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Old 04-04-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
BassetHound
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Join Date: 04-03-13
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Default New member smoking pork butt

Hello Brethern!
New member here, I've always loved some good BBQ, but never really smoked much myself. I was gifted a Brinkmann SNG lately and have been picking up what has quickly become a hobby. I have had several good runs so far (ribs and chicken), but looking to do my first pork butt tomorrow. I have done some research into how to have a successful pork butt, but looking for some suggestions and ways to improve my experience, so please provide criticism. I have a lot riding on this as I will be bring the pulled pork along with me to a tailgate for the Huskers spring game on Saturday, and I do not want to disappoint friends and family.


I have modified my Brinkman SNG in several ways that I have found online. Sustaining temps has been the biggest problem, especially sustaining temps above 220. I have made some changes to the charcoal pan to get more airflow to the coals, and will see how those mods go tomorrow. I can describe my smoker more if you think it will help improve my final product.

I have a 13lb pork shoulder that I plan on marinating tonight in apple cider vinegar after rubbing with a combo of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar all over mustard. I will let that sit until tomorrow morning (I luckily get the day off) and start as soon as I get my cup of coffee. From what I have read, it will take at least an hour per pound. I plan on smoking with apple chunks at around 225-250. I will wrap the pork butt with foil once it reaches 165. At this point, depending on charcoal supplies, I may either finish on the smoker or in the oven. I will continue to smoke it until the internal temps are 195 at which I will wrap with foil and towels and let sit.

If I finish around 10 Friday, what is the best way to store the meat till Sat morning?

Let me know what you would do different, I look forward to any advice!

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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What time are you planning on starting? If you are gonna cook one that big you will either have to foil it or bring you sleeping bag cause your gonna be there awhile smoking at 225.

As for storing, I store mine in an aluminum pan covered with aluminum foil. I put some of my vinegar sauce in it as well. When i re-heat it will come out as if you just pulled it.

Another though, which may be hard considering you are having trouble controlling temps is to start later in the day and smoke it overnight so that it is ready Saturday morning. With the thin walled smokers, temperature control is just the nature of the beast. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
mattkins99
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Couple of suggestions.
1. Try a pork injection. You can find Chris Lilly's Pork injection recipe online. It works great
2. Plan more time than you need. Looks like you're not eating until Saturday morning and finish Friday night so this is good buffer.
3. I like the idea of the foil, but note, you won't get that nice bark people talk about as you're essentially steaming it at that point. Still awesome BBQ IMO. I would suggesting putting a little beer or apple juice inside the foil with the meat.
4. To keep it warm until Saturday morning, once the meat reaches 195, put it in the smallest cooler you can find that everything will fit into. Fill empty space with old (clean) towels. I've kept large amounts of BBQ this way for over 12 hours and it was still too hot to pull with bare hands.
5. I use gas, so other than some of the controllers that maintain the temp for you I can't give any advice here.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
mattkins99
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Oh ya, remote probe thermometer and if you're checking it every 5 minutes, the temp will stall in the upper 170s to low 180s. This is normal as the fat renders so just let it happen. IMO, this is where cooked meat turns into awesome BBQ.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice everyone! I may try to just keep it warm through the night tomorrow, and I was also worried that I may be up late watching the temps. But if I need to stay up late, to ensure good bbq, thats what will happen.

I think I will try the towel technique mentioned, and an hour or two before taking off for the tailgate check the temps in case it needs to be warmed up.

I thought about injecting it, but the biggest problem is I don't have an injector! Any good homemade remedies? Is it needed? is it worth running to the store to get one? I have purchased some apple juice already, if I let it stay on the grill I was going to "spray" the apple juice on every hour or so once it got warmer.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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As far as the temps being stalled in the 165 to 180 range, how long is this to be expected for? Because of the temp problems I have had, I have been a temp hawk and enjoy watching both the grill probes and the meat probe.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #7
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My advice. KISS.

(Keep It Simple Stupid (especially for a first go))

Rub the but with a good tasting commercial rub a few hours before the cook (or overnight). Smoke it still it hits 165, foil, and then since you are cooking on an ECB, finish in the oven at 250. Check the meat when it hits around 190 for butter like toothpick tenderness and a loose bone (if its a bone-in butt). Wrap in a towel and place in a cooler for 2 or 3 hours. Pull It, then place in the refrigerator to be reheated the next day. To reheat, place in a foil covered pan and heat in the oven on the lowest temperature. This will bring the meat up to serving temp but won't begin to recook it.

