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New member, Pulled Pork smoking question

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jun 29, 2016
Hello.  First post here.  I'm excited to be a member - I know I'll learn a lot.

I bought my first smoker about a month ago - a Propane Masterbuilt = 2- door model.

I really like it and I've made some of the modifications to it as recommended.

I use a cast iron skillet for the wood tray, and I use a bluetooth oven thermometer for temperature.

My question is related to smoking pulled pork.

My first attempt was a dismal failure.

I had a 8 1/2 pound pork shoulder, bone-in.

I set the temperature for around 200 to 220.

What I didn't know at the time was that the Masterbuilt thermometer was reading was reading about 25 degrees high.

So, in reality, I was smoking at under 200 degrees probably.

I kept it on for about 7 hours, until the internal meat temperature hit 190 degrees.

The outside of the meat looked great.

I let it rest, took it in to 'pull it apart' and found that most of the meat was too tough to pull apart.

The large shoulder 'bone' also was not releasing from the meat.

I ended up cutting slices off most of the pork shoulder and only had a little bit that was able to be 'pulled apart' with two forks.

So I sliced it, then chopped up the slices.

It tasted ok, but was definitely not like the soft, tender pulled pork I've made in the oven.

So before I try again, I'm guessing that the problem was that the temperature was too low and I didn't keep it in the smoker long enough.

Would the ideal time and temp for an 8 pounder be about 225 to 235 for about an hour per pound?

Thanks in advance.

For 4th of July, I'm going all out with smoked ribs and chicken but I've already figured out baby back rib smoking.  For those, I put them in the smoker for 3 hours at 225/235, then put them in an aluminum foil pan and a can of apple juice, seal the pan with foil, and put them in the smoker for an hour, then out of the pan, back in the smoker for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and apply BBQ sauce to them for the final 1/2 hour of smoking.  They came out tender and moist, but if anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
 

smokesontuesday

Smoking Fanatic
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Raise the temp at at least 225 (I like 275 for butts) and shoot for an internal temperature around 205 if you want pulled pork.
 

jasper7

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Joined Mar 14, 2013
 
Would the ideal time and temp for an 8 pounder be about 225 to 235 for about an hour per pound?

Thanks in advance.
I always allow two hours per lb, to get to the 205* IT.  It may finish faster than that, but it can take that long at 225*.  You should have a good digital probe thermometer, like a thermoworks for example.  That's the best way to know when your food is fully cooked.  Good luck with the ribs, its hard to measure IT with ribs, but 4 hours for back ribs is my rule of thumb.  Hope this helps.
 

SmokinAl

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Sounds like you have some good advice there.

Since I see this is your first post.

At your leisure would you swing by Roll Call & introduce yourself.

That way we can all give you a proper welcome!

Al
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jun 29, 2016
Thanks for the advice, Al.

I've added a post to 'Roll Call'.

Wayne
 

lemans

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I will agree with team. All good advice. 225-250 till the IT hits 170 ( pass the stall at 160) then wrap it in aluminum and back on the pit til 205 . Take off and let it rest!! After an hour , the bone should slide cleanly out. That will tell you that it is perfect.
I some my butts in an aluminum pan. This way all the great juices are saved in for au jui
 

tropics

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I would use another thermo probe to monitor the Cooking Chamber temp

Richie
 

sauced

Master of the Pit
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Yep...shoot for 205 IT and you will be gold!!
Welcome to the forum!!
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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41
Joined Jun 29, 2016
Getting ready to try my next pulled pork tomorrow.

I  re-read all the good advice on this post.

So, I'll run the temp between 225 to 250.

Once it hits 170 IT I'll wrap it in foil.

I plan on doing a 6 to 7 pound including the bone.

I'll leave it in till it hits 205.

I'll plan on putting the pork butt in the smoker around 6 or 7 in the morning tomorrow.  Even if it takes 12 hours, that will get it out for a late dinner.

I do have an I-Grill 2 thermometer that works pretty well at giving me IT for the meat - and it's blue tooth right to my smart phone so I'll be able to keep a good watch on it.

I'm going to try Pecan wood.  I have a bag of chips and a larger bag of chunks.  I usually use Apple wood so this will be a little bit different.

So, of course, I've got a few more questions please...

1. Why do you wrap in foil?  What's the benefit?

2. I've got the Master built propane - 2 door unit.  I've always wondered, which rack should I use to put the pork butt on?  Does it make a difference?

3.  I'm leaving the bottom side vents open and the top smoke vent open.  But every time I smoke, I wonder why the top smoke vent should be open so much?  Don't I want to keep the smoke in the chamber and not flowing out the top?  

