Greetings from the Cold, Snowy, and Smoky Midwest...

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 5, 2014
Western Suburbs of Chicagoland
Well, it's snowy and about to get REALLY cold here in the western suburbs of Chicago, but I'm a happy guy because I got a smoker for Christmas (WSM, 18.5" to be exact) and am looking forward to fun things and great food.

I did my first smoke on New Years Eve that was a function of looking for an easy recipe that wouldn't take a lot of time because I did have to work during the day and we were hosting a party that night... I settled on moink balls, but went a little out of the box and them from scratch (except the bacon of course).... I made beef/pork meat balls, added my typical spices and some bbq sauce for moisture, a morsel of mozzarella in the middle and fired up the smoker for the first time!  I learned a few things in my first smoke....

1)  Don't use 'easy light' charcoal

2)  There is such a thing as 'too much smoke'

3)  It's a little harder to keep temp up on a cold night... ended up at about 200 degrees for the majority of the session and it was in the single digits outside.

OK, so most of you reading this are thinking, "DUH" and eventually, I'll be of the same mindset, but based on the feedback that night (which I'm guessing was partly friendly, but mostly honest because 90% were eaten and not all by me) I'm declaring it an initial success... and looking forward to Smoke #2 today.

Here's today's project... a 6 lb. bone in pork butt that I'm looking to have my first pulled pork from... yeah, I've done the crock pot thing traditionally, but now it's time for REAL PULLED PORK!  After reading all the pros/cons of fat or no fat, fat up or down, etc... I settled on leaving the fat on and I'm going to go fat down for the first couple hours and then rotate it to fat-up for the rest... my logic is that I'd like to get a little bark established before I have the fat dripping down over the rub and potentially 'washing it off' into the drip pan below.  Sound crazy?  Who knows... but any alternative logic is appreciated!

That's about it for now... it's about time to get the smoker set up for this Snowy Smoke so I'm done before the real cold temps arrive this afternoon and so it's done in time for football this afternoon!

Cheers all!

Last edited:
Hello and welcome from East Texas. This is a great site, lots of information and great people that are willing to throw in their two cents worth on about anything.   
[/h1][h1]  [/h1][h1]Gary[/h1]
About 4 hours into the smoke for the 6# bone-in pork butt and it's up to 140. 

Not too bad for the outdoor temperature gradually going down from 19 when I started to 12 now.... I Had to add charcoal a couple times as I'm still learning how to keep the vents just right and of course the outdoor temps aren't making it any easier.

Off to search the forums for tips on when to pull it, how to finish it and any best techniques for shredding it.

Those meat balls look awesome!

I usually always do my pork butts fat side up so the fat melts down through the meat. Though I have done a couple fat side down on accident (not paying attention) and they still turned out great.

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