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First smoker and a busy weekend

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


I just recently got in my first smoker (wsm 18.5) and am looking forward to firing it up.  I've been poking around all sorts of recipes and ideas over the past couple weeks, and I've got a very busy weekend planned for this thing.  I'm planning on trying some spatchcock chicken for lunch and pork for dinner on saturday, and then a brisket for dinner on sunday.  I wanted to throw my basic plan of attack out there and see if someone here could sanity check it for me.


Friday night -


spatchcock and brine 2 4lb chickens

rub and wrap 2 5lb pork butts

make some sauces


Saturday -


10am - shooting for 225-250, pork butts go on the bottom, chickens on top with a cornell sauce (reapply once or twice in the next couple hours)


when chicken breast hits 160 IT, pull it off and throw it on the grill face down for ~10 minutes to crisp up.  Let it rest for 10 minutes then enjoy the first smoky fruits of my labor


~2-3pmish - baste the butts and flip over and end to end


pork butt 165 IT - prep some potatoes and throw them on the top grate


pork butt 195 IT - remove from smoker, wrap in foil, place in a cooler for 1/2hr+


give the brisket a rub and wrap it in the fridge overnight


Sunday -


10am - shooting for 225-250, 6lb brisket flat goes on the bottom, not sure whether I should be mopping this along the way?


brisket 165 IT - possibly wrapping in foil and putting back in the smoker, haven't decided


brisket 195 IT - remove, wrap in foil (if not already), place in a cooler for 1hr+


I'd appreciate any random thoughts or advice anyone has.  I'm not shooting for perfect on everything, but figured if I didn't at least figure out a basic plan, I'd be a mess the day-of.



post #2 of 23



Make sure you post some :biggrin:

post #3 of 23
No mention of poking the brisket or pork butts with a toothpick to see if the are done. Should slide in easily. Most important on the brisket.

195 IT on the butts is fine for slicing. A little low for pulling.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Not mentioned because I was just planning on going by temp, since that's what I'd seen in most places.  I'll switch to the toothpick method after hitting temps, thanks for the advice!


I'm planning on pulled pork, I saw temps of something like 180-185 for sliced and 190-205 for pulled, so I went up on the lower limit a bit for pulled.  What would you suggest instead?  200, 205, or even higher?

post #5 of 23

I'd listen to Noboundaries, 195 seems a little low for butt. I did my last one @ 205 and rested for 3 hours and it was amazing.


The latest temp magic number going around for brisket is 203 degrees. But, again like Noboundaries said, poke it with a toothpick for a reality check.


Other than that the plan sounds great.

post #6 of 23

Looking forward to some picks!!! You're gonna be hard pressed to get those 2 butts done in time for dinner if your starting at 10am. I suspect a lot of lid opening from your suggested plan of action, so that's only going to hurt your cook time. I would say get those butts on as early as possible tomorrow morning. Better to have them resting in an ice chest a little longer than waiting to eat dinner until 10pm...or later.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Noted.  We're late eaters so I was shooting for 7-8ish or so.  With 5lb butts I was looking at estimated times for 1 1/2-2hrs/lb I was guessing 10am would have it done by 8ish, but maybe that's not right?  Maybe I'll shoot for 8am or so, then.

post #8 of 23
Originally Posted by intrigued View Post

Noted.  We're late eaters so I was shooting for 7-8ish or so.  With 5lb butts I was looking at estimated times for 1 1/2-2hrs/lb I was guessing 10am would have it done by 8ish, but maybe that's not right?  Maybe I'll shoot for 8am or so, then.


It might be done at that time, but your gonna want to let it rest at least an hour to allow the juices to pull back up. Plus, there's no telling what kind of stall you'll get. Moving it up a couple hours might be a wise decision. 

post #9 of 23
I'm at work on my phone. Starting earlier on the brisket and butts is a good recommendation. 203-205 IT for pulling the butts. Start poking the brisket with the toothpick at 195. Might not be ready until 200-203 IT. Those last few degrees on a brisket can make all the difference.

Earlier in the smoke watch for the stall and if worried about time, wrap the beef and pork separately in HD aluminum foil with about 1/2 cup liquid and crank the temp up on your WSM to 275-300 until you reach your desired IT.

A splatched 4 lb chicken at 225-250 should be done in about 3 hours, give or take. I usually smoke two 6 lb'ers whole on a beer can at 275-325 and they take between 3-4 hours for the danger zone (leg-thigh area) to get to 165 IT. A brined chicken breast can actually tolerate a higher final IT and still be juicy and tender. I've had to take the breast to 185 before to get the dark meat to 165. I always brine and it was still delicious.

On a smoker, hrs per pound is a very general guess, not a rule. IT is the much better guideline and even with lots of experience you can still be surprised. Always plan for the rest period. On briskets and and butts plan on an hour rest. Can do less but longer is better.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Butts on at 7:45. Temp is now up to 210. Fingers are crossed.

Here's a pic from when they first went on. Last night was hectic, got the chickens brining and the butts rubbed but no other prep work done, had to put the smoker together this morning and now I need to go start workin on some sauces.

post #11 of 23
When you say had to put the smoker together, is this the first time your using it?
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yep! Literally opened the box this morning. Was a little nerve racking knowing there might be parts missing or something but I had no trouble at all.
post #13 of 23
Hmm possibly not so good. I'll let more seasoned smokers tackle explaining why but I'm led to believe cooking in am unseasoned smoker can lead to off flavors.
post #14 of 23
Hopefully you'll be ok but a good burnout and seasoning on a new smoker is pretty standard. Gets rid of oils and residues from the manufacturing process and pre-smoke with no food after the burn off will keep off flavors from invading your meats.
post #15 of 23

Seasoning is not an issue with a WSM as it is with other smokers.  I just read both my old and new WSM owner's manuals and user guides and neither says anything about seasoning or even cleaning before use.  A dry or seasoning run is essential in other smokers but he is fine with the WSM.  I seasoned my WSM with a dry run just to get used to how to control the temps.  I didn't even know what a seasoning run was with my old Weber Kettles when they were new.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yeah that's what I'd heard about the wsm. I was planning on doing at least a dry run last night but just didn't have the time. If it's a flop, then I'll have plenty of chances to try again and it'll at least have gotten one heck of a seasoning.
post #17 of 23
I cooked a whole chicken in my WSM right out of the box and it came out incredible. No worries.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Chickens are resting butts are lookin good so far at 158 to these untrained eyes.
post #19 of 23
Wow. Looks really nice. Have you had to add charcoal at all?
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Not yet. Went with the minion method. The temp has been a little all over the place, mostly from 215-250 and then one spike to 270 which I got back down. Slowly backed off from 250 and it seems pretty cozy around 230 right now. All I added was 2 small extra chunks of cherry when the chicken went on.
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