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View Full Version : First overnight Pork Butt on WSM


VERSVS
03-20-2015, 01:29 PM
I need some advice...
Having a party on Sunday around 1pm, I plan to purchase 2 (10lbs) Pork Butts at Sams and throw them on the smoker on Saturday night.

My WSM 22.5 is fairly new and I am still learning how to keep the temps steady, I normally have to mess with the vents every few hours which isn't a big deal, except when I would rather be sleeping...

I use the Minion method, usually about 1/3 of a hot Chimney over a full heaping ring of Kingsford.

I am just looking for a way to be able to get some sleep without waking up every hour to check on the temps but I don't think that's going to happen. Does anyone have any advice, your preferred setup, vent positions, what time should I put these butts on, etc?

I will be investing in a Maverick 733 soon, hopefully the alarm on that thing will help.

DetTigersFan
03-20-2015, 01:38 PM
If you're using blue bag Kingsford and going for a long cook like this I would definitely advise you to stay up and keep somewhat of an eye on your fire/temps. Kingsford blue produces a lot of ash and it will choke your fire off and on for sure on a long cook. I would also start at least a half to three quarters of a chimney of coals and shoot for a higher target temp with a larger load of meat like you're cooking. Also run a dry foiled water pan if you're not already doing so.
I would try to cook around 300, foil both butts when the color looks good and plan for a 10 to 12 hour cook. If they finish early you can always wrap them with foil and towels to hold for a couple hours.

VERSVS
03-20-2015, 01:45 PM
If you're using blue bag Kingsford and going for a long cook like this I would definitely advise you to stay up and keep somewhat of an eye on your fire/temps. Kingsford blue produces a lot of ash and it will choke your fire off and on for sure on a long cook. I would also start at least a half to three quarters of a chimney of coals and shoot for a higher target temp with a larger load of meat like you're cooking. Also run a dry foiled water pan if you're not already doing so.
I would try to cook around 300, foil both butts when the color looks good and plan for a 10 to 12 hour cook. If they finish early you can always wrap them with foil and towels to hold for a couple hours.

I have never cooked them at such a high temp, is there a reason to overshoot the temp by that much? I normally cook at 225-250. I had planned on putting some water in the bowl to help stabilize the temps and keep them lower, is that wrong?

DetTigersFan
03-20-2015, 01:50 PM
I have never cooked them at such a high temp, is there a reason to overshoot the temp by that much? I normally cook at 225-250. I had planned on putting some water in the bowl to help stabilize the temps and keep them lower, is that wrong?

It's not "wrong" it's just gonna take a LONG time to cook 2 10 pounders at 225*. With the way I setup and run my 22.5 WSM it likes to settle in between 280 and 300 so I just go with it because I see no quality difference in my end product, I get a super clean fire at this temp and I don't have to fight my smoker. You want good airflow to your fire to help run a "clean" fire. If you're fighting the smoker and trying to force the temps down then you have to restrict airflow which will increase the chances of running a "dirty" fire. That is the last thing you want. All that cold meat is gonna suck up a lot of your heat and the water will just add to it which is why I would also pass on the filled water pan.

aawa
03-20-2015, 01:58 PM
If you don't want to be waking up every hour to check temps learn how to cook hot and fast.

Anytime the night before - Trim the pork butts aggressively. I completely take the fat cap off. Rub the meat and let sit in the fridge.

4AM - Get your WSM cruising at 300-325 degrees. Don't use water in the water pan. Just foil over the top of it to make clean up easier. You can setup the smoker etc the night before so all you do is light off the coals and dump them into the wsm in the morning.

4:30 or sooner depending on when you get your thin blue smoke - Put meat on.

8-830ish - Wrap each of your pork butts in a double layer of foil and place back in the WSM.

1030 - Check the pork butts for doneness by wiggling the bone. If it releases the bone easily the pork butts are done. If not let it go 30 minutes then test again. Repeat until pork butts are cooked.

1130 - pork butts should be done. I haven't had one go over 6.5 hours cooking between 300-325.

