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Feedback from first smoke

post #1 of 3
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So I did my first smoke Saturday.  3.5 lb pork shoulder bone in on an 18" Weber kettle.  Used the snake method with 4 chunks hickory.  Took exactly 5.5 hours on the grill.  What I did was where the wood chucks were I went 2x2 charcoal with the chunks on top side by side.  The rest of the snake went 2x2x1.  Total snake went a little more than half way around the kettle.  The rub I used was the McCormicks Pork rub.  Only used that on my first one as the whole point of this smoke was to learn the method for the most part.  No mopping was used.  Rub was put on 24 hours before grilling. 


So what did I learn?  First off the snake method is awesome.  Used about 8-10 briquets as a starter in my chimney starter and poured them at the end with the wood chunks to start  I came out once an hour just to check kettle temperature.  I only have 1 wireless thermometer and I used that for the meat.  For the kettle I used a very short stemmed thermometer that I simply let hang in one of the top vents.  After I got to the temperature I was looking for I learned that to control temperature I should open the top vents and control with the bottom vent.  Some personal friends of mine told me the opposite so I did learn the right way in the end.  I also learned that I probably cannot do anything much bigger than 4lbs at once on that small of a grill.  But I am only one person so it works either way for me.  I also double wrapped in foil at 160F until don at 190F.


So here is a few questions.  Admittedly I did not know what the McCormicks Pork rub would taste like but to me when I smelled it it sure smelled like a lot of brown sugar so I was expecting a sweeter taste.  No clue if it should have been sweet or not.  However the finished taste came out a little "warm".  Could that be from the hickory?  Also I noticed the top of the meat was a much darker color than the bottom which was on the grill.  Anything there?  I chose for this smoke to not use any foil anywhere on the grill except when I wrapped.  One last thing.  To me it seemed like the meat came out medium well to well done at 190F finishing temperature.  I was hoping for something a little more juicy and slightly rarer for my personal taste.  Is 190F maybe a bit to high for a smaller cut of meat like that?


Thank you all in advance for your thoughts and advice.  Learning to do this right is so necassary and after one attempt I really liked it overall.


post #2 of 3

Nice job on your first smoke.  Looks great.


What was your plan for the meat?  Sliced or pulled pork.  If it was to be sliced, then your finish temp was good.  If it was PP, then you took it off a bit too soon--should be about 205* and then it will pull beautifully.   As for dry......I've never had a butt come off dry, so not sure what to tell you.  If you made PP, then a finishing sauce mixed into the meat will cure that problem.  


Next time, you can always inject the meat before you cook, and this should make it juicy.



post #3 of 3
Gary is right on. Especially the IT for the finish. You might want to add 1/2 cup of apple juice when you wrap a butt. It adds to the moisture, it helps with flavor and the acidity helps with tenderness.

A rub that you might want to try is Jeff's Rub and Sauce. It is available here and the proceeds go to maintain and support the forum. The recipes are very user friendly and you can tweak them to your personal taste.

Good luck and keep on smokin', Joe.
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