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First Smoke...not so good

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So, I tried my first smoke on Saturday.  I just bought the all stainless MES 40" from Cabela's and preseasoned it on Friday.

I read the 5 day E-course, purchased Jeff's recipes, and decided to follow the "pulled pork sticky" from the forum. I had bought an 8 pound pork butt and seasoned and wrapped it on Friday night, and everything seemed to be going perfect.

 

On Saturday, I put the butt in the smoker at 6am, set the temperature to 225 and started the smoke.  I believe around 10am the internal temperature was around 100, so I started spraying with a cider/rum mix every hour.  At around 3, the internal temperature was about 155.....and then it stalled.  I waited a few hours, (and I know I wasn't supposed to) and kicked the temp up to 240, but after 2 hours, that didn't seem to do anything, so I lowered it to 230.  By 9pm that night, the internal temp had only climbed to 159.  By 10pm it was still below 160, so...giving up...I foiled it, and put it in a cooler, wrapped in a towel, and decided to finish it in the oven the next day.  I placed it in the oven at 250 for about 4 hours to get the internal to 200 degrees, then removed an pulled.  Needless to say, the pork was mushy, the bark was very soft, and the taste was really not that great.  Definitely not what I had in mind.

 

So, I guess I have a few questions for next time, and I would appreciate any help.

1.  Is a 6 hour stall normal?  I know stalling is normal for a few hours...but after 6+ hours I would have assumed it would have climbed more than 5 degrees.

2.  Should I smoke at 240 or higher with my smoker?

3.  Could I finish in the oven at 155?

 

I did check to make sure the thermostat was on, and I do believe the meat probe and temp of the MES are within a few degrees of being right on.

 

Thank you for any help you can give!

post #2 of 12

 

So, I guess I have a few questions for next time, and I would appreciate any help.

1.  Is a 6 hour stall normal?

There is no normal with butts or brisket, a 6 hour stall is what it is. You have to be patient & ride it out. DO NOT RAISE THE TEMP to get through the stall.

I know stalling is normal for a few hours...but after 6+ hours I would have assumed it would have climbed more than 5 degrees.

Not so, you cannot assume anything.

2.  Should I smoke at 240 or higher with my smoker?

Not for a butt, I smoke them at 210.

3.  Could I finish in the oven at 155?

The default temp for foiling is 165 degrees, at that point you could finish it the oven set at whatever temp you were smoking, for me that would be 210. Could you finish it in the oven when it gets to 155 yes, but the idea is to expose it to the smoke for a long time. Then foil to retain moisture.

post #3 of 12

Check the temps on the MES to make sure they are accurate first off. Then for butts crank the heat up a little I smoke mine at 235-250. Often times when using my GOSM I will take the meat out of the smoker when I foil it and put it in the oven set at 250 degrees to finish and save propane the same would work for you. Personally in your case I would have went ahead and foiled the butt at 155 and that will often times break the stall as well. Another thing that will usually break a very long stall is to take a big fork and stab the meat a couple times. Hope your next smoke goes smoother but remember most things take 1.5 hours per lb to smoke and often times longer

post #4 of 12

"and I do believe the meat probe and temp of the MES are within a few degrees of being right on."

 

What lead you to believe that? Did it say 212 when you put it in boiling water.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have two external thermometers (an oven and a digital meat probe).  I put them both in boiling water. The over said 200 in boiling water, the digital meat probe said 211.  When placed in the MES set at 225, the oven said 210 (ish)...that's about the same % off as my boiling water test....and the MES meat probe was reading about 1 degree lower than my digital probe.

I will double check by setting the temp to 212 in the MES and see if I can get water to boil to double check...

 

Thank you for the suggestions so far.  Next time, I won't turn the heat up at all.  I have read on here about the stall, and I knew that it was normal...I just thought a 6+ hour stall was abnormal and that I might be missing something or doing something wrong.

I was counting on 1.5 hours per pound for the cooking time, and thought that was more of a definite than just a good average

I've definitely learned now that cooking the day before, then reheating sounds like the way to go!

 

post #6 of 12

We normally cook by temp not time.

 

Every time you open the door it extends your cook time a good amount.

 

You might take a trip to the handy dandy search tool and read all the WIKIs.

 

 

 

  Craig

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter1979 View Post

 

On Saturday, I put the butt in the smoker at 6am, set the temperature to 225 and started the smoke.  I believe around 10am the internal temperature was around 100, so I started spraying with a cider/rum mix every hour.  At around 3, the internal temperature was about 155.....and then it stalled. 


I would be more concerned with it being in the danger zone that long.

 

 

danger_zone_hi.jpg

 

post #8 of 12

  Hunter, I know some are saying to smoke by temp. and not time;I use both,I have 3 therms on the front of my Smoker and know my meat level temps.I don't wrap either-I smoke between 200*and 225*f for 1.5hrs/lb. of meat(except Fowl),and once I place it in I DO NOT OPEN,I only feed through the SFB door and watch my temps. for a drop ,then adjust air or feed her more wood. Keep looking at your smoke too, keep it light blue(white smoke is bad smoke),and smell to smoke;you can tell if you need an adjustment(just don't close the exhaust-keep it wide open).

   This is what blue smoke can do:

 

 

Betty 004.JPG

 Bone -in Butts are better for Smoking as they have a built-in therm., when the bone pulls out easily,it's done and you can press on it and it will fall apart.

  Hope this helps and...

post #9 of 12



   My thoughts exactly SQWIB

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQWIB View Post




I would be more concerned with it being in the danger zone that long.

 

 

danger_zone_hi.jpg

 



 

post #10 of 12

Old School BBq touched on what I was thinking. If you are opening the door to the MES every hour you were killing the temps. I hardly ever open the door to my MES, sure not every hour. Doing so you kept dropping the temps down below your target. Past that a stall is a stall and you must wait them out. I too cook by temp and time is only a guide for planning, always plan more than you think you will need and hold it wrapped in a cooler if you finish early. T wrap or not to wrap is personal preference, try both and decide which is right for you.

post #11 of 12

I agree keep the door closed

post #12 of 12

I did the whole spray of apple juice or whatever every hour on my 1st butt and it took forever as well. So what I do now is spray it down when smoke has stopped. This way when you have to open the smoker to add chunks/chips, you spray it down at that time and you wont have to open it up every hour. Just my 2 cents.

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