After the pork butts are done. Undo the wrapping on the butts and drain off the drippings. After 20 minutes wrap up the pork butts in the foil again nice and tight. You can keep them on the counter, or place in a cooler or an oven (that is turned off) to keep them out of your way.

When first guests arrive - Take your pork butts and shred them up. They will practically fall apart on you so it should only take a few minutes to shred them. They will also still be piping hot.

VERSVS
03-20-2015, 02:29 PM
If you don't want to be waking up every hour to check temps learn how to cook hot and fast.

Anytime the night before - Trim the pork butts aggressively. I completely take the fat cap off. Rub the meat and let sit in the fridge.

4AM - Get your WSM cruising at 300-325 degrees. Don't use water in the water pan. Just foil over the top of it to make clean up easier. You can setup the smoker etc the night before so all you do is light off the coals and dump them into the wsm in the morning.

4:30 or sooner depending on when you get your thin blue smoke - Put meat on.

8-830ish - Wrap each of your pork butts in a double layer of foil and place back in the WSM.

1030 - Check the pork butts for doneness by wiggling the bone. If it releases the bone easily the pork butts are done. If not let it go 30 minutes then test again. Repeat until pork butts are cooked.

1130 - pork butts should be done. I haven't had one go over 6.5 hours cooking between 300-325.

After the pork butts are done. Undo the wrapping on the butts and drain off the drippings. After 20 minutes wrap up the pork butts in the foil again nice and tight. You can keep them on the counter, or place in a cooler or an oven (that is turned off) to keep them out of your way.

When first guests arrive - Take your pork butts and shred them up. They will practically fall apart on you so it should only take a few minutes to shred them. They will also still be piping hot.

That sounds so tempting, I will definitely try that next time I am doing a Pork Butt just for myself and family in case I mess it up!

Bludawg
03-20-2015, 02:32 PM
You light a fire tend it!! Big pot of coffee, comfy lounge chair, radio & a good book enjoy your cook!

aawa
03-20-2015, 02:34 PM
That sounds so tempting, I will definitely try that next time I am doing a Pork Butt just for myself and family in case I mess it up!

Definitely cook at the temperature you are comfortable cooking at when it comes to having guests.

One of the best things you can do though is learn how to cook low and slow and hot and fast. This will allow you to adjust your timeline accordingly so you can get some sleep. For anything where food service is served 1pm or later, I will cook hot and fast. For anything where food service/pick up is earlier than 1pm I cook low and slow overnight taking 20-30 min cat naps because no matter what I am going to be missing out on sleep.

THoey1963
03-20-2015, 02:45 PM
Aawa is spot on. My WSM likes to run ~275* +/- 25*, so that's where I let her run. The butts I normally get are in the 8-9 pound range and take about 9 hours at that temp. I rub them up the night before (early in the day in your case), and let them sit in the fridge. Once your temps stabilize and you start burning TBS, put the butts on and leave them alone for 4 hours. Check them at that point for color. I like a dark mahogany over a black meteor, so once they hit the color I like, I will put them in a foil pan and cover with foil. Let them go for another four hours and then start checking the bone. When the bone wiggles loosely, they are done. Pull off smoker, save off the juices, let vent for 15 mins or so (so they won't continue cooking), and then wrap them back up and put them someplace to just stay warm (microwave, oven, dry cooler). When ready to eat, pull the meat, add back some of the juices (some people defat the juices, I don't) and some more rub and mix together. The meat will absorb a lot of that juice back in.

As for what time to start, that's up to you. I figure ten hour cook time plus an hour of hold time means you need to start at least 11 hours prior to serving. Better to start earlier and have extra time to hold, than it is to have people breathing down your neck cause they want to eat and the food isn't done yet. I'd fire up the smoker at 10 or 11, put them on when you get TBS. Since you don't have a Maverick yet (you sure you can't get one at a local store?), I'd get up every hour, two at the longest, and check your temps. Plan to pan them at 3 am and be up by 7:30 or 8 to start checking for doneness. Once they are done, let the steam out, wrap in foil, wrap that in an old town or two, and put it in an empty cooler. Go take a nap for a couple hours, and get up and get ready for your guests...

