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First pulled pork (plus lessons learned)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Smoked pulled pork for the first time last weekend. It was the first smoke on my new '16 Traeger Elite 34. As I intend to do with all of my posts, I try to highlight my smoking process and share lessons learned. For me it's all about progress, so any feedback would be much appreciated. 

 

4/09/2016

2016 Traeger Elite 34

Prep time: 12 hours

Smoke time: 13.25 hours

Rest time: 0 hours

Total time: 25.25 hours

 

Outside temp: 28F

Pit temp: 225F (start)

Target IT: 200F

 

Process:

  1. Prepped alb bone-in Boston butt overnight with generous layer of Carolina mustard sauce followed by "house" rub.
  2. Placed pork in smoker at 225F at 6:45AM using Cookin Pellets Perfect Mix.
  3. Spritzed pork every house starting at 9:00AM.
  4. Inserted meat probe at 10:45AM, showing 103F. At this point I increased the pit temp from 225 to 250F since the IT was lower than anticipated.
  5. At 4:00PM hit stall IT of 160F for ~2.5 hours.
  6. Increased pit temp to 275F at 5:30PM.
  7. IT climbed slowly to 177F over the next ~2 hours.
  8. Increased pit temp to 300F at 7:30PM.
  9. Intentionally pulled pork off smoker early (IT=177F) because it was 8PM and everyone was starving.
  10. Intentionally did not rest the pork, instead pulled (or cut actually) pork and coated liberally with finishing sauce.
  11. Enjoyed on a bun with Lexington dip sauce alongside corn salsa, Carolina slaw, and mac 'n cheese.

 

Q-view:

Butt when I first loaded it into the smoker

 

Butt after about 6 hours

 

Butt when I pulled off smoker (only at 176F) - wasn't foiled.

 

My best effort at "pulling" the "undercooked" PP

 

Still tasted delicious, but texture was a bit more chewy

 

My iGrill2 recorded temp and linear/polynomial trend lines. I wanted to see if I could project what time I would have finished, but also see if I could calculate a hour/# estimate based on my system (and the given variables). Came out to 1.9 regardless of trend line used.

 

Lessons learned:

  • Was 1.5 hours late in getting pork onto smoker due to "seasoning" of Traeger grill (should have read instructions the night before!).
  • Used 1.5 hours per # estimate but didn't realize that is WITH foil. Based on my temperature projections (see above), it would have take 15.7-16 total hours to hit 200F, which comes out to 1.92-1.96 hours per #. I will add in 3 hour rest/buffer time in case things get delayed in the future and since I plan to keep the temp at 225F the whole time.
  • Used 13# of pellets over 13.25 hours.
  • Lexington dip was more popular than finishing sauce, may just opt for LD in the future.
post #2 of 9

That's nice looking bark you got on it.  I plan on butts taking up to 2 hours per pound,  have never foiled one during the smoke, and always double foil and rest in a cooler for at least 1 hour.

 

The meat will stay quite warm for so long in the cooler that you almost can't start your smoke too early.  (Just my dos centavo's).

 

Nothing wrong with chopped.  Just chop it fine enough to eliminate the "chewy" problem.  :biggrin:

post #3 of 9

Spritzing will add cooking time.  I've never spritzed pulled pork.

 

IS that the graph from your Igrill2?  Mine looks nothing like that.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 


I exported the CSV file via email and adjusted the graph in excel (reformatted axes and added trend lines)

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One eyed Jack View Post
 

That's nice looking bark you got on it.  I plan on butts taking up to 2 hours per pound,  have never foiled one during the smoke, and always double foil and rest in a cooler for at least 1 hour.

 

The meat will stay quite warm for so long in the cooler that you almost can't start your smoke too early.  (Just my dos centavo's).

 

Nothing wrong with chopped.  Just chop it fine enough to eliminate the "chewy" problem.  :biggrin:


I hear you! Figured that my next 8 lber will be started before going to bed the night before I plan to eat, that way I'll give it a solid 16 hours, plus 3 hour rest/buffer.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaz4121 View Post
 


I hear you! Figured that my next 8 lber will be started before going to bed the night before I plan to eat, that way I'll give it a solid 16 hours, plus 3 hour rest/buffer.

 

That sounds like a good plan.  Thumbs Up

post #7 of 9

Sounds like you have it figured out now!

 

Al

post #8 of 9

I budget 2-2.5 hours / lb for butts without foil.  That include the cooler rest time.  Nicely done!

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mummel View Post
 

I budget 2-2.5 hours / lb for butts without foil.  That include the cooler rest time.  Nicely done!

That's a good way to plan for the smoke!

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