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1st Butt - What Did I Do Wrong?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Everything went fine until I turned on the MES 30" this morning.  Preheated the smoker and it showed 275, which turned out to be about 250 per the Maverick.  I had a 4 pound butt rubbed over olive oil and some mustard and injected with apple juice in a disposable aluminum pan that had sat on the counter an hour.  Water pan was filled.  I filled the wood chip cylinder with a mix of oak chips from Home Depot and apple from Walmart.  I had soaked them about a half hour. 

 

At 8:30 it went into the smoker with Mav 732 probes in the meat and on the rack.  First problem - receiver didn't receive transmitter's sends.  Probes were snugly installed in the transmitter. So I had to eyeball it directly for readings.  Here is how things progressed:

 

At 8:30 the Mav read 242 degrees.

Time                      Barbeque              Food

8:55 a.m.                  212                         50

9:30                          250                         75

10:00                        252                       102       No smoke

11:00                        252                       138  

11:30                        246                       153       The smoker's gauge read at or near 275 all day.

Noon                        250                       160 

12:30                       250                       169

1:00                         241                       176

1:40                         241                       176

2:35                         252                       178         Only 2 degree rise from 1 to 2:35

3:00                         255                       181

3:30                         264                       185

4:05                         262                       189         Only a few faint puffs of smoke all day.

5:00                         264                       194

5:30                         264                       196

6:45                         262                       198          I removed it here after 10 hrs. 15 mins.

 

Only a 17 degree rise from 3 to 6:45. 

 

The water pan was empty and the ash pan had no ashes, just a mix of blackened and still brownish chips.

The meat was dry, but easy to pull.  I tasted no smoke flavor at all.

Should the chips have been left dry?   Should I not use water?    

It doesn't seem like the meat will ever get to 200 -  205 in a reasonable time if the interior is only 259 - 260.

Shouldn't the butt have been done by 1:30?  Wasn't it dry because it took so long to get close to 200?

We ate it for dinner and with B-sauce and slaw it was okay but sure not worth the effort.

Obviously this was disappointing, even though my only other effort was meatloaf which did fine.  Maybe

this smoker just isn't suited for meats that need that high a temp.  I'll just take this as a learning experience and

hope for a whole lot of advice from you guys that know what was going on today.  Thanks.  help.gif

 

 

 -

post #2 of 17

  Hi cekkk. First I think I would trust the maverick temp. Please don't soak the wood chips. Then they have to dry before they can smoke! Pork butts usually have plenty of internal (and external) fat and don't need water in the pan. That just adds moisture to the environment and takes the chips longer to dry!

  For a 4 pound butt, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Just depends on the butt and the conditions.

  However, don't give up! Be sure to try again and make some changes to see what works best for you. Feel free to ask questions.!

 

  Mike

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by So MS Smoker View Post

  Hi cekkk. First I think I would trust the maverick temp. Please don't soak the wood chips. Then they have to dry before they can smoke! Pork butts usually have plenty of internal (and external) fat and don't need water in the pan. That just adds moisture to the environment and takes the chips longer to dry!

  For a 4 pound butt, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Just depends on the butt and the conditions.

  However, don't give up! Be sure to try again and make some changes to see what works best for you. Feel free to ask questions.!

 

  Mike


Thanks for the quick response.  I can go with those suggestions completely.  I was going with the Maverick temps because I was able to test its accuracy.  It was good to have you say to use dry wood.  When I did the meatloaf I forgot to soak them and I got plenty of smoke.  Should have gone with that today.

post #4 of 17

ce, evening......  The portion of the cook, when the temp didn't rise, is called "The Dreaded Stall"....  It's a physics thing.....

 

The water pan was empty and the ash pan had no ashes, just a mix of blackened and still brownish chips.

Either the exhaust vent was closed so there was no air flow and you made charcoal, or the water pan suffocated the chips from the steam, or both.....

 

The meat was dry, but easy to pull.  I tasted no smoke flavor at all.

In my experience, using water for the entire smoke, does not allow for bark to form on the outside of the meat, and seal in the juices....  I use water for the first 4 hours or so, then dry heat for the bark to form...  The chips never smoked/burned because you were making charcoal...

 

Should the chips have been left dry?   Should I not use water?

Dry chips, water for the first few hours....

   

It doesn't seem like the meat will ever get to 200 -  205 in a reasonable time if the interior is only 259 - 260.

I have smoked 7# butts at 210 deg F.....  takes a long time...   16-20 hours...  but they come out good and moist...

 

Shouldn't the butt have been done by 1:30? 

They get done why they get done.....

 

Wasn't it dry because it took so long to get close to 200?

Each piece of meat cooks different.... It's hard to say exactly why it was dry......

 

Dave

 

 

We ate it for dinner and with B-sauce and slaw it was okay but sure not worth the effort.

Obviously this was disappointing, even though my only other effort was meatloaf which did fine.  Maybe

this smoker just isn't suited for meats that need that high a temp.  I'll just take this as a learning experience and

hope for a whole lot of advice from you guys that know what was going on today.  Thanks.

post #5 of 17

  I think you should use smaller amounts of dry chips, and more often. You don't want heavy smoke. Electric smokers are 'nearly' "set and forget"  You still have to add wood chips regularly. Unless you invest in an AMNPS! Check it out on the site. It is produced by one of our members and many people swear by it! Myself included.  Keep experimenting!

 

  Mike

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Dave, I didn't leave the vent open very long, then closed it between half way and 90%, so, charcoal. I'm learnin', just keep up the advice.  Thanks.

post #7 of 17

O kee Do kee.....  I don't know why the books say close the exhaust vent....   the vent should be open.....  on the MES 30, wide open.....

