Yesterday I smoked a seven-pound pork butt, using Meowey's technique as described in the "Basic Pulled Pork Smoke" sticky post. The butt was vacu-wrapped, the label said nothing about any added solution, and I did not brine the meat before cooking.
My wife (she's from North Carolina, and "western style" fan. I'm from Texas. Mixed marriages can be tough) described it as "pretty good", which is effusive praise for her :)
I used hickory chips and chunks in a cast iron skillet, directly on the heating element. I also had a pot of water on the element to keep the interior humid, although with the rain we had yesterday morning that may have been overkill.
My smoker has two racks (see below for more details). I put the meat on the top rack and put a sheet of heavy duty foil on the middle rack to catch drippings.
I set my smoker to 215 degrees and hit 130 degrees internal after about four hours. The temperature held there for about two hours, which I thought was the "plateau" that I've read about, but after two hours I started thinking "that's too long", so I upped the temperature to about 230. The meat came up about five degrees, so I figured the smoke phase was done. I wrapped the butt in foil and pulled the foil off of the middle rack. After about 15 minutes of rebound time, the meat temperature started climbing steadily, and reached 180 in about three more hours.
It didn't exactly fall off the bone, but it pulled away easily enough. I had about a quart of liquid in the foil pouch, almost all of which I captured. It didn't seem too fatty, but I haven't looked at it since putting it all in the refrigerator. I figure I can use that to moisten the meat as needed.
I also smoked a flat-cut brisket that followed a similar temperature profile, except slightly higher due to the higher surface-area-to-mass ratio. I scored the fat, rubbed it all over the night before and let it set for 12 hours before it went on the heat. I haven't tasted it yet; I'll let y'all know tonight.
Lesson learned - don't put a big sheet of aluminum foil between the smoke/heat and the meat, although that sends me back to the drawing board on how to catch the drippings. I've considered just smoking the meat in a disposable roasting pan, but it seems that would block the smoke from a lot of the meat's surface. Any suggestions there will be most welcome.
home-made WBS, from an oak hogshead wine-aging barrel
two 22" circular racks, 14" vertical separation
heat supplied by a Brinkmann electric converter with lava rocks surrounding the element and four 3" L-brackets for "legs"
heat controlled with a router motor speed controller that I picked up at Harbor Freight.