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Almost ready to give up smoking pork....

micklouie

Newbie
18
10
Joined Jul 31, 2010
I have had 3 failures already with smoking pork. I have done the steps that are most popular in the smoking process with pork.

Tried Baby Back Ribs, Pork Boston Butt, Pork Spare Ribs.

Did the rub overnight. Let sit out. Warmed up smoker.

Have a new thermometer other than the smoker.

Kept temps around 200-225.

Smoked ribs for 5 hours - tough, but good smoke ring

Boston Butt - 8 hours still did not fall apart

Spare Ribs - 5 hours, sprayed with apple juice,still tough

I did a boston butt once for 4 hours. Then took to work and cooked in slow cooker for 8 hours. Fell apart and taste like the pros. Bone pulled right out. So it does work, but not smoker cooking which I really want to learn.

Am I not cooking the pork long enough? I'm afraid I'm drying it out with higher heat.

Took the 5 email online course, but it reads just like what you find online anywhere.

I have had great success with chickens.

Any thoughts?

Should I cook longer?

I have a Master Forge Propane Dble Door Smoker. I really like it.

Thanks,

Mike
 

northern greenhorn

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Mar 11, 2010
Well you can't go by time on the pork butts, you have to go by the temp of the meat, try wrapping in foil after it hits between 160-170, and bring up to about 205, wrap in a towel, and put into a cooler for an hour, should stay moist, and pull apart nicely. As far as the ribs, did you try the 3,2,1 method for spareribs, 2,2,1 for the babybacks, I've used both and never had a problem, they're not gonna be fall of the bone, like in a slow cooker, but smoked ribs should have a firmness, you should be able to take a bite out of the rib, and not have it fall apart. Good luck, and never give up, do some chickens, or a turkey, maybe some chuckies, to bring your confidence back up, and head back out on the field and push forward. A friend of mine gave me some advice on smoking foods, he said, "You have to treat your smoker like a lady... don't rush it... women don't like to be hurried, and neither does good BBQ, don't argue with your smoker, it's like arguing with your woman... you're gonna lose, and finally pay attention, cause if you ignore either one long enough, you end up burnt and thrown out with the trash.", That advice has served me well, maybe it will help you, and the rest of the fine folks here at SMF.
 

walt408

Fire Starter
47
14
Joined Feb 6, 2010
I agree with northern greenhorn, smoke by temperature. I am fairly new (about 5 months) and I have had similar size pork butts take anywhere from 8 to 15 hours due to a variety of reasons. However, they have all turned out well by smoking them to 200* - 205*. Good luck.
 

cliffcarter

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
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240
Joined Feb 28, 2010
8 hrs for a butt at 200-225 is not long enough IMHO, 12-16 hrs depending on the size of the butt at those temps.

Are you foiling the ribs? If not they will take longer at those temps also.

Just FYI I cook ribs and butts between 235-245.
 

eman

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
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Joined Feb 3, 2009
I have had 3 failures already with smoking pork. I have done the steps that are most popular in the smoking process with pork.

Tried Baby Back Ribs, Pork Boston Butt, Pork Spare Ribs.

Did the rub overnight. Let sit out. Warmed up smoker.

Have a new thermometer other than the smoker.

Kept temps around 200-225.

Smoked ribs for 5 hours - tough, but good smoke ring

Boston Butt - 8 hours still did not fall apart

Spare Ribs - 5 hours, sprayed with apple juice,still tough

I did a boston butt once for 4 hours. Then took to work and cooked in slow cooker for 8 hours. Fell apart and taste like the pros. Bone pulled right out. So it does work, but not smoker cooking which I really want to learn.

Am I not cooking the pork long enough? I'm afraid I'm drying it out with higher heat.

Took the 5 email online course, but it reads just like what you find online anywhere.

I have had great success with chickens.

Any thoughts?

Should I cook longer?

I have a Master Forge Propane Dble Door Smoker. I really like it.

Thanks,

Mike
Pork butts have to be cooked low and slow on the smoker . You got the temp right but 8 hrs may be 3/4 of the way done.

like others i have had them go anywhere from 12 to 18 hrs at those temps.  Patience is the key to smoking big cuts of pork and beef.
 
 

chainsaw

Smoking Fanatic
538
11
Joined Aug 5, 2009
Can't offer much more except to echo don't give up yet!  The more details you share the easier it will be for everyone to offer help.

One step I use (learned on this forum)  is to "rest" the butts in a cooler wrapped in towels for an hour or so after bringing to temp. If you want to pull the pork.

Good luck!
 

werdwolf

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,590
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Joined May 24, 2008
Sounds like your smoking temps maybe a little low.  Usually use around 230 for the things you are talking about.  Ribs are one of the few things to smoke by time not temp.  You didn't mention what type of ribs, but follow either the 3-2-1 for spares or the 2-2-1 for Baby backs.  I agree with the above, seems like your butts got done way to fast.

 Don't give up!!!.

I have an MES, but feel free to PM me before your next smoke and we will see if we can get you going.
 

jirodriguez

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Joined Jun 5, 2009
N. Greenhorn nailed it, low, slow, and foil the butts when they hit an internall temp of 165'ish, take to 200-205, rest in cooler for 2 hrs., pull and enjoy. Any of the larger chunks of beef and/or pork are going to take time. The only chunk o' meat that is somewhat fast is a chuck roast (chuckie), they usually finish in approx 6-8 hrs., everything else is usually 12+ hrs followed by another 2 hrs. of rest time.

