First ever attempt at meat smoking

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Original poster
Jan 7, 2007
I am about to try my first ever attempt at smoking meat. I have a 4 pound Boston Butt, I have Hickory or Pecan chunks to chose from, my new CharGriller w/ SFB is cured, my gloves, chimney, and thermometer have all arrived in the mail. I have some Wicked Good Charcoal. I'm ready! I put mustard and rub on the meat last night. It's in the fridge waiting. I have a couple of questions.

1. 1 to 1.5 hours per pound is a good way to estimate the cook time right? I realize that internal temp is what determines when it's done, but if I want it done in time for dinner I can guess when to start by saying 1 to 1.5 hours per pound, right?

2. Which wood would you use?
the butts i have smoked took 7.5 hours the first time (8.48lb); and the second one took 11.5 hours (9.08lb). i use mesquite wood, and i have soe pecan i use sometimes. i havae never used hickory, so i don't know what to tell you on the wood options you have. i would use both, but mix it so you have more pecan vs. hickory. but that's just me. maybe someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly.
Thank you for your help. Congrats on the birth of your son! My son was born 7/22/05 and my daughter 7/15/06. I hope that all is well in Waco and that you and yours have a great sunday.

I will probably use your adviced about the wood. I like hickory a lot, but have been told that it can be overpowering when used by itself for the whole cook.
Well I have both pecan and hickory there both seasoned good. I havent had a problem with the hickory over powering yet, But i do mix them quite a bit.
thanks for the congrats. he is my third. i have a son and a daughter with my first wife; this is my new wife's first though.

Welcome to SMF! It appears you've done your homework.......that's good!

"Average Cooking Time" is 1.5 hrs./Lb.. So, yes, you can use that guage to calculate your cooking times. The smaller the cut, the less cooking time it will take. Your is a very small Butt, so it will probably not take 4 X 1,5 hrs. Keep in mind also, that you need to foil it in a dry cooler for a minimum of 1 hour, but I recommend 2. (Let me know if you're not familiar with this technique)

I do not recommend using Mesquite on Pork. It is good with Chicken or Beef, but is too bitter of a wood for Pork. The Hickory or Pecan is fine, for that matter you can mix the two!

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress!

To "Dry Cooler" your finished product:

Using HD Aluminum Foil after your meat has reached 160* is one method widely used on this site (explained in detail on other post's on the Forum Index)

If not previously wrapped, remove your finished product from the rack and securely wrap in HD Aluminum Foil. Place dampened towels on the bottom and over the meat to form a damp "wrap" inside a Dry Cooler. You can leave this for up to 5 hours and still need gloves to remove it from the cooler.

Understand that when the meat is cooking, all the juices are being forced toward the center of the cut by the heat and the cooking process. When you remove it and foil it, as it sits without external heat, the internal juices slowly begin to permeate the entire cut and you end up with a much more desirable finished product. The longer it rests, the better it gets (Up to 2-3 hours) 30 minutes is the accepted minimum, but it still hasn't reached it's "sweet spot" by then.

Hope this clears a few things up for you.


Welcome. I use Hickory for almost everything even hamburgers but I will mix it up with various woods. I don't know if it's just because it's plentiful up here or what but hickory is used alot up here in the North East - especially for pork. We don't grow pecans around here.

I think the trick is keeping a light wiff of smoke and not a forest fire

I soak my wood chunks for about an hour or more in water and a shot of brandy and put them at the very outter edge of the charcol so they slowly burn like candles. Works for me!

Hey let me know how that Char griller w side fire box works I'm thinking of buying one. Doe it look like this?

I might buy this one. My ECB is a PITA and back picking all the stuff off all the time to add fuel or spritz with juice.

Have fun!

Hi Debi. Thanks for the reply. I put the boston butt on at about 10:45 Phoenix time. It's been 5 hours. It's at about 185 right now. I have been using mostly pecan with a little hickory mixed in. It's been working out pretty good so far. I've gotten over or under 225 by 15 or 20 degrees a couple of times, but this is the maiden voyage. I'm sure that I'll learn to control it better.

That link points to the web page that my wife visited to order mine for my christmas present. Same model ordered from home depot. I have heard that a couple of mods are neaded. Mine seems to be working just fine right out of the box. I did turn the coal grate upside down to distribute heat.
Sound just fine to me SCG unles you have one of those electronic temperature control things or sit on the grill the whole time.

I was thinking of getting that char griller and poping a hole in the side for either gas or electric heating so I don't have to freeze my butt off all day adding more charcol every 30 minutes or so. WHo knows maybe I'll do both.

I just added my last small chucks of hickey and mesquet then I think I'll take it inside the the oven. Temperature has dropped quite a bit since the sun when down. I had to uild a bit of a shelt over the ECB to keep the temps up. Also started raining little slush balls which didn't help.

Ah well good luck it's actually pretty easy to smoke food just very time consuming. Fun to experiment too.

That weather sounds miserable. That's why I moved out of the midwest. I'm in Phoenix now. It's even cold here though. At least by Phoenix standards. 28 low 51 high.

My shoulder is done. It's resting now. Time to make the bbq sauce. That's one of those experiments you are talking about.
You can't leave us hanging. How did the product turn out? Are you the current hero of the smoker or what?? Got any pictures?? Are you being carried on the shoulders of your guests amid loud exclamations of "King of the Pit" or what. We are all waiting with bated breath................perhaps, due to your excellence at the smoker, your "significant other has some special plans for you this evening. Your followers want to know......
Turned out fantabulous! The wife's so excited she may let me sleep inside the house tonight! I was worried that I would have a hard time regulating the temperature. It really wasn't a problem. I was at 225 +/- 15 degrees the whole time. I was burning mostly Pecan with a little hickory tossed in for kicks. Foil wrapped it at 165 pulled it at 200. Took about 6 hours. Made a sauce with vinegar, tomato sauce, worchestershire and some spices. Will try to settle the vinegar's bite down a little next time. It was good though. I also kept about half of the meat out of the sauce to make sandwiches with Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory BBQ Sauce. Can't wait to try a brisket. I want something that will make my neighbors drool all day.
SCG, glad to hear your first butt was a success. As for sauces' you need to check out SoFlaQuer Finishing Sauce for pork butts. You can't go wrong with this sauce!
Glad to hear your butt came out good. That'll keep you comming back for more for sure!

Fun chatting with you last night!

I had some wood and rub leftover so I hickory smoked a pork tenderloin today. It took about an hour and a half at 225* It turned out pretty tasty, nice pink smoke ring an all. Just brought it up to 155, wrapped it in foil and let it keep going on up to 170. It was the most tender and moist piece of meat that I have had in a while. My 19 year old nephew, who lives with us, was growling at anyone who got near the platter for seconds.
scg-next time you do a tenderloin or even a boneless pork loin roast, try out my Mahogany sauce. You thought your nephew was growling then, listen to him when you add the sauce to that loin!! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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