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