Using hickory and apple wood, and just spritzed with apple juice and bourbon at the 2 hour mark.
Gonna move the butts to a foiled pan with apple juice, bourbon, and brown sugar at about the 160 mark.
Any suggestions or comments at this point?
I agree with David. Shut the lid and let it cook. you're losing time and Bark , by opening the Hood.
Sofar you look good , you have a handle on it and the only thing I can offer right now is a refresher course on Fire...Here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/stickburning101
Have fun and . ..
Well, Thanksgiving was success! Going to post a timeline of my journey/troubles...
1) Got the two 8.8 lb butts and turkey breast on at 12pm on Wednesday. Temp for the first hour was pretty steady at 215-250...I say pretty steady because that's the best I could do! Built the fire really hot and then adjusted down because I really didn't know how big to build the fire to accommodate this much meat.
2) Left the lid down for about 2 hours and then put the probe into the larger butt. Hmm...only had 50 degrees after 2 hours...no worries though. Spritzed and flipped the bird...it was getting rather done looking on one side.
3) Do butts temperature rise ridiculously slowly or what? Took the bird off at 3:30 PM and proceeded to put it a roasting pan over onions, garlic, apple juice, and bourbon. Turned out EXTREMELY good!!!
4) Fast forward to 7pm. The butt was at about 140 internal and seemed to stall at that point...seemed to low so after 7 hrs already, I decided to wrap. I was up to about 165 at 9pm, and decided to bring it in to finish in the oven.
5) At 11pm, I was at 192 degrees and couldn't get the butt any higher. Took the smaller butt out and it was at 196, so I let it rest an hour until midnight and then pulled. TURNED OUT AMAZING. Nice heat to the bark, and the meat was nice and salty on its own. Got rid of all the nasty fat and saved the jus that was created in the pan from covering over a rack.
6) At 1am I was done. I went ahead and pulled the second butt out at 193 degrees and had no more patience after 12 hours. Took WAY longer than I anticipated, but it was about 40 degrees and windy so that could have been a major culprit.
The family loved the BBQ and it was requested next year. Even took some to a large skeet shooting gathering on black Friday and even some serious smokers were impressed! Thanks to all for their help!!!