vent but a couple times to bump temps back up after adding charcoal. She's got plenty of fire power to go the distance if it gets really ugly outside...30 or 40 below zero will make it break a sweat from time to time, I think. I'll probably be running the main intake wide open all the time and the auxilliary every time I have to pull the barrel to add charcoal, which will probably be about a pound every hour to keep temps fairly steady. I'll have plenty of smokes to do through the upcoming winter months to put it through it's paces and find out for sure.


7 hour update...



I stuck therms into the butts again and found the top at 151* and the bottom at 162*, so I pulled the grates and switched top to bottom. The lower butt did make contact with the upper grate and butt, so the bark was not very well developed. I figured this would happen as I mentioned on the first post, but the rotation should help things along. It will likely cause some internal temp variations as well, but I don't think it will be enough to worry about.



Oh my...what a color transformation, and the butt's got bark...woof-woof!!!













There's the under-developed bark...it'll come around quite a bit better by the time we finally reach foil/wrap/resting temps:







I pulled the barrel after rotating grate positions, knocked the ashes off the 2-3" deep coal-bed and tossed in a fist-sized chunk of Hickory for the final smoke...this should take it another 7 hours and then some. Gonna be some smoky pulled pork goodness in my belly in about 15 more hours (midnight here now). Dinner's at 5:00 pm if anyone can make it...late arrivals will still have plenty to eat, 'cause I figured about half to two-thirds of this will end it's journey in the freezer, anyway.


To be continued...



post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

9 hour, 50 minute update...


Internal temps were both @ 162*, and presumably in the middle of their stalls. I normally would see stalls anywhere from the upper 140's to mid 150's range, depending on my smoke chamber temp, which I normally would run @ 220-230*. The higher chamber temp of 250-270* for the first hour, and targeting 240* for the past ~9 hours has driven the stall temp quite a bit higher. Being I've had the two butts stacked up, with one directly over the other, and then having them actually contacting each other due to shrinkage relatively early in the smoke, the stalls will likely run fairly long...something I didn't really want with a dry water pan. The drippings are hitting the pan and steaming off the water, so this will help keep the moisture content higher in the meat, I would think. Placing the butts into the smoker with the fat cap up should help as well...self basting the pork as it cooks.


Anyway, I planned on an all-night/all-day smoke, if it came to that, so no worries. Maybe the plan for a 5:00 pm dinner will be just about right, with a 3 hour rest in foil. That would put me at...uh...OK, gotta put my thinking cap back on...started the smoke @ 4:25 pm, so, 21-1/2 hour smoke time? Yikes!!!! Good thing I had 160lbs of charcoal in reserve plus about 10lbs in a sorting bin when I started this smoke! LOL!!!!!!


I took a couple quick shots...well, as fast as the flash would recharge when I first popped the lid for temp checks. I really need to get 2 more digi-therms up and running...1 more would suffice for this smoke, as I could stick a long stem fryer therm into the barrel for grate temp monitoring...it just wouldn't have the high temp alarm. I haven't had much for temp spike issues tonight though, so that's a nice change of pace...maybe running the dry water pan has alot to do with that. I need less heat output to keep the temps up where I want them, so if anything changes with the fire, it happens quite a bit slower even though I don't have the water as a thermal mass.


On to those pics, shall we?


Some steam and a good amount of smoke greeted me eyeballs at first look:




Smoke is clearing up a bit after the first shot:




There we are...the under-developed bark has nearly become one with the butt...that's what I wanted to see:




I'm heading back out to stick my nose over the vent...I just love the smell of hickory with pork...mmmmm!


BTW, yes, I have been getting hungry during this smoke, and the single servings of food I've been grazing on nearly every hour for the past 8 hours just aren't getting the job done...it's gonna take some killer pulled pork to satisfy me now!!!!!!! Oh man, 14 more hours? That just can't be right! Oh, crap...14 hours it is...it's only 3:00 am now.......icon_cry.gif


But I LOVE these all-nighters! LOL!!!!!!!!



post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by adiochiro3 View Post

Stay on it!  I am really curious about that no-foil bark you're striving for!

Still alive and smokin'!!!


Yeah, I'm hoping the bark will be as good as it looks so far.


I had a temp drop while I was munching on some Ritz cracker with pickled Jalepeno slices...good tool to stay awake, between the the crunchy carbs and the flavor and heat of the Jalepeno to top it off. Anyway, munching away when I looked at the time and realized it had been over 3 hours since I added charcoal...out the door to find I had 180* chamber temps, but it only took about 2 minutes to start up half a chimney on an outdoor cooker burner and another 3 or 4 minutes to get hot enough to stop smoking before I pulled the barrel to toss 'em on the nearly burned out coals on the grate. Couple more minutes and we were cooking again.


