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1st butts in my WSM

Discussion in 'Pork' started by maloff28, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. maloff28

    maloff28 Smoke Blower

    I have had my WSM for a few months now and I had yet to try pulled pork. To add to that first, I made it my first overnight smoke. I had nearly 20 pounds of pork shoulder. I knew it was going to going to take a long time, but wow. I put it on at 7:30 PM on Friday and it was not done until 12:15 the next day.
    I am learning a lot in my transition from electric to charcoal. My WSM seems to run hot. With the top vent at 100% and only one bottom vent at 25% it seems to stay around 245. Yes... I know... This is where I am learning. I had some temperature swings at that configuration over the long haul that I did not have in my shorter smokes. A low of 220 and high over 260. I suspect after looking at the charcoal once the smoke was over that the swings had to do with the charcoal burning toward that one open bottom vent and burning unevenly. However I am concerned that with three vents open even just at 25% it would get too hot. I'll try it next time and let you know how it works out. Of course any advice would be appreciated.
    Anyway... On to the q-view.

    disco likes this.
  2. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    That looks real, real good!  The WSM is usually pretty easy to handle.  The nice part with smoking pulled pork is that they can handle the temp swings very, very easily.  Heck, I run my WSM at 275 when I'm smoking butts, cuts down on the time and it turns out a solid product!  Nice smoke!
  3. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like some serious bark going on there. Good looking butts!
  4. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Nice job on the butts. Pork butts are pretty forgiving. The final IT is the most important.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Malof28 - the WSM is a great smoker and you'll learn how to get the temps you want as you use it. Also it takes 2-3 long cooks to "break in". Mine ran hot at first but i just kept using it and all the "holes seal" and all that jazz. My first smoke in it was actually 6 hours of no meat...just coal and wood to season it

    Your pork looks great!
  6. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, that is some fine looking pulled pork. Thanks for the great Qview.

  7. maloff28

    maloff28 Smoke Blower

    Thank you.  I did run it without meat to season it.  This is probably my third "smoke" with meat in it, but it is by far the longest cook.  Have done some ribs, chicken and fatties prior to this pork shoulder.

    I have a lot to lear about this smoker.  Definitely a lot different than my "set it and forget it" electric, but with the help of folks like you, I know I'l get the hang of it.  Thank you.

  8. maloff28

    maloff28 Smoke Blower

    Thank you Disco.
  9. I've had my 22" WSM for a year now and dealt with the temperature swings like you experienced. It gets better after you get used to how it behaves. I got the CyberQ wifi four months ago and it has been smooth sailing ever since. I can sleep better at night and I don't have to get out of bed to check on everything. lol
  10. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Let us know if you have any more questions Maloff. I got mine set at about 230 last night and went to bed and let it run by itself for 5 hours. only went up about 10 degrees
  11. maloff28

    maloff28 Smoke Blower

    Dougmays thank you for your generous offer.  I do have two questions.

    1) In general, how much wood do you use?  I have been getting the chunks from Home Depot so most of them are kind of fist sized.

    2) Do you "re-use" the unburned and partially burned charcoal that may be left after a smoke? 

    Ok... Three questions

    3) What is your typical vent configuration?  I know every rig is different, but I am just looking for something to start with.

    Thanks again!

  12. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    No problem at all!

    I buy the same bags from homedepot/lowes/basspro. I'm going to assume you are using the minion method, if you are not i can explain that or just search for it on here...so assuming you are what i do is put 4-5 fist size chunks on the outside of my coal ring (these will light later on in the cook) and i usually will put 3 chunks in the middle. so this way you get smoke right away and later on as the unlit coals light. 

    Usually your meat stops absorbing smoke flavor around the 6 hour mark so i'll usually check around the 4-5 hour mark and see if i'm getting anymore smoke, if not i might toss a chunk or 2 into the pit for a little more smoke on the backend.

    Usually i dont have alot of extra coal left over...i HAVE saved it before and reused though. If you have a bunch of partially or unlit coals at the end of your smoke go ahead and put those back in a bag for later use. but generally i dont put alot of effort into "putting out the fire" after the meat is cooked. Sometimes at a party people like that smell of smoke in the air.

    My vent configuration is this...when the smoker is taken apart and charcoal chimney is getting going i have all vents full open. When chimney coals are grey and ready to go on the unlit coals (re: Minion Method) i pour them on and reassemble the smoker with vents still open. I always have a probe checking the smoker temps (dont trust the built in WSM thermo)...as the temp gets close to 200 ill close all 3 bottom vents to half open to slow the climb. My Top vent always remains full open. When you get to your desired temp (IE:225, 250, 300, etc...) i close the vents to 1/4 open. And this is usually where  leave them for the remainder of the smoke.

    Once you've closed them to 1/4 open...you'll probably climb in temp a little bit (10-20) degrees but then usually it'll come back down (10 degrees or so). So this is where you want to watch it but once the temp stabilizes you'll usually be able to maintain this temps +/- 10 degrees for 8-10 hours. Again all smokers are different but this is the method i use and it's pretty tried and true.

    let me know if you have any other questions. i love my WSM!!