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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:08 AM   #1
Dave Russell
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Default Need wsm butt cook advice

This is sort of like a poll:

So you're gonna load a wsm full with 40 pounds of pork butts(5) to be done sometime before supper at five, and you don't typically wrap in foil til done.

Do you do the typical overnight 225-250 cook (like I usually do) and hold wrapped in a cooler for a few hours before serving, OR

Do you just get up early and cook a little hotter? If so, how early? How hot? (and temp measured where?)

I intend to cook to maximum tenderness for pulled pork, but all my wsm butt cooks have been overnight thus far. I used to get 'em done in my uds cooking around 275 in about 10 hours or so, but lack the confidence in achieving that with the wsm. What say you? I'd really appreciate any opinions!

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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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If you want to be absolutely sure they finish in time, I would put them on late night and do the overnighter... Target the finish for early afternoon then wrap and hold. If you don't wrap until they're finished your bark should be firm enough to withstand holding for that long. Don't forget to add some apple juice to the foil so you can pour it (after it's enhanced by the smoke & bark flavour) back over the pork after you pull it
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Unread 09-29-2010, 11:40 AM   #3
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I always cook mine overnight. It always comes out great from the WSM. I would hold in foil till your ready to eat. And as Prairie Smoke said, put apple juice in the foil.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:21 PM   #4
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Overnight is the way to go. I attempted to cook a couple over the weekend and even though I got up early and cooked them hotter than normal (250-260F instead of 225F) they weren't done until almost 8 in the evening. It's easier to cook them slow overnight and hold them in a cooler than to try and speed up the process.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Hmmm...don't know if I could fit 5 butts on my wsm, but definitely 4.

I cooked 4 this past Saturday. I cooked hot and had them done in 8.5 hours. But I foiled after 6. They were super-pullable.

Here is my thread with more details: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=93006
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Unread 09-29-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huminie View Post
Hmmm...don't know if I could fit 5 butts on my wsm, but definitely 4.

I cooked 4 this past Saturday. I cooked hot and had them done in 8.5 hours. But I foiled after 6. They were super-pullable.

Here is my thread with more details: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=93006
I'm leaning the smaller three against a beer can chicken rack on the top grate.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
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I posed this queastion on the bullet site and got about the same responses so far:

overwhelming encouragement to cook low-n-slow as I have been doing overnight, w/ the exception of one on each site that cook hi heat with foil and wanted to share.

I'm kind of surprised that nobody has mentioned cooking 'em at 275 the day of, but maybe it's not the best idea anyway with so much pork butt in the cooker.

Thanks for the tips, guys, and the reminder to put a little juice in the foil for the rest. I might've forgot that last time.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 02:07 PM   #8
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I'd go low and slow and allow plenty of time. I've never had a problem with butts holding 3-4 hours in a cooler.

What I have had trouble with is forcing the heat up if I'm running out of time and trying to rush that sucker through the plateau and get it to 195F in a hurry from 165-170F. I always end up with some tough, undesirable chunk of "white meat" in the middle.

40 lbs = 4 to 5 full butts. Plenty easy to do on an 18" WSM. Load it up with charcoal and maybe dump about 30% more lit coals. I don't use water but a foiled clay saucer.
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Unread 09-29-2010, 03:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigs on Fire View Post
I'd go low and slow and allow plenty of time. I've never had a problem with butts holding 3-4 hours in a cooler.

What I have had trouble with is forcing the heat up if I'm running out of time and trying to rush that sucker through the plateau and get it to 195F in a hurry from 165-170F. I always end up with some tough, undesirable chunk of "white meat" in the middle.

40 lbs = 4 to 5 full butts. Plenty easy to do on an 18" WSM. Load it up with charcoal and maybe dump about 30% more lit coals. I don't use water but a foiled clay saucer.
Been there and done that, but I've had such good luck with the uds and no foiling, no time issues.... probably cooking around 275 as I tried to keep the gauge on the side around 240, and butts done in about 10 hours or so.

However, I'm starting to think that the wsm just isn't cut out for higher temps unless wrapping the meat in foil. I guess it has something to do with the size of the cooker and the aproximity to the meat. I have this feeling that I need to listen to you guys and stick with what I've been doing overnight.

One more queastion, though: Do you usually cook butts overnight with a clay saucer, or are you suggesting that since it'll be so full of meat? I've had great luck with three or four butts, Stubbs, and the Brinkman water pan. I don't need to refill it til the next morning, and I'm able to sleep without much worry of my Maverick waking me up.

Thanks,
Dave
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Unread 09-29-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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On my 18" WSM, I usually cook with the saucer. Well, I have ever since I bought the saucer. Yes, I let it go 'overnight'. To tell the truth, I haven't done a whole lot of overnight smokes in 2-3 months. I'm out of practice.

The last one I did, I probably had it too hot to begin with and shut the vents too much. I felt like sleeping more than I did baby-sitting. This was the Sunday night of Labor Day Weekend. One butt ended up taking about 13 hours to finish. I did have the remote therm at the bedside. I woke up about 5 am and it was reading 145F. I went out there, opened the vents wide open...the smoker was sitting at 200F. I let it roll wide open until noon.

On my 22" WSM, I usually let it run with just a foiled, empty water pan. It seems to keep 250-275F with no fussing after the vents are set.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 07:42 AM   #11
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Well, I put the five butts totaling 40.25 lb. on the pit last night at 9 pm, and took the last one off this afternoon about 18 hours later. WOW, what a cook. The two on the bottom weighed 8.5 and 9 lb., and the three on the top grate (leaning on their sides against the beer can chicken rack) averaged about 7 3/4.

What did I learn?

With that much meat on the cooker, water in the pan might not be a good idea if weather conditions are less than ideal. I went to bed with the vents wide open, lid vent temp at about 220, and woke up with it at 250 this morning, never touching the vents all night. I cocked the lid a couple of times before going to bed two hours into the cook, but after replacing the lid, both times the temp would go back down below 225. I said the heck with it and figured it would eventually go up as the meat warmed and the water went down some. I've never left all vents fully open all night, and no surprise, at ten this morning I added a chimney and a half to finish the cook. If it had been cold or windy, water would have made it near impossible to keep over 200, for the first few hours at least.

The real issue was the consistancy of the butts on the top grate. I should've flipped and rotated them this morning when I got up, but never do this and usually cook three or four at a time, no problem. The two on the bottom were fantastic, and moist, too, pulled at about 190 and 194. However, the top three had the bones sticking out and loose, but weren't tender all over.

I guess the point is that flipping/rotating meat is probably a good idea with a really full cooker. I look at it like this: One end or side is fully tender and moist, but starts drying out by the time that the other end/side is tender. I know it's one piece of meat and butts are supposed to be "forgiving", but does that make sense?

From now on though, I think I'll stick to four large butts. I'd be interested in any suggestions, though.

Last edited by Dave Russell; 10-06-2010 at 08:43 AM..
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