I stabbed my digi-probe into the upper butt and got a 178* reading at the 12 hour mark, which really surprised me. So I probed the lower butt and got 183*. I pulled and rotated the grate positions one last time, put the probe in the lower butt and closed it up for the finish (I hope).


13 hours, 44 minutes and the probes hit 190*, so I might survie another all-nighter after all, and have some samples before I take a nap while the butts take their nap all wrapped up and cozy in foil & towels. I'm definitely feeling the fatigue...well, actually that hit about 2 hours ago. Whatever I did see for a stall must have been relatively short lived...I'm cool with that.


Anyway, no pics this time...I wanted to get a lid on it as quick a spossible and keep it closed up 'til final temp checks when my 200* temp alarm sounds.


I am a little concerned about running the dry water pan and having rendered fat dripping into it...the smoke from the hot grease may have an adverse effect on the flavor of the bark, but I may be wrong. It just goes against what I've always strived for, which is a clean, smooth smoked meat. I maybe second guessing things just because I'm too darn tired to think straight, too...I'll just have to wait and see, 'cause there's no turning back now.


Son-of-a-gun, it's already 6:10 am...the sun will up to greet me in a little over an hour...and what a day it will be!


Whatever the outcome of the no-foil method, at least I can say I tried it cool.gif


Back with some (about to be) foiled pics in a few hours...well, the way things are going probably 1 hour and some change 'til temps are in the prime. Then, I'll have to punch out for a couple hours, myself.


See ya soon!



post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

I just got this post dumped somehow...I'll try to just post the pics, and hopefully remember everything else later...too tired right now.


Top butt was 186*...may pull tough, but maybe not so bad...felt fairly tender when I probed around a bit, but not alot of bone showing:




Bottom was 197* and lots of bone protruding and little resistance when probing...good to go for sure:







I may get some sliced and some pulled, but I'm OK with that. I want BARK! WOOF-WOOF!!! And, it finshed WAY sooner than I thought, so smoked pork for lunch as well as dinner!


I'll try to remeber the rest of the details later when I post fianl pics and a review of the bark.


See ya soon...well, gimme about a 3-hr nap before pulling and munching pig candy, OK?


Thanks all!



post #9 of 12

WOOF-WOOF!!!  PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif

post #10 of 12

That's some mighty fine looking bark, I will be anxiuosly awaiting the final shots & report.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey all!


Just got pics uploaded after taking a nap and pulling both butts...kinda goes against what most folks would say about PP, but 186* with a 5 hour rest worked out fine with the larger of these two.


Anyway, it was 14-1/4 hours total time in the smoker, so far less than I expected, even with knowing I'd have some temp swings. You won't hear me complain about it...had I been running a propane rig for this smoke, I'd have stuck to 225-230* straight through and about 18 hours later would have been foiling them.


The bark developed very well on both, but did soften up accross the fat cap during resting. The rest of it seemed pretty firm with some hardened areas that still had some crunch...I really like the varying textures.


Anyway, here's the 197* butt after a 5-hr nap...if you look closely, you'll notice that I didn't get that deep prominent smoke ring which I generally will with pork. That is also caused by the higher initial temps and carrying it a bit hotter throughout the cooking. The smoke flavor was great though, no complaint there either. Oh, speaking of flavor, I was concerned that the drippings hitting that hot & dry water pan may cause some nasty flavor, maybe like charred meat on a grill or something? Well, that didn't happen either:













Here's the 186* butt...maybe a pound heavier than the first...I was skeptical about it pulling, but OK with sliced, if that's what I ended up with. A slight tug on the bone and a little harder to pull apart the meat and remove the nasties than usual, but I think I actually did myself a favor by not taking it all the way to 195 or 200* and over, as it seemed a bit more moist than the first one. Neither were really very dry, but I am accustomed to foiling or panning and tenting at 170-180*, then taking temps to the finish and having tons liquids in the pan. Didn't really need it with these though. I ate a couple sandwiches while uploading pics, and the more I ate the more I wanted, so I had to just get busy typing here before I over did it...LOL!!!!!!!






















Right now I'm not sure that I'd change anything I did here, except for maybe foil at 190* or so and get 'em foiled to rest. Other than that...well, if I think of anything else, I'll drop it in later.


Would I try this again? You know I will...


I knew a few of you were dying for the results and finished pics, so I'm kinda rushing things here.


Been another great ride on my quest for the ultimate smoke!




post #12 of 12


Now thats some fine looking butts there Eric. I like all the Q-view too. 

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