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Pulled Pork - Where did I go wrong? - Page 2

post #21 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thanks Terry, I think I am going to try it again this weekend at some point and will make sure I am going to be around to watch it the whole time until I get to know how this thing works. I made a big mistake of thinking this thing was smart enough to set it and forget it and be assured it was accurate. From what you guys are saying its not uncommon for them to be off a few degrees or many degrees, everyone seems different.


Might try a different meat this time though to get used to it.

post #22 of 53

Best thing you can do is work your smoker empty one day and just run temp checks on it. check how much difference there is at each level, and sides and front to back. several little cheap oven thermos really help while doing this, I also checked with all my wireless thermos and the IT smoker thermo. Open the door a few times and get a feel of how long the recovery takes also... And take LOTS of notes. Keep a log of it all.. Good Luck Crash

post #23 of 53

Brisket can be one of the most difficult meats to smoke. It needs low and real slow. Sometimes you get stalls that can last hours. They like constant temp. If temps get too high and it cooks too quick it will be very tough. I would get a few smokes under your belt and get used to the way your smoker behaves before tackling a brisket. My $.02.

post #24 of 53
Thread Starter 

Great advice Terry and alelover. I may run some tests this week in the evenings to see how the temps are and how it recovers. One thing I did notice when watching this smoke on the weekend was that I had it set to 225 and it would heat up and reach this temp and obviously the element would shut off and then the temp could go down as low as 210 before I heard it click back in and start heating back up to 225.

Is this something that is common? Should I be concerned with this sort of a flux or is this something that is acceptable?


I am thinking this weekend chicken and / or ribs might be on the menu ;)

post #25 of 53

Crashedice, Welcome to the SMF welcome1.gif. You're going to love it here , lots of very good advice and kind-friendly Folk biggrin.gif.


Now I didn't read all the replies you got , but have a suggestion on getting to know your Smoker. Start by learning your smoker first. i.e.- how does it heat-up , where are the hot spots if any , how is  the Smoke generated ( smokebox for chips , AMNPS , etc. ) , temp. range ( and here you should get a good thermometer (Maverick or the like ) because the Therm. on the unit is probably trashicon_eek.gif.


Now take a few times to sit with the Smoker and just let it perform for you with something cheap - like Fatties or Chicken. Stay with it and see if it does OK. Then start ( after a couple of "good" Chicken cooks , to get into better things like try Pork Butt again , you'll probably rushing a little...


This is generally the culprit of most problems ; solution : PATIENCE . That's it ; slow down , let the heat and Meat do thier thing - for as they say - "It isn't done till it's done!!!!!"


have fun and...

post #26 of 53

As far as leaks are concerned, if tightening things down doesn't work, RTV gasket maker is a great solution for plugging up leaky spots.  I've used it on my smoker and it's helped a lot.  You can buy it at basically any auto store, most hardware stores, walmart, etc...  This is the stuff I've used:



post #27 of 53
Originally Posted by CrashedIce View Post

Thanks again everyone for the advice.


So I am thinking for one, I need a new thermo to get me started so I know whats going on with my meat and smoker temps. The next is maybe I need to try something else to get started, seems like I picked a meat that may take a few smokes before I am confident in how my machine is working and all the ins and outs of it.

I may pick up a chicken or some ribs this week and try again with those first to get used to it, then try the pork again. Reason I went with pork on my first outing was because both myself and my wife love pulled pork so figured, why not?


I did notice that my smoker did leak some smoke on the weekend, so last night when I was BBQ'ing I looked over at the smoker and got to thinking about that, I am able to adjust the tightness of the latch so I cranked it down, it should help with that I am sure. Will know more this weekend.

I am not about the get rid of this machine over a few small details that I can address I am sure. It may not be as good as some on the market but I feel for my first try into this its not bad. I dont want to invest $500+ into this just yet so our $200 machine should serve us well for now. We can always upgrade later.


What about beef brisket? Is that something thats harder or easier to do in a smoker over doing pulled pork? I do love some brisket, best I ever had was when I was down in Texas. Damn I could give that a go for sure if it was not too hard.

Not to mention I was watching 'Dinners, Drive-Ins, and Dives' last night and they were doing a show about smoker joints, it all looked so damn good.


Beef brisket in my opinion is the hardest cut of meat to smoke correctly, there's two parts to a whole brisket which muddys the water a bit, and you should cut it correctly cause the grain of the meat curves a bit.  If you want to do a brisket be sure to read up on them before doing so cause it's pretty easy to get off track with them.

post #28 of 53
Thread Starter 

OldSchoolBBQ - that is a great plan, I do need to watch how it acts. I found it heated up quite quickly and recovered nicely when I did open the door but I was quick doing so as well. I wasn't aware that there could be a variance in temps inside that much but would be interested to see where and how much different the temps are.

I think some chicken will be the way to go next, cant go wrong there I don't think. Plus the weather is looking quite damp for the next few days so a quicker smoke might be a better option.


TheMormonSmoke - I actually have lots of that in the garage from doing head gaskets and such on cars, never thought to use that but if my tightening doesn't work I will give that a go.


NewFlame - Good to know, looks like I will work my way up, start with some chicken, then master something like pulled pork and then move on to brisket. Need to learn my way around and get some good research going on first.


Loving all the help and warm welcomes from everyone, this is just awesome. Makes me want to take a day off work to go home and play with this stuff :P

post #29 of 53
You go that right! We do a mean brisket here in Texas, the BEST in my opinion as at as style, and taste! Good luck with the smoker try ribs, they don't take near as long...you were right to question the smoke leak, if smoke is escaping then more then likely heat is also!
Keep us updated
post #30 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thx Backwoods BBQ. I will let you guys know how I make out when I try something else.

