First Time Smoking experiment.... Pork Shoulder

Discussion in 'Grilling Pork' started by zpayton, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Hello all.

    This weekend I decided to try my hand at something I have wanted to do for years... Smoking Pork!!!!  Alton Brown got me interrested when he assembled a "cheap and easy" flower pot smoker.

    I researched it on the web, and built one.  While not as cheap as advertised, I finally got all my parts together and assembled.  I used a router speed control to manually control the element temperature.  After a couple test runs, I got everything working the way it should, and decided to throw the dice and smoke some meat!

    I started with a 4 pound shoulder that I rubbed and wrapped the day before.  6am Saturday rolls around, and I fire up the smoker, get it up to 215 degrees, and throw the pork on.

    After 3 hours the meat temp hit 130 degrees, then seemed to stall out...  another 3 hours goes by, and I am up to 135 degrees...

    At this point I bump the heat up to 225, but it is only making a couple degrees difference.  Another 3 hours goes by and I am up to 147 degrees...  At this point, I wrapped the pork in foil (put some apple juice in with it) and bumped the temp to 250.  After 4 more hours, I am up to 195 degrees.

    I let it rest an hour, and then pulled it. 

    It was not nearly as tender as I was thinking it should be... It tasted pretty good, but again, was not easy to pull.

    I am trying to figure out what I did wrong....  My reading of forums tells me that the "stall" should hit around 150-160 degrees - not 130-135... 

    I had a digital thermostat (polder) monitoring the air temp near the grill top, and this is what I was using to control the heat to.  I also have a analog thermometer sitting on the grill top, and that was reading the same as the digital.  Then I thought maybe the probe I was using in the port shoulder was incorrect... But I verified the temp was right using an instant read digital thermometer.  Very frustrating.

    I am planning on testing my thermometers this evening with boiling water to verify they are working correctly...

    I am also buiding a PID temp controller, which will help me maintain temperature tighter than my current manual method.

    I want to try again with an 8 pounder for the fourth, so I appreciate any advice you can give.



    "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." - Phil 4:13
  2. zpayton[​IMG]

    You need to go to 200-205 for pulled 195 is for sliced.

    When you get a chance will you drop by roll call and update your profile. That way we can all give you a proper SMF welcome.

    Happy smoken.

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You also for food d safety sake need to hit an IT temp of 140* in 4 hours or less.

    Definitely verify the accuracy of all your therms. Just because two read the same doesn't mean they are correct.

    I smoke all of my pork butts in a 265* smoke chamber now. I wouldn't go any less than 250* ale sure when you insert the probe into the meat, something I don't do until around hour 4 of the smoke, that you aren't touching the bone or a big fat pocket. Those will give you erroneous readings. Also make sure that your sensors for the pit aren't touching metal, meat or in your case the ceramic.
  4. Guys,

    Thanks for the advice.  I will try going up to 205 internal temp, and hopefully get better results.  I also think I am going to start out at 250 for the smoker temp.... I am thnking that maybe I started too low (215) on the temperature of the smoker.  I was very careful to make sure my thermometers were not touching the metal grate of the ceramic.... Either that, or my therms are about 20 degrees off....  If the internal temp was up around 215, that would make the pork a tad on the dry side, right?

    I didn't know about the 4 hour thing....  Luckily, no one seemed to get sick when we finaly ate Saturday night!  I think I will take your advice and put the meat therm in after the first 4 hours or so....
  5. I think I may have figured it out..... It appears that my thermometer that I was using is not reading correctly...grrrrr.. I put both thermometers in ice water.... The one I used for the meat read 34 degrees. The one I was using to read the air temp read 55 degrees. Then I put both in boiling water. Meat thermometer read 210 and other one read 246.... Translation- my smoker was running 20 to 40 degrees colder than I thought.

    This explains why it took 14+ hours to get meat to 195. ( and I had to foil it).

    I'll let u know how it comes out this weekend with the PID controller.

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