Sorry for no pics. Just bought a Masterbuilt Pro 30" with legs, here:
Seasoned it yesterday for 3 hours per the instructions, adding Kingsford wood chips as well.
Bought a small (3 pound) pork shoulder - it's a brand type vs. from the store's butcher. I didn't want to try a 7 or 8 pounder just in case I screwed it up.. it only cost $4.
Had the smoker going at 10am at 225, with water pan filled, and using the built in wood chip feeder. Used the built in thermometer as well.
It seemed to be going well throughout the day. Slowly turning brown to almost black on the outside, drippings (into the water pan). I added chips every hour, about 5 different times - I know, a pain for some, but I didn't mind. Only opened it once to empty the chip pan (since they didnt really turn to ash, just crisped and then the pan was overflowing).
By 2pm, as the IT was rising, I increased the temp. to 245, then at 4pm, to 260.
By 5pm, it was black on the outside, not dripping, and the internal read at 186.
Took it out and wrapped it in tin foil for about 1/2 hour.
When I went to cut it (I like it chunked), it was dry except for the parts around any fatty pieces (there was not much in this piece) and did not pull. It sliced ok, but couldn't even chunk either. The flavor was good (based on the rub and the smoke), but not edible when I spent all day waiting for pulled pork - went to the dog.
So, any idea on what may have gone wrong here? My initial thoughts are:
1. Wrong cut of meat - not enough fatty tissue? I chose this once because it was a good small test case and I've eaten them before but used those smoking tinfoil bags in the oven - 3 hours and it tasted stupendous (but that also locks in the juices) - of course, you don't get any type of bark.
2. Over cooked it? Was going on 7 hours for a 3 pounder.. but it still only said 186 and was not falling apart.
3. Undercooked it, hence why not falling apart, but then I'm wondering if it would be even drier than it was.
Anyway, any suggestions would be welcome. I read a bunch of posts on here for some tips. Going to look into that pellet smoker but frankly, unless you're telling me that using the wood chip feeder takes away from the flavor or cooking experience (except for having to reload it every hour), then I don't mind using wood chips.
Also, water pan for this unit - need it?
Finally, I'd like to capture the juices (I like to eat my smoked butts natural... no sauce, just the natural juices). Best way to capture them? The manual to the smoker says don't put a pan on a shelf since it blocks the heat... and I don't think you can put the butt in a tin pan (or can you?)
Finally, does it matter what shelf you put the butt on? I had it on the 2nd to the top.. thought since that's where the heat rises and such, might cook it faster.
Thanks, any advice welcome.