Finally, after about a month of having my brand new WSM 22.5 smoker sitting in my kitchen, slowly watching the snow melt, and reading through some amazing smoking stories on this site...I was able to try out my first ever smoke this past Saturday!!
Picked up these two butts at my local butcher shop on Friday. Actually had a hard time finding these, as I had gone to four different grocery stores and Costco but none had :( Even had to print pictures from this forum to show my butcher exactly what I needed (guess these are not very popular here).
Anyhow, here they are...my fresh uncooked butts (about 8 lbs. each);
As soon as I got home on Friday afternoon with my butts, I began prepping a batch of Jeff's rub (after reading everyone's reviews about how great it was, I could not do my first smoke with anything else).
A thin layer of mustard, and on the rub went;
Once that was done, wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them into the fridge until my early morning start;
My plan was to smoke both butts and have them ready for 6pm on Saturday evening as I was hosting dinner for a group of 14 people. My plan B, if this turned out to be a disaster, was the local pizza joint.
I did not want to screw this up, so I got up at 2:30am on Saturday morning to start the process...
Now over the past few months I have read many threads and watched enough YouTube videos to get through the initial startup without any issues. Used the minion method to start it up, and waited until the temperature reached about 240F. Was smoking with 2 parts Hickory and 1 part apple.
Had some concerns with the temperature readings being so off between the factory thermometer on the Weber and the Maverick ET-733 probes I purchased. Temp on the Weber was always reading about 40F higher then what the Maverick was reading (can they really be that far off??). Anyhow, a short post to this forum and a quick response from Danny (aka KC5TPY) and my worries were gone...cheers mate!
Smoker heated, time to put my butts in (3:00am);
Now my original thought was to put them in, get the temps regulated and go back to bed...but....was a little too excited for that and this was too much fun!! I did have some issues getting the temperature stabilized though. When I first put my butts in the temperature spiked to over 315F and found it quite challenging to bring down. Must also say that the outside temperature was about 28F with a slight breeze.
So after a few hours of having fun...I attempted to try to sleep (it was now 5:30am)...but after 30 minutes of lying in bed and watching the temperature remote every few seconds...I knew sleeping was not going to be an option. So up I got, and quickly returned to my smoker LOL.
The first 6 hours went quite well, only a few slight dips or raises of temperature which I controlled by adjusting the bottom and top openings. Most of the time I had the top vent opened at 100% and the three bottom at 50%. At this point, meat being at around 100F I began spraying every hour with a 3 to 1 mix of apple juice and spiced rum. Here is my half way snap shot;
The second half of the smoke was a little more challenging as I was under the impression that filling the charcoal chamber and putting in about 4 or 5 chunks of wood from the start, this would be enough for my entire project. By at around hour 8 or 9, my temperature started dropping below 225F, so I prepped a full chimney and tossed it in with a few more chunks of wood. Temperature started rising again...had to do this one more time about 2 hours later. Is this normal?
Also was wondering if the added wood was necessary passed the 8th hour? Read a few posts that mentioned that the meat no longer takes the smoke in at that point?
When the meat hit a temp of 165F I tossed both into a foiling pan, uncovered, figuring that I would save the juices for later.
Finally, after 15 hours I pulled them out at 207F, here they are;
They smelled absolutely amazing! Unfortunately my guests smelled them too and were so hungry that they did not allow me to rest them for more than 20 minutes (covered in foil & placed in the cooler). Next time I will make sure that I plan for a proper resting time.
While they were resting I prepared two batches of Jeff's BBQ sauce.
As you can see I almost forgot to snap the final photo as everyone started digging in immediately!
I must say that this smoke was absolutely amazing!!!! People could not stop talking about it. I don't have much to compare it too cause we are not used to smoked anything...but it tasted pretty damn fine to me and my guests. Also, Jeff's BBQ sauce was to die for!
I truly had a blast and am hooked on smoking. I huge shout out to meowey and Bearcarver for your step by step threads for newbies, these threads were printed out and by my side the whole time...you guys rock and made me a hero!
Please feel free to comment if there is anything you think I could have done better.
Next weekend going to be taking on about a dozen racks of ribs for another 15 guests...shorter smoke time so I might actually get some sleep!