Pork butt panic

Discussion in 'Pork' started by pork dork, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    Well I still have that fresh new member smell. Peee Uuuuuu !    

    I was just reading the pork butt timing thread and being I put on my 13.3 lb but in two sections but they are touching because of the space in my smoker I can't get it over 250 for more than a few minutes. I did a few mods to it. I put in a much bigger water pan with a stainless steel bowl that fit perfectly into the opening. I drilled 25 3/16" holes in the coal pan, put a secondary foil pan under it to catch the ash and I installed a different thermometer.

    No matter how much coal I put in it it spikes up to 250 but then settles back to just over 200. I"m using Lazari Mesquite lump coal and mesquite chunks soaked in water.

    Here's the rub, (different kind of rub) my party starts tomorrow at 5:pM and I don't think there's any way in hell that it's going to be finished in the smoker if this is how it's going to go. [​IMG]

    Here's a pic of when I put it in at 1:AM The rub is Hawaiian salt black and red and a little garlic salt for that little essence of something my guests can't quite put their finger on.

    Here's another pic that I just peeked at to get a temp reading of the butts at 5:AM. Yay they are no longer touching and one is 146 the other 149.   That's enough time to peek being I put them in at 1:AM ? right?

    I just added 3 pitchers of water and it cooled it down from about 210 to about 180. Boo !

    6:45 AM I just added another round of wet mesquite chunks and mesquite lump coals. Pre lit by hot coil and metal basket of course. Temp went up to 285 on the new thermometer and about 250 on the stock one. I"m wondering which is most accurate.

    Noon and the IT is 187 and 194. The big difference is probably due to probe placement because I'm sleep deprived. I've got the temp up to about 240 more or less. I've been going to bed for an hour and a half two times now.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Keep doing what you are doing, they'll get done. Those are some nice big butts.
  3. raastros2

    raastros2 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Man those look good! Iam overdue for PP when's the party??
  4. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    In about 11 hours and I've been up all night watchig this smoker. I think that this is only the third time I've used it.

    raastros2 if you can get here in time I'm sure we can find someones lap you can sit in. I'm over capacity and going into my over flow. ie kiddy tables.

    It's going to be a hell of a time.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  5. Looks good, Sorry for the double welcome post, I think sometimes there is a short circuit between the operator and keyboard 

  6. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    If you continue to have trouble with your smoker temps, you can wrap the butts in foil and stick them in the oven at 275.  They should have plenty of smoke on them by now to be able to be finished in the oven.
  7. Dang! That sucker was huge!!  Looks really good. Honestly, I think you are fine as long as you keep it up over 200. It is going to take a while for sure... Be prepared to baby sit those for a long time. Use a probe and "keep that door shut"!

    I used that exact smoker for years until it finally rusted away. It was a good little smoker! Lots of air leaks around those doors though if you have not sealed them. You can get a better pan for you charcoal from Home Depot and it fits right on those racks. I think it was called a veggie steamer pan or something like that? It made a big difference for me in getting the temps. up. Here is a pic of that pan, it has been sitting outside for years, so it is made pretty well.

  8. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you want to get your temps up over 200° you need to lose the water in the pan. Adding 3 pitchers of water and watching the temp drop 20° is a definite giveaway on what the problem is. Stop heating all that water and your cooking temps will up where you want them.
  9. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    "And you can not lie" ~Sir Mix a Lot
  10. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    Or I could add hot water and only see a small drop. It needs water doesn't it?
  11. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    Thanks I'll get one today for the next time I'm smokin. I drilled 25 holes in the bottom of the coal pan but it's not enough and that looks bigger to hold more coals. I'm also going to get the adhesive felt to seal it up better. Those two mods should do the trick or are there more that could help?
  12. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nope no water needed. A dry smoke chamber is easier to maintain and control temps. If you smoke in a cold climate or windy area fill the water pan with sand and cover with foil. The thermal mass will help retain heat. There is no need to soak your wood either. Chunks will last longer than chips.
  13. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    cold water or hot water... not gonna make a difference... water will only get up to 212` (boiling).. therefor it will hold your temps down... Myself I don't use water for that reason... as for the charcoal basket... if you can get some #9 (3/4") expanded metal and make a basket.. the problem with the smaller holes is the ashes won't fall through and then it smothers the coals in it's own ash....
    pork dork likes this.
  14. Nah... That's about it, unless you wanted to insulate it (PITA). Sealing the doors and getting a better platform for your coals will give you leaps and bounds of difference! A lot of heat gets out around that top door.