That butt you cooked for 4 hrs. then stuck in the crockpot for another 8 hrs. is the results you will get if you smoke till you hit 165'ish, foil, take to 200-205, and rest in cooler for 2 hrs. You will be able to just pluck the bone out and it will shred beutifully. Don't give up, just be patient, and make sure you have accurate temperatures on the internal temp. of the meat, and the smoke chamber.
 

pignit

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You need to up the temp on them butts. 225 to 250 and it will take 12 hours or so. Go by internal temp. 195 to 200 but a little less or more isn't going to hurt anything. Your not going to dry it out even if you don't foil it. When I first started I never foiled a butt and they turned out awesome and juicy.... don't give it up... just learn from your mistakes.
 

mballi3011

Epic Pitmaster
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SMF Premier Member
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Joined Mar 12, 2009


The first thing you need to do is "NOT GIVE UP" You will get it and you will just call this a bad learning exprience. So I'm with alot of the folks here you nees to raise the smoker temp to atleast 230°. I smoke everything except poultry between 230°-250° and you don't have to foil but I do. Then take the buitts to maybe 200°-205° and then you should be golden. Now for the ribs I would also raise the smoker temp. Then foil them after the first 3 (or2)  hours. Then continue for another 2 hours and then take them out carefully for they might fall apart and then smoke thm for anothter couple of hours. So the main thing here is don't give up. 
 

pokey

Meat Mopper
268
16
Joined Jul 15, 2010
I'm a newbie, too. Like the others, I found it took much longer for the butt. I have yet to foil and have had no problem with pork, whether ribs or butt. Just give it more time.

Brisket, on the other hand ....
 

realtorterry

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
Sounds like your getting all the butt questioins ansewered. Now are you foiling those ribs? Thats the step in the 2nd hour of smoke with alittle juice like apple in the foil. This braise's them & shoule make them plenty tender! also use the bend test on them. If you pick up one side the other should bend almost 90 degrees. Don't give up yet. My first few ribs weren't good at all!!!
 

miketron

Newbie
3
10
Joined Jul 7, 2010
SO I am VERY new to smoking but from what I have learned the most important thing is to be patient and don't worry... if you think the meat is done, its NOT. :)  Well as a newbie anyways :)

I had the same fears as you: I'm drying it out... I'm over cooking it... Im under cooking it...  Im gonna screw this up and its going to taste like @$$, BUT all of my smokes so far have been nothing less than amazing :)

I agree with what others have said above about you pulling the meat too soon.

I do not foil so I do NOT have any advice for you on that. I have LOVED my BBQ without the foil BUT I still want to try foiling to see if I like it more or less than without the foil. I actually plan on a few coming smokes where I smoke two butts foiling one and not another to compare (and the same for ribs and briskets) :) but I digress...

Questions to ask yourself before pulling pork shoulders off the smoker:

1) If you insert a meat fork (or your thermometer) into the shoulder, does it glide into the meat with ease? This will only take you ONE smoke to determine when it glides into the meat :)

2) Is the meat pulling away from the blade bone? If you grab the bone and wiggle it with a pair of tongs, is it loose?

3) When you poke it with an instant read thermometer does it read between 197-200 degrees F?

IF you answered YES to ALL three questions then its time to pull and wrap with saran wrap or foil to sit in a cooler for a few hours with your favorite ugly towels :)

To determine if ribs are done I grab a full rack by a bone about 3-4 bones in from the in from the end and pick the entire rack up. If the rack looks like it is about to break and the meat is tearing or approaching that point then I pull it.

I would highly recommend that you grab three baby back ribs and smoke them all until you think they are done BUT only pull the smallest rack. Cook the the next smallest for another 20 minutes then pull it off and finally the last one for another 20 minutes before pulling it off the smoker. This might help in determining the texture you are striving for.

I hope this helps :)

For a point of reference: I had ZERO smoking experience and ZERO friends to rely on so I purchased Low & Slow by Gary Wiviott and just followed his instructions to develop my barbecue "instincts"

I think you can read the first 40 pages here to see if it is something you might be interested in: amazon" style="max-width:120px">
 

scarbelly

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
14,318
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Joined Jul 26, 2009
Sending you my cell # in a PM - call me and lets talk - DO NOT GIVE UP
 

pops6927

Gone but never forgotten.
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calibrate your therms

document your smokes w/pics

keep accurate written records
 

walle

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
754
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Joined Aug 21, 2009
Hang in there, bro!  Ribs and butts are easy once you get the hang of it.  PATIENCE!

Like Northern GH above, you gotta know your smoker.  My biggest difficulty was expecting my smoker to act like my grill when I first started - kinda like expecting your muzzleloader to perform like your '.06, it just won't, but either will put down the same animal (cooked or otherwise!) just as effectively if wielded properly.

On butts, I smoke them at 250* and the only difference is the shortened smoke time and better bark IMHO - even at those temps you're looking at at least 10 - 12 hours for an 8# butt.

Take these feller's up on their offers for PM's or phone calls.

SMOKE ON!
 

new2que

Meat Mopper
173
11
Joined Jul 1, 2010
Now you've already had some greats giving you their 4cents (twice as good as the 2cents you'll get from me), but allow me.

according to your description the only pork butt you've cooked successfully actually took 12 hours (4 in smoker, 8 in slow cooker) so right there you can see it'd take at least that long.  Now me personall, 225 is usually as low as I go.  Most of the time i like to keep it humming around 250... and lemme tell you, if you're basting it, and foil it, that butt aint gonna dry out! 

Best of luck to you, and dont give up on the pig man, its the smokers best friend!
 

dman4505

Newbie
12
10
Joined Sep 6, 2010
wow excellent advice folks, I'm new at smoking as well and was wondering what flavor wood would you suggest using?

Don
 

john-z

Fire Starter
34
10
Joined Jul 28, 2010
Well the nice thing about this smokin' is even when it turns out sorta bad, it is still good.
 

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