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First smoke (pork)

jlcnuke

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I was going to be ambitious and go straight to a brisket but decided against it.  Instead I got a boston butt for my first time in the MES 30.  Got it rubbed down last night and into the smoker about 4 hours ago.  I'm really glad I picked up a separate thermometer though since the MES 30 is reading a good 20+ degrees low (checked the independent one versus a thermometer I had for the oven to make sure I knew which was correct).

Here's the pork with the rub on it:


First thing I noticed (besides the known temp issue with the built in MES sensor) was that the temp sensor that is built in "lags" behind pretty good.  When starting the MES 30 up I set it for 225 to start with but had both temp probes in.  The MES 30 was actually about there while the built in sensor was still reading under 200F.  So I turned the set temp down until I could slowly raise it to get the temp where I wanted it without overshooting too far.  Once it settled out I put the pork in with a pan under it to catch drippings off the meat.  

I'll update later with how things are going inside the smoker :)
 

jlcnuke

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The temperatures are going to bug me for a while.  Built in thermometer showing inside temp at 225F.  Independent thermometer (ET-732 picked up from http://www.amazenproducts.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=40) shows ~250F.  Old-fashioned oven thermometer showing about 235F.

Internal temp (per the ET-732) about 150F now.  I wish I knew which temp was the "right" one.  The ET-732 probe and the oven thermometer are both pretty much in the same place, the built in probe is in its default location (which could result in a different temp, but the spread seems pretty wide to me).  I figure as long as I keep all the temps above 225F and below 260F I should be pretty good to go for this but I'm gonna have to find out which is actually right before doing something that needs more accurate temp control in the future. 
 

timberjet

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try taking your old fashioned oven therm. and checking it with boiling water. should read 212 at or near sea level. that way you will know what is off. I have the mavericks and they are off by 5 degrees or so. just so you know which way they are off you can compensate. This is my second maverick unit and it is always very close. I have not heard of them being far off before. I would be way more inclined to trust the maverick over the built in one for internal temp. Remember that pork butts are forgiving so don't get too hung up on absoloute perfection on temp. Just as long as you dont let it get over 205 internal at the end you will be fine. are you going to foil?
 
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jlcnuke

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The built in one I assume is reading low since both of the others are reading higher.  After temps settled out the ET-732 and the oven thermometer are a lot closer (though the oven one is still reading a bit lower).  I'm going to go with the Maverick as my main indicator for temp today.  I don't plan on foiling it during the cooking right now.  I've read "yes" and "no" on foiling so I plan to do this one without foil (until it's done) and my next with foil and see which method I prefer.
 
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timberjet

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The built in one I assume is reading low since both of the others are reading higher.  After temps settled out the ET-732 and the oven thermometer are a lot closer (though the oven one is still reading a bit lower).  I'm going to go with the Maverick as my main indicator for temp today.  I don't plan on foiling it during the cooking right now.  I've read "yes" and "no" on foiling so I plan to do this one without foil (until it's done) and my next with foil and see which method I prefer.
I did my last one without foil and it was awesome. If you like the bark, which I do you will be stoked. Just remember to wrap it up and rest it in the cooler for a while to redistribute the juices. 
 

jlcnuke

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That's my plan.  Once it gets to ~200-205F I'll pull it, wrap it, and let it rest for 1-2 hours (or until I can't wait to eat it any longer lol).
 

jlcnuke

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Well, I'm 95% sure it's my Redi-Check that's reading high and the built in sensor is pretty close to actual temp.  I bumped up the temp when I got close to when it "should" have been done (based on 1.5 hours/pound) while stuck around 160F.  Yeah, I know it "stalls" around there but I'm at 11.5 hours now on a 7.5lb pork and still haven't peaked over 170F yet.  That makes me think I was in the 210-225 range for the majority of the first 9 hours or so instead of 225-250 (I couldn't keep the low in that range and the high in that range due to the wide variation).  The oven therm I put in there is also showing much closer to the built-in than the other one I picked up.  I'm guessing it was calibrated close at low temps but diverges as the temp moves up.  Hopefully it will clear the hump and be done in the next couple hours... I wasn't planning on 14-15 hours for a 7.5lb cook today.
 

jlcnuke

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Okay. I was wrong. Checked the independent in boiling water and it's within 2 degrees of 212 on both probes. As such, my 7.57lb pork has been at 225f or higher for almost 13 hours and is still under 170f... I'm kinda lost why it's taking so long...

sent from here using science.
 

jlcnuke

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Perhaps I had too much moisture in the smoker (I filled the water tray about 1/2 full to start with then later added some apple juice)?  Could "too much" moisture result in the pork taking longer to actually cook?
 

jlcnuke

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15 hours and now into the low 170's..... Something isn't working quite right I assume...
 

timberjet

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I had an 8 pounder take 22 hours once. Be patient it is really worth it.
 

timberjet

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15 hours and now into the low 170's..... Something isn't working quite right I assume...
You are experiencing the dreaded stall. It happens. I hope you didn't give up and head for the oven. haha...
 

jlcnuke

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Yeah, the "stall" lasted a whole lot longer than I anticipated.  I expected it to be done in about 11.5 hours with the stall.  18.5 hours was not what I was anticipating based on all the ~1.5hrs/lb directions everywhere.  Closer to 2.5 hours/lb on that.  It turned out better than any of the pulled pork I've ordered from restaurants around here (even though it was 1.5 days later before I had time to properly enjoy it).  Today's lunch (before making it into pulled pork sandwiches and serving with some beans):

 

knuckle47

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Here's a novice question for you. How are you re heating this when you use it a day later to make a sandwich?
 

jlcnuke

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Here's a novice question for you. How are you re heating this when you use it a day later to make a sandwich?
Tin foil cover in a pan (metal or disposable probably doesn't matter) at 275F with about 1/4 cup of finishing sauce and a splash of apple juice.  I used this recipe for the finishing sauce but I think next time I'll cut back on the vinegar (probably try 1/2 the vinegar and the rest at the original sizes) as it was a bit much on the vinegar for my particular tastes: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/122319/jjs-finishing-sauce-awesome

That was for a ~7.5 pound uncooked boston butt.  I'll probably try to keep about the same ratio.  It took about 1.5-2 hours to reheat it to 160F prior to serving but came out great.  It was definitely worth the wait as the two of us that had it (me on sandwiches and a friend with just the pork and beans) both agreed it was as good or better than any of the places we've ate pulled pork from around here.  In the Atlanta area that's saying something too.  The rub I used was Jeff's rub (you can buy the recipe from this site though I added a dash of cinnamon which didn't really come through in the flavor) and the bark came out great on it.
 

cliffcarter

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Here's a novice question for you. How are you re heating this when you use it a day later to make a sandwich?
 
 at 275F
If you had cooked the butt at this temperature it would not have taken 18 hours. If 275° is good to reheat the meat the next day, then it is good enough to cook at initially. I always cook large cuts at 285°-300°+, with excellent results. And no stall.
 

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