    I always used "match light" to start, then switch to lump when it is up and running. Then wood chunks of your preference for flavor.

    That was a darn good little smoker! I sure wish it would have held up better though. We live close to the water and the salt air just got to it after a while.
  15. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    I've herd that about sand. Is there any specific type or will just beach sand work? Thanks for the tip about not having to wet the chuncks of wood.
  16. How did they finally turn out  they were looking good to me

  17. pork dork

    pork dork Smoke Blower

    Garry and all the other butt smokers,

    It turned out great. I just wish I would have gotten more than 3 one hour naps. I'm going to get the larger SS vegi tray for the coals and felt to seal up the doors but it just about used a 20 lb bag of mesquite chunk coal.

    I just wish that there was more modifications to make to my Brinkmann 2 door that would let me get more sleep than one hour at a time. Seriously, I had to start a fresh basket of coal and it would take about 15 minutes to catch so I could dump it in.  Does anyone know how I can accomplish what I'm looking for? Is there some kind of auto feed I can attach that's not going to break the bank so I can get some decent shut eye?

    Here's a crazy idea because I'm not ready to let go of moist heat just yet. I get that water boils at 212F and that keeps the temp down but what if I used my large capacity bowl just one or two times and then let it stay dry to keep the temp up? Yes No Maybe beginning middle or end?

    This is the leftovers from a 13.4 LB Butt. I wish I would have gotten a weight after it was done but on 3 hours sleep I just forgot. So using the 40% loss theory I had 8.4 LBs The party was a hit and as punchy as I was we all had a great time. I'm going to do this more often if I can get more sleep. Please see above to give advice as to how I can achieve this goal.

  18. A couple of things, the thin walled smoker and leaks around the doors, loose a lot of heat. also check the vent openings,air intake  and exit. How long did your cook last from start to finish, you said you used 20# charcoal, not unreasonable for a long cook with the above circumstances. You can do a few more mod's and probably help some. I can remember spending hours with very little sleep watching my smoker. 

  19. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    a few things... yes, you can do a wet to dry smoke.. read this thread... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/...dry-smoke-chamber-q-view-prep-method-finished

    next... it's gonna be really tough to get a charcoal smoker to be a set and forget unit to sleep all night... are you using the minion method or just dumping in hot coals ? If you don't know what the minion method is, use the search bar at the top and you will find many of threads on it... Myself I still think you would be better off using expanded metal for a charcoal basket instead of the veg. basket... You might also benefit from using a welding blanket to wrap around the smoker to help retain heat... just don't block the vents.... that should keep ya busy researching for a few minutes... good luck
  20. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The answer to your first question is easy, stop cooking your butts low and slow. You cut your 13+ pound butt into 2 roughly equal pieces, say 6.5 pounds each.

    If you cook them at 300°-320° you would be done in roughly 6.5 hours(perhaps even less than that). With a one hour rest and an extra hour added leeway, you could have put them on at 9:30AM and been done in plenty of time to serve at 6PM. With the added bonus of a good nights sleep.

    Your water problem is one of volume, you are adding way too much for what you want to accomplish. I use a 13"X9" drip pan with 1" -1 1/2" of 200°+ water directly under my butts. I do not add any more water during the cook, it is not necessary.

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