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Pork shoulder, looking for post smoke advice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Heres what happened with the Pork smoke WSM 18.5" 9.5lb Boston Butt

 

 

I fired the smoker 9:30pm Saturday, full load of KBB with hickory and apple

chunks buried in the charcoal. Lit 20 briskets and put them mostly in the

middle and around the top a little.

 

10:30pm temps were up to around 250, so I put the water bowl in and filled

with pre-boiled water and some hot tap water and put the pork on.

Between 11:00 and 1:00am the temps were steady at 230 and I spritzed the

pork down with apple juice and Jim Beam mix a few times.

 

I went to bed at 1:00am and the baby woke me up at around 3:00am ish and my

maverick 732 was turned off (must have rolled over in my sleep and tried to turn the back light on and hit the power instead). I went down peeked out the window and it looked

like it was still around 225 per the Weber built in therm.

 

7:30am wake up and fix the Maverick and my temps were at 199, and I put the

prob in the pork and it was at 172 already. I checked the fuel and most of

my charcoal was already spent. (That didn't make any sense to me since I

thought a full load in a WSM would last like 20 hours). I added more

charcoal (Wicked Good Lump charcoal this time).

 

At this point the temps of the pork came up very quickly and the temp of the

smoker climbed to 260 by 9:00 the pork was at 196 and the smoker was at 280

despite me closing all the bottom vents. I checked and all my water was gone

from the bowl and the drippings were burning. So we pulled the pork off the

smoker and rested it. Luckily the burnt drippings didn't affect the taste of

the pork, I must have caught it just as it started burning.

 

I'm confused by how fast the pork got to 172 overnight, by how much fuel was

spent over night without measuring a major temp spike, and by how quickly

the pork finished from 172 to 196. I know the temp spike in the morning was

caused by adding the fuel but since there was almost no fuel left I added

what I thought was needed for the rest of the cook.  So I guess you add less

fuel but more frequently to finish the cook?

 

Also, for those who don't run water in their water bowl, how do you keep the

drippings from burning?

post #2 of 9

For those who don't run water in their water bowl, how do you keep the drippings from burning?  Get some cheap aluminum roasters or an old pizza pan to put on the lower grate to act as drip pans.  I dry smoke 95% of the time always use a drip pan in my smoker.

 

I'm confused by how fast the pork got to 172 overnight, and by how quickly the pork finished from 172 to 196.  The climb to final temp is not linear and every piece of meat acts differently. The initial climb can happen pretty quickly because the meat is just absorbing heat.  The "stall", which usually happens anywhere from 150 to 165 IT slows things down considerable as the meat sweats out the moisture.  You put the pork on at 10:30 PM and at 7:30 AM, 9 hours later, you were at 172F IT.  Actually, that's just about right on the faster side of the schedule for a 9.5 lb butt.

 

I know the temp spike in the morning was caused by adding the fuel but since there was almost no fuel left I added what I thought was needed for the rest of the cook.  So I guess you add less fuel but more frequently to finish the cook?  Very close.  I usually add only enough fuel to finish the smoke and ash it first in a chimney, but that isn't absolutely necessary. You'll figure it out with experience.

 

I checked the fuel and most of my charcoal was already spent. That didn't make any sense to me since I thought a full load in a WSM would last like 20 hours.   Can't help you there. I decided early on I didn't like long smokes so I smoke at higher temps, 260-325 most of the time.  My smokes rarely exceed 6-9 hours.  Beef and pork get wrapped about 98% of the time at the first stall.  I use my 22.5" WSM once or twice a weekend and my Weber Kettle for smoking probably 1-3 times a month.  My charcoal consumption averages about 30 lbs a month but I light load my smokers and mostly dry smoke (personal preference for reasons unrelated to smoking or this thread) so I'm only using the fuel I need.  Once again, that comes with experience.  I use a combination of KBB, lump, and my wood of choice.

