Help Pork Butts Sucked

Discussion in 'Pork' started by curtlow, May 23, 2015.

  1. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    So I smoked 2 pork butts for my daughters 1st birthday party.  Turned out super moist and tender but I thought the taste wasn't good at all.  Wondering if you guys might give me some ideas on what happened here so I don't make this mistake again as it really just turns me off from doing pulled pork again.  To me it just had a really weird flavor.  Kind of bitter almost kind of like a lighter fluid taste but I don't use any kind of fluid.  Hard to explain.  Not sure if I somehow got a bitter taste from the wood or if the wood I used just way over powered the pork.  Or maybe it was my rub.  I've done chicken legs and a brisket flat using only my 50/50 mix of S&P with pecan wood and thought they turned out awesome flavor wise.  

    Process:   I use a WSM 22.5" smoker.  Used RO USA lump charcoal.   Pecan Wood chunks

    Rub:  Tried to keep it simple.   I have a 50/50 mix of S&P.  Took 1 cup of this 50/50 mix and added 4 TBS of paprika,  1 tsp         granulated garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne.  

    Heated up smoker to about 225.  Got some tbs going and added meat.  I usually keep 2 of the 3 bottom vents completely closed and use the other to control my temp.  At one time the smoker temp got up to 260 so I almost closed the last bottom vent and almost closed the top vent to get the temp back down.  Smoked it for about 4.5 - 5 hours, put them in a roasting pan, covered with foil and finished them in the oven so I could get some sleep as they need to be ready for 1pm party.   

    Not sure what happened here so any help would be appreciated.  Also if their is any other info you need just ask.  

    One thing I just thought about was I haven't cleaned out the ash in the bottom of the smoker from the first 2 smokes.  Not sure if this matters but didn't think it would since it was below everything including the hot coals.  
     
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Bitter and kind of tongue numbing??
     
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sound like some bad smoke.
     
  4. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    Yes, just left a bad taste in my mouth and couldn't get rid of it.  Even smelled like it tasted which made it worse.
    That's what I was thinking.  How does this happen?  What did I do wrong?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  5. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How was your vents set on the WSM ? Should have the top 100% open & adjust the bottom to the temp your wanting ! Sounds like a possible air flow problem, I clean out my WSM before each smoke ! Your bottom vents may have been blocked from the previous smokes !
     
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Creosote and it's a nasty taste. Usually caused by not having the exhaust vent open enough or too much wood and not getting a good clean burn. Remember your looking for TBS (Thin Blue Smoke) you don't want white billowing smoke. If you can smell the smoke so can the meat. The ashes in the bottom if disturbing the air flow can cause incomplete combustion or the fire not to burn clean
     
  7. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    I've been keeping 2 of the 3 bottom vents closed and using the last one to adjust temps while I keep the top 100% open.  However, if the temp climbs to high I will close the last bottom vent to where it's almost closed but not completely closed and then close down the top one to 50% or even 75% closed to get the temp back down.  
     
  8. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    That can cause the creosote you tasted right there
     
  9. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    I usually don't have any white billowing smoke but if I don't see any TBS I will usually take another chunk or 2 and throw in there to get more TBS going.   Yeah after think about it I was worried the ash in the bottom might have been some of the problem.
     
  10. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    My problem was when I closed 2 of 3 and then closed the last one down to where it was almost closed it seem like the temps were still climbing and didn't start coming down till I started to close the top vent.  Tried using the minnion method to keep from having to big of a fire going. 

    Would it be better to just close all bottom vents and keep the top 100% open to get temps back down?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  11. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When lighting your charcoal, coarse I see ya used lump & I use KBB.... But I light a 1/4 of a chimney & toss them on unlit charcoal & wood chunks, makes for a nice steady burn ! Have ya tried this method ? Also helps maintain the temp where ya can have all your vents open to some degree, ya wanna have good air flow !
     
  12. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    My first 2 smokes on this smoker I just filled up the charcoal ring and threw on a few chunks of wood then just dumped the lit charcoal on top.  This time I tried using the minnion method.  My problem is I probably light to much charcoal and get to big of a fire.  With the  way I've been doing it I don't think there is any way I can keep the temps low with more than 1 vent open.  Afraid it would climb to high.    Think I'm going to try KBB.  Just don't like the big difference in sizes with the lump.  
     
  13. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yea, ya might try the KBB... I've had real good luck with the method stated above & solid temps as well ! Also, not sure if ya use water in the water pan but it's just a temp control... I put sand in mine & foiled over it for easy cleanup !
     
  14. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    Def going to give them a try.  I haven't used anything in the water pan but will prob try.  Seems like the temps will be stable for a while but then all of a sudden they start climbing or dropping for some reason, maybe wind, and then I start worrying that they are going to get out of hand and start messing with the vents.   

    How much fluctuation in temps do you usually allow before you start adjusting the vents?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  15. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thumbs Up Let us know if ya have anymore questions !
     
  16. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    You need something in the pan....That will level out your temps. I use sand and cover it with foil. Works great.
     
  17. curtlow

    curtlow Fire Starter

    Yep planning on doing exactly this next time. 
     
  18. briggy

    briggy Smoking Fanatic

    Very similar to you - I use Royal Oak hardwood lump.  I do have sand in the water pan with foil on top.   Two bottom vents are completely closed down and the last is used for temp control, normally about 50% open.  The top vent is never touched - wide open all the time.  Hopefully you just had a one off bad experience.
     
  19. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Do you know for sure if your wood was seasoned enough? Green wood will cause that. Also let the smoker get going and stabilize for 45 min. At least. An hour is better. Kbb burns best for lower and more stabile temps. Stay away from competition though, it burns much hotter than regular. Clean the ash out every time and knock it down every so often during the smoke.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  20. eh1bbq

    eh1bbq Fire Starter

    On my WSM, I light with Minion Method. Full charcoal ring, and 3/4 full chimney lit into the hole. The way I control temps is to leave top vent 100% open at all times. I have never closed it during a cook ever. Only to extinguish at the end after the cooker temp has come down to around 100°F. After I put the hot coals in, I assemble with all 3 bottom vents wide open.  Once the cooker hits around 175°F I close the 3 bottom vents to approx 25% open each. The cooker will crawl up to around the 225-240 mark and hold there for hours and hours and hours with minimal intervention. On an especially windy day, I will close the vent on the windy side completely and open the other 2 to approx 33% open. In the time it takes to crawl up to 225 and settle in there, usually any of the heavy smoke from the unlit coal dies down and I have a clean fire burning.
     

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