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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 07-02-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
cbpeck
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Default pork butts on a wsm - 1st time with both, please advise

Hey everyone,

I'm getting ready to do two pork butts, 8 lbs each, on my wsm. Here's the thing, I've never used my wsm or cooked butts before. And I'm planning on feeding ppl tomorrow... I didn't promise anything, though. I've done a lot of reading and just mixed up a batch of Popdaddy's Buttglitter, so I'm pretty confident it won't be a total disaster.

Here are my remaining questions.

How much should I trim the butts?
Should I put both butts on the same grate or one on each?
If I do use both grates the top butt will cook faster, right?
With a target temp of 225 in the WSM, how long should I expect these to take to get to 195 internal?
What's the best way to pull pork without bbq gloves or claws?

Thanks guys!
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #2
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1) trim them to the meat.
2) if you fit them both on the top grate, do that.
3) yes, but avoid it if you can. Your butts are small.
4) figure 90 minutes per pound.
5) forks
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:06 PM   #3
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Lots of questions :)

How much should I trim the butts?
Trim off any thick fat on the fat cap side and trim any fat on the meat side. Cook fat cap down to insulate the meat from the heat coming from below.

Should I put both butts on the same grate or one on each?
If they fit on the same grate it will be easier to check them for done.

If I do use both grates the top butt will cook faster, right?
Probably, but you can rotate them if you want to.

With a target temp of 225 in the WSM, how long should I expect these to take to get to 195 internal?
Around 90 minutes per pound. Plan extra time so they are done in time. If they are done early just wrap them in a couple of layers of foil and put them into a pre-heated cooler with clean towels or newspaper for insulation. they will stay hot for a few hours.

What's the best way to pull pork without bbq gloves or claws?
Do you have a pair of cotton or wool gloves and some latex or similar food handling gloves? Put the cotton or wool gloves on and then put the latex gloves over them. This will insulate your hands and then you can pull the hot pork by hand.
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
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You're lucky I'm still up!

You don't have to trim the butts at all. At most you could take the fat cap off, but I usually leave it on.

Generally, the butt on the top will cook faster, and if I'm doing 2 butts they both go on top.

I run my WSMs at 250-275. No reason to fixate on 225. Butts will get done sooner at a higher temp.

They could take 10-14 hours. The meat will tell you when it's done. Give yourself extra time as if they get done early you can hold them in a cooler for several hours.

If you don't have gloves or claws, you can either tough it out or wait for it to cool when they don't pull as well.
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
I run my WSMs at 250-275. No reason to fixate on 225. Butts will get done sooner at a higher temp.
+1. If you want to cook for a long time, go at 225, but the butts can handle hotter temps and get done much faster with no loss of moisture or tenderness. I also like the 250 - 275 range, with my preference closer to 275.
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbpeck View Post
Hey everyone,

I'm getting ready to do two pork butts, 8 lbs each, on my wsm. Here's the thing, I've never used my wsm or cooked butts before. And I'm planning on feeding ppl tomorrow... I didn't promise anything, though. I've done a lot of reading and just mixed up a batch of Popdaddy's Buttglitter, so I'm pretty confident it won't be a total disaster.

Here are my remaining questions.

How much should I trim the butts? I do very little butt trimming.

Should I put both butts on the same grate or one on each? I don't have a WSM yet, but I would put both on the same grate. Easier to monitor for your first time.

If I do use both grates the top butt will cook faster, right? Theoretically, yes.

With a target temp of 225 in the WSM, how long should I expect these to take to get to 195 internal? There's all kinds of "general rules", but it's done when it's done. Figure about 90 minutes per pound. And I usually take butts to at least 200 for pulling.

What's the best way to pull pork without bbq gloves or claws? Wrap in foil, let rest in a pre-heated cooler for a couple of hours, wear some type of gloves (even a double layer of exam gloves), or use a couple of big serving forks.

