or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Ok, where did I go wrong?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ok, where did I go wrong?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

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:

 

The known:

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.

 

The equipment:

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?

 

The unknown:

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.

 

Chris

post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by StartedSmokin View Post

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:

The known:
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.

The equipment:
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?

The unknown:
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.

Chris

Yes.. to begin with you do need better thermometers... the maverick ET-732 is pretty much the one of choice...It sounds like you cook by time (8 hrs) instead of the internal meat temp... To pull a picnic the internal temp (IT) needed to be at least 200` if not 210`... don't get frustrated... just chalk it up to a learning experience
post #3 of 17

x2 to the above post. If you do not already have one, I would invest in a good meat thermometer, or a combo meat and smoker temp thermometer and go by the meat temp to tell you when it is done instead of time. It is certainley hard to keep the door closed, I know what you mean! Good Luck! 

post #4 of 17

It sure sounds like it was under cooked. Like Jck said, you have to cook to temp not time. 8 hours does not sound long enough especially opening the door as much as you did. You have to trust your smoker and just let it be, open the door only if you absolutely have to, like to add more wood. You should think about investing in a good therm. Next to my smoker my Maverick is the best thing I've bought. But if you can't get a term in time for next week you can use a toothpick or thin skewer to check it. Stick it in the meat and it should slide in like you were sticking it in half melted butter, no resistance at all.

post #5 of 17

It's all time and temp.  Definitely can't cook a shoulder/butt/picnic (I prefer a Boston Butt cut) to time, you won't find two pieces that will be done in the same time.  About the only thing cooked to time are ribs and then it's just a general rule.  Just starting out you almost have to have a means to monitor your box and meat temp.  The therm on the door is normally useless.  I'm not sure how big your water pan is, but I know my gasser usually needs water about every couple hours depending on the conditions.  

 

You may want to consider foiling when the shoulder when it hits 165 internal.  Double wrap in foil and take it on up to 200.  But you'll need to a therm of some sort. 

 

If nothing else try to get even the inexpensive dual probe setup at Walmart.  It'll serve it's purpose if you care for the probes and don't submerge them in water to clean etc.  However, as the others have said, if you can spare around $60, you can't beat the Maverick ET-732.  

post #6 of 17

What they all said and If your on a budget you can go to wally world and get a couple of therms for about 15 bucks each. I use one in the meat and one stuck through a potato and placed near the meat for smoker temp

 

Joe

post #7 of 17

At 230*F it is unlikely a 5.5Lb piece of Pork will hit the desired 200-205*F IT, that is optimal for pulling, in 8 Hours. At that temp you need to estimate 2 Hours/Pound plus a 2Hour Pad/Rest...SO...For that meat you are more likely than not looking at 11 to 13 Hours. If you are Smoking for company, get it done early and hold the meat wrapped in foil and towels in a cooler for up to 5 hours until ready to eat...JJ

post #8 of 17

Great advice in all the above posts!!! Good therms and longer cooking time.

post #9 of 17

If you can, you may even want to consider ordering the older Maverick dual probe model that is available for about $38 on amazon.   Without good a thermometer(s) your going to spend a lot time, money and a lot of meat with hit or miss success until you gain the experience and knowledge to be able to cook without them.  

 

IMHO, the more you can do to help ensure successful smokes early on, obviously the more likely you're going to stick around and continue to perfect your skills.  Otherwise, you'll most likely end up like I did nearly 30 years ago and just give up.  

 

Don't give up, get a Boston butt (I think it's most forgiving) and even a stick-in probe type thermo to check your meat temp.  It sounds like the one you posted just never reached a good internal temp for pulling.  Take your butt internal to 160-165, double foil wrap and back in the smoker until you get an internal of 190 to 200, double towel and let it rest in a cooler for minimum 1 hour and it should pull easily and melt in your mouth.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Great tips...thx all...especially the 'don't give up' one...like I have on so many of my other hobbies!

I'll be back at it next week, this time with Mav 73 or 732 in hand thumb1.gif

post #11 of 17

Startedsmoking, go get a Bone-in Butt , set the Smoker for 225° , rub and whatever you want to do to your Butt , put a reliable therm. in and put it in the Smoker ,"leave it alone,ain't going anywhere but to Hog Heaven , when IMT is 200°to205° and the bone slips out, it's done and will most likely fall apart as you retreave it from the smoke...     Butts are like Women;tell them what they want to hear and leave them alone...biggrin.gif.

 

have fun and as always...

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolbbq View Post

Startedsmoking, go get a Bone-in Butt , set the Smoker for 225° , rub and whatever you want to do to your Butt , put a reliable therm. in and put it in the Smoker ,"leave it alone,ain't going anywhere but to Hog Heaven , when IMT is 200°to205° and the bone slips out, it's done and will most likely fall apart as you retreave it from the smoke...     Butts are like Women;tell them what they want to hear and leave them alone...biggrin.gif .

have fun and as always...


AMEN, BROTHER
post #13 of 17

Yes a couple thermometers and here is some more reading. I followed this and WOW!!!!!

 

http://www.smoking-meat.com/pork-shoulder-recipe.html

 

And then read his mistake.... Uhhhh..... REVELATION!!!

 

http://www.smoking-meat.com/nov-2005-more-turkey-tips-and-recipes.html
 

post #14 of 17
Hang in there, I bet you're next smoke will be great! Keep reading, and you're gonna have awesome eats!
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
In the mail today arrived my new mav732. The wife surprised me and ordered it. I either have an amazing wife...or she was getting tired of bad food.
Time to try something new and perhaps just as easy...so I shall try a chicken this weekend. Pics to be posted...in that forum. Thx again for the tips.
grilling_smilie.gif
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
In the mail today arrived my new mav732. The wife surprised me and ordered it. I either have an amazing wife...or she was getting tired of bad food.
Time to try something new and perhaps just as easy...so I shall try a chicken this weekend. Pics to be posted...in that forum. Thx again for the tips.
grilling_smilie.gif
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by StartedSmokin View Post

In the mail today arrived my new mav732. The wife surprised me and ordered it. I either have an amazing wife...or she was getting tired of bad food.
Time to try something new and perhaps just as easy...so I shall try a chicken this weekend. Pics to be posted...in that forum. Thx again for the tips.
grilling_smilie.gif

maybe both ??... do yourself a favor and do a calibration of both probes with ice water... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/121943/how-to-make-a-proper-ice-bath ... and then do boiling water (212`)... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/122552/calibrating-your-thermometer-and-the-boiling-point-of-water
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Pork
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Meat (and other things) › Pork › Ok, where did I go wrong?