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Sea Dog
04-10-2008, 12:23 AM
A few weeks ago I smoked some pork butts and ribs for the very first time. I have a ’Smoke Hollow’ smoker. Its a verticle gas smoke, but I really liked it. I can control the temp really well and it also has a wood box so I can add chunks of wood to build up the smoke. (I used Hickory chunks).

I called a buddy of mine in Ga who has competed at the ’Ham Jam’ in Florida and he did pretty well. He advised me to soak my pork in apple juice over night (which i did). I took another step and put a rub on it and wrapped it all up with foil for yet another night.

2 Pork butts between 3 1/2 lbs and 4 lbs and two slabs of ribs.

For the rub I used:
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup salt (maybe a touch less)
4 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp cayenne pepper

I also used a mop:

1/2 qt ’Dreamland’ bbq sauce I had left over.
1 cup of apple juice.
1 cup of cidar vinegar.
i think i added a little pepper to that also, but I forget.

I smoked it all day. I left the pork wrapped up for most of the day, and unwrapped it for the last 3 hours or so. That’s when I mopped it and poured the smoke to it.

It turned out great and fell apart easily when i pulled the pork. Well, I should amend that the bone didnt pull out easily like I'd been told it would. But it still pulled apart easily and was good. The ribs...well, my friends loved em, but i think i left em in too long. I’m gonna try them again and not cook them so long. They were ok, but I’ve had better.

I've since talked to some other folks who have advised me to smoke the meat 1st, then wrap it later. So I dunno what to think. :confused:

Anyway, the whole time i spent smoking took longer than I’d thought. At 250 degrees, it took around 12 or 13 hours. (I