 

Dave

post #8 of 17

The only time to shut the vent on an MES is to keep Bugs Out! I always keep it 100% open, first thing I learned here. Your average temp was close to 255*F. At this temp you can pretty much figure your Minimum cook time at 1.5 hours per pound. The big temp difference is mainly because the MES measures the chamber temp just above the smoke box, kind of a silly place to put the sensor, and you measure at grate level. Upon reading many threads on the MES it is common for grate level to be 20*F lower than the Set Point. Some, like my Daughters MES runs a little high. You just have to learn the quirks of yours. Above is the first thing I learned, the second was...BUY THE AMNPS!...http://www.amazenproducts.com 10+ Hours of not having to add chips makes the MES near perfect. If you ever smoke a whole 8-10lb butt you will find it is made up of different muscles with varying amounts of Fat and Connective Tissue. When you pull the meat some will be more stringy and Dry other sections will be as soft and moist as warm Butter. For best result the two types are mixed to an overall great Juicy Pulled Pork. Since it takes training to tell the difference between muscles and harder to recognize when cut, I would suggest getting whole Butts and freezing what you don't need. PP reheats well. You should also consider using a Finishing Sauce. They too add moisture and flavor. Here are two, one sweet one tangy. You can still add your favorite BBQ Sauce...If needed!...JJ

 

Foiling Juice

 

For each Rack of Ribs Combine:

 

1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses

 

Optional:

2T Vinegar, 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more KC Style.

 

Simmer 5-10 minutes until syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.

 

For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork: Make a Double batch, Butter optional or do as I do...Use the Smoked Pork Fat from the drip pan...

 

 

Add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten and Serve...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crockpot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while  the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crockpot to 165*F and Serve.

Note: the addition of the reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider should make the PP moist but not Swimming.

 

 

JJ's Finishing Sauce

 

2C Apple Cider Vinegar

2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

1/4C Brown Sugar

1T Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Granulated Garlic

2 tsp Granulated Onion

2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

1 tsp Celery Salt

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

 

Combine all and whisk well. Let rest, at room temp, 30 minutes for the flavors to meld together.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

CHEF JIMMY, that reply took some time, thank you.  That info and recipes are going into my growing Beginner's Bible and I'll use it next smoke!  I will search or post on the amnps to find out which is right for my 30" mes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

O kee Do kee.....  I don't know why the books say close the exhaust vent....   the vent should be open.....  on the MES 30, wide open.....

 

Dave

Closing was my bright idea.  The temp on the deck was high 50s all day, and I thought I was helping to keep the cook temp up.  Never will close it again! 

post #10 of 17
exhaust vent always open..all the time. that smokes gotta go somewhere. and the meat will get to its temp, you just have to be patient. when you say your meat was dry? how dry? where was it dry? it cant be very dry if youre pullin it. that butt has more than enough fat in it for it not to be dry. oh and maybe some pics next time. they always help. good luck on the next one.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnandBurn View Post when you say your meat was dry? how dry? where was it dry? it cant be very dry if youre pullin it. that butt has more than enough fat in it for it not to be dry. oh and maybe some pics next time. they always help. good luck on the next one.

The meat pulled off very easily and I was pleased with that.  Is that an indication it was not dry?  Maybe I expected juiciness than I should have.  I've never done it before so it may be just right. 

 

The replies have me thinking things went better than I thought, the vent mistake notwithstanding.  It's exactly noon.  Think I'll go have some of it for lunch.

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

The meat pulled off very easily and I was pleased with that.  Is that an indication it was not dry?  Maybe I expected juiciness than I should have.  I've never done it before so it may be just right. 

 

The replies have me thinking things went better than I thought, the vent mistake notwithstanding.  It's exactly noon.  Think I'll go have some of it for lunch.

 

try a spritz next time. i spritz about every 45 minutes or so, or when i go to add wood. if youre worried about drying out, dont. theres plenty of fat in that butt, but if you absolutely have to you can wrap in foil with some juice or any liquid of your choice really. and stop the smoke, aint no point in running smoke if youre foiled up.
post #13 of 17

The guys all gave you great advice!!!! 

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnandBurn View Post

 

try a spritz next time. i spritz about every 45 minutes or so, or when i go to add wood. if youre worried about drying out, dont. theres plenty of fat in that butt, but if you absolutely have to you can wrap in foil with some juice or any liquid of your choice really. and stop the smoke, aint no point in running smoke if youre foiled up.


I'm going to do another when this one is eaten.  There's only two of us, and Herself doesn't eat seppin on tues. and Sats!  Sprits with beer or apple juice, etc., or just water?

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cekkk View Post


I'm going to do another when this one is eaten.  There's only two of us, and Herself doesn't eat seppin on tues. and Sats!  Sprits with beer or apple juice, etc., or just water?

 

i use a number of spritz's. lately ive been using dr.pepper cherry, apple cider vinegar, crushed red chili flake and a little water. but if i dont use that its just apple juice,apple cider vinegar and a little water.
post #16 of 17

I'm new to the forum myself and have only done 1 butt, but I didn't see anything in your post about foiling.  I have read a lot of post going way back on the forum and some people suggest foiling the butt around 160* IT and it will help the cook time and the moisture.  There are also plenty of people who will say not to foil.  I foiled mine and it came out pretty good from my MES40 Gen 2.

 

Just throwing it out there.

 

Sodak

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Turnandburn, that'll go in my bible.

 

Sodak, You aren't much newer than me, but you've discovered the beauty of smoking IMHO.  Foil.  Don't foil.  Water. No water.  Sand, etc.  The fun of this is going to be doing whatever you want to try, because there don't seem to be any absolute rules.  Smoking seems to be a hybrid of science and art. 
 

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