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S4vant
05-27-2013, 08:34 AM
So I'm about 2 hrs in on my first pork butt cook, and I'm seeing temp issues with my WSM. I have 2 out of 3 bottom vents completely shut, and the third is just cracked open, and I cannot get down to 250.
It keeps bouncing between 275 and 290 (as indicated on both dome thermo and igrill probe placed near grill.
This is the first time I've cooked without water in the pan (which I decided to do to conserve fuel). Should I add water in the pan?

Also, it's a fairly small pork butt, about 7 lbs, but internal temp shows 142 already. I tried to put the probe in the meatiest part away from the bone, but this seems like its a bit high for being only 2 hrs in. Should I move the probe, or just wait till about 8 hrs in and use the handheld?

Lake Dogs
05-27-2013, 08:43 AM
You're ok, it may take some time to settle in. Dont add the water pan at this time. 275 to 290 is an ok cooking temperature. Vents, on top, close them about 1/2 way each.

Dont close off the bottom any more...

BobM
05-27-2013, 09:14 AM
I'm with "Lake", don't add water, try closing the top vent a bit. Stay with it, you'll be fine.

S4vant
05-27-2013, 09:24 AM
Thanks guys, it seems to be settling in at 260 now!

So what about the meat temp? Should I disregard what that probe is telling me and wait till 8hrs cook time and use the handheld to probe in a few spots for tenderness? Or reposition the wireless probe?

Bob Wiley
05-27-2013, 09:32 AM
I would add the water. It's brain dead simple to hold 250 with water. That's a long cook to have to keep checking the temp all the time. Charcoal ain't that expensive.

FromthePitBBQ
05-27-2013, 09:37 AM
As for temp...time is a small factor for good shoulders. It's all about the tenderness. I don't even start probing mine until 192* ... Most of my cooks for customers have been going to 199 - 202*. With a smallish shoulder, I'd guess your cook time to be around 9 hours.

Other option, leave your probe in the thickest part and wait until it hits 200*...I promise the rest is done.

You could always bump the temp up to 300* and cook it HNF. I've done multiple 9 pounders on my UDS at one time and they were done in 7.5 hours. Just don't forget the rest period. Wrap it tight in foil and in a cooler for at least 30 mins...a hour would be better.

Enjoy! Good luck!

boogiesnap
05-27-2013, 09:37 AM
add water, don't add water, doesn't really matter. as long as the temp stays between say, 225 and 300, you'll be fine.

of course you can do over or under those temps, but that's kindofa different cook.

El Ropo
05-27-2013, 09:55 AM
I don't see a problem. Relax and let the magic happen. Personally, I'd be trying to get the cooking temp up closer to 300, but I've always had great success going with higher temps.

SmokinAussie
05-27-2013, 10:01 AM
Yep,

Keep it going at 275 or more!

Bill

midwest_kc
05-27-2013, 10:32 AM
Dont close off the bottom any more...

Can you explain this? The way my WSMs seem to cook (and I know I have some leakage around the door in my 18.5, so that is part of the reason) I almost always have all 3 bottom vents closed, and I haven't noticed any issues. My 22.5 only has one cook on it, but even then, I closed them all, and ran about 255* for 13 hours on one full load of charcoal.

Happy Hapgood
05-27-2013, 11:22 AM
Also, watchout for the stall. Easy mistake to make first time out. He's some good info:

http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/the_stall.html

S4vant
05-27-2013, 11:29 AM
Yeah, I think I'm in the middle of the stall right now, just under 5 hours in.

Ok, more questions:

1. Should I turn the meat? If so, when?

2. Foil or no foil?

3. Spray with apple juice?

midwest_kc
05-27-2013, 12:08 PM
1. No
2. Foil
3. No, but add a little (along with some more rub) when you foil.

This is just how I do it, others will have different opinions.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
05-27-2013, 12:17 PM
Can you explain this? The way my WSMs seem to cook (and I know I have some leakage around the door in my 18.5, so that is part of the reason) I almost always have all 3 bottom vents closed, and I haven't noticed any issues. My 22.5 only has one cook on it, but even then, I closed them all, and ran about 255* for 13 hours on one full load of charcoal.

You have an air leak somewhere else. The most likely location is an out of round middle section. Measure it and then bend it back by laying it on the ground and gently pressing down until the diameter is consistent.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
05-27-2013, 12:22 PM
So I'm about 2 hrs in on my first pork butt cook, and I'm seeing temp issues with my WSM. I have 2 out of 3 bottom vents completely shut, and the third is just cracked open, and I cannot get down to 250.
It keeps bouncing between 275 and 290 (as indicated on both dome thermo and igrill probe placed near grill.

275-300 is the ideal temperature for butts in my opinion. The butts get done faster and the meat tastes just the same as they do at 250.

Lake Dogs
05-27-2013, 12:38 PM
1. No
2. Foil
3. No, but add a little (along with some more rub) when you foil.

This is just how I do it, others will have different opinions.


+1 above

The reason to NOT add the water when you were talking about it was that it would open the unit; if it's open you ain't cooking; the old "if you're lookin' you ain't cookin'" thing... You'll be fine without water, but the gentlemen that said he had no problem holding 250 with water was probably correct. Boogie's right; most anything from 225 to 300 is fine... Dont sweat it.