VERSVS
03-20-2015, 02:59 PM
Aawa is spot on. My WSM likes to run ~275* +/- 25*, so that's where I let her run. The butts I normally get are in the 8-9 pound range and take about 9 hours at that temp. I rub them up the night before (early in the day in your case), and let them sit in the fridge. Once your temps stabilize and you start burning TBS, put the butts on and leave them alone for 4 hours. Check them at that point for color. I like a dark mahogany over a black meteor, so once they hit the color I like, I will put them in a foil pan and cover with foil. Let them go for another four hours and then start checking the bone. When the bone wiggles loosely, they are done. Pull off smoker, save off the juices, let vent for 15 mins or so (so they won't continue cooking), and then wrap them back up and put them someplace to just stay warm (microwave, oven, dry cooler). When ready to eat, pull the meat, add back some of the juices (some people defat the juices, I don't) and some more rub and mix together. The meat will absorb a lot of that juice back in.

As for what time to start, that's up to you. I figure ten hour cook time plus an hour of hold time means you need to start at least 11 hours prior to serving. Better to start earlier and have extra time to hold, than it is to have people breathing down your neck cause they want to eat and the food isn't done yet. I'd fire up the smoker at 10 or 11, put them on when you get TBS. Since you don't have a Maverick yet (you sure you can't get one at a local store?), I'd get up every hour, two at the longest, and check your temps. Plan to pan them at 3 am and be up by 7:30 or 8 to start checking for doneness. Once they are done, let the steam out, wrap in foil, wrap that in an old town or two, and put it in an empty cooler. Go take a nap for a couple hours, and get up and get ready for your guests...


Thanks, I am seriously thinking about running my WSM hotter than normal for this cook. What do you mean by PAN them? Foil?

Enrico Brandizzi
03-20-2015, 03:04 PM
NOthing to do for next cook.
But start buying
1) gasket for id/central connection
2) Canjun Bandit steel door
3) CiberQ ATC by BBQGURU

You will transform your great WSM in a super super super steady (almost electric) smoker.
Hours of smoking at your liked T +- 5F.
Unbelievable,

THoey1963
03-20-2015, 03:05 PM
I have a bunch of those cheap aluminum pans. I have different sizes, some the size of butts or some larger that will hold two butts. Easier to get one large pan with two butts on the grill than to try and bend two up to fit. Wrap the top in foil. This will steam the butts and they cook a little faster. Your bark may not be as firm. If this is something you like, remove the foil for the last hour to let it firm up again.

Be careful when removing the pan. The pans are flexible and there will be a lot of juice in there. Don't want to spill that on yourself.

THoey1963
03-20-2015, 03:06 PM
For WSM mod ideas like what Enrico is talking about, see the mods post link in my signature.

1buckie
03-20-2015, 04:08 PM
I have a bunch of those cheap aluminum pans. I have different sizes, some the size of butts or some larger that will hold two butts. Easier to get one large pan with two butts on the grill than to try and bend two up to fit. Wrap the top in foil. This will steam the butts and they cook a little faster. Your bark may not be as firm. If this is something you like, remove the foil for the last hour to let it firm up again.

Be careful when removing the pan. The pans are flexible and there will be a lot of juice in there. Don't want to spill that on yourself.

Double up the pans.....I save older ones that have holes & punctures in them for the underneath one......MUCH more stable than one alone....

Not much help on the WSM ............or how to set up for a certain temp to run all nite.....
This one started off fairly low (225+)......later, the dawgs woke me up (possibly because it seemed like too low of a temp for them) & I kicked open the vents a bit.....

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/2015/Pork%20Ma%20-%20%20Chuck/P1010024.jpg

Still later at nite, they woke me up again & it was running at almost 350, popping & sizzling pork fat in the drip pan ( quite sure by this time that THEY [the dawgs] were monitoring the temps so I could get plenty of sleep).........

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/2015/Pork%20Ma%20-%20%20Chuck/P1010027.jpg

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/2015/Pork%20Ma%20-%20%20Chuck/P1010028.jpg

After that, I wrapped so the dawgs could relax & not worry about things.....

