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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 09-23-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
Heisenberg
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Default First Smoke EVER Suggestions

Never smoked before, so I built a UDS ( bigpoppasmoker kit ).

What would y'all suggest for my first smoke? Preferably something I will have the least chance of screwing-up.

Thanks for any ideas and tips.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 06:44 PM   #2
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You can't go wrong with a pork butt. It will be a lengthy smoke but it will give you a good chanch to see how your smoker performs.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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Pork butt. It is fairly forgiving, it will provide you with lots of meat, the long cook will teach you fire control, and butts are fairly inexpensive in the rare event the cook turns out bad.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 06:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'ville Grill View Post
You can't go wrong with a pork butt. It will be a lengthy smoke but it will give you a good chanch to see how your smoker performs.
Brilliant minds think alike.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 06:47 PM   #5
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Before we begin keep in mind there is no one way to cook Pork Butt. There is no cookie cutter method to any type of Barbeque. Different people have found different methods and different cooking temperatures that work for them. Some like to cook at hotter temperatures over a short period of time, while others like to cook at lower temperatures over a longer period of time. The bottom line is you have to find what method works best for you with your cooker and not for someone else. Even the same person cooking the same size piece of meat will never have an identical cook. Below is what I have found that works best for me...

The reason no two cooks are alike is due to variances in cookers, type of fuel, relative humidity, outside temperature, barometric pressure, and even variances in meat from animal to animal. It is your ability to adapt to these mild differences that makes the cook successful.

Remember always use quality tools in your craft, your attempts at smoking is only as strong as your weakest link. Your tools are the only thing that will remain consistent in your cooks, unless you change them.

The key to success in any smoking attempt is control over temperature throughout the entire time of the cook. A good accurate reliable thermometer on your cooker is a must have. An internal remote temperature probe for the meat is also a great tool to have and use in any cook. Some cheaper thermometers can take up to 3 minutes or more to register the proper temperature, while other more expensive thermometers have a very fast response time. The Maverick 732 is a good starter model for both the beginner and the experienced pitmaster.

When using remote temperature probes: Never get the probes / wires wet, never pinch them in a cooker door or lid, never pull or stretch them, and never run them through the cookers exhaust vent. The exhaust vent is the hottest part of your cooking chamber, if the temperature exceeds the rating of the probe wires, they will be damaged. Drill a hole in the side of the cooker and install a grommet to protect the probe wires. Always handle the probes and wires with care while always keeping the clean.

For your first cook I would suggest cooking a pork butt or boston butt roast. This cut of meat has a lot of fat and takes a while to cook, so it is very forgiving to most beginner's mistakes. Purchase a pork butt, usually about an 8 pound average with bone in. Some stores now only sell boneless pork butts which will work as well. Just make sure that if you have the boneless pork butt it is rolled and tied properly.

In most cases there is no need to trim excess fat from the meat as most of the fat is going to render away. For the beginner I would not recommend trimming the meat until he / she cooks a few pork butts and sees how the fat renders down. Once you understand how the fat cap renders down, then you may trim the fat if so desired. I've been cooking for almost 30 years and I still do not trim the fat.

Liberally apply a coating of your desired rub, cover, and refrigerate overnight. About 1 hour before smoking remove the meat from the refrigerator let sit uncovered for about 30 minutes while you ready your smoker.

About 15 hours before serving time, prepare your charcoal for the smoker by filling the charcoal basket, but leave a small hole in the center of the charcoal to put some hot coals into the center.

Select The Smoking Wood you wish to use; Apple, Oak, Hickory, or other Fruit wood, these compliment pork nicely, either alone or in combination with each other. Do not soak any of the wood before using it. Mix 4-6 fist size chunks of wood in with the charcoal in the basket. This single application of smoke wood is all that will necessary for the entire cooking process, and it will produce a nice smokey flavor without being overpowering.

Put a couple handfuls of charcoal into the charcoal chimney and ignite it. Once the charcoal is glowing, dump it into the hole in the center of the charcoal basket. Close up the smoker and bring it to a target temperature of 250°.