Have fun and good luck!
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:57 PM   #8
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IMO a good stainless steel injector is worth it. the plastic ones not so much. If it was between nothing and injecting, I'd say run to the store and go get one, but because you're already marinating it I wouldn't worry so much.

I spray mine with apple juice too (note, I also put apple juice instead of water in the drip pan....) but I don't do it on a schedule. Just every time I want to reach in and take a "sample" of the bark :-)
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
Jon David
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First off welcome, second this place is a wealth of knowledge and these guys are great! Start early by letting your smoker get to temp and maintaining that temp for 30 minutes to an hour and get everything where you like it then put your meat on. I don't know how you plan on checking temps but a digital probe is always nice. If you have a cooler that's not stirafoam I suggest preheating it with boiling water about 45 minutes before you think your gonna be done. Dry out the cooler and wrap the meat in a towel put it in the cooler then fill the cooler up with towels. I've kept one hot like that for 8+ hours doing it that way. So if you finish into the wee hours of Saturday morning that would work. If your done say 10 or 11 pm Friday night let it rest for an hour then pull, let it cool a little then cover it and put it in the fridge. When your ready for it turn the oven to 300 add about a half to 3/4 cup of apple juice and some of of your rub, about a table spoon mix it up and poor over the meat and let it warm up. Doesn't dry it out and it's ready to go, I did this last weekend for Easter. But good luck and hope some of this helps!
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:05 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry about injection or trying to keep it warm overnight. After it gets done enough that the bone is loose, the butt is jiggly, and it probes like butter, let it rest an hour or tow, then pull it and reheat the next day. If you're gonna sauce it, wait until you reheat it to put the sauce on. I regularly smoke 20-30 lbs of butts at once, then pull and vacuum seal in meal-sized portions and freeze. As long as you don't put sauce on it before refrigerating or freezing, it's just as good as fresh when you reheat it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassetHound View Post
I have a 13lb pork shoulder that I plan on marinating tonight in apple cider vinegar after rubbing with a combo of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar all over mustard.
I'm assuming you meant rubbing after you marinate?
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:18 PM   #12
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I agree with keep it simple. First time doing a larger piece of meat, I'd skip marinating and injecting. Pork shoulder has plenty of internal moisture and flavor. Get your cooker going, and prep the meat with a simple rub. Toss the meat on the cooker and power through at higher temps if possible. In the 260-300 F area will make for a less drawn out cook.

Remember, smoking isn't about seeing a massive cloud of smoke coming out your exhaust at all times. It's about having a clean burning fire that barely shows any smoke. Thin blue to invisible smoke is the ticket for any long cook.

Don't peek, don't mop, spritz, etc. Let the cooker do its thing.

If you need to open the cooker up to add fuel, etc. do it as fast as possible. When the meat is probe tender, it's done. No set temperature with this cut of meat. It's done when it's ready to fall apart (probe tender, or when the bone wiggles and almost falls out)

I'm assuming you are using some sort of ECB. If you could give details of the mods you've done, maybe some people could help with more advice on tweaking the cooker. I'm well versed with ECBS and making them less labor intensive.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:59 PM   #13
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agree with el ropo!!!
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:19 PM   #14
BassetHound
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My smoker is the same that can be seen here:

http://www.brinkmann.net/products/de...tem=810-5301-C

As far as mods, I've added a new temp probe to the top. I have turned the legs from the inside to the outside. I have drilled 3/8'' holes in the charcoal pan along a 1.5'' line and added a lever to create a vent, that way I can attempt to control the air inflow. I have a new grate that sits just about an 1'' off of the bottom of the charcoal pan that will attempt to keep ash off the coals.

I have considered adding another vent up top, but have not gone to that effort yet. I wanted to see how the holes to the charcoal pan go first. I have also seen people block the 1/2'' gap between the lid and the body cylinder, but haven't done that myself.

If you know of anything else, feel free to add.
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:25 PM   #15
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Thanks again for all of the input!

I am partial to marinades, but never tried an injection, so for comforts sake I think I will go with the marinades. (Plus I have had success with the apple cider vinegar) I like a lot of these little facts.

I may have made the mistake of adding the sauce early before freezing leftovers. I am not opposed to a long day of smoking, so I will try to keep in on there.

Also Ropo, you don't advise spritzing with apple juice every hour or two?
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