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/2015/Pork%20Ma%20-%20%20Chuck/P1010035.jpg

I guess the only contribution here is, if you want to cook overnite, get some dawgs.....

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/BBQ%20%205%201%207%208%20%20%20%202011/KenBBQ5782011019.jpg

hedge
03-20-2015, 05:18 PM
cook it during the day saturday and reheat on sunday.

/problem

VERSVS
03-20-2015, 05:50 PM
cook it during the day saturday and reheat on sunday.

/problem

Have you ever done that and is there a major taste difference?

jonohio
03-20-2015, 06:16 PM
If you don't want to be waking up every hour to check temps learn how to cook hot and fast.

Anytime the night before - Trim the pork butts aggressively. I completely take the fat cap off. Rub the meat and let sit in the fridge.

4AM - Get your WSM cruising at 300-325 degrees. Don't use water in the water pan. Just foil over the top of it to make clean up easier. You can setup the smoker etc the night before so all you do is light off the coals and dump them into the wsm in the morning.

4:30 or sooner depending on when you get your thin blue smoke - Put meat on.

8-830ish - Wrap each of your pork butts in a double layer of foil and place back in the WSM.

1030 - Check the pork butts for doneness by wiggling the bone. If it releases the bone easily the pork butts are done. If not let it go 30 minutes then test again. Repeat until pork butts are cooked.

1130 - pork butts should be done. I haven't had one go over 6.5 hours cooking between 300-325.

After the pork butts are done. Undo the wrapping on the butts and drain off the drippings. After 20 minutes wrap up the pork butts in the foil again nice and tight. You can keep them on the counter, or place in a cooler or an oven (that is turned off) to keep them out of your way.

When first guests arrive - Take your pork butts and shred them up. They will practically fall apart on you so it should only take a few minutes to shred them. They will also still be piping hot.

Great outline from Ren. You'll have to crunch in order to not run over your meal time. I cooked in a weber 22.5 for 5 years and temp maintenance is always a challenge. There is no way to get around an early day with your setup.

Also, a good wireless thermometer and proper probes go a log way to minimize your at bat time. I use the igrill2 with 1 grill probe and 3 meat probes.

You could also start cooking them the day before and finish them the next day. If you double heavy wrap in foil and then a towel and put them in a cooler you can get away with a few hours of hold time on meal day. Works well and tastes very good. This would probably be my approach but you'll need to be sure not to dry out the meat. You could slow it down to 225 with this method and run a water pan with 2 cooks.

Please take pics and post your cook ;)

PaulstheRibList
03-20-2015, 11:06 PM
I've been practicing this exact cook.

The way to do this at low-n-slow is to use the Fuse method, not Minion. You will have to add fuel mid-cook, which is quite doable. And you WILL NOT have to tend the cooker at night.

The Fuse Method in my 22.5" WSM:
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--AkDH0ijUhc/VQzWupqxZiI/AAAAAAAAXcU/s3IepD1dB3I/w695-h927-no/IMG_1010.JPG

Fill your charcoal below the top of the metal circle, leaving room for the lit coals to go on the starter end of the fuse.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-RXGILmQN78k/VQzWpOLYXYI/AAAAAAAAXcM/2z5eDG-vyyM/w695-h927-no/IMG_0867.JPG

Use 1/2 chimney of lit coals. I put my top vent at 80%, bottoms at 20% open each. The benefit of the fuse is you get to leave all your vents with some real opening and airflow, for cleaner burning fire, and keeping your temps at 225-250.

Here the butts are right at liftoff.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-vwVl4Kn6gFE/VQzWf_HOCXI/AAAAAAAAXb0/W6cyL9MJ5pI/w695-h927-no/IMG_0756.JPG

In the morning, you will need to tap the ash off the coals and add some unlit coals to the fuse, to get it burning backwards for such a long cook. Here is an early morning pic
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aSeGUGXofLY/VQzWkTZ0E-I/AAAAAAAAXcE/M9APKOTF5fQ/w1236-h927-no/IMG_0768.JPG

Your butts will need 14 hours or so at that temp. I sometimes cut the butt's into 2 parts, to increase the amount of that beautiful bark. I like a heavy park, usually using Meathead's Memphis Dust.

