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First smoke EVER next week. Suggestions?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I'm breaking in the Horizon next week with my first ever smoke on an offset. What do you guys recommend for the first cook? Something not too difficult that will make for an enjoyable cook. I've got family coming in town and would prefer them to not eat rubber. Thanks guys!
post #2 of 12

The most forgiving hunk of meat on the planet is a pork butt (aka shoulder), either bone in (preferred) or boneless (practically just as good).  It can come out delicious in spite of low n slow, hot n fast, wide temperature fluctuations, wood choice, brined or unbrined, sauced or unsauced.  You can rub it the night before or just before you throw it on the smoker.  You can wrap it or not at the stall.  And you can always adjust the flavor profile at the end with more rub, sauce, or add a finishing sauce like Chef JJ's (we don't eat pulled pork without it). 


Since you are having company I STRONGLY suggest you smoke it the day before to take the pressure off then reheat it in the oven, crock pot, or stovetop.  Trust me, you'll be glad you did.  Remember, pig butts can't tell time and could care less when dinner is supposed to start. 


Here's Bear's step by step for pulled pork.



Here's Chef JJ's Finishing Sauce.




Have fun and keep us posted on the results. 

post #3 of 12
I agree with doing it the day before unless you know your smoker really well. I did my first smoke on my new smoker yesterday with a pork butt. I was expecting a 14 hour smoke but it was a constant learning curve throughout the smoke. I had to deal with figuring out how to manage my temps when I needed to add fuel, how often to check my temps, how much to adjust my damper, and even how to respond to a severe drop in the ambient outdoor temperature coupled with the onset of 15 mph winds. All told it took 16 hours from first light up to completion of the rest and start of pull but it was worth it. Good luck!
post #4 of 12

I agree with pork butt you can always smoke it for 5 to 6 hrs put it in a foil pan add juice or my favorite Bourbon foil then put in the oven at 215 for 5 hrs . It will be perfect !!! The recipe is on Jefffs site

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well the first smoke was a success. I followed Bear's guide for pulled pork to a T and thought it turned out well. Bark and smoke ring looked solid. I also smoked a ham with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze. I've attached a pic of the pork.

My biggest takeaway from using an offset for the first time was fire management. I didn't realize how much you have to keep an eye on it. Walk away for a few minutes and the fire might be completely different when you come back. There's no set it and walk away like an a green egg for example. Definitely something to work on.
post #6 of 12
This is true. I think that's why the auto stokers are so popular. I will be saving up for one myself. I'm also going to try either straight wood or a combination of wood/charcoal with mine to see if that helps any
post #7 of 12

I use a charcoal basket and a variation of the minion method. My basket is homemade 1ft by 1ft made with diamond cut steel. you can get the how to video on you tube. I then divided it with a thin piece of steel down the middle. I fill 1 side up with charcoal with some chunks mixed in. then start a chimney with charcoal and wood  combined get it white hot and dump it in on the other side. You get a faster preheat this way and it will eventually start the other side for a longer burn .

post #8 of 12

My Dad recently bought and Horizon, I got to play around with it. I liked it a lot but you are constantly monitoring your temps and adjusting the damper. 

post #9 of 12

I have a Horizon offset. What I found to be most helpful for temperature control was to have a quite small but hot-burning fire. The splits I was using needed to be split again, lengthwise. These much-smaller diameter splits were placed on top of the firebox before being placed on the fire, so as to warm them to a sufficiently high temperature that they would immediately begin to flame when placed on the coals. This also ended any problem of producing too much of the unwanted heavy, white billowing smoke.

  I will place a new split in the fire every 30-60 minutes and never need to adjust any vents for the duration of the cook. The smokestack vent is kept wide-open and the firebox intake vent is held to about 1/2 open....after the fire is well established.

  Having come to the offset type of smoker from the BGE ceramics, I was astounded by how much fuel these beasts eat but that is all part of the fun for me, poking and prodding a split or two, every so often, and we really don't worry about a few temperature swings here and there.

  Good luck with your new toy!

post #10 of 12

Thanks for the info, look forward to using it some more.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm smoking another pork butt today. I started off with the minion method and wow, what a difference. I've put one or two small sticks on in two hours and I've been steady 250 the entire time. My first smoke I didn't have enough of a solid coal base and was constantly trying to keep the temp up. I also split my wood again to make them smaller. I didn't realize how small the firebox really is until I came home with 16" pieces of post oak. This smoke should be much better than the first.
post #12 of 12

The Minion Method was a life saver for me it made smoking much more manageable ! Now I fire the smoker almost  every week

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