Smoke from the Big Sky

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sign guy

Original poster
Apr 1, 2014
Kalispell, Montana
Howdy All-

First time user here, and first time smoker .... soon, like this coming Sunday!!!  My name is Don, but everyone calls me the Sign Guy, (Sign Guy for short) since that is what I have done for the past 20 years.  I live in NW Montana .... 65 miles from the Canadian border.  I have always had a love for food cooked on a grille, and now have decided to try my hand at smoking.  I have a charcoal grille that I have modified with a small firebox on the side of it.  It basically looks like a store bought smoker, and I figure is good enough to learn with.  If I get good at this, and enjoy it, which I feel I will, next year I have plans to build me a Not Ugly UDS.  Time will tell where I go from here.

For my immediate future, I am going to cook a pork butt this Sunday.  I have a 9 pound beast to cook, and would like to enjoy it Sunday night, so, I an going to cut it in half and cook only one of the pieces.  Who knows, I may do both at the same time.  I have done days and days of reading and this is my plan.  .....

Sunday morning, about 7 am, I plan on using a honey mustard on the pig to help hold my rub on .... lol .... that sounds funny ...  I will use a store bought rub, unless anyone here can give me a recipe for an EASY to follow .... or make .... rub.  I want to keep things simple, especially for my first time.  I will let that sit on the counter and proceed outside to light some charcoal in my Weber chimney.  While that is getting hot, I will lay down a bed of charcoal and cherry wood in the fire box. I will then put the coals over my bed of coals and wood, wait about ten minutes, and then place the prepared meat on the grille,  .... and get to work.  One more thing I was thinking of doing is putting a fine layer of brown sugar over the ham.  VERY FINE LAYER.  My target temp range is between 225 - 250.  I may go as high as 275, but from reading, feel that a slight lower temp will produce a better flavored smokey product.  My end temp will be knocking on the 200 degree range, as I want to do pulled pork with this.  Once an hour, I will do a quick mist of apple juice on the meat to help with drying.  I have a good temperature gauge on the grille, and a wireless temp unit for the meat, so I can monitor it all day.  At 4 pounds of weight,  each half weighing in at after the big piece is cut in half, and the bone removed ...  I feel that it should be done in about 6 hours ... or so.  Again, this is just a guideline for me, as I will be saying it is finished when the internal temp hits about 200 degrees.  At that time, I am going to take it off the grille, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place in the oven ... oven off ... for an hour to absorb some natural juices.  After my hour, I will pull it apart, to a medium chunk consistency, and wet with bbq sauce .... just enough to add a moistness to the product.  I will serve warm bbq sauce with the meal so those that want a wetter meal, can add to their hearts content. I will also serve up some baked beans, chips, and a nice dessert.  A simple meal .... I hope, for my first attempt at smoking.

I welcome any .... and ALL comments to what I am about to attempt.  I love this site, and found myself to be an avid reader from this fountain of useful information.  

Now .... Time to get my smoke on!!

Sign Guy
Welcome to SMF Sign Guy!  Sounds like a great plan!  It is obvious you have been doing your reading.

My only comment would be to watch the smoke color before you add the meat.  Ten minutes seems pretty quick for a charcoal/wood smoke.  My smoke will be blue initially, then turn white/grey for about 30 minutes or so as the cold briquettes and wood ignite.  If the smoke is white or grey, wait until you see hints of blue before loading the meat.  White/grey smoke can lay down a layer of yucky tasting ash on the meat that will be noticeable.

Expect success!
Last edited:
Good morning and welcome Don, Glad to have you here. Not sure what time you are planning on eating Sunday Night, but you may get up a little earlier and just cook the whole shoulder without cutting it. I did 2 a couple weeks ago 8-9 #  took about 12.5 hours at 225º After I pulled them off I wrapped them in a couple of all old towels put in the cooler for about an hour, then unwrapped and the blade bone pulled out clean. Pulled pork

Just a thought

Gary S

Welcome to the Smoking  forum.   You’ll find great , friendly people here, all more than willing to answer any question you may have.  Just ask and you’ll get about 10 different answers—all right.  LOL.   Don’t forget to post qviews.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!! I am seasoning the firebox right now. Also doing a long charcoal burn to see my temp. fluxuations and how my temp rolls out. On hour 3 of the test.

A BIG Thank You for the advise. I noticed the smoke stages tonight and will make sure the meat does not go on too early. Yup.... I am debating on cutting the meat in half. I will definitely give a qview when this .... Hopefully Tastey .... experiment is over.

Sign Guy
Cutting it in half wont save as much time as you think. You may save a few hours but it won't get done in half the time. If you cant get up early Sunday and have time Saturday cook the whole thing the day before. Pulled pork reheats up great

Well..... That is what I got after my first ever attempt at smoking. I am happy ..... especially since it was my first time.... and I started smoking this morning... it was only 38° outside. Then a few hours later it started to sprinkle..... and about 6 hours into it...... a wind storm came in with gusts over 40 mph. And it got chilly again. The above pic ..... The pulled pork pic..... is the leftovers after I fed 4 adults, 2 teenagers and 3 small children. I cooked this as one roast. I never cut in in half. I found a few more improvements that I need to perform before my next cook.

I added a thermometer..... But want to add 2 more. One in the fire box also..... My wireless meat thermometer worked like a dream!!

Again, I want to thank Everyone for their advice on this endeavor.

Now... Go get Your smoke on!!

Sign Guy
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