Here they are at completion
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UbYkixVwl6E/VQzWkcOtobI/AAAAAAAAXcA/y6dB50WJdJY/w1236-h927-no/IMG_0650.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-S1ZSEMwEoWE/VQzW00B4SaI/AAAAAAAAXco/FBpj6AsORP4/w695-h927-no/IMG_1123.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Y3bum6hKH_Y/VQzWzJKD-PI/AAAAAAAAXcg/Htaufy-64fA/w695-h927-no/IMG_1120.JPG

I have cooked overnight with this technique about 5 times in the last few months and the results have been nice. I keep a log of my cook data on Evernote, and the results I'm giving are what I've learned so far.

The good thing about butt's is that they are forgiving, so if your temp's climb a bit, 275 say, while you are sleeping, they aren't ruined.

Enjoy!

hedge
03-20-2015, 11:22 PM
Have you ever done that and is there a major taste difference?

i do it all the time and no there isn't a major taste difference.

but i have done plenty of overnight cooks on a wsm, especially with kbb. i never had an issue with the coals going out of temperature spikes.

Meatguyver
03-21-2015, 12:21 AM
I cook hot and fast (275*-300*) with a waterpan and have not had any issues. Depending on how cold it is, i will start with the minion and hot water in the pan, that way im not wasting fuel heating the water. if need be flip the door upside down and prop it open with a mod i made to increase temps higher than 300. It is an 18.5 so that probably makes managing the heat easier. typically 2.5 to 3 firestarters worth will complete an 8 hr cook. As Paulstheriblist suggested keep a log. Good luck!

THoey1963
03-21-2015, 04:38 AM
That's the wonderful thing about a WSM. If you look back, there are probably 5 ways you could do it. And all of them are right. You just have to select the method that fits your needs on any particular occasion and go with it.

dkbscm
03-21-2015, 09:59 AM
I have cooked many times overnight and if you want sound sleep then do what you're saying.... Low and slow, minion method, get the Maverick and set your alarms but most importantly get an ATC. I use the IQue110, if you go with PitMaster look at the 120 and you may not want the Maverick but I like to put the Maverick receiver on my night stand and have an alarm in case things go wrong or the meat gets done early.

longwayfromhome
03-21-2015, 02:47 PM
I just did a small/half Boston Butt cook last night - 5.5lb size for lunch today. Done in 7 hours (202F internal, like buttah), at 285-300 with water. If you started at 4am, meat on by 5am, you'd be finished by 12 for sure. If you want less time, I'd inject, and leave out the water from the pan and cook at 300-325. Perhaps cut the 10lb'ers in half to be sure. Do a practice.

TonyT
03-21-2015, 06:26 PM
You light a fire tend it!! Big pot of coffee, comfy lounge chair, radio & a good book enjoy your cook!

Seriously. You light a fire, you better be awake to keep an eye on it

VERSVS
03-24-2015, 01:01 PM
I ended up cooking the 2 Butts the day before during the day and vacuum sealing them and re-heating in boiling water for 15 minutes during the party. They were perfect!! I know this sounds crazy but I honestly think they tasted better the next day after reheating.

Joe Black
03-24-2015, 01:59 PM
Versus, I like what a aawa offered, but mostly with the revisions that THoey added, since my WSM always liked 275*. At this temp, I usually add an hour to the first smoking time. I also will add my vote to having a maverick

T therm. Mine is a ET732. I don't see much in the 732 and the new 733 except $10. I'm sure somebody has done more research than I have.
I like the foil, with or without a pan. Either way, I like to use a Bradley or other variety of rack. It adds a lot of support when moving around. Also when I foil, I add 1/3 cup of Apple juice for each butt in the foil or pan. This adds a good flavor to the steam. I also make sure that my finishing sauce is warm when I am pulling the meat.

Good luck and good smoking. Be sure to post some pics. Joef