Long-time griller, first time smoker... Q-VIEW!

Discussion in 'Pork' started by undertow, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. undertow

    undertow Newbie

    Finally got around to my first ever smoke... I like to do my research thoroughly, but if I keep reading posts in these forums I'm NEVER gonna get anything smoked!

    So... to start cheap, I decided to smoke some recently-thawed "country style" boneless pork ribs (pork shoulder sliced into big hunks, they don't resemble ribs at all, like some CSR's do). Had to try some ABT's at the same time.

    Without further adieu... Q-VIEW! Please read below the pics if you have some pointers for me, I have a couple questions about the result...

    ABT's stuffed:

    ABT's wrapped (no toothpicks, turned out GREAT!):

    Jack Daniels younger, tastier brother (not to mention cheaper) Evan Williams + Apple Juice for spraying, 1:4 ratio (I'm not telling the ratio of coke to bourbon in the glass at-right [​IMG] ):

    CSR Pork hunks, coated in yellow mustard and Jeff's Naked rub (adjusted for low-carb), refrigerated for 24+ hours:

    A loaded smoker is a beautiful thing... I don't expect it'll stay this clean for long (heat-sink is sand, not water):

    Finished CSR pork (sorry, this was taken after refrigeration -- too busy stuffing my face last night) Notice the stolen Famous Dave's pen at-left... a leftover of my pre-smoking days:

    Sliced piece of the CSR pork (also after refrigeration). ABT added for a splash of color. A smoke ring on the maiden voyage, thanks SMF!

    So, pros: here's some advice I could use:

    1) The pork turned out kinda dry, even though I used a remote thermometer and went very low-n-slow (took about 3+ hours start to finish, 220-230 degrees). I wrapped them loosely in foil at 165 degrees, they shot up to 185 literally within 10 minutes -- is this the cause of my woes? Could someone clarify "wrap loosely in foil" if so?

    2) I used SoFlaQuer's "Finishing Sauce" (99% apple cider vinegar) for some I heated up and pulled today -- seemed a little strong, do I perhaps not do this right before eating? Normally I would shred immediately, sauce 'em, and refrigerate, but didn't have the time last night (thanks, Evan Williams)...
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did you test the therm on the smoker to make sure the chamber temps were correct?
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That all looks really good!

    As for dried out CSRs, the coloring of the ABTs is telling me that your stock thermometer may be off (it's hotter than it's telling you)...I've never gotten larger CSRs done in less than 4 hours, as I recall.

    I didn't notice a thermo probe on a rack in the pics...were you going by the stock thermometer on the cabinet door, and if so, did you run any checks on that therm to verify accuracy?

    That's just my observation from what your pics are telling me anyway.

  4. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well I gotta say, from where I'm sitting, your smoke went well and everything looks great. I did not see what you had for the ingredients in your abt's. I have a small monitor, is that shrimp on top of them?

    As far as your pork being dry, did you let the pork sit in the foil for a while before removing it? Letting it rest? If not, doing so will help with the redistribution of juices. Also, did you give it a spray of juice before you put it in foil? When I do a brisket, I wrap in foil once its done and let it sit for an hour at least.
    To wrap loosely, just lay the meat in the middle of the foil and fold the edges over one another. Kinda like a pouch, not supper tight, but the meat should not slush around inside either.

    Oh yeah, if you have a stock therm on the smoker itself, check it again a reliable one. The ones that come stock on some of those smokers are made for the masses and allot of times are not even close to the actual temp. You may have been smoking at a higher temp than your thought. Consider an investment in a Maverick dual probe. Not real spendy and they work great.
  5. undertow

    undertow Newbie

    Thanks for the feedback, I will try leaving them wrapped next time I take 'em out... as far as temps go, they should be accurate. During seasoning a week ago, and for the first hour of my smoke last night, I used my digital thermometer to verify temps in the open air of the cabinet -- my stock thermometer seems to read a consistent 20deg high, but at least it's consistent. :)

    I also had billowing white smoke for probably the first hour or so, until I wrapped the smoke-box with foil and poked holes in it (was getting too much air, methinks) -- creosote aside, could excess smoke dry out the meat?

    I forgot to mention my method for these roasts -- on the grates to 165 degrees, then wrapped in foil (w/a heavy spray and small puddles of juice) until 185, then out of the foil for 30 minutes. Any advice to change this method? It was my "best guess" compiling other ppl's experience, but most CSR's seem to be "rib-like" whereas mine were like a bunch of little roasts.
  6. shooterrick

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

    I would suggest not taking them back out of foil but resting them for 45 mins in a dry cooler. The juices will redistribute through the meat leaving them moist. Just my 2cents on the roasts.
  7. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think the pork needed such a high finished temp either. I would have pulled them off at 165, wrapped and rest for a while.
  8. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i've done csr's and 165 seams to work for me..........
    i also have the same smoker and my therm on the door is about 75 deg higher than actual air temp.
  9. Is it possible that using the sand rather than water caused some drying?

  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I was going to say that you don't have to take pork to 165 I usually take it to about 140ish or so and it's still a little pink but really juicy. It's another of those that I always get saked "is this done it's pink" and I try to hold back my hand and bite my tongue nd respond it sure is you little ba$^%d and shut up and eat. Everything looked good to me I also couldn't tell want was in the Abt's it looks like just cream cheese and bacon to me. I to didn't see a thermo meter one shot of in the smoker and never rely on your stock thermo meter and always test the new thermometer before using also. Overall you did a great job with everything and deserve some points for just doing so. So congats on your first smoke and I know it won't be your last. Happy Smoking.
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The main thing on therms is not so much on how accurate they are, but that you have done checks for comparison. Knowing that the consistency of the readings throughout the range of temps you wish to cook at is a big plus. Sounds like you've got that end covered pretty well.

    The amount/type of smoke should never effect texture/moisture content.

    I've had some CRSs like you mentioned, large cross-section like a small roast, so you have to treat them like a roast from smoke to finish, as mentioned above.

    Overall, it looks like a pretty darn good smoke, my friend...so don't sweat the small stuff...in time you'll learn how your smoker likes to run for most situations, and then a few out-of-the-ordinary situations will greet you with some challenges. You'll also learn about different cuts/species of meats/poultry/fish (whatever you try smoking) that will change your methods up just a bit from one smoke to the next. That's what I like about outdoor cooking the most...lots of variables can get tossed into the mix to keep you sharp and on your toes. It's all in a day's fun! [​IMG]

    And don't forget, the more you practice the better. You will hone your skills to a fine edge, have a greater sense on confidence in your abilities, and be ready for anything the meat-man can throw at you before you even know it. [​IMG]

    That's what I'd do as well. Good call.

    I always wet smoke with gas smokers, and with my newly modded GOSM gasser which is now burning charcoal, I still use the water pan for heat baffling and humidy. I may even devise a method for a water pot in my SNP again, now that I've gone back to charcoal with it...had a turkey fryer burner in it for a year, and used a big pot of water faithfully during smoking the phase.

    There are mixed opinions about wether or not wet smoking adds to the moisture content in the finished product. I think that the main benefit of the added humidity is that the meat may be a little bit more forgiving if slightly overcooked, and may retain more of it's natural moisture content longer than it would in a lower humidity environment.

    The use of sand in the water pan is a method used by many members here in colder weather conditions. Many have stated getting better temp control results, having reduce high temps during spikes, and holding temps higher for longer periods during drops in temps.

    So, in my opinion, sand vs water in the pan may have some effect, but it would be less noticable than most would expect to see.

    Been a pleasure following along...keep it coming!

  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i have the same smoker and i changed a couple of items. i use 2 heat sources, the gas on low flame for a consistent temp over a long period of time. i also made a charcoal pan and use wood chunks on top of lump for a better smoke. i use 2 brick pavers in the chip box for a heat sink with the coals above that. the water pan (i use disposable foil roasting pans cuz i'm lazy and they hold more water) above the coals for moisture. the water won't add moisture to the meat with larger cuts but with smaller cuts it can help avoiding exessive loss.
  13. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    Good job, like the use of the basket-I have one I don't use enough, gonna try today.
  14. forktender

    forktender Meat Mopper

    Looks awesome too me !!![​IMG]

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