First Smoke Butts and Spares Need Post Smoke Advice

Discussion in 'Pork' started by jr54321, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. jr54321

    jr54321 Newbie

    After buying an el cheapo Great Outdoors gas smoker on a whim:

    I seasoned it up and got ready for my first smoke. I ended up packing it pretty full with 3 butts and a rack of spares. I had to cut the rack in half to make it fit in the smoker. The butts I found at publix were quite small relative to what most folks are doing (which is why i ended up with three). They ranged from 4-4.5 pounds. I used the standard methods I picked up lurking around the forums 3-2-1, mustard coating, finishing sauce etc The food turned out delicious and everyone loved it, but I did have some issues I would like to solve for next time. Process pics first then my questions at the end. Thanks for any advice you could provide.

    Pre Cooking:


    The Rig


    South Florida Bounty


    Little Close Up of half the rack


    I missed a final product picture of the butts. Now moving on to my Issues:

    1) The butts took forever! I put them on at 6am and maintained a steady 225F (based on built in temp gauge) throughout. That is what the smoker settles out at if I have the burner on dead low, which I had it at for the entire smoke. I waited until 160 or so and wrapped in foil for a few hours and the temp barely moved up. I was 9 hours in and I finally pulled and placed in the oven at which point the temps seemed to climb more steadily. I pulled just below 200 after 12 hours as I needed to be somewhere. Remember these butts were no more than 4.5 lbs. I was checking internal temps with a little hand held webber temp gauge. You had to stick it in hit button and remove. I guess i need to get a proper probe that I can just leave in yes? Also the water pan is pretty small and emptied out on a few occasions, does this slow cooking times?

    2) My smoke was not ideal. I tried out using both chips and small chunks. Both ended up giving me a heavier white smoke then I would have liked. The smoke also did not last very long (30 minutes or so with either wood chips or chunks) making me have to replenish frequently. Problem is I had the burner on low as it would go the whole time, so i could not turn it down to get a little thinner smoke and longer burn time. I did not pick up any bad taste in the meat but the smoke was definitely thicker and whiter than I would have liked. Could it just be a bad design with too much heat hitting the wood box? FYI I did not really soak the chips. You can see the burner/wood box set up below. Should I get a larger box for longer smoke, try to get some distance between box and burner???


    3) Would like more bark on the butts. Think I just need to lay on a bit more rub. Looking back I went a little light. Maybe the temperature thing was an issue too?

    Anyways thanks for looking and any advice you could provide.
  2. Looks like all in all your smoke went fairly well. The food was edible and looks good in the q-view! Now to help answer some questions.

    I have a GOSM BB (a larger version of yours)

    1) First and foremost, Do not rely on the thermo that is on the door. It is cheap and is probably in correct. The one on mine reads about 36* cooler than what the actual temp is inside the smoker  Butts do tend to take a while. They will hit a plateau when all the connective tissue begins to break down, and all the magic happens! Don't fret over this, just plan for it to happen. Every piece of meat is different. I've heard of some people not even hitting a plateau. You would be much better off with a probe thermo that you can leave in the meat. I run mine down into the top vent. In regards to the water pan, if it did all evaporate, and you filled it up with cold water, it will drop the temp inside the chamber, if you do use the water pan, fill it up with hot water. I usually don't use mine. I have a few times, but couldn't tell any difference in taste, and it's one less thing to worry about.

    2) I know what you mean about the heavy smoke. Soaking the wood chips will help I have found. but to get the flame a little lower, you'll want to get a small regulator that ties into the line going to the fuel source. There are posts in the propane smoker section of this forum. You can adjust this by hand to help control your flame/heat. If you preheat your smoker, what I usually do is start the smoker turn it on high until I can smell the smoke, then back it down, get the temp where I want it, and put on the meat.

    3) Light on the rub will give you a little less bark. Most of the bark comes from the caramelizing of the sugars in the rub.

    Hope I helped. If I missed anything, let me know, I'm glad to help.

  3. jr54321

    jr54321 Newbie

    Thanks for the info. Will definitely do the warm water pan fills next time. Also I never picked up what the abbreviation GOSM meant until your post. I am a little on the slow side :)

    The smoke/temp thing is where I am still a bit stuck. If I want to smoke at any temp above dead low, I feel like I am really going to really fire the wood up too quickly and get even thicker smoke.
  4. It takes a little to get used to some of the abbreviations around here. I think there is a tread somewhere on here of what they all mean. I'll try and find it and post it back up here for you. 

    As for the smoke and temp thing. Suppose your built in thermometer is indeed correct (we all have better chances of being struck by lightning) and you were smoking at 225* the entire time...what is it you would want to cook that you would need higher temps? I would pull the thermometer off the smoker, put some water in a pot to boil, once the water is boiling, stick the thermometer in the water to check the temp. and see just how inaccurate it truly is. I know you said that you used chips and chunks, but I don't think you ever mentioned what type of wood it was. You may try moving the chip box off to the side a little. leaving it on the rack, and just sliding the whole thing to the left or right so it's not directly over the flame. And try soaking your wood in water before use.

    Good luck, and keep your chin up. The Wright brothers didn't get it perfect the first time either! It's trial and error my friend. At least you are eating better things than dirt!

  5. I have the same little gasser.  I took out my chip tray and replaced it with a small cast iron skillet this will also help with the smoke because you can move the wood chunks to the outside of the skillet so they are not over the direct heat of the burner.
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ahh the old 3405GW Many a smoke on that one

    Looks like the good folks of SMF have you covered

    I concur with the thermos and the possibility of a needle valve install.


    I replaced my chip pan with a small dutch oven, barely visible in the picture below and you may need to experiment with height.


    Use wood chunks


    The maverick ET732 is a worthwhile investment... at the least get a taylor or similar probe thermometer,


    What do you mean when you say "water pan is pretty small and emptied out on a few occasions", do you mean evaporated?

    I would take an educated guess and say your temp was running around 200° them thermos suck, 90 minutes a pound for the butts, so I would estimate no more than 7 hours... 8 with a huge stall for those butts at 225°, just as long as you ain't peeking.

    For a heavier bark don't foil the butts
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  7. smokinal

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

    Sounds like SQWIB has you covered!
  8. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The ribs look good from here and SQWIB gave you a good advice .
  9. jr54321

    jr54321 Newbie

    To answer a few of the questions:

    Yeah when I said the water ran out, i meant it completely evaporated a few times.

    I figured the thermo might be under calling the temp. The problem is if that is true,  the too much thick smoke problem will just increase as I crank up that gas to get to a true 225. Seems like I will have to modify the box a bit so that it does not get direct flame, is further up form the flame, or something like that and maybe try soaking the chips.

    I was using cherry chips and apple junks.

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