To KC; why keep that last vent open on bottom has to do we keeping a clean burning fire by having air come from underneath the fire, across/through the fire, and out gently the top... Otherwise you've created some version of smothering the fire, and frankly that tends to create creosote; nasty.

Skip
05-27-2013, 12:52 PM
The WSM is a real easy unit to maintain temp on. Although I will have to disagree with the fellas here on one thing. Never close the top vent. It dirtys up your air in the unit and leave soot in your food. I always work with just the bottom vents.
I think your issue might be too much hot fuel to start. It never slowed as it burned through your charcoal stack. There is a lot about the minion method here and the one thing that always helped me was using just 5 or 6 hot coals on top on a well packed stack of charcoal and wood chunks.
My set up was the same from 30 degrees to 90 degrees outside. Pack the ring with fresh fuel, and I mean pack and wdge with wood and coal to make it tight, set 5-6 hot coals evenly on top of it. Close the unit up and open all the vents wide. When the temp hit 200 crank down the bottoms to a fingernail crack. It should settle at 225. Always did for me and i have run four concurrent. As well I have gotten consistent 10 hour burns if not more. Close your vents fully at the bottom for now and try to muffle the fire a bit. Keep the top open so it stay clean inside. When you are done I would check the shape of your door. With a little TLC you can find its proper shape. As well I would check my center piece for roundness. They sometimes go out of round and leave gaps in the base of lid. rounding them again is a little time consuming but not impossible.

S4vant
05-28-2013, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the help guys!

Sorry for not updating. When I opened her up @ 8hrs (the igrill probe was reading 190 already), I realized that I had the probe on the thinner section, and also between the 2 different muscles, so it was reading hot. I checked various spots with a meat thermometer and was getting about 170 in most spots. I sprayed some apple juice, re-positioned the probe and put the cover back on.
At about 11.5 hours in, it got to 190, so I probed for tenderness. It was spot on, and the bone felt like you could pull it out, so I took it off, let it rest for about 15 mins, and then foiled and held for about 1.5 hrs while I added about 20 briquettes and some mesquite chunks and let the smoker come up to about 290-300 for the thighs.

Had the thighs on there for almost 2 hours, then put them on the grill to crisp up the skin, along with the corn and asparagus. Also doctored up some baked beans using Bush's Smokehouse beans, more brown sugar, chopped up bacon, onion flakes, smoked chipotle pepper, and some bbq sauce (holy smokes these were good!)

The pork pulled very easily, was very juicy inside, bark was exactly how the wife and I like it, BUT I think I laid too much of the rub on it and it was a bit overkill. I used the rub from Renowned Mr. Brown recipe, and while I do like pepper, this was a bit over the top. Next time, I will ease up on the rub, or try something with less pepper.

I also need to be a little bit less overzealous on trimming the fat. Being my first time, I think i trimmed off too much, and almost had it fall apart into 2 pcs on me.

The thighs came out great, I brined them for 2 hours in a solution of water, kosher salt, and white sugar, then patted dry, trimmed off excess fat, and generously dusted with a bbq rub from Stubs that I had laying around. At the very end (on the grill), I brushed on some of Sweet Baby Ray's Hone BBQ sauce.

The iGrille worked fine, the range was pretty good, I just need to learn to place the probe in the right spot. For the pit temp probe I did not have a grill clip, so I drilled a hole in a cork (natural not those new synthetic ones) and notched the bottom so that it would attach to the grill. Worked fine. I will definitely be either cutting a slot in the upper rim or doing the grommet mod. I can see these probe wires definitely being a weak point, and I was definitely getting a lot of smoke coming out from under the lid.

As far as the smoke goes, I was hesitant to shut the third vent because i didn't want to disrupt the vertical flow of air. If all bottom vents are shut, where is the oxygen coming from? The door? the lid? Thinking maybe I should do the nomex gasked mod. the body does not seem out of round.

Didn't take too many pics, here they are:

Before trimming:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v611/98GTi-VR6/BBQ%20and%20Smoker%20pics/IMG_20130526_231257.jpg

Rubbed:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v611/98GTi-VR6/BBQ%20and%20Smoker%20pics/B19A74BC-7253-40B9-B664-BD5604100C2B.jpg

Pulled:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v611/98GTi-VR6/BBQ%20and%20Smoker%20pics/D9F84777-0B5B-496F-B9C7-E1CAEF7734FE.jpg

Chicken thighs:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v611/98GTi-VR6/BBQ%20and%20Smoker%20pics/584F0C5F-C826-42B5-AC7D-A5CCDD5CFC6C.jpg

Doctored up beans:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v611/98GTi-VR6/BBQ%20and%20Smoker%20pics/5174932C-AC4C-4B93-80ED-6405440DBAF3.jpg

Lake Dogs
05-28-2013, 12:49 PM
The butt looks good but is beginning to look a tad dry. I could just be the pic. However, to get/keep more moisture in it, just foil earlier, like around that 4th to 5th hour.

Otherwise, looks really good!

Goyo626
05-28-2013, 01:10 PM
For my first couple of butts my tempsmwere also too high. Chances are the door allows some air in at one point i closed all bottom vents and the temp got down to 235 and i just let it ride for 12 hrs. Once the gunk plugs the air leaks it will be easier to control temp.