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Newb needing advice

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cooked my first butt and it turned out great last weekend, this weekend were having a big party, cooking a 6.35 & 7.5 lb butt and will need to start it around 1-2 am to get it finished around the right time. I've got a ok Joe horizontal smoker. Any tips advice on how to situate coals and wood chunks so I preferably can get some sleep would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm cooking 2 butt for clarification.
post #3 of 17

1.  I have no experience with your smoker.  On my horizontal, I need to tend the fire every 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so good luck on the sleep unless yours is a lot different.


2.  Cooking 2 butts should take about the same time as cooking one.  Except will use a tad more fuel. Keep the doors/lids closed or you will extend your cook time.


3.  Be sure to leave an hour or two to wrap and rest the meat.


Good luck and good smoking.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I've got some lump charcoal and a bag of kingsford, with the kingsford (used it last time) I had to add a few lit coals every hour or so, the lump should burner slower correct? Also have some cherry wood soaking as we speak.
post #5 of 17
What time are you serving?

Do you have a charcoal basket? I would start your coals and get a nice bed going, add the chunks and allow your temps to settle. If you have a basket it will allow you to cook longer at a stable temp. If you do not you will need to make sure the ashes are kept clear best possible or the ash will smother the coals and effect your temps. If you have access to small splits I would run mostly with that, less ash and easier to maintain temps.

Do not get excited if your temps vary a lot. If the temp starts to drop, check to see if the ash is smothering the coals, if not then add some wood. Do not add unlit coals, pre light them first. My temps will vary from 230 - 290. Do not keep looking at the meat, but keep an eye to make sure you are not getting too much color.
post #6 of 17
Lump burns faster and hotter.

I do not soak my wood. Find better if dry, less white smoke.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I built a makeshift basket out of some pretty thick chicken wire type material but have not used it out of fear that it would melt and cause more problems. The way the ok joe sets up the ash isn't going to be an issue, lots of room under the grate, when you say a bed of coals to start your saying unlit correct? Then adding the lit coals on top?
post #8 of 17

Not that you will be able to sleep anyway?


But yes, lump will burn faster than briquettes.


As stated, as long as your temps don't get EXTREME, they will average out.


Still, no naps unless you are a very light sleeper?


Or have a  :wife:  willing to tend the fire or wake you when needed?


Good luck and good smoking.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Haha thanks for the advice guys. I've got some buddies that are going to stay up with me and I think well get some shifts going as well.
post #10 of 17
You can add the lit on the unlit, but you will get a lot of white smoke. So you will want to allow that to settle first.

One of the design flaws of the Oaklahoma is how the opening to the fire box is at grate level on the right side. Be careful with your meat close to it. You will run a chance of burning before done.

If the chicken wire is galvanized you do not want to use it. It will produce fumes that are bad for you.

I really like the smoker for the price, just needs a few mods in my opinion.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've added a exhaust extension and installed replacement gasket around the smoking chamber lid, but I still lose smoke. It generally retains the heat level, I don't have any experience with other smokers, but it's not like it fluxuates wildly. I can remove the top grate and put coals on the lower grate but then ash would become an issue. Anyone tried this?
post #12 of 17
I would use the lower grate. By using the upper you will choke your fire and the heat will not flow correctly. With the fire lower in the fire box it will allow for the heat to flow into the cook chamber with air flow. With it higher you will be heating the top of the fire box more. So you lose efficiency.
post #13 of 17

They are right , forget about sleep , un less you have some one to poke you when the starts to drop . I use all wood and once in the smoker , I don't lift the lid , I watch the IMT's and go for 200*F and pull the bone out.  Now , you've heard several ways to do this , but do it how you feel comfortable with , you're the cook:icon_exclaim:


If you can't do the all nighter , give several hours of good "Thin Blue Smoke"  and put it in an oven @250*F till done(bone pulls out easy).

  Example of the smoke . Real light , be patient and let it get there before you put the meat in , start a bit higher temp. than you want to cook for the meat will cool it somewhat , adjust when you need.


Have fun and . . .

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Had the meat on for one hour, let the long night begin.....
post #15 of 17
How ya holding on?
I was there last weekend. Did a cook for our church.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, it turned out great. Better than my first butt last week. Even had a few people offer to back a barbecue restaurant if I wanted to start one, haha. Overall it took 16 hours to cook, 4 1/2 hours of sleep but it was a great time. Unfortunately we had so many people over at the house I got distracted and couldn't snap any pics. Thanks as always for the tips, couldn't have done it without the help of the guys on this website.
post #17 of 17

Glad it turned out well!


I hear ya on the camera?  Somewhere between the beers in the process and the fury at the end?  The dang camera in my greasy fingers is the last thing I am thinking about?


Good luck and good smoking.

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