Smoking my first butt - questions I haven't seen answered

Discussion in 'Pork' started by vanhornsby, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Have the 40" MES. I've seen that you put the butt on the second rack, foil pan on the 3rd. What about the water pan? Do I use it? How often should I replenish wood chips? Should I never open it? I saw Bear mention something about not probing until a few hours in, what's reasoning behind that? I thought I would put the built in probe in right when meat goes on? Thanks!
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is no right or wrong, most here agree that the water pan is only used as a heat sink and the butt in and electric smoker where the door remains closed needs no more moisture. So Personally I never use the water pan. Most will tell you to fill it with sand to help with heat recovery (heat sink).

    Wood chips? Your call. Personally I try to smoke the butt from the 90 degree internal temperature (IT) to the 150 IT mark. If you have an aux. smoke generator sure you can smoke it the entire trip but its your option. 

    We all know that its impossible to never open the door, but the less you do the faster it cooks and the juicier the meat. Personally, I insert the meat then wait and hour or two, then I probe it and turn on the smoke. Butt will probably be at about 100 IT at that time. All of this is on a 9/10 butt which is my usual smoke. Then run a load of chips per hour, for 3 to 4 hours. Again my way of doing it. Then it sits till its done, some where between 195 and 205. Use the toothpick test to ensure doneness. Too long its dry, to early you get sliced pork.

    A 10 lb. butt usually take me about 18 to 20 hours, I have had one done in 13 hours and another at 26. Its all depends up that specific butt. They will throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.

    This is just my personal way of doing it.

    Some folks smoke the whole trip, most have aux. smoke generators like an AMPs or a Masterbuilt cold smoker

    Some folkes probe when its put in the box, but as I liked Bear's idea better because it lessens in my opinion the ability to incubate anything nasty little critters. Again just my humble opinion.

    Some folks will foil to help beat the lag at about 165 that you'll see. They figure they have enough smoke already and it will change the cook time sizably.

    Thats enough to get you started, just from my point of view. remember there is no right or wrong way. Only they way you find that most fits how you want to smoke.

    Good luck with that butt.
  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    BTW I HIGHLY recommend that you check that built in probe before cooking if you plan to put any faith in it.  Use a pot of boiling water, you know its 212 or pretty close. insert the tip of the probe. You can't adjust the reading but you can do the math and recalculate in your mind where you need to be.

    Again, Bon Chance
  4. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I think Bear is talking about the probe test for doneness, not temperature. Most of us have a temp probe in the meat from the get-go. I don't have an electric and I can't say about the water pan for you, but Foam gives good advice! I use one because I have the room and what can it hurt? I throw smoke at it until I foil at about 190, then take it to 205 and wrap in towels into a cooler for about an hour to settle.
    I also second Foam's advice about checking the factory temp probe before trusting. Consider getting something aftermarket. I like Maverick's and so do most.
    It's all about learning your smoker and how you like your meat. A lot is trial and error...
    Good luck, and welcome to the game!
  5. I have to say it turned out pretty fantastic. I also made homemade cole slaw and home made BBQ sauce, both for the first time. The BBQ sauce came out exactly what I was going for, tangy and spicy. The cole slaw needs a bit of tweaking. The pork shoulder was excellent considering it was my first. Great bark and delicious fat bits that just melt in your mouth. I'm hooked!
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Looks absolutely delicious!

    I think what Bear was referring to was the fact that on a large piece of meat like that. If you put the probe in when it's raw you take bacteria from the outside & put it in the center of the meat. In that case the 40-140 rule should be followed. If you wait until the outside of the meat has cooked for a few hours then put your probe in your have 4 hours from that point to get the meat to 140. Also it's a good idea to wipe your probe with alcohol before inserting it in the meat.


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