 

7:30am wake up and my temps were at 199.   I added more charcoal (Wicked Good Lump charcoal this time).  At this point the temps of the pork came up very quickly and the temp of the smoker climbed to 260 by 9:00 the pork was at 196 and the smoker was at 280 despite me closing all the bottom vents.  Nothing at all unusual there.  That's how a WSM acts when dry.  Mine likes to dry coast at 260-275F with all the top and bottom vents closed down to 1/4 open.  Lump will make it burn hotter. The pork finished faster because the chamber temp was higher toward the end of the smoke when the butt was already warmed up nicely and through the stall stages.

 

Total time from load to yank at 196F IT was 10.5 hours. About on schedule, a little quick, but nothing unusual.

 

Sooooooooooo, how was the butt?

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the very detailed reply. I really appreciate it.

 

The Butt was good, pulling it was a little tough in areas... the bone didn't just fall out, and some areas you had to work at it to get it to come apart, but other areas pretty much fell apart.

 

My wife insisted on premixing in some BBQ sauce, so we split the pork and did 1 with Sweet Baby Rays and 1 with Dimples.

 

My guests loved the pork, by the end of the night all the pork mixed with Dimples was gone, and a good portion of the Baby Rays was as well.

 

My ABTs/SBTs were gone so fast I didn't even get a chance to try one.

post #4 of 9

My pleasure BKBuilds.  Guests LOVE smoked anything, especially if they don't smoke themselves.  I mean this in the most loving way, but they don't know if it has been done right or not.  They just know the flavor and yes, it is always a winner.  We've got a daughter coming home this weekend with her fiance and the first question out of her mouth after she told us they were coming home was "whatcha smokin'?"

 

196F IT is just a little low for pulling pork IMO, but like you found, it works.  My very first butt, a 4 lb'er, never got over 187F after like 9 hours, but it pulled okay with some tougher spots.  Now I go to 203F IT and it just falls apart.

 

Congrats on a successful smoke and happy guests!

 

Expect more visitors.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I wanted to leave it on to 200 IT but the drippings were burning and I didn't want the pork to take on the burnt flavor.

 

Next time I will try dry smoking and using a drip pan.

 

When you foil your water bowl, do you foil the inside? outside underneath? or both inside and under?

 

I foiled the inside of mine but I noticed that the bowl is now flaking underneath, I don't know if its paint or enamel or what it is but it blistered and peeled all over.

post #6 of 9
I dry smoke for two reasons. First, my wife is a "super taster.". She can taste flavors I can't so I have to go light on the smoke and seasoning or she won't eat it. Dry smoking helps that as less smoke adheres to the meat. I do EVOO the meats.

Second, I use less fuel dry smoking, can control my temps, and prefer smoking at higher temps anyway which results in faster smokes. That technique isn't for everybody but it works for me.

I never foil my water bowl because I always use a drip pan. Chances are that stuff on the bottom of your water pan is smoke buildup. It flakes off the inside of your lid too. Just gently scrape it off and wipe it clean.
post #7 of 9
Oh, one more thing. You can always add water to a dry pan, just be careful because it will flash to steam QUICKLY! I use a pitcher :of hot tap water, wear protective gloves, and slowly pour it in the water pan, making sure I don't get my probes wet.
post #8 of 9
Why didn't you start the cook with water in the pan? Water helps keep the WSM temps regulated. I figure 2 to 2.5 hours a pound for the pork butt, but can't really time it to many variables. Always use internal temperature.
Bone didn't come out because it wasn't quite done I go to 200 to 205 degrees. Might want to look into a BBQ Guru Digi Q 2 Works great keeping temperature in WSM.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TGraham62 View Post

Why didn't you start the cook with water in the pan? Water helps keep the WSM temps regulated. I figure 2 to 2.5 hours a pound for the pork butt, but can't really time it to many variables. Always use internal temperature.

Bone didn't come out because it wasn't quite done I go to 200 to 205 degrees. Might want to look into a BBQ Guru Digi Q 2 Works great keeping temperature in WSM.

 




I did start with water in the pan, there was even water in the pan still when I added fuel in the morning. But it dried up at some point between the last time I added some wood chunks and when the temp reached 196 and I checked on the meat. That is when I found the drippings were burning and I panicked. Next time I'll add water to the bowl over the burning drippings. Or just make sure to keep the water pan topped up.
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