Yesterday's smoke went pretty well. There were a couple of issues, but the important thing is that the meat turned out good. Very tender and pulled apart nicely, crispy bark and a good smoke ring. From the family's comments and compliments (plus how quickly meat disappeared from the table!) I'd call it a success. The smoke took about 9 hours cooked at 235. However, after nearly 8 hours people started getting antsy about how much longer it was gonna take... they were hungry and the wonderful smell in the air was making it worse. At that point the meat was done (186), but I was shooting for 195 for best tenderness. To speed things along a bit, I bumped the smoker up to about 250. Wanted to get it up to 195 a little quicker for the gang's sake, but didn't want to add too much heat too quickly and dry it out.
I was using a Maverick ET-732, and it worked fine for just over 8 hours when the meat temp reading went crazy and registered 250. I've created a separate general discussion post, so I won't go into detail here except to say the meat was still safely in the 188 range according to my Thermopop. Gotta get this issue figured out... if folks would be so kind as to check out that post I'd sure appreciate any advice!
The second issue I think I know the cause of. After removing the meat from the smoker, I put all 6 pieces in foil-covered pans and into the oven (which was off) to rest. Would've let them go for 45-60 mins., but the crowd's impatience and anger was growing. I kept 'em at bay for 30 mins, at which time I figured it was a halfway decent if not optimum rest. I immediately took out 3 of the 6 for dinner and pulled them apart with my new bear claws (which were awesome to use, by the way). The meat pulled apart like butter. I left the other 3 pieces as is in the still-off oven and ate dinner myself. My thought was that I'd pull them right after I finished eating and that a little more rest wouldn't hurt. 50 mins. later I began pulling those. Very difficult to pull, the meat was still very warm but not hot as the first 3 had been. The internal meat looked exactly the same as the first 3 and was just as tasty. I think my mistake was in not pulling them when the others were done... if they had been, I'm guessing they would have come apart just as well.
I've added some pictures below. Comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!