Thanks for the help, I'll take photos.
 

jasper7

Smoking Fanatic
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1. Why do you wrap in foil?  What's the benefit?

2. I've got the Master built propane - 2 door unit.  I've always wondered, which rack should I use to put the pork butt on?  Does it make a difference?

3.  I'm leaving the bottom side vents open and the top smoke vent open.  But every time I smoke, I wonder why the top smoke vent should be open so much?  Don't I want to keep the smoke in the chamber and not flowing out the top?  
Wrapping in foil will help shorten the 'stall", it will keep moisture in the meat, and by that point the food is no longer taking on much smoke flavor.

What rack isn't a huge deal, but putting it in the middle will allow good air/smoke circulation around the food.

Top vent open to keep proper circulation of the smoke, you don't want stale smoke building up.  If the smoke isn't moving you will get creosote build up on the food.  Creosote is a good wood preservative, but a bitter flavoring to add to your food.  Good luck and good smokin'.
 

westby

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The iGrill is a good thermometer, but you should validate the IT with another quick read thermometer if possible.  I've had some instances where my Maverick and Tappecue meat probes read a higher IT than what my Thermapen quick read told me it was (and I have validated my probes are accurate in boiling water).  I have a theory as to how this occurs, but its only a theory - I think that the heat can transfer/migrate from the exposed portion of the probe into the probe portion in the meat, giving you a slightly higher false reading.  Example:  Chamber temp / exposed probe temp is 250, probe reads a meat IT of 205, meat is actually at 190.

My two cents. . . . .
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jun 29, 2016
Thanks.

And I'm going to check the accuracy of my quick read and my I grill probes in boiling water.  Someone else suggested that and I forgot to do it.
 

wklkjn

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jun 29, 2016
One more question.

The pork butt is 6.5 pounds with bone in.

It has a rather heavy, white slab of fat on the one side.

Do I put the fat on the bottom when I smoke?

Is it better to cut it off before I put it in the smoker?

Thanks again.

Photos tomorrow!
 

smokesontuesday

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Put that fat cap up. On a long smoke most of it will render down and flavor everything else. What's left will peel off easily when you start to pull it.
 

lemans

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The butt should go Into an aluminum pan, fat down
At 160-170 pour off the liquid into a bowl and put into the freezer. Wrap the pan with foil and back into smoker until 205 ish... The bone should wiggle when you tug on it. Take it from smoker and put it in a cooler to rest.. Meanwhile. Take the au jui out of the freezer and scrape off the fat. Put in a sauce pan and
Warm it , put juice thru strainer and back in pan.
Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cane syrup and 1/4 cup honey. Heat for 15 mins. Mix into the pulled pork
.. Call me when it's done, I will be right over!
 

smokesontuesday

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Jul 25, 2014
The butt should go Into an aluminum pan, fat down
At 160-170 pour off the liquid into a bowl and put into the freezer. Wrap the pan with foil and back into smoker until 205 ish... The bone should wiggle when you tug on it. Take it from smoker and put it in a cooler to rest.. Meanwhile. Take the au jui out of the freezer and scrape off the fat. Put in a sauce pan and
Warm it , put juice thru strainer and back in pan.
Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cane syrup and 1/4 cup honey. Heat for 15 mins. Mix into the pulled pork
.. Call me when it's done, I will be right over!
Just goes to show there's no wrong way.

I put a pan under the butt to catch the drippings then strain them to add back in.
 

lemans

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There is no "right way" to smoke meat!! There are suggestions but in the end you will have to do what is right for your taste
 

smokesontuesday

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Joined Jul 25, 2014
There is no "right way" to smoke meat!! There are suggestions but in the end you will have to do what is right for your taste
Your finishing sauce sounds really sweet. Does it overpower the smoke flavor?

I prefer a vinegar based finishing sauce but we're always looking for something different to try.
 

lemans

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Really not sweet. I know sugar , honey. But the au jui
From the pan has the rub in it , the vinegar from the spritz and apple juice. So it's a little " sharp" these ingredients smooth out the flavor and compliments the pork. IMHO
 

smokesontuesday

Smoking Fanatic
637
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Joined Jul 25, 2014
Really not sweet. I know sugar , honey. But the au jui
From the pan has the rub in it , the vinegar from the spritz and apple juice. So it's a little " sharp" these ingredients smooth out the flavor and compliments the pork. IMHO
Gotcha. The vinegar spritz would help. I don't spritz butts so I didn't think about vinegar there.
 

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