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first shoulder tomorrow - suggestions? - Page 2

post #21 of 41
At this point you need to GET RID OF THE WATER. You don't need to moderate heat, you need to raise it! The water will try to keep the heat from ever rising to where you need it. Get rid of the water and the pan. Let the heat from the firebpx spill into the chamber. The stock chimney is - right now- your friend. It will draw out a lot of excess heat and still let the cooking temps rise. If your fattie put in at noon is nowhere near done, you need to ramp up heat pretty quickly.

Plug those rotisserie holes with foil. Add a lot of charcoal. Try not to open the smoking chamber lid until absolutely necessary...let the thing spike to 350 for a brief time and then moderate it back down. Remember there is "lag time" for your meats to heat up. Just cause your chamber therm reads hot doesn't mean your food is.

Good luck, hang in there. We're rooting for you!
post #22 of 41
Thread Starter 
yep, temps are stayting on the low side can't get above 230-240 - will try with more charcoal and no water pan and report back soon.

thanks to all for helping me tweak this cold-weather stuff!
post #23 of 41
Thread Starter 
well, after doing the above, i actually had to remove the blanket, temps are now around 275 and i'll keep an eye on them. the fatty is done finally at a hearty 160 and tastes pretty dang good.

edit - that should be ONE-sixty!
post #24 of 41
Allright!! WOO-HOO! Feed 'em right, Tas~PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #25 of 41
Thread Starter 
checked internal temperature in several places - we're at 160 right now, almost exactly, with a temperature on the grate between 290 and 300 degrees, which i hope is making up for all the excessively-low temps earlier - the problem is that i don't know how long i can hold them - i'm down to maybe 4.5 or 5 lbs of charcoal. i do ahve some apple and poplar legths and perhaps i should put a few in? they're bigger than sticks, but smaller than logs.

juice is popping out pretty good and she's getting a good bark. dare i hope that this might be done by 7pm?
post #26 of 41
Thread Starter 
things are working pretty well now - the blanket is back on as the temps are dropping a bit, and my last 5 lbs of charcoal is going on now. will pull and foil soon as temps get where they need to be. will also of course spritz on a bit more mop (which is REALLY good) as i foil.

let it rest for half an hour? or an hour? or what?


foil and rest
post #27 of 41
Thread Starter 
the last of the charcoal is going merrily and i haven't yet checked internal temp but will soon. it's getting a good dark-brown bark on it - maybe a little too dark for what i expected but not as dark as others i have seen, so all should be good.
post #28 of 41
Thread Starter 
alright, maybe not going quite as smoth as i thought. i think i've hit the dreaded plateau as i seem to be stuck at 160-162 degrees - i poked several places to make sure i wasn't itting bone and/or fat and getting a false reading. charcoal and temps seem to be doing fine - i do have some apple wood (not chunks but actual wood) that i can put on if the plateau lasts too long.

in about 20 minutes, it will be a 12-hour smoke, but most of that 12 hours was spent at temps that were far too low. since we've been munching on the fattie, it's no big deal if we eat a little late, but all-in-all, i think we're dong pretty good.
post #29 of 41
Thread Starter 
pulled it off off the SnP at 180 degrees and got her wrapped and about ready to pull and eat!

it did get a little scorched on one side, but i don't think it's too bad. not going to stop us from eating it at least ~icon_confused.gif

thanks to all for all the help and encouragement.

post #30 of 41
Thread Starter 
after-action report!


well, all was good! i got a couple of pix - good smoke penetration (i guess that was a side benefit of the extra long cooking time at low temp?) and great taste - even my wife liked it! made rivet's "secret" carolina sauce according to recipe and found to be just the right combination of flavors that went well with pork. the meat closest to the bone wasn't quite as "fall apart" tender but all had great flavor and tenderness - much better than i expected and very dang good for a first try.

the SnP performed about as well as one could ask considering weather (never got above 46, i think - light breeze now and then but mostly just cold!), the fact that it had no mods and the fact that it was my first shoulder and i had two other smoking products going at the same time plus the fact that i've only been at this for about a year and had never smoked with the SnP before! - all this plus i played guitar at chrch for an hour while this was going on!

only real complaint is that there wasn't enough of it! 7.5 lb picnic shoulder has a lot of bone and a good portion of fat etc., but most of this had melted and rendered as had the connective tissue. tasted great, just needed a little more meat - will try a boston butt next!

many thanks to all for following this saga and offering advice and encouragement. some Q view is forthcoming but tonight i think i need some sleep! warm regards to all -


p.s. - i DID pull it off, didn't i?
post #31 of 41
Congratrulations, and you have probably earned one of the highest ratings in the SMF for the challenges you faced and overcame today. Between your new out-of-the-box grill, the cold, the wind, your first piece of pork shoulder, first smoke, unknown recipes;.... only a hero could have pulled that off and fed their group on time as planned.

