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Tasty Failure-Long Description

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all, my wife bought a rolled pork butt  and I smoked it yesterday.  It took forever, didn't get to target temperature. was not super tender, but tasted great.  Since this is my second smoking attempt, I would like to get some critique.


I got a Cabala's Premium Smoker for Fathers Day.  I didn't set it up for 3 months since I read some very negative reviews.  (Doesn't heat up, thermometer doesn't work, doesn't put together very easy) Surprise surprise, it went together nicely, gets hot and worked very well.


First time Smoking


I smoked country ribs the first time and they came out very nice.  I marinated them in cranberry juice overnight, used mesquite wood soaked for 30 minutes, and smoked them on high for an hour. (This was because of the4 reviews that said the smoker didn't get hot.)

Smoke started pouring out of the of the top of the smoker almost immediately.  I was planning to smoke them for an hour and a half, but noticed that smoke had stopped coming out.  I opened the lid and they appeared to be done.  Then I used a analog thermometer to see what the temperature was and they were over 160 degrees.  I took them off the grill and the meat fell off the bone.  Nicely tender and a great smoky flavor.  I was planning to pour bbq sauce on them over the last half hour, but didn't get a chance.  I was very pleased for my first smoking endeavor.  I gave myself a B+ with not having bbq sauce smoked on.





 I marinated a 3lb rolled pork butt for 16 hours in cranberry juice.

I soaked mesquite chips in water for 2 hours.

I removed the roast out of the fridge an hour before cooking.



I drained the water off of the chips and put them in a pan resting on the heating element. 
I put the first rack in the smoker and put a pan of water on it. 

I took the string off the roast and found two roasts of about a pound and half each. 

I put the thermometer probe in the middle of the thickest roast

I put the rack holding the meat in the middle support.

I placed a thermometer probe on the middle rack and closed  the smokers

 I turned Ithe heating element control to a medium setting and set up the thermometer receiver and   transmitter units.

I set the meat alarm for 145 degrees so I could put on bbq sauce for the last 15 degrees. 

I set the grill temperature between 200 and 250 degrees and let it rip.



After the smoker was on for 10-15 minutes later, the alarm went off telling me the grill temperature was above 250 degrees.  I adjusted the  control to reduce the temperature.  It settled in at about 225 degrees, the target temperature. 

The temperature in the roast started to rise.  After an hour and a half, the roast was at about 130 degrees. 

There was not much smoke coming from the smoker. 30 minutes later, it got to 140 degrees.  

It stayed at 140 degrees for a couple hours then finally got to 145 degrees.  I put bbq sauce on the roast with the probe and put the lid back on.  It stayed at 145 degrees for another hour.  I was thinking I moved the probe in the roast and it wasn't set properly

I took the roast off and shut it down.  An analog thermometer confirmed the roast was indeed 145 degrees and when I sliced into the meat, it was rather tough and still pretty pink.   I put the roast back in the smoker and turned it back on.  I raised the temperature of the smoker to 280 degrees and let it smoke some more.  At this time, smoke was coming out of the top of the smoker.   I cooked the roast for another hour and finally got it up to 154 degrees.  I took the roast off and  sliced it.  The meat was less tough than it was an hour ago.  When I ate it, the meat was very good and was not tough to chew.


My questions are:


Did I soak the wood too long and was that why it really didn't smoke.  Should I have turned the heat up higher initially to get the wood starting to smoke?


Any ideas why it took 6 hours to get it up to 160 degrees?


What did I do wrong.


Thanks for your help.  I am enjoying the smoked food andlook forward to smoking more meats.


This is a great website and I appreciate the help.





If you need a wireless thermometer, I would highly recommend the Maverick ET733.  It works quite well, the alarms went off as necessary, and the range was quite adequate.  I was 100 feet away in the house and not a problem.  It sure takes the guesswork (once I learn how to smoke) out of smoking

Edited by smokercub - 9/28/14 at 9:36am
post #2 of 8
We'll pork butts take a while to cook, especially if you are running your smoker at 250 or less. So the pork butt is best when taken to an IT of 200-205. Pull from smoker foil and rest for 45min-1 hour. That is for pulling.

If your looking for a slicing roast I would pick loin. With loin you want to cook it to 145, foil and rest then slice.
post #3 of 8


Spend some time getting to know the temp of your smoker. You may also have to adjust the size of your wood. Chunks/chips.

Happy smoken.


post #4 of 8

160 is low for a butt.  I would have gone to 180 or even 185 for slicing.  200 to 205 for pulling.


As Case said, for lower temps the pork loin or sirloin would be a better choice.


Good luck and good smoking.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Should I have raised the smoker temp to 275-300 for the whole time I was smoking it?

post #6 of 8

You could, I do my butts at those temps sometimes.  Even at those temps you're still going to be looking at an 8 to 10 hour smoke on average (depending on the size of the roast), and thats if your on the higher end of the 275-300 range.  But what everyone else told you about the temp of the roast is the real answer to your problem.  Butts are going to stall on you, sometimes more than once.  Higher temps and foil will help with that, but they will still stall.   As an example, I've had two identical butts in the smoker at the same time, one took 12 hours, the other took 14 hours. 

post #7 of 8

There is no benefit from soaking your wood except delaying the rate of smoke.  Adjust your amount to get a nice thin blue gentle rolling smoke, maybe just one or two chunks or a small handful of chips every 30 min. or so.  If you can barely see it, it's ok!


pellets smoldering....



smoke produced....




post #8 of 8

Yes, I agree with the above... here's another suggestion. Start and keep a record of your cooks. Include any and all things you want ( the more the better ) and track your progress into smoking...


Have fun and as always . . .

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