I started playing around with meat smoking/low and slow BBQ this past spring.
I'm really enjoying it, but am having some growing pains that hopefully you can help with.
First of all, since I'm new to this, I've been experimenting with using smoker boxes on my gas grill since I don't yet have an actual smoker.
My biggest confusion so far is with the cook time. For example, I keep hearing estimates of 1-1.5 hrs per pound of meat. However, I'm finding that it's taking much longer than that. Could it be because I've been doing smaller pieces?
For example this past weekend I did a pork collar butt. The meat was about 3 lbs and I was keeping the hear around 225 F.
The cook started around 2pm, and I eventuially pulled it around 7:45pm at an internal tempterature of 168 F because it was getting late and we had to eat and we couldn't wait to get it up to 200 F.
I generally opened it up every hour to baste or mop the meat, and tend to the smoker boxes but then cranked up the hear for a bit to bring the temp back up to temperature quickly.
I didn't really notice any stall or anything like that, it kept going up steadily but slowly.
Any thoughts on why this could be taking so long?
I didn't wrap it this time. I have tried wrapping meat after a few hours in the past. I find that when I eventually unwrap it to finish it off that the meat is sitting in a pool of juices, which get lost once I unwrap to put back on the grill. Is this normal? Even with all these lost juices, are you still farther ahead than if I left it unwrapped?
Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.