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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 09-02-2009, 10:11 PM   #16
Redwingsfn31
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Hey B3, nice to see a fellow Ohioan on board. The few things I learned the hard way were. 1) Dont have too much smoke, the meat tastes bitter. 2) A cold day in Ohio can add several hours to the smoke time. 3) Patience...!
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Unread 09-02-2009, 10:29 PM   #17
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B3 - Here is the one I use. Maverick Ready Check w/remote. Has Food and Chamber probes and also can carry remote in house on rainy day.

http://www.amazon.com/Maverick-RediC.../dp/B0000DIU49
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Unread 09-03-2009, 08:29 AM   #18
Divemaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B3 View Post
D-Master: Is Christmas early this year? That is more advise than any newbie deserves. I assure you, it is much appreciated. While my butt meditates in the cooler, I'll also make it write your name 100 times on the blackboard.
Quite the contrary, it's the type of advice we try to give any newbie that asks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redheart View Post
I use the Smoke n Grill all the time. I use the Minion Method for my coals. I also use a grate in my coal pan so there is a place for ash to fall. Further I do use the water pan with beer & water or other liquids to help deflect the heat and moisten the meat. Because I use the water pan my smoke coming out the top is usually a little on the white side because of the steam.
Good luck and share the pron id not the product!
A rack for the charcoal is GREAT adivise. You can pick one up at most hardware and home improvement stores. Make sure that it is an inch or so larger than your coal pan so it sits on top. Later you can make up a coal basket to make your life easier. While you are there, pick up a pair of leather welding gloves. Trust me, they make a HUGE difference when you need to lift out a hot water pan or need to empty the ash pan while hot coals are on the rack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidder View Post
B3 my advice to you is bbq is all about temperature control. Two things are a must. You have to know the temp of your cooker and you have to know the temp of the product your cooking at all times. Take your pork butt or shoulder. It has to get to an internal temp. of at least 195 or so before it will pull same goes for brisket. As for rubs and sauces well that there is a personal thing. Nobody here knows what you like but you so good luck and feel free to ask all the questions you have to. We're all here for ya.
I agree that temperature control is extremely important, but by doing a pork butt for you first cook, you are going to have a fair amount of forgiveness. The Maverick ET-73 recommended earlier is a fantastic thermometer (I use 2 of them when working on my big cooker) but not required for your first cook so don't panic if you can't find one before this weekend. There are kitchen timers that also have thermometers built into them. If you use one of these, you don't want to just lay the probe on the grate. Insert the probe through a small potato and then put it on the rack about one to two inches away from the meat (this is known as getting the 'grate temp'). This is going to give you more accuracy than using just to thermometer found on the lid (dome) as these are far less accurate.

I also thought about a couple of other things...

Instead of just putting water in your water pan, use a 50/50 mix of apple juice and water (or a beer/water mix as motioned above). To quote Emeral, "I don't know where you get your water, but mine don't come seasoned." You are going to need to make sure that you keep the water pan about 60-75% full so it doesn't burn but on the plus side, it's going to give your meat a little extra flavor than just water. Also, don't use cold water in your water pan, it's just going to take away the heat of the cooker while the water pan is warming up. On the other hand, if your fire really gets way from you and you can't cool the cooker down fast enough, add a hand full or two of ice cubes to the water pan to cool down your cooker in an emergency.

Don't bother soaking your wood chips. Yes, they are going to burn faster but they are also going to burn cleaner thereby giving you a better flavor.

If your butt gets done earlier than expected, just let it sit in the cooler for longer (it can stay there for up to 6 hours as long as the meat remains above 140* (safety zone)). Remember you are cooking a natural product that is going to be a little different based on how active the pig was... Heck, I've even seen differences between a shoulder taken from the left side vs. the right side. My only thought is that it made more left turns than right....

Again, have fun, don't stress over it (people have been smoking meat for thousands of years and if they can do it, so can you), take pictures of your cook (and post them here!), and most important, take notes so you know what worked and didn't work for next time.
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Last edited by Divemaster; 09-03-2009 at 08:47 AM.. Reason: Added more info...
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Unread 09-03-2009, 09:28 AM   #19
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Oh no, left side shoulders too?

