The wrap-up didn't finish till 2 A.M. my time, so I waited until the next morning (after a night of rest) to post the results.
The first two pictures are of the butts smoked over charcoal and wood chunks. The third picture is of the electric butt.
The bark was slightly darker and more consolidated on the charcoal/wood smoked meat.
The smoky flavor was more pronounced, and had a deeper penetration on the first two butts as well.
A reddish smoke ring was about a quarter (or more in places) inch thick on the first two butts.
The third (electric) butt had a faint red coloring, perhaps a sixteenth of an inch, but was hard to see in
the transition area at the bark. At the time of the pulling, the third butt had a more "baked" flavor to it, with a less pronounced smoke
flavor. I wanted to be fair in my comparison, so I re-tasted the electric butt in the morning after a night of sleep.
When the electric butt was tasted alone, it had a smoked character to it. It did not seem quite
as "bake flavored" as I remembered. Some of this I chalked up to me being in the smoke all day, and becoming "smoke blind"
in the taste buds. Then I tried the charcoal/wood butts again; the smoke flavor was more pronounced and rich.
I sampled the electric butt again, and by comparison, the baked flavor was back.
If all I had was an electric smoker, and could not do a side-by-side comparison, I would be satisfied (even pleased) with the
smoke flavor of an electric. It is only in direct comparison that any shortcomings are seen.
For lightly smoked meats, such as chicken and fish, the electric might come out on top in a comparison.
The electric creates a moister environment with a lighter smoke flavor. For poultry and fish dishes, this may actually be better.
The electric was less work, once the GFI electrical socket was repaired at the beginning of the smoke. I felt less of a need
to monitor the electric's temperature, it had already been charted and graphed in the previous weeks; it's character was
well known to me.
Even with a stoker (Pitmaster IQ120), I kept an eye on the charcoal/wood temperatures. With a greater amount of meat
in the smoker, the fuel burn was higher (no surprise there). But, I didn't know in advance how often more fuel would
be needed, so a close eye was kept on it. Even with a stoker, once a large enough blanket of ash covers your coals,
temperatures will drop. The stoker does not blow enough air to puff the ashes off the coals; it is a very gentle supply of air.
This is why at 8 hours the ashes were separated and dumped from the mini-WSM. I saw a 5 degree
drop, and knew something was amiss. The ash blanket was dealt with before it became a real problem. With its battery backed up power,
and the ability to manually open the vents, the loss of electrical power would not have been catastrophic with the mini-WSM.
It would have been a show-stopper for the electric.
The meat was vacuum packed and frozen for future enjoyment and gifts to co-workers.
A quick note on frozen pulled pork. Prepare a pot with 170 degree water. Throw a frozen vacuum sealed bag in the water.
Maintain temperature of the water. It produces pulled pork at the ideal serving temperature without rupturing the bag.
It takes about an hour to go from frozen, to piping hot by this method. A crock pot set on medium heat can be used for
the water bath, or a pot on an induction cooker (like the $99, "as seen on TV") table top unit, set to 170 degrees.
Making the pulled pork in advance, freezing, then heating at a later date makes hosting a BBQ party much less stressful.
You don't have to worry about hitting the dreaded "stall" and the meal being delayed. Serving time becomes predictable,
and you can then worry about making the burgers and brats on the grill instead.
Thanks to everyone for reading this. I know it is long.
Edited by Addertooth - 8/17/14 at 2:01pm