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Unread 09-08-2009, 10:19 AM   #47
Divemaster
somebody shut me the fark up.
 
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I'm sorry you had a rough time with your first cook... Please take solace that it happens to all of us on a new cooker, no mater what the experience level is.

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Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
Also, did you get the grate for your charcoal? If not, it's not to late... Either way, I think you're going to need to stir the coals every 45 minutes or so...
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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
I got a grate and it was about 3/8Ē too large to sit down inside the brim of the pan and had to return it. It was like a 3-point fit without the third point. If I poured my chimney coals on it, it could have flipped right over. I need a grate that was maybe 1/2" smaller or 1/2" bigger. Either would have worked, but I didnít have a chance to go hunting for another one. As I said, stirring definitely helps, but only after I close the door.
If you can't find the exact size, get one that is larger and build a wall around it using foil (also cover part of the under side to prevent the ash and coals from falling on the ground). This way you have more space for ash in the pan.

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
Following all the great advice Iíve received as best I could, here is my resulting report. Saturday night I rubbed the roast and stuck it back in the fridge. Sunday morning, in preparation for starting the fire, I layered my pan with coal. Then I dug out a hole on one side as a spot to place the coals from my chimney starter. I spread my wood chips throughout.
Sounds like a good start!

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
I loaded the chimney, lit it up, and dumped it in my designated spot. Right away I got a ton of smoke, which I assume is normal. What I later realized was that a lot of that smoke was probably my wood chips burning up. Iím pretty sure using chunks instead of chips would have helped me out a lot, but thatís all that was available to me at the time.
I agree, I prefer using chunks rather than chips...


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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
I placed the roast on the grate at 8am. I gave it a really thick rub, much more than if I were prepping something for grilling.
You did the right thing. The flavor of the rub gets milder as the cook goes on...

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
Mostly, I battled two things: consistent smoke and consistent temp. While I attribute the temp problems to my rig, the inconsistent smoke was from my inexperience. I struggled with the wood chips burning up almost instantly. So, thanks to the vast resources Iíve read here on the forum, I knew there were at least two ways to combat this - I could soak the chips or place them in foil. First, I tried the foil. That seemed to work a bit better, and the smoke would start slightly slower, but I still had a huge surge of smoke in less than 10 minutes.

After the surge, there was no wood smoke. I pulled out the foil and replaced it with some soaked chips in foil. That gave a much slower smoke and was the best I could get out of these tiny chips. Unfortunately, I didnít figure out the frequency I needed to replace them (which I felt was very often) until I was about half way through the cook. As a result, the pork seemed roasted instead of smoked.
As my Navy CO used to say... Adapt and over come... You did the right thing in putting the chips into foil (something I didn't think of earlier, sorry). Based on the pron, I think you could have even put more into the packet, but that's for next time... Did you wrap them tight and poke just a few holes in the foil (preferred) or leave the foil open a bit... also, did you put the 'smoke bomb' on the coolest section of the coals?

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
For the first 100 minutes or so, the temp held very well and I was feeling good about things, and then the cooker starting cooling off. I knew there was no way that the coal I had in the pan was spent yet, even with the ash buildup issue of the Smoke ĎN Grill. I peaked in the door, and sure enough, all the briquettes were greyed over and about half were sitting in ash. I tried to raise the temp back up by adding a few fresh briquettes and sifting the ash towards the bottom of the pan. With the small clearance below the water pan though, this was difficult.

As it turns out, besides the lack of ventilation control, steadying the temperature of the fire for any more than 30 minutes was nearly impossible. There were spurts where it stabilized on 220į or 230į, but for the most part I had to tend it. Iíd check it about every 20 minutes or so, and almost every time Iíd need to vent off a little heat or stir the fire to boost the temp.
Again, a lot of this is just learning the cooker... While you shouldn't have to tend it that much, you now know what to expect and with a few modifications, the time between tending well lengthen...

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
Despite the temp fluctuations, it was still a hot grate and the meat was cooking. I threw on two fatties at 10am. I jammed it all onto the top grate, which proved to be a small mistake. The drippings from one of the fatties were too close to the edge and missed the drip pan all together, falling straight onto the ground.
You know I love fatties! As for the drips, live and learn...

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Originally Posted by B3 View Post
The roast finally came off at 4pm. I foiled and toweled it in a cooler for about 70 minutes. Then I let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes. When I cut it, the meat looked ok, but it was much harder to pull than I anticipated. The center was a pale white-grey color and the outer edges had a ring of pinkish red. If I had to guess, Iíd say that I overcooked it slightly. What I donít understand though is why the edges were the tenderest. Could it be that I left it in the cooler too long, as it cooked from the inside out?
From the pron you posted I don't think you over cooked it, if anything it looked under cooked (not temperature wise, as long as it was over 165* it is fine to eat, just tenderness wise)...

Nice smoke ring (the pink around the edges)!

In looking at your second shot of the butt, it looks like the bottom was more tender than the top... Since this is the side that would have been closest to the heat, and it looks like it's just about ready to pull, you were only off my maybe an hour on the cooker to make the whole roast that tender... I must say that it's looks like it has a great bark (out side edge) and also looks real moist!

Again, if you have any questions, just ask. We are all here to help each other out!
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Stockcar BBQ
Race Fast, Cook Slow, and Enjoy Life!
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