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About how much more time for 4 shoulders?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

  We are having a rather large gathering at my folks house on Saturday and I have about 30lbs of shoulder and a 12lb brisket to do.  Food service is supposed to start at about 6 pm.  I only have one smoker to work with (WSM 18.5) so my plan is:


1)  Being able to pull the Brisket off the Smoker at 3:00 PM Saturday afternoon to allow a couple hours of rest and since this will be the first brisket on the WSM (others had been on an offset) the 3:00 still allows a +/- of 2.5 hours cooking time without running it to overcook or under cook issues.  My previous briskets I've run on the offset ran 12-14 hours so it will be an late PM Friday or, more likely, an early AM Saturday start on the brisket.


2) Doing the Shoulders on Friday and pulling them Friday night.  I'll bump the smoker temp up to the 250 degree area since it will be a bit more meat than I usually cook,  how much extra time should I expect to add to a normal smoke doing four times the amount?  The timing on the shoulders isn't needing to be nearly as precise since I'll be finishing them up the day before but would like to know if my normal 8-10 hours is going to jump to 16 hours or some such.  Also doing four shoulders at once I think I'll use both racks on the WSM, how often should I rotate the meat to keep the cook times closer/more even?



I had thought I could reverse the two and do the brisket Friday and the pork Saturday, but since I'm pulling the pork I thought it wouldn't matter near as much that it be smoker warm compared to the brisket which we will slice some and chop a bit.  Does anyone have any contrary options as to mine?


Shoulders are rubbed and in the fridge now and the wife is none to happy that nothing is going on the smoker today so I am sure what ever I do make for dinner tonight will not be any good.


Thanks for any input you care to add.



post #2 of 22

Im not sure that having 1 Butt in the smoker VS having 4 will make much difference.  The temp in the smoker is still the temp and the butts will cook as per normal cause they wont know there are other butts in there with them.   I may be wrong......



post #3 of 22

Cook them like normal, allowing time for the largest one to get done.  The only real difference is the amount of fuel you'll burn.  You'll have ~4X the thermal mass to heat so it will burn more fuel to maintain your normal smoking temp.

post #4 of 22

As long as your smoker holds temp not much difference with 1 10lb butt and 4 10lb butts.Your variables will be getting your temp up with that much cold meat at the start also the difference in weight and thickness of each butt.If you do get a butt that wants to be hard headed and take longer wrap it up throw it in the oven to finish and move on to your brisket or sleep.






post #5 of 22

Just like the others said, as long as your smoker is holding temp several should not make a difference. Now in saying that each piece of meat is different, on the shoulders I would check the internal temp on each, they may all be ready at the same time or one or more may need a little longer. The last pork shoulder I smoked took 13 hours at 225º to get to an internal temp of 205º. Just depends on the meat


Gary S

post #6 of 22

I agree with above. If you base the timing on 2 hrs/lb, for the largest Butt, plus a 2 hour CYA/Rest period, barring the unexpected, you will be done on time or early. Initially getting the mass of the whole system up to temp and holding it there will add some time but that is only because it is the first time you have done this amount of meat. Take notes for next time. If the Brisket will fit the top rack, place a pan under the meat to serve the beef Au Jus. The recipe below is popular with our members and makes a great Dip for the Brisket... Good luck...JJ


Smokey Au Jus


1- Lg Onion,

4-5 Carrots,

3-4 Ribs Celery

3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

2 Tbs Tomato Paste,

1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want. 

While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.


NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..

post #7 of 22

Everyone above has you covered. Remember to post a Qview.

Happy smoken.


post #8 of 22

Hey Bob, I get paranoid when it comes to hosting large gatherings...so I would play it safe.


I would toss the 4 butts in on Thursday night or very early Friday morning. I would do it earlier then later for two reasons; one, cause I would feel more comfortable putting the brisket on the smoker on Friday night, and two, cause you will be reheating the pulled pork on Saturday anyway.


I smoked about 24 lbs of pork butt this past weekend on my WSM and what everyone mentioned above is right on...just uses up a little more fuel.


As for the brisket...unless you plan on rushing at a higher heat, I would start on Friday night so that you know there is no chance of keeping your guests waiting and also that you can give it the proper rest it needs. Good thing about brisket is that when tightly wrapped in a cooler, it will keep warm for a good length of time.


Anyhow...that's my two cents! Good luck!

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice all.  First pics will be coming early in the AM.

post #10 of 22

Those butts in yet Bob?

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

So much for getting the pictures up early.


I have a few others but the battery died in the camera so these are just what I grabbed with the phone.  One just out of the fridge and about to be dusted before on the smoker and one after being on the smoker about an hour.




And a few of the brisket getting a dusting....ok more than a dusting of some rub and back into the fridge for a few hours.


post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

and a couple from a decent camera:

Just a re-dusting before going on the smoker



Fire and smoke and stuff:



And one of the best parts about having to get up a bit early to get all this going:





Butts have been on for about 2 hours now, so I'll check for the 40-140 temp in another 30-45 minutes and make sure I don't need to do something different with that last hour and maybe a new pic or two then.

post #13 of 22

What a great sight! Both the sunrise and the WSM filled with 4 butts! Great start!

post #14 of 22

Looks good already you are using the snake method I see.


post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

At the three hour mark out of the fridge the biggest is at 138 IT and the other from there up to 142 IT, so it looks like I'm out of the woods there.  Smoker temp is hovering at 235 give or take so I opened the vents to see if it will come up a bit on its own before I start throwing a chimney of lit charcoal at it.




Baring something happening I probably wont have the lid off for 3-4 hours now so last picture for a bit.

post #16 of 22

Looks good so far! keep the pics coming. But keep the lid closed:hit:.

Happy smoken.


post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 



I started it using the Minion Method, it looks like a snake because the phone doesn't take great pictures and I put the wood on the top since I'd rather have more early smoke than smoke later on since it is lots easier to add a chunk if I decide I want some late smoker rather than have to fish out chunks later if the need arises.  After doing some reading though I think I may use too many coals in the chimney when I start so I may need to back that down some next time.

post #18 of 22
That a lot of meat for a small wsm. 4 butts? I smoke them at 250 for 1.5hrs per lb. until internal reaches 195.
Brisket? Usually 1hr per lb at 250. I'd use those times but start early...you can rest butts and brisket in foil and cooler for a long time!! Put some bath towels over foiled meat and stick in cooler if done early.
I'd cook butts on bottom grate and brisket center top. Pork more forgiving of higher temps than beef. Cheaper too.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

The shoulders all came off after about 14 hours with ITs ranging from 197-204.  A couple of the ends that you can see in the picture look like they might be a bit over, I think with all of them on those parts sit close to the edge where the heat is coming up and while I shifted them from rack to rack once I probably should have been more worried about rotating them around 90 degrees at a time.


Been resting about an hour so another 30 minutes and time to pull, the wife nabbed a few bits and decided she might stay up past her bed time since I was going to pull tonight.




I'll get some late night picks of the brisket up in a few hours when I get that going.

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

So here is a few shots:


The pork pulled-


The brisket just before I put it on the smoker=


And the brisket this morning, its been on for about 8 hours at this point (IT upper 170s)-

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