First smoke complete, with a hiccup

Discussion in 'Pork' started by pinjim, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Hi all,
    I completed my first ever smoke today. I smoked a rack of St. Louis style ribs, and an 8 pound bone-out pork butt.

    I rubbed both meats the night before with a basic sweet rub. Both items went into my Smoke Vault 24 at 6:00 AM.

    I used a modified 321 method on the ribs, going with a 311 schedule. The ribs were good. Next time I'll stick to the full 321.

    The pork butt. Ugh. I ran the smoker temp at 225, or as close as I could keep it to that temp. After 20 hours, the pork butt was only showing an internal temp of 185. I finally gave up and pulled it out. It is very good, but not as tender as I'd hoped.

    The meat had a heavy stall at 160. It seemed like it never fully recovered. Progress was extremely slow after 160. It would still make a gain of 2 or 3 degrees an hour. Should I have waited it out? What could cause it to only hit 185 after 20 hours?

    I am using a maverick et-733 thermometer, hickory chips. I did fail to fill the water pan enough and it went dry once. Live and learn...

    Any words of wisdom?

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What are you cooking on? Sorry, I went back and re-read and found the Smoke Vault.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pork can be a pain, its why you never know when you put on in the exact time.

    An 8lb but should have been out easily in 16 hours. Have you checked your box thermometer for accuracy?

    The reason I say this is you also said your ribs, you wished you would have done 3 2 1, I don't live up north but its already warm enough here for a  3 1.5 1 or 2 2 1.  So I am guessing you are slightly cooler in your box that you are seeing.

    That would be my suggestion. Also you can use your vents to help with temperature regulation if you have problems gaining temp.

    Everyone says wide open vents, I say its fine if it works for you, but if you have problems you can use them to help you. I have always regulated my vents.
  5. I was using the maverick to monitor the internal temp of the smoke vault. I had the probe mounted to the edge of the racking inside of the unit. Maybe it was in the path of the burner heat flow and was giving me a false reading? Dunno. I did notice that the temp reported by the cheapo smoke vault thermometer was always 10 or 20 degrees below the temp reported by the maverick.

    Also, I tried the boil test on the maverick probes when I received them, and they were accurate within a few degrees.

    So possibly I need to mount the probe elsewhere?

    Thanks for your advice!
  6. PinJim,

    What was the weather like? The Smoke Vault uses propane, right? I've had some pretty bad temperature fluctuations in windy weather when using propane...just a thought...
  7. Well your heatvpath should be travelling up the walls.....sort of like a convection oven. That may have been an issue. If u are going to probe i would have it about 2-3 inches below top and centered. I have done a 12# butt at 235F that didnt take 20+ hours.

    I would have waited it out or put iin the oven to finish. 185 seems too low to pull.
  8. Weather was good yesterday, 80 degrees, sunny, a slight breeze. I did get some temp fluctuations as the sun crested the house and hit the smoker, but otherwise the temps were fairly stable.

    I wish I would have thought of finishing in the oven. Ah well. To be fair, it was 10:00 PM and we wanted to go to bed.

    The pork did pull apart without many problems. Some of the pieces were a little tough, others nice and tender. I did get a really nice bark.

    I suppose the other challenge is to figure out how to get the probe above the meat.

    It was a little frustrating yesterday. It was my first smoke, but I was hoping that *at least* I'd finish the smoke at temp. Next time....

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