Fine tuning my methods

Discussion in 'Pork' started by beefy bill, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Good afternoon everyone. I have a few questions about the beginning process of smoking. I have a propane unit. 1st, I take the meat out of the fridge 1 hour before putting it on. Temp inside is in 40s or 50s, is this too cold, or does it really matter except to add cooking time? Also, I preheat the smoker, but add the chips when I put the meat in. Should I get them smoking first before I put the meat in? And does it matter much if I keep the vents almost closed or all the way open? My theory was if it's closed, it's kinds pushing the smoke into the meat.and finally, if one pork butt takes x amount of time, does adding another or 2 increase my overall cook time?sorry for all the questions, but i have to make pulled pork for a party this weekend and want it to be great. any and all ideas and comments are welcomed! Thanks guys!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  2. Welcome to the site Bill.

    Put your chips in when you start to pre heat and get it up to your desired temp and smoke going before you put the meat in.

    You should also keep your top vent fully open as you want moving clean/fresh smoke. Closing off the top vent could cause meat to get too much stale smoke and could cause a bitter  taste in the meat.

    Adjust air intake flow with bottom/side vents if you have them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
    beefy bill likes this.
  3. nigelr

    nigelr Newbie

    I must apologise for high jacking this thread but I am new to the site and tried to start a new thread without success. I have a Kingsford vertical bullet smoker which I have tried to smoke a whole chicken in on a number of occasions but find it increasingly difficult to maintain a temperature above 250 degrees for more than 2 hours before it starts dropping. I then have to finish the cooking process off in the kitchen oven. Can anyone give me some advice please.
     
  4. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Thank you for your input dirtworldmike..
     
  5. Hi Nigel and welcome to the site.

    I'm not familiar with the type of smoker you have. When I smoke chicken in my propane unit I put a foil pan on a lower rack to catch the dripping and off the burner.  If your smoker doesn't have a lower rack, you could put the chicken in a foil pan with a small rack in it to keep the chicken up out of the drippings.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
    beefy bill likes this.
  6. It is widely advised by experts to NOT pull you meat out of the fridge prior to going on the smoker. 2 reasons: 1-cold meat absorbs smoke more readily (supposedly backed by science) and 2- to ensure that no cooties grow in and on your meat, it should reach IT of 140* within a 4 hour time span. If you set your meat out you could be in danger of it not reaching 140* IT within that time frame. Don't worry about adding cooking time by coming straight out of the fridge. It is negligible.

    BTW, IT is internal temp (sorry just not sure your level if expertise and want to be sure!). You must have a good thermometer (Mavericks are a popular brand used by many on this forum), preferably dual probe so you can monitor smoker temp and IT temp of the meat. Don;t trust your thermo on your smoker. There is about a 100% chance that it is not accurate.  You absolutely need to be cooking by IT, not time. Cooking without a good probe thermometer is like driving blindfolded. For pork to be pullable you need to be in the 200-205* IT range, the temp at which the connective tissues of the meat are broken down to allow the meat to fall apart for pulling.  You can, of course, use a probe thermometer that you don't leave in the meat, you will just have to open your smoker to keep checking the IT and add to the cooking time.

    Overall, pulled pork is forgiving and comes out great as long as you get the IT of the meat to the 200-205* range. I go to 205 to excellent results.
     
  7. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Excellent info! I will go straight from fridge to smoker then. I do not trust my air temp thermometer. The maverick is my next move. Thanks for the temp. Info too. Say 1 8.lb shoulder takes 12 hours, will 2 8 pounders take considerably longer?
     
  8. That will depend on the size of the smoker and the power of the heat source. You should still be able to get a desire cooking temp with 2 buts so no reason they shouldn't cook in relatively the same time. It may initially take a little longer to ramp up since you have more meat absorbing the heat and this will be a bigger factor I would imagine. If you get the smoker at say 240* with 2 butts in, should be no different than 240* smoker with 1 or 3 butts. I think the variable is getting the temp up. If you put 7 butts in it would take considerably longer to reach temp making this the main variable with overall cook time.

    But alas, I will defer to more seasoned smokers for their advice.
     
  9. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    That's what I was thinking. I will see an initial dip in temp as the butt absorb some heat and have to fiddle with it to settle at the desired temp. Thanks a lot!
     
  10. The guys have it covered. Remember to keep the door closed and it is done when it is done. With 2 butts of the same size in the same smoker may take hours longer or they may be done at the same time. It is all the pigs fault.

    Happy smoken.

    David
     
  11. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Thanks! I feel I am ready for this, just have to nail down a start time. I think I will start around 5 pm, hit with smoke till mid nite or so, then get some sleep and wake up to the goodness. Thanks a lot everyone!
     
  12. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    Bill, I'm a little concerned with your times.  What are the size of your actual pieces of meat since you have listed a few different hypothetical sizes?
     
  13. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    I would like to smoke 2 butts, around 8 lbs a piece, keep feeding the smoker some chips for about 7 or 8 hours, then leave them at 225 to 240 the rest of the way while I sleep. I figure if I start at 5 pm and get up at 6 or so the next morning, they may even need more time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  14. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    I will be surprised if they take that long or longer.  I smoke the Costco 8 lbs butts on a regular basis and they don't take near that long.  But (no pun intended) I wrap mine after the smoke phase.  That might make a big difference.
     
  15. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    I have heard wrapping them does speed up the process. The Texas crutch or something? I did one, without wrapping, took 16 hrs to reach 180. My air temp. Is the only thing I'm unsure of, as I do not trust the gage on thesmoker. I am investing in a fix asap. So I'm assuming at least That long again. How long do yours take? Maybe I will start early in the morning then wrap them.
     
  16. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    I think knowing your equipment is the secret.  After scratching my head for some time over posted smoke times at specific temps, I borrowed a friends Maverick and found out that my smoker was smoking at 250 when the door gauge said 225.  So, if you have experience with your smoker taking that long once, it will probably take that long again.  It will be interesting to see what you find out about your true box temp. 
     
    beefy bill likes this.
  17. I find that my shoulders average 16-18 hours for a 10+ pound shoulder. I do not wrap shoulders. I found it really took away from the bark. Spray with an Apple juice and Worcestershire sauce mix once and hour or so and pull between 198-203. Wrap it in foil and a towel to rest. When you are ready to eat just pull it apart with a couple of forks. I always keep the sauce on the side.
     
    beefy bill likes this.
  18. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Once I get a maverick i know it will help me sharpen my game. I got the smoker and meat probe as a gift, and as bad as I wanted to say "no dual probe thermometer?" I bit my tongue. It's the wife I'm dealing with here...I need to know the box temp to truly nail this down. But I do have patience...smokedstanley, is that a 50/50 mix on the worcestershire and apple juice? I prefer sauce on the side as well..
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  19. I typically fill the spray bottle halfway and do about two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. I only add the Worcestershire sauce for shoulders.
     
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  20. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Thanks for the info!
     

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