Newbie question about pork

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Original poster
Jul 21, 2005
London, Kentucky

My name is Bob, and I live in london Kentucky. I am new to the forum here. However I have been monitoring the group @ YaHoo for several months. I am also new to smoking meat. I know nothing about it. I would like to learn though.

I saw some Pork Butt at my local Save-A-Lot at a reasonable price. Most of the fat had been trimmed off. I also saw something that they called a Pork Sirlion Roast. Quite Reasonable. $3 - $5 for a few pounds. Nice and fatty on one part of the outside. The rest was quite lean. Would that be okay to smoke?

I would need to learn what to do with what ever I choose to try for the first time. Would I need to soak it in a brine solution? Would I use a dry rub on it? Marinade it? Baste it alot?

I have a new Brinkmann Charcoal Water Smoker. Haven't put it together yet. Do I use just Charcoal? Or, would I also use some type of wood? Where do I get the wood? Would Wal-Mart sell wood to use for smoking?

I apologize for not knowing anything. But I really honestly don't have a clue, but feel that I can learn if lead in the right direction. Now I don't have a lot of money to work with here as I am on Social InSecurity Disablility.

Thanks for any help on this.

London, Kentucky
I'm not claiming to know very much, but my vote would be to start with a pork Butt, really great meat and pretty hard to mess it up if you go low and slow.

Wally in South Carolina
I would definitely go with a pork butt or picnic... a shoulder would be great but sometimes they are hard to find in one piece. Most place cut them into two pieces.. the butt and the picnic.

I prefer a bone-in butt with lots of marbling.. the good thing about a good pork butt is it is extremely forgiving to newbies. You can smoke it too long and it will still be quite moist and edible.

I have a good recipe for pulled pork sandwiches on the website at a picture of the finished product is included below.

I am going to write a page on the actual smoking process of pulled pork soon.

This should make y'all hungry..

Welcome Bob!

Glad to have you on board! As previously stated, start out with a Boston Butt. It's an extremely forgiving piece of meat.

There are modifications you need to make to your smoker that will assist you in ease of use and a better smoking experience. #1 - Drill about 5 or 6, 7/8" holes around the sides of the Charcoal pan and 3 or 4 in the bottom. Find a small rack or cut a piece of expanded metal to raise your charcoal off the bottom a couple of inches. A major design flaw in this type of smoker is that the coals have a tendency to snuff their self out. This will prevent that!

#2 - Go to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase a 3" Dial Thermometer. They are not the best, but are better than the inefficient factory button thermo that comes with it. Drill out another 7/8" hole in the top of the lid (opposite the factory thermo) and place it there.

TIP - If you cover the water and charcoal pans with a couple of sheets of HD Aluminum Foil prior to use, it will assist greatly in your cleanup time and longevity of the pans! Spray your racks with PAM or Cooking Oil in a pump srayer before cooking.

Good Luck..............I hope this helps!

Excellent advice, Jeff! I did most of those mods on my ol' rusty Brinkmann that I started out with many years ago and it completely took my smoking to a new level..
Thanks for the replies.

Jeff Phillips had told me about drilling the holes in an email, but I had lost that due to clumsy fingers.
Also something about 4 smaller holes in the top, and use a piece of sheet metal to cover them as needed.

Now, do I just use charcoal? Or maybe use some wood chunks or chips along with the charcoal?

Hoping that Jeff Phillips gets enough favorable replies and comes out with that Newbie ezine.


London, KY
We're working on the something for the Newbies! Stay tuned!!!

If you don't have one already, go get yourself a charcoal chimney. You want to add red-hot coals to your pan. 1 to 1 1/2 chimneys full should get you started. Utilize Wood Chunks instead of Chips (they burn to fast). When adding water to the Pan, pre-boil the water! Later on you can experiment using different combinations of fluids and adding cut fruit, etc.

About every 40 min. or so you will need to add more chunks and a handful of briquettes. REMEMBER..................if the smoke is "Bellowing" out of the smoker, you're using too much wood! You want the smoke to be "whisping" out of it. Don't be too disappointed if your first few cooks don't come out perfect. It will take you a while to get to know your smoker and how to control the temp and smoke.

The good thing about water smokers are that they are pretty fool-proof. By design, your cooking temperature should not exceed 212*! A perfect smoking temp! Without the charcoal pan mods I gave you, it can be difficult to reach and maintain those temps though.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Holes in the Lid are not a bad idea as long as you have the sheet metal flaps to use as a damper.

Hi Bob!

After making the adjustments to your vertical smoker and using the recipes as provided by the contributing posters above I like to put my rub on the pork butt the day before and let all those wonderful flavors soak into the meat for overnight.

After the butt has been smoking /cooking for a couple of hours you will want to start mopping it hourly with a mixture of liquids and spices. We do this to keep the crust which will form on the outside {from the rub} from drying out and it will also help to mitigate soot which may collect on your butt :P from applying too much smoke from wood chunks.

It Also adds another level of complimentary flavors to your project

Here is a recipe for a simple mop which goes very nicely with pork butt and is a traditional southern style mop.

2 cups applecider vinegar

1 cup water

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons corn oil

mix all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes so that the flavors blend well.

Then i usually keep the pan on very low heat so the mop is warm when I apply it to the butt.

I wait a couple hours before mopping once hourly so that the rub you applied the night before has a chance to form a crust.If you start mopping too soon you may find the rub will desolve and trickle into the water pan.

two hours are long enough to wait.

you can pick up a long handled natural bristle brush at your local hardware store or wal-mart to use as your mopping brush.Just don't use it for anything else like painting the barn. :D

smoking a butt is along slow process and when the internal temperature indicates it is done then the crust on the outside will be black. Don't worry ,it should be..We refer to this as being 'pooched out".

Then when you shred/pull your pork there will be all those beeeuuutteeeefuuulll flecks of spicy crust mixed within that wonderfully tender and moist pork to put on your favorite bread.

As the Skipper suggested you can then put a nice layer of slaw on top and I think you will be very proud of yourself.

hope this helps!

ranger72 :D
That is good ol' Carolina sweet tea I believe but hey.. feel free to let your imagination run wild a little
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