Been smokin' a whole two weeks, but read all day every day. Thought I had it all figured out. First smoke (last weekend) wasn't impressive. Read more and thought again that I had it all figured out. Same results this week (this time with family over, ugh!). Outside inch or so of the meat was great. Had a great smoke ring, texture, flavor, etc. Once you got in more than an inch, it was somewhere between way overcooked and not cooked enough. I truly can't figure out which one (but think under). Here's the scoop:
5.5 lb picnic roast
Wet rub with mustard
Dry rub with a homemade rub, but the ingredients are pretty standard with all rubs
Brought it to room temp (about one hour) before starting the smoke
Smoked with cherry wood
After 8 smoking hours, I pulled it out, wrapped it in foil, and let it stand for 40 min before attempting (failing miserably) to pull it apart.
Masterbuilt XL gasser
Cast iron skillet over the burner - gave a nice steady TBS. I re-loaded chips at 2.5 and 5 hours.
Normal water bath. The factory tub did not run dry after 8 hours. Is that telling me something like it wasn't hot enough?
Factory thermometer (boooo)
Yes, I know, I shouldn't open the door but I did at least six times during an 8.25 hr smoke. I just had to keep checking (I'm a noobie, I know). When I did, the temp would drop from about 230 to 165 or so, but would rapidly regain temp.
Did opening the door have THAT much of an effect?
Was the meat just not cooked enough? Or was it overcooked?
I couldn't pull it apart with forks...had to use my hands. When chewing, it was kinda rubbery.
So...where did I go wrong? I have one week to perfect this art as I'm hosting a party next weekend. Any/all help is appreciated.