I think the most important thing to remember is that this is your first attempt and no matter how it comes out, it is the start of something that can be very fun and very rewarding, it may take time, but the journey is a big part of BBQ enjoyment.
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Unread 09-03-2009, 09:36 AM   #20
B3
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I was planning on using an apple juice/water mixture. You're right, I am getting more and more excitable each day. This holiday weekend can't come fast enough. I'll do my best to snap some pictures.

Quote:
but the journey is a big part of BBQ enjoyment
Understood. (And hopefully there's some decent food along the way too!)
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Unread 09-04-2009, 07:23 AM   #21
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Awesome post! As another newb this was really helpfull. I also have a SN'G and did my first smoke this past weekend of two pork shoulders that i marinated in brine*24hrs then added a rub*12hours. Although I am still working on the blue smoke, I still had great pulled pork after a 6hr smoke.
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Unread 09-04-2009, 07:41 AM   #22
Divemaster
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Wow, a 6 hour smoke?!?!?! What temp were you cooking at? My guess the grate temp was some where around 275-300*!
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If it don't come off a smoker, it's just a side dish!

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Unread 09-04-2009, 08:06 AM   #23
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well now let's see what else i can add to this, ummmmmmm!!!!! not much and it was all said just the way i would have said it. good luck on your first smoke and many there after.
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Unread 09-04-2009, 08:14 AM   #24
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Ok for your next try start with....


B3 post as you go. Should be plenty of support on line this weekend.
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Low and Slow.....

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Unread 09-04-2009, 08:19 AM   #25
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The most important thing to remember is this:


Take pictures at the begining, the middle, the end of the cook, and then post them.
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Unread 09-04-2009, 08:41 AM   #26
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you dont even need a thermometer, when it comes off looking like a big blob of jello, you nailed it,.
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Unread 09-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #27
Divemaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by early mornin' smokin' View Post
you dont even need a thermometer, when it comes off looking like a big blob of jello, you nailed it,.
Actually, part of the above statement is correct... You really don't need a meat thermometer, the meat come comes with one that is far more accurate than any probe thermometer that you can get. It's custom made for each butt!

Another way of telling if your 'Boston Butt' is done is if you can remove the bone easily and cleanly. What you'll find is that as the roast cooks the meat is going to 'Pull Back' from the bone. Grab the bone with a set of tongs (or if your hands are REALLY callused, your fingers) and give it a tug. If it doesn't move, you've still got a fair amount of time, if it wiggles but doesn't come out easily, your getting close, if it comes out easily, your done, and if you find it next to the smoker and the meat is gone, you need to talk to your neighboor...
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Unread 09-04-2009, 09:10 AM   #28
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I started small. To be honest they were not whole pork shoulders (no bone); and they were only a couple of pounds. But I waited untill they just sorta fell apart so to speak and the meat was knife tender. We ate most of it after it had cooled down the same night!
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Unread 09-04-2009, 09:19 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNorm View Post
I started small. To be honest they were not whole pork shoulders (no bone); and they were only a couple of pounds. But I waited untill they just sorta fell apart so to speak and the meat was knife tender. We ate most of it after it had cooled down the same night!
Trust me, there is nothing wrong with starting small... It can be intimidating... Just trust in your skills and if you have a question, ask it. It's that easy.

BTW... If you enjoyed it, you did it right.
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Race Fast, Cook Slow, and Enjoy Life!
If it don't come off a smoker, it's just a side dish!

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Unread 09-04-2009, 10:49 AM   #30
B3
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Ok... I seasoned the can last night and that went well. I was able to get up over 300° pretty easily, and then I started trying to control the temp. I realized there are two very basic ways to adjust the temp: the fire and the air flow. So, question 1 is which is preferred? Does it matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimsBBQ View Post
keep the stack wide open and regulate the intakes as far open as possible to keep a fire (Blue Smoke) vs smoldering (White smoke).
From this, it sounds like I should give it as much air as possible and adjust the fire accordingly. True? Not?

Question 2 has to do with the left over coal and ash once the food comes off the grate. Do you just let the fire burn out, or can you save the remaining coals in any way?
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