Apply a little more rub to help firm the outside of the butt and place fat side up into the smoker. If your smoker requires a water pan to help regulate the heat, make sure the water pan is full before putting the pork butt on the cooking grate. Some of us put a foil pan under the butt to catch the drippings in an effort to make cleaning the smoker easier after the cook. Close the cooker and watch the temperature from time to time.

Set the top vent 100% open and leave it that way throughout the entire cooking session. Start with your bottom vent(s) 100% open. When the cooker temperature hits 200°F measured at the grate, set the bottom vent(s) to 25% open. Allow the cooker to come up to 250°. Adjust the bottom vents as necessary to maintain a 240 - 260 temperature range keeping as close to 250° as possible. In the beginning the temperature will drop and rise 5 to 10 degrees above and below the target temperature as the cooking process levels out. As you get further into the cook and your temperature begins to drop and not respond to airflow correction, you may have to add more charcoal into the basket to complete the cook. If the coals are almost all burned out, use your chimney starter to add some hot coals to the charcoal as well. Follow the steps used above to get the temperature back to your target range.

Cook at 250° to an internal temperature approaching 190°F (10 to 12 hours). I do not use internal temperature to determine when it's done, but 190°F is where I would start to test for being done. The internal temperature or time is not an indicator that the meat is done, but merely a guide to tell you to start checking the bone to see if it wiggles like a loose tooth. If you have a boneless butt then you will use the probe end of a thermometer and insert it into the meat. When the probe enters the meat with no resistance, like pushing into soft butter, your pork butt is done. Also you can use the pull test, grab a part of the butt, just a pinch and pull it, if it comes easy, then the meat is ready to come out of the pit.

Remove the pork butt from the smoker and wrap the meat tightly in aluminum foil, then wrap in newspapers or old towels, and hold in an empty insulated cooler for at least 2 hours. The meat will stay too hot to handle for at least 4 hours or more.

When you are ready to serve, pull meat with cooking forks, your hands, or "Bear Claws". Make sure to mix the pulled pork so everyone gets some of that dark outside meat (Called "BARK") along with the light interior meat and serve with barbecue sauce on the side. The flavor of the meat should stand on it's own, and a little sauce on the side should only compliment the flavor, not over-power the taste of the meat.

Needless to say, there will be some leftovers, wrap them and store them for lunch tomorrow, or use a vacuum sealer to portion the leftovers and freeze them to for a later use. Leftovers when reheated make good sandwiches, pulled pork tacos, or you can add them to your next batch of baked beans. Vacuum packing prevents freezer burn, extends storage life in the freezer.

Good Luck and I hope all goes well with your first cook.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:00 PM   #6
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Wow madman quite the tutorial!
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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Pork butt all the way very little chance to screw it up.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:13 PM   #8
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Butts are a good suggestion, but if this even sounds daunting to you you could smoke a fatty, or make your favorite meatloaf recipe and smoke that.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishin4bass723 View Post
Pork butt all the way very little chance to screw it up.
I think you under-estimate my abilities.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:15 PM   #10
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My first cook was a pork butt and a fatty....
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:17 PM   #11
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Pork butt all the way!!!
With a naked fattty to appease the tummy while waiting.

IamMadMan thanks for the great write up, follow that and no matter what you thinking you will succeed!!!
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Rod View Post
Butts are a good suggestion, but if this even sounds daunting to you you could smoke a fatty, or make your favorite meatloaf recipe and smoke that.
I've read a lot about the "fattys" on here and they sound awesome!

I'm worried that my smoker might run to hot. Can't prove it will, but when I seasoned it Sunday it got real hot real fast. Much faster than I thought it would.
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:20 PM   #13
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+1 on the pork butt
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:22 PM   #14
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Pork Butts or chicken thighs and have fun!
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Unread 09-23-2013, 07:25 PM   #15
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Pork butt
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