Cant wait to make it back down to TX to get some more amazing brisket. Wife was hinting the other night at maybe taking a trip there sometime soon :)

post #31 of 53

Echoing what JackDnls 07 said, there is no harm in dialing your heat up to 250 for pork. That way, if you have temp fluctuations, you will only drop to 235 instead of 210. Plus, at 250, it will shorten your cook time and still won't compromise the "low and slow" philosophy. Pork butts are really easy...they don't take practice if your equipment is working properly...they just take a loooooong time.


Briskets take a long time, too, and the end result is still a crap shoot for me. I just have not figured them out yet.


Chicken is great, but take heed the advice to crank up the heat for poultry. Rather than smoking low and slow, think "oven roasting" with the added benefit of some smoke. 350 degrees is my target cooking temp. It is the only way to take the chicken skin from slimy and rubbery to brown and crispy.


Have fun with your new smoker!!!

post #32 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip fatback. I am not sure but I think my smoker may max out at 275, guess I need to check my manual again and see what it says but I seem to recall it saying something like that.

post #33 of 53

The best investment I ever made was the Maverick thermo with dual probes. Get it and never look back! Another good starter meat is pork country style ribs. Look for some with a good marbling of fat. I did some acouple of weeks ago. Did a basic rub then smoked for 3 hours at 240, spritzed with apple juice every hour, then put them in foil covered in barbeque sauce and back in the smoker for 2 hours. Came out very tendder and juicy.

post #34 of 53
Thread Starter 

Mmm, now thats sounds good Red Dog. A buddy of mine at work that used to live in TX was giving me some tips today and said he has a Maverick thermo and said its somewhat of a must have for sure. Looking at them online now ;)

Might have to get a cheap one for this weekend as I dont think there are any places around here that sell those.

post #35 of 53
Welcome to the forum!

As several people mentioned, smoking chicken can result in rubbery skin due to lack of heat. I have the MES-30 (which looks a lot like your smoker) which goes to 275. I smoke my chicken a couple of hours @ 225 (and may try 250 next time) with a combination of apple and hickory chips. When I'm done smoking, I move the chicken to the grill where I can get plenty of heat (I aim for 350) and cook the chicken to 165 internal temp.
post #36 of 53

Someone posted to the thread about running the cooker dry and watch the temps on each level


When I was installing my tunning plates in my old char griller, I took cheap old canned biscuits and placed them around my grates. Front- back- sides etc..



Fired her up and let it get to temp then looked at the biscuits and how they were cooking.  Found out my heat issues fixed them up and now I have about 5 degree from side to side.


Yes you can use a therm, but a canned biscuit is a lot cheaper. PLUS you have a snack afterwards ahahaha


I  since moved up to a 22.5 WSM...But if you wanna know where the heat is at, try it. Worked for me anyway



post #37 of 53

you should be fine with the smoker.  You might consider an AMNPS however as the chip tray on those requires a lot of attention and because they depend on the electric element to keep the smoking they can be somewhat bothersome and inconsistent.  You definantly can't go off and leave it.


Invest in a good meat probe to monitor temp


As to meat, a butt is pretty foolproof and easy to do.  Mustard is not required.  just rub and smoke.


Smoke it at 225-235 till it reaches 160 internal, then move it to a foil roasting pan and cover with foil and cook till it reached 205-210 IT.  remove from the smoker and let it set for an hour then pull.

post #38 of 53

Ok gotta chime in here as well- toss that meat- definitely not safe to consume.  Reading the reviews on the site you linked to it looks like temp variation is a big deal with that particular unit- not a big deal, but you've got to account for it- the other guys hit it right on the head with a different thermometer- my first smoker was an electric, second was a gasser, now i'm on to a wood burner- I'll say that EVERY single analog thermometer was off- and remember that the temperature where your meat is vs where that thermometer is can vary by 25 degrees or more depending.  Once you've figured out the temps- make sure it's steady for an hour or so, then toss on your meat- and a briskie, although amazingly tasty when done right, will turn into one tough hunk of shoe leather if you're not careful.  I'd also recommend the ribs as a great starting point- 6 hours or so is a good kickoff to make sure you're getting the temp/time right, tackle a brisket later on- after you've put out a good pork butt!  


On the other question- leaking is what the cheap guys do- won't hurt anything with a little leaking- you might want to upgrade that chip pan though, 1/4 cup isn't gonna get you more than 15 minutes of smoke, I'd swing over to the local wally world or something and get yourself a cast iron skillet that will fit into the bottom of the smoker over the heating element, get some more chips in there if it'll fit.


Other weeknight testers would be ABT's, chicken parts, or even a steak (carefully check that temp though, wouldn't want to overcook it) just for some excuses to fire it up and figure out the temps.  Good luck, and enjoy BBQ'ing- I'll warn you it's gonna be an addiction!

post #39 of 53
Thread Starter 

Mr500 - That is a fantastic idea! Never would have thought of that in a million years, and hey like you said, snacks for when I am done my testing ;)


deersmoker58 and urbanredneck - Thx for the advice, waiting for the rain to clear the next day or so to check my temps and then give another shot at something smaller and easier to cook. The wife wants to give the pork butt another crack this weekend again, she thinks we can get it to work. This time we will be better prepared for sure.

post #40 of 53

I love making pulled pork..... I have found that using the "Texas Crutch" (Tinfoil) is a wonderfull way to not have to battle the "stall"..... I will wrap the butt after 4 or five hours (150-ish temp) as it seems it have taken all the smoke flavor it can.... I don't get much of a bark on the meat.... but it's a shorter smoke (at 220) and I pull the butt at an internal temp of 200-ish.


I love to inject the butt with cider vinager and some of rub the night before.


just some thoughts on how I do it.

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