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Smoked butt fail - Page 2

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsmoguy View Post

Thanks for the reply!
That is what I thought, the ash was choking out the coals. I guess I need to find a way to raise the grate that the coals sit on so they have a place to go. Any suggestions?

As promised, here are the pics.





 

I have two suggestions-

1. Use lump charcoal, it produces less ash and is thus you are less likely to have your fire choked down from lack of proper air flow. Lump also responds more quickly to intake air adjustments.

2. Cook at a higher temperature, in fact I'm beginning to think that everyone who is attempting their first butt should cook it at 275° minimum.

Warning- If that butt was raw in the middle after 8 hours in your cooker you should throw it out, eating may make you very sick.

post #22 of 26
It looks like your charcoal basket sits on some grill grates. I would look at maybe either raising the basket a bit to allow for the ash to fall through easier or maybe a way to remove the grill grate and resting the basket on the lip the grill grates sit on. The othe part is are you able to clean out the ash during the cook easily? Just a thought......if you wrap your butts.....during that time clean out some of the ash. Just be carefully you can cause the ash to become airborne and it can get on the meat.....that is why I would do it during the wrapping stage......it's all about a clean airflow for better temp control.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kranders View Post

 

I would not eat that butt if I were you! The rules I have been reading is that unless the meat went from 40 degrees (fridge) to 140 degrees in 4 hours it will be very suseptable to food borne bacteria. You took yours out of the fridge at 8 AM and at 6 PM it was still raw in the middle. Even if you finished it up in the oven in may be unsafe to eat.Am I missing something? I'm pretty new at this myself...but from everything I have read here it would be better safe than getting sick.

Agree with kranders on this... raw in the middle after smoking for that long is inviting bad mojo.  Call it a learning opportunity, check temps and try again.  The only way to Carnegie Hall is lots of practice!

post #24 of 26

yeah looks like you are not getting the ash out of the fire basket and your fire is smothering itself out. get some welding gloves and shake the ash out when the temp starts to drop. may even want to get a little shovel and a fireplace ash can and scoop out some of the ash. how much charcoal are you starting with? 

post #25 of 26

One thing that rarely gets mentioned is that smokers vary considerably in performance.  You should be prepared to benchmark your smoker by ignoring the theoretical cooking times and just seeing how long it take to be done.  I have one of those cylindrical smokers with the dome top, and I know that it takes 18 hours to smoke a butt.  One different equipment, I would reasonable expect that time to change.

Having said that, I smoked a butt recently in unexpectedly wet weather.  The butt was not even close at the expected time, so I finished it in the pressure cooker.

The other aspect of smoking is the relationship between the size of the roast and the surface area.  I like to open up a large butt and spread it across to grates.

Finally--You meat has a finite capacity for taking on smoke, probably about two hours worth.  After that, you are just cooking it on low heat.  You should open up the smoker just once to refill the water basin, otherwise add some cooking time for your curiosity and impatience ;-)

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by apiereder View Post
 

One thing that rarely gets mentioned is that smokers vary considerably in performance.  You should be prepared to benchmark your smoker by ignoring the theoretical cooking times and just seeing how long it take to be done.  I have one of those cylindrical smokers with the dome top, and I know that it takes 18 hours to smoke a butt.  One different equipment, I would reasonable expect that time to change. I agree with different times for different equipment. When I used my offset I could do fresh 10#ish picnics in about 8-10hrs. Now in the smokehouse they take the better part of 2hrs per pound. Same temp range used in both cookers.

Having said that, I smoked a butt recently in unexpectedly wet weather.  The butt was not even close at the expected time, so I finished it in the pressure cooker.

If you wrap your meats during the cooks, there is no difference between your smoker and an oven. So I will usually save some fuel and throw in the oven if that is the path I take. Never tried a pressure cooker, actually don't own one. Want to get one to learn how to use it.

The other aspect of smoking is the relationship between the size of the roast and the surface area.  I like to open up a large butt and spread it across to grates. Yes increasing the surface area by making it thinner will decrease your cooking time. However you run a chance of drying it out more. This works very well just be careful.

Finally--You meat has a finite capacity for taking on smoke, probably about two hours worth.  After that, you are just cooking it on low heat.

I disagree with the only receiving the smoke flavor up to 2ish hours. I know after 140 you don't get the chemical reaction that forms the smoke ring, but flavor is still added. I have smoked briskets, pork bellies, ribs and many other things for under 2 hours and then when I do the same meats for the entire cook in smoke. There is a very considerable difference in smoke flavor. 

 

 You should open up the smoker just once to refill the water basin, otherwise add some cooking time for your curiosity and impatience ;-)

Yes every time you open the smoker you increase your cook time. If you are going to use a water pan and add water or other liquids during a smoke. I would preheat it to as close to a boil as you can. Adding cool or even cold water can kill the temp and may cause your smoke to get completely derailed. I have seen it happen to where the temps never recovered when that has happened. Early years mistakes!!!!

 

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