Thanks guys!
My answers in bold. Good luck.
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Unread 07-02-2011, 10:21 PM   #7
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I trim off excess fat just to give me more meaty bark on that side. I don't see a problem putting them on the same grate or separate, but one might cook faster depending on your setup, so put the smaller one on the faster cooking side. I use a Brinkmann pan fille dwith sand for a heatsink in mine (I don't use the WSM water pan) and the meat on bottom of my units usually cooks faster due to this configuration (hard as it may seem to believe). Timing is not based per pound, but the times above are good approximations to gauge your start time by. Also, don't just take it off because it's 195 internal, take it off when it's tender and ready. I go with the latex gloves like Ron L does, but if you don't have those, forks.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 07:15 AM   #8
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

Right now the wsm is fired up and is @ 230, but is still putting off thick white smoke. I'm getting ready to clost the bottom vents half way, so I'm hoping that'll improve the smoke.

Suggestions?
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Unread 07-03-2011, 07:46 AM   #9
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As a newer member of this forum and a WSM owner, like yourself, let me add my $.02 for some helpful things I've learned.

Bringing the WSM up to temp: The minion method is my favorte, hand's down. Once the WSM reaches a temp of 200 I back off all the bottom vents to less than a third of the way open. The pit will rise up to about 250 from there and hold steady for sometimes 5 hours.

More on Temp: Invest in a wireless Thermo probe; I've got the Maverick ET372 and love it. You don't have to check the temps constantly and all night like I would and it yells at you if the temp goes above/below whatever point you set. Also - the pit probe gives you a more accurate reading on what the temp is at either the top or bottom grate. I find that on average the difference b/w my top grate and the WSM's built in termo is anywhere from 30-40 degrees HOTTER at the grate.

Even more on temp: When you make vent adjustments the key is to make very small (less than 1/4 turns) changes and then wait at least 20-30 minutes before adjusting again to give the pit time to level off. The way I have my WSM set up, I usually only ever have to adjust one vent, the other two I keep at less than 1/3 of the way open.

Don't be too concerned: I find butts to be the most forgiving piece of meat out there. I've had my smoker hit 300 for a couple hours or so when I fell asleep and didn't have my wireless thermo yet. I've had the pit temp down way down when I ran out of coals. I've had butts finish in 7 hours and butts finish in 12 hours and both were outstanding.

Timing: I always put my butts on earlier than I need to and I don't worry if they are done earlier than that even. You can wrap them in foil, put in a cooler and cover with towels and they will stay HOT for hours. Memorial day I had wrapped some butts and kept them hot for 5 hours in a cooler. It was great.

I hope some of this helps.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 07:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbpeck View Post
Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

Right now the wsm is fired up and is @ 230, but is still putting off thick white smoke. I'm getting ready to clost the bottom vents half way, so I'm hoping that'll improve the smoke.

Suggestions?
Just wait a little bit, the smoke will die down soon enough. I'd say it takes my WSM a good 45-60 minutes for the white smoke to go and the blue, vent-exiting-only, smoke to be present.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 07:53 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info, euclid.

I have an Oregon Sci wireless meat thermo that I really like and a dial I put through the top vent, so I'm good to go, though I've looked @ those 732s and they sound promising.

Once I shut down the vents @ 240 it settled right in @ 275 with very thin, blue smoke, so I think I'm set.

Only prob is it took longer than I thought to get the wsm to temp, so I'm about an hour behind where I wanted to be. Should be fine, though.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 07:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbpeck View Post
Thanks for the info, euclid.

I have an Oregon Sci wireless meat thermo that I really like and a dial I put through the top vent, so I'm good to go, though I've looked @ those 732s and they sound promising.

Once I shut down the vents @ 240 it settled right in @ 275 with very thin, blue smoke, so I think I'm set.

Only prob is it took longer than I thought to get the wsm to temp, so I'm about an hour behind where I wanted to be. Should be fine, though.
No problem buddy! I'm sure you'll turn out some delicious 'cue today. Make sure to get some pics posted later so we all can drool.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 08:03 AM   #13
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Thanks again, everybody.

I have to chuckle when I think that two months ago I didn't even know what a wsm was, let alone the minion method or the nuances of blue vs white smoke, and here I am today using the info I've learned on this forum.

I'm pretty sure my wife thinks I'm crazy, but she should be used to it by now.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 08:05 AM   #14
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I rarely trim my butts. I use two, heavy serving forks to pull the meat with. Prolly should invest in a pair of claws though!
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Unread 07-03-2011, 08:18 AM   #15
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use a meat cleaver and call it chopped
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