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Help with overnight smoke

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by newarcher, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. newarcher

    newarcher Fire Starter

    Hello everyone.

    I have a dinner party tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM EST and I am planning to smoke two boston butts (both around 8 pounds).  I had planned to put them on around 5 AM and take them off at 5 PM (or when they reach 195 degrees).  But that doesn't give any time to rest.

    So the thought occurred to me that I could start the grill up around 11 PM tonight and put the butts on around midnight.  Get the smoker leveled out and go to bed.  The outside temperature is expected to be 60 degrees as a low with little to no wind.

    I have the thermometer that I can set to alert me when the meat reaches the desired temp and also to alert me if the smoker temp goes above/below a target range.

    I've yet to do a smoke where I didn't have to work the smoker grates a little here or there to maintain 230.

    I've never smoked overnight....good idea?  bad idea?

  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I would be afraid of starting them at 5am and expecting them done by 5pm. If you hit a long stall you could be very late. If you know your smoker and are prepared for the way it acts then you should be good to go. Having that therm with alarms will be a big help as long as it does wake you up if the smoker starts to get cold. I say go for it and even if you have to get up a few times during the night it will be better than having dinner running late.
  3. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Agreed! Your giving yourself no time for errors or unexpected long stalls. I do over night smokes all the time with no problem, depends on your smoker and if you know how long it'll hold temp with out needed to touch it. My Weber Smokey Mountain will easy maintain a temp for 8-10 hours. So i'll often start a smoke at 11pm, take about a hour to get teh smoker to temp and holding then put meat on and goto bed. I'll wake up around 6am to check it...often i'll be +/- 5 degrees from when i started it. 

    At that point you can add coal/wood since your expecting a 10+hour smoke. What kind of smoker do you have? Whats the longest you've maintained heat without adding fuel or adjusting air flow? If you cannot maintain 5-6 hours of smoke with without adjustment...maybe start it at midnightt and wake up around 4am to check it...or start around 3am. 

    Over all to answer your question..overnight smokes are a good idea...even if your done 3-4 hours early you can double wrap in foil and and towels and stick in a cooler...it'l stay warm for hours! That's much better to have it done early then having people wait on you to get it done.

    hope this helped
  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  couldn't have said it better than what they did!  Good Luck...and show the q-view!

  5. newarcher

    newarcher Fire Starter

    Thanks folks.

    I have a Chargriller Akorn smoker which does a pretty good job of holding its temperature.  I can usually--if I can contain myself from constant adjustments--keep it at 230 for 3-4 hours before it will move a little one way or another but that could be due to the lump catching/burning out.  The best I have been able to do was a 4 hour Rib/Butt smoke I did where it maintained 230 the entire time.

    I'm thinking I am going to do just this approach.  Fire it up around 10:30 and get the grill to about 230 and then throw the meat on around 11-12 and let her go.   Set the warning temperature to 25 degrees on each side of 230 and go to sleep.  Get up and check it around 4 am and go back to bed.

    I definitely want to let it rest for 2-3 hours before eating so this will be my approach.

    Thanks all!
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  6. Sounds like a good plan! Don't forget the q view!
  7. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Agreed. This is a good plan. Always shoot for overnight because there is no penalty for getting it done early. Being a little sleepy during the party is nothing compared to the anxiety you'd feel if you've put the butts on too late and guests are standing around starving wondering when the foods going to be done. Good luck!
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A suggestion, if you do start it a bit early, make sure you have some good finishing sauce sitting around....... I would never attempt to cook a Pork Butt on the clock. Its always a day ahead of time, shred, crock pot with finishing sauce. There is just no need for the "get there on time" stress.

    Personally I am a fan of JJ's finishing sauce. Its not BBQ sauce, its like a rub for the finished product. To me its not extra, its just the last step now in a delicious sandwich. It adds a small kick, it adds moisture, it makes the pork all happy and want to get on the buns.


    I still use my BBQ sauce on my sandwich, but I use JJ's on the meat before it hits the bread!