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first smoke, goin in head first!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

So this will be my "first smoke" ever and Im jumping in head first.  We plan on a small butt and some ribs. problem is, I don't have a clue as to what Im doing. I have read so much that my head is spinning. Wrap, don't wrap, slow cook, fast cook  on and on and on.

  So Heres what Im shooting for.  Id like to get it done within maybe 10 hrs?....... that's all I gotth_dunno-1[1].gif.   Id like to make my own rub and what not, but there again my head is spinning.  Id like to keep everything as simple as possible this goround. Can yall help a brotha out?  I recon I got till Friday to pin something down.


post #2 of 28



Ten hours seems like a really, really tight window.  The way I do my butts is make a rub from salt, pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, and chili powder to taste.  Rub them all nice (I go mustard free) and I don't refrigerate overnight either.  I unpack the butts and rub and it goes right to my smoker that is around 225-250 (I dial it in after the meats on due to temp. loss from the extra mass).  I usually put them on around 7 pm and they are done around 7-8am depending on size and I take them out and foil them for 4-5 hours and put them in the oven but don't turn them on.  Of course a cooler with towels works better but that is an option.  They will stay hot for a good 5-6 hours then it's just a matter of pulling.  My only pieces of advice are don't look at them while they cook and stop worrying so much!  It's BBQ not brain surgery.  =-)


Nathan S.

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! My 10 hr. "Guess" was just for the cook time. I thought that I read that you could *roughly* estamate 1.5 hrs. Per pound. I thought I overshot that by 1/2 hour each pound (asuming im using a 5# cut) 5×2=10. Is this not right?
Yea, maybe im sweating it a little too much. The main reason I built my RF was to see if I could build one,,,,, As dumb as it sounds, up until now I never put any thought into cooking anything on it. Hate to say it but everything Iv ever grilled has been mediocre. Iv never been impressed with anything Iv pulled off the grill. Though I was pretty impressed on how fast I could catch my whole gass grill on fire with just 4 lamb chops. The dog wouldn't even eat the things. Cant say that I blamed him either.
Thanks again!
Edited by MrSpooky - 9/16/15 at 11:56am
post #4 of 28

You aren't incorrect one bit and I think that is a great piece of advice.  My only thing with that rule is that every piece of meat that I have cooked is different, mind you I have only cooked about 50 butts.  Some of them will finish in eight hours for an 8 pounder and one took 14-15.  The good news is they hold extremely well after cooked and until eating time.  If you are on a time crunch of some sort I think you're right on track though!


Nathan S.

post #5 of 28
Having never used your RF for anything but burgers and dogs (as per your post in general forum), I'd get to know your pit before going all in.
Have you found out how the pit holds and regulates temps? Do u have a good digital therm to check pit temps at the grate at both ends?
Hate to see you ruin some expensive meat. Get to know your pit with more forgiving meats first.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mowin View Post

Having never used your RF for anything but burgers and dogs (as per your post in general forum), I'd get to know your pit before going all in.
Have you found out how the pit holds and regulates temps? Do u have a good digital therm to check pit temps at the grate at both ends?
Hate to see you ruin some expensive meat. Get to know your pit with more forgiving meats first.

From my burger/dog run, I noticed it held temps pretty steady, It hardly used any fuel. I could drive it the whole time with the door shut only using the vents in the FB door and every once in a while messing with the stack damper (but I really didn't mess with the damper as it wasn't needed). I have a digital thermo, is it good, not the best.   I know my smoker is top of the line because I built it with the guidance of people on this forumthumb1.gif!!!!  I understand what you mean though by getting to know it a little better but I just figure jump in. As long as I don't catch the food on fire (been there done that) it wont go to waste.

post #7 of 28

Good luck with the butt. I'm new to this as well, with a 18" Weber Smokey Mountain. I've done about 5 chickens and two racks of baby back ribs. Chickens are inexpensive and have been a good way to learn about my smoker. I've learned how to control the temperature, at one point of the process to put the meat in the smoker, and how different charcoals perform.


I keep track of fuel, temperature and cook times.


My chicken experiments have all been delicious and very informative. Hope your butt is the same!

post #8 of 28

I have made quite few Butts and ran a Poll of members a couple years ago. At 225-250°F, 2 Hrs/Lb is the most common timing. At 250-275, 1.5 Hrs/Lb works. At 325-350, 1 Hr/Lb is what is usual. As stated above, Butts can go crazy...At 225-250 low end was 1 Hr/Lb but 3 Hrs/Lb has happened as well. Basically look for the meat to be so tender that the bone pulls clean with little to no effort, an Internal Temp (IT) of 205°F, tested in several places. Rest 15-30 minutes on the counter and pull it.


Since you have a grip on your smoker I suggest running hotter, around 275°+. This should bring your Butt in close to 7.5 hours with a good pad to rest if early or run over if stubborn. At 275, Ribs will get bite through tender in about 4 hours. If Fall off the Bone is what you like, smoke for 3 hours and Foil with Foiling Juice or Apple Juice for 1 hour. Check them and give more time, 30 minutes, if needed.


Here are some simple Recipes you may like...JJ



Mild Bubba Q Rub (All Purpose)


1/2C Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado)

2T Sweet Paprika (Hungarian)

1T Kosher Salt

1T Chili Powder* (contains some Cumin and Oregano) Ancho Chile is same without cumin, oregano etc.

1T Granulated Garlic

1T Granulated Onion

1tsp Black Pepper, more if you like

1/2tsp Grnd Allspice


For more heat add Cayenne or Chipotle Pwd to taste, start with 1/2tsp and go from there. Makes about 1 Cup

Apply your desired amount of Rub to the meat, wrap in plastic and rest in the refrigerator over night.or longer. The day of the smoke, pull the meat out, add more Rub and go into your pre-heated Smoker...

Note*...Some Chili Powders can be pretty Hot. McCormick and Spice Island are Mild...



Foiling Juice / Sweet Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


Foiling Juice


For each Rack of Ribs Combine:


1T Pork Rub, yours

1/2 Stick Butter

1/2C Cane Syrup... Dark Corn Syrup...or Honey

1/4C Apple Cider...or Juice

1T Molasses


Optional: 2T Apple Cider Vinegar. Add 2T Mustard and 1/4C Ketchup to make it more of a KC Glaze.


Simmer until a syrupy consistency.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, pour over foiled Ribs and

run your 2 hour phase of 3-2-1. For the last phase return

the ribs to the smoker BUT reserve any Juice remaining

in the Foil. Simmer the Juice over med/low heat to reduce to a saucy thickness. Glaze the Ribs for presentation or service.


For a Sweet Finishing Sauce for Pulled Pork: Make a Double batch, skip the Butter.


If you plan to Foil the meat, add 1/2 the batch to the Foil Pack or place it in a Pan with your Butt, when the IT hits 165*F.

Cover the pan with foil and continue to heat to 205*F for pulling.

At 205* rest or hold the Butt in a cooler wrapped in towels until ready to serve.

Pull the Pork and place it back in the pan with the pan Juices and any additional reserved Foiling Juice to moisten, the meat should be shiny and juicy but not swimming in sauce. Serve while hot...OR... Bag and refrigerate until needed.

If you choose to Not Foil or Pan the Butt. Add the Finishing Sauce to the pulled meat before serving. Add the hot Finishing Sauce a little at a time until the Pork is moistened, again the meat should be shiny but not swimming in sauce.

When re-heating place the Pulled Pork in a Pan or Crock pot and add reserved Foiling Juice or Apple Cider, as needed to make up the Juice that was absorbed while the pork was refrigerated. Cover and re-heat in a pre-heated 325-350*F oven or on High in the crock pot to 165*F and Serve.


I was AMAZED...No additional sauce needed. ENJOY...JJ


Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce


This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...


2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

1/4C Brown Sugar

1T Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Granulated Garlic

2 tsp Granulated Onion

2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

1 tsp Celery Salt

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flake. Add more if you like Heat.

1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice


Combine all and whisk well. This is a thin sauce, bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. Adjust sweetness by adding Brn Sugar or additional Vinegar as desired...Makes about 2 Cups.


For a Lexington Style Dip add, 1/2C Ketchup and 1-3tsp Red Pepper Flakes...JJ



post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you Chef! This was what I was looking for, a good starting point. Im not sure Iv ever had any "real" bbq before. After buildin my smoker I went to a few local compatitions in my small town. There were a few teams that had it going on but for the most part when I walked around I could tell (from what I have learned on this forum) that I had a superior smoker setting in my back yard. Not trying to toot my own horn, but just seeing the construction and design of some of the others I saw alot of flaws. Now, could those smokers probuce better food than I might,,, probably, but I know I have a top quality rig so all thats left is me lokcing down a taste that Im happy with. Back to the "Im not sure Iv had any "real" bbq thing", I beat around the bush trying to get some of these guys to let me taste their Bbq, but no one would so I just had to settle for what the "rolling" venders would sell me. I could have gotten the same bbq at burger king I think. Anyway, thanks again and Ill keep everyone posted on how it goes. Jason
post #10 of 28
Jason , I know you've planned on the Butt for your cook , however ,I have a suggestion that will help you in getting intimate with your smoker .

The cooking and temp. suggestions were solid , however , I feel that starting with a cheaper meat like , Chicken , will get you better acquainted with you equipment and methods .

Do you keep a Log of your cooks ? Again ,this is a great habit to get into and will help you understand your smoker AND your methods.

Have fun and . . .
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
No, I dont keep a log but Iv never really used my smoker before (unless you want to count my burger/ hot dog run). I would be really interested in keeping records of stuff though.. What are some things a smoker log book might consist of? Im really not trying to go against the grain here, but why is everyone suggesting to start with chicken? Other than the cost factor? Everything I have read, and been told is that every meet is different so just because you've done 100 birds, I dont see how that is going to prepair you for your first big chunk of pork.Its still going to be your first. I kinda look at it like this, if you learn to drive with a Ferrari, a pinto should be no problem. I know,,, I got a wierd way of looking at things... Again, Im not trying to be disrespectful in any way but your first time doing anything will still be the first time.
post #12 of 28

Folks here just tend to look out for each other. It really don't matter what you start with. The Chicken folks just put themselves in your shoes and look at the cost of having a hard time with a new smoker. It don't cost much if the chicken is so bad you can't eat it. Not that you will necessarily have a bad smoke. Good luck with the Pork...JJ

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Ok, just checking in. Got my cc up to temp about 6:30am. Probably took me about 1.5 hrs to get it to 300. Put the butts (i cut one in half it was a 8lber) on around 6:45 and brought tempz down to 275. Iv been able to hold temps of 275 +/- 8 degrees so far... thats all i got atm.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
So far so good ( i think?? )
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
post #16 of 28

Looks good! One nice thing about this hobby is, you can make multiple attempts. Make notes like too much this or too little that, and try again.


There's more of a burden if you run a commercial operation and you have to produce a consistent (and safe and legal) product. As a hobbyist, you can kill the in-laws and stray dogs with relatively few consequences.

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thats how i see it too....... Just like to throw out a b8g thanks to alll the help iv got building this machine. Everything is going fine so ive been playing around with temps. I crap you not, With the fb door closed, i can control temps within 3 degrees just with the air vents.
Happier tgan a pig in sh.....
post #18 of 28
Howdy, MrSpooky!

You've done the right thing by looking around and reading up and asking questions. You're not gonna learn to swim without gettin' wet and you are occasionally gonna get water up your nose. Same is true with smokin'. You gotta build a fire (or light off an electric) and put meat on a grill grate; so I say, "Go for it!"

We've all done a first smoke and we all had the same kind of first date jitters with our pits. You will not get over them until you've taken her out a few times.

OldSchool (Stan) is right about chicken being a good way to learn your pit's personality, but pork butt at a dollar a pound ain't so pricey that you shouldn't do it first, IMO. A butt will make you tend smoke and temp over a longer period of time which is a better learning experience for me.

As for rubs and sauces, drop the dime and buy Jeff's rub and sauce recipes. They are a great place to start and should season your smoke very well. I use the mustard first to make it stick, but you don't have to do that. After using Jeff's Rub a few times, you can branch out on your own from a base of experience and knowledge gained.

Whatever you do, take pics from the time you unwrap and at each stage thereafter. We like Qview and besides . . . th_nopicsye3.gif
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
10/fo. Will do!
post #20 of 28

IMO the main thing that will ruin a butt is not having patience...Its going to take as long as it takes...get a good meat thermometer and keep your heat 225-250...foil it at around 160 and its done around 200...This basic info will make you a hero at your next BBQ. Its pretty simple to get good results......All the other stuff is just tweaking ,dont worry about all that till you have produced some good basic product.

Edited by illnevertell - 9/19/15 at 11:27am
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