I got my intro into smoking this past weekend. I picked up a Masterbuilt Cookmaster propane smoker (model #20050511). I did a lot of reading and emailed the company to get their seasoning instructions. I twice seasoned the smoker by spraying down the insides and racks and then getting the temp above 400 degrees.
I bought a Maverick dual probe thermometer and did a couple of test runs. I had no problem keeping it around 225 degrees. My initial test runs with mesquite wood chips using the stock wood tray lead to tons of white smoke and then just charred remains. After reading advice on these forums, I put a cast iron pan on top of my stock wood chip pan and used cherry wood chunks. I started cooking a 6lb pork butt on Saturday without water in the pan. I got the smoker to 225 around 6am and then ran some errands around 10am. While gone, my wife called to say that the smoker was losing temp - the flame blew out. It probably dropped to 160 degrees before she got it restarted. She played with the damper for a bit and the temp before getting it to settle in around 245 degrees. Once I got home, I spent the afternoon keeping the temp in the 225-235 range. Around 1pm when the stall was on, I noticed that the wood hadn't smoked/burned so I stuck it back in the stock wood box. The smoker bellowed white smoke for about 20 minutes and then stopped. Around 4pm I added more wood chunks and got more white smoke for a brief period. By 6pm the internal temp was still only 160 so I turned the smoker up to around 280 degrees. By 8pm the internal temp hit 190 degrees. I opened up the door and stuck a fork in the side of the pork butt. It didn't turn all that well but I pulled out the pork regardless since it had cooked/smoked for 14 hours. I understood the rule of thumb to be 2 hours per pound, so I expected it to cook for 12 hours.
The meat was good but we could definitely tell that the connective tissues had not melted. The bark was perfect and had good flavor from my rub, but the internal meat lacked any flavor.
My questions are:
1) What can I do to temper the wood chips/chunks from burning and not producing TBS?
2) Why would a butt not be done after 14 hours of smoking mostly at or above 225?
3) What can I do to get better flavor to the meat, or is that just a product of the meat itself?
Any other tips?