I don't mean to come across as flippant nor fawning; a hero comes through to the end. A hero (sometimes) saves the day. A hero doesn't need to save the world.

A hero is an everday individual who overcome great obstacles out of a sense of duty to their fellows and makes things happen.

You did that.

Congratulations again, and know that a lot of people who were counting on you were not let down.
post #32 of 41
Thread Starter 
i appreciate that, bud - i really do! even my wife liked it and she is not a fan of smoked foods. my dad was trying to eat it as we were cutting it off the bone, so it must have been good. my son, billy - helped with fire control and by making the sauce - my son mike also helped tend the fire and do prep work. even youngest son roger was right there helping out where he could!

a little fatty, a big fatty and a pork shoulder - breakfasat, lunch and supper - considering the adversiteis, i do believe i accomplished something today!

couldn't have done it with the help i received from friends here and their encouragement - thanks!
post #33 of 41
Thread Starter 
as promised, Q-view -

this was my first pork shoulder attempt ever. i used a 7.5-lb bone-in picnic shoulder. the night before, i brushed it down with mustard and then sprinkled on a liberal coating of durkee's st. louis style rub. i wrapped it in plastic and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

shoulders are an all-day project. i should have gotten up at 430a or so, but instead got up at 6a and had the fire going soon after. being unfamiliar with the smoker and not having performed any of the mods, temperature control was a huge issue that i struggled with all day. also, it's still a little cold to be doing this stuff outside up in my latitude, which must be somewhat parallel to siberia.

other than turning it now and then and mopping every hour or so with a combination of low-sodium soy sauce, dr. pepper, olive oil and wild cherry brandy, i dind't do a heck of a lot with it. these things pretty much take care of themselves if you tend the fire well.

these things usually take anywhere from 10-12 hours, and mine was finished around 8pm, so it wasn't too bad.

here are some pix of the process and the results.

this was early in the smoke - the hickory is giving a nice, light smoke and the shoulder is looking great.

here it is at about noon with my greek fatty:

an hour later.....

and a couple of hours after that - starting to look really good!

crazy as it sounds, here was my best solution to help with temperature control - a heavy wool blanket:

once i figured this out, things really started to happen and the smell was wafting out all over the block. we live on a corner, so it went i all directions.

i pulled it off when the internal temperature was 180 all around and a little higher in a couple of spots, wrapped it in foil for 15 minutes and then opened it up. it was just at the stage where it was starting to fall apart. to the right is rivet's homemade carolina sauce. i made the full-strength "two TBSP crushed red pepper flakes" version and it was great! my wife used store-bought BBQ sauce:

i'm no expert on shulders, but that looks like great smoke penetration and a good final product. the biggest share of the fat and connective tissue had melted away, leaving the fat cap and some pieces of fat and goo here and there, which went to some happy cats and dogs - of, and the bone of course! everyone in the house loved this and we're looking forward to the next one!

all-in-all, i'd say my first attempt was a success, in spite of the many adversities.
post #34 of 41
I'd say!!!
Looks great!!
post #35 of 41


Man that is excellentamundo!

Good deal for you and your guests......that is one nice looking fattie and butt. You have now been broken in the hard way, anything else from here should be a piece of cake, my friend! Good cheers to you, your new smoker, your expereince gained and may the TBS follow you wherever you go!

post #36 of 41
That was some struggle you had going there yesterday. Glad it turned out well. I don't always agree that experience is the BEST teacher, but dang you learned a lot yesterday. And after being at it for 12 hours in the cold, you ain't never gonna forget what you learned!

points.gif For the great Q-view!
post #37 of 41
Great thread points.gif
post #38 of 41
you are definitely a hero in my book!!! You did a superb job ob this piece of meat! Do you wear a red shiny cape when you do this?
post #39 of 41
On the next shoulder that you do, try cutting back on mopping every hour or so. You're just adding time to the cook every time that you open the lid. I'd save the mop till the very end ie; go ahead and pull it at 180, mop it, wrap in foil, take it to 200-205. I noticed that in your pics no probe for a therm. Are you just poking it now & then with an insta read?
post #40 of 41
My wife wants to know how much trouble you got into for ruining that blanket? LOL
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