My First WSM Smoke - Brisket AND Pork Shoulder ??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by skotjaxon, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Given my BBQ consumption, love of my Weber kettle grill and general lack of assistance in the kitchen, my wife thought a 22" WSM would be the perfect birthday gift.  I couldn't agree more!  It's now assembled.  Picked up a 40# bag of Nature-Glo this morning.

    Talked to my local butcher and he set aside a 10# brisket (that would be "great for smoking") that I'll pick up after work today.  Contemplating also getting a boston butt / pork shoulder to throw on at the same time.  Given the fuel and considerable time for a low and slow smoke, figure why not smoke 2 meats instead of one.  Planning to attempt the Minion method.  But I'm brand new to smoking, so if you think I'm stupid for going "all in" on my first smoke, tell me.  If you think it's reasonably achievable, I'm game.  Also, if I go with a pork shoulder, any recommended size?

    One thing I've determined I don't want to fool around with is the kitchen (in particular, the oven).  Since I've proven to be generally unhelpful in the kitchen, I don't want to make it look like I have any idea what's going on in there.  Obviously some prep and finishing will require my kitchen counter, but want 100% of the cook to be on the WSM.

    Was going to do a commercial / pre-made rub for both (Chicago Spice House, here I come!).  Also some mustard slathered on the pork shoulder.

    What do you think on start time -- fire things up tonight with meat?  The Buccos are playing on the west coast, so I'm planning to stay up later anyway!  Or is there value in doing a "prep smoke" tonight with no meat tonight to start to get familiar with the WSM, see how well it retains temp, etc.  I have some cheap charcoal that I'm fine burning for the sense of burning just to break things in a bit -- then do the actual meat smoke on Saturday into Sunday.  Seems like I should budget at least 15 hrs of smoking (10# x 1.5 hrs per #).  And then a few hours of wrapped "cool down" in a cooler?  Boy, my OCD & ADHD may be problematic!

    On the smoking meat part, I picked up a 4 pack of metal thermometers.  I've read and heard loud and clear -- DON'T BE TEMPTED OPEN THE SMOKER IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO.  Can I just leave the metal thermometers in the meat while it's smoking?  Also, I hold off on putting  the meat on once I reach 225 deg, right?

    I'm sure a bunch of these topics have been discussed before, but if someone thinks there's a particularly good thread, let me know.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  2. buttburner

    buttburner Meat Mopper

    boy I think I would just put the briskey in the freezer and start with the pork butt

    its much more forgiving and will give you a chance to get used to your smoker

    new smoker, 2 huge hunks of meat and no famililairty with your smoker is a lot ot ask.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  3. I love my WSM and it is very easy to use. Having said that I would agree with ButtBurner that a butt is very forgiving and a brisket is not. You will have to learn how to control you're smoker, also until the inside of your smoker is seasoned it will tend to run hot.

    I usually recommend chicken for a first timer, it too is very forgiving and has a shorter smoke time. All you have to do is get it up to temp, where as with brisket and butt you have to get it up to temp and also have acceptable tenderness, two things that do not necessarily arrive at the same time.
  4. Do you need to "season" it like most other smokers? It took me nearly a year before I got the courage to smoke a brisket and I have an electric smoker!
  5. maybe I am getting a little over my skis.  Chicken tonight as my trial run and then a boston butt on Sat/Sun?  what's a good general guideline for chicken cooktime and target WSM cook temp (225ish?) to get internal to 165-170?  Does 25 min per lb seem like a good target?
  6. buttburner

    buttburner Meat Mopper

    I would go 275-300 on chicken

    you dont want it to come out like rubber.
  7. X2 and as far as time...most cook to the internal temp of the meat
  8. I like chicken at 325* to get crisp skin. This plays well with a WSM that will want to run hot out of the box.

    Seasoning is not required but i recommend it. I ran some charcoal with fatty bacon on the grates as a "burn out". Building up some "gunk" to seal it up is the point.

    I also trim all the fat cap off my pork butts. That fat cap can be placed on the grate while cooking the butt to help season it.
  9. for the chicken, beer can or just throw the bird on the grate?  

    SmokinHusker, "X2 on the time" -- what does that mean?  
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You don't need to season your WSM, but I would run it for about one hour before you toss the chicken on. If you want to run hot for chicken leave your water pan empty - also definately foil the pan, makes clean up a lot easier!

    I like to start butt and briskets smokes at midnight. That usually means I am lighting it at midnight, and meat usually goes on around 12:45 to 1:00 AM. Once my temps are stable I go to bed till 6:00 AM, check internal temps (foil at 165° - if you are going to foil). Then just let the meat ride till it hits 200° - usually finishes up between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon, then I wrap them in foil and toss them in a dry towel lined cooler for a couple of hours. You can hold a big cut, like a butt or brisket for up to 6 hrs. if you need to.
  11. this is great advice -- thanks all.  going to do a chicken (or two) tonight.  and then a butt over the weekend.  should give me some good experience.  will likely be spending a lot of time on this site over the weekend and researching the boards.  
  12. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    X2 or +2 just means " I agree with the previous post"...:welcome1:
  13. Good plan IMHO. Let us know how things come out and don't forget the Q-View. Remember if there's no Q-View it never really happened[​IMG]
  14. ron eb

    ron eb Meat Mopper

    I have been hit or miss, mostly miss with the minion method. I have been using the snake method now on a ECB fully modded out.

    I can get 4 hours at a steady temp 230-250. no stoking and no opening of fire box.
  15. My last cook went over 16 without opening the cooker on my WSM using the minion method.
  16. ron eb

    ron eb Meat Mopper

    Wow. I haven't went back to the minion method since I did the mods. Can you post a pic of how you set up your minion method.
    I'm sure I'll get better results.
  17. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    Same here...I went 16 hours and still had enough charcoal to go longer....

    Here's how I set up my 22.5" WSM.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  18. Grill has been fired up for an hr or so (with no meat) to help break things in.  I put water in the pan -- not sure why, but I did, along with a couple hunks of pecan. Temp is 260* and slowly rising (I have full vents open).

    Have 2 birds tee'd up and ready to go.  Put them on the smoker at 8:46pm CT.  just before I opened the lid, temp was 260*. Obviously dropped, but within a couple min of putting the lid back on, was 240* and rising.

    Chicken #1 (left):  3.48lbs with a homemade spice rub (sugar, chili power, olive oil, salt, garlic power, cumin, ginger, cinnamon & black pepper).  Perched on top of can with ~12oz of Bush's Original Baked Beans.

    Chicken #2 (right):  3.30lbs with a "Greektown" seasoning from The Spice House (salt, garlic, black pepper, onion, oregano & lemon peel).  Perched on top of a half full can of "Vitamin Y" (Yuengling Premium Lager) -- Mmmmm Beer.

    What do you think, check temp of birds in 2 hrs given current temp (just checked, and it's now at 245* -ugh- but slowly rising)?

    Also, thinking about just turning these into "pulled chicken" for lunch / dinner tomorrow (after a few bites of juicy goodness and perhaps a leg before I go to bed though!!).  Any thoughts on that approach (on the pulling, not the midnight snack)?
  19. ron eb

    ron eb Meat Mopper

    How much wood do you add to your charcoal for the minion and how long does the smoke last for a long cooking session? Nice looking birds.
  20. I threw in 2 fist-sized chunks of pecan.  No idea for a long cook -- this is my first one and will only be a couple hrs max.  Tomorrow night is the 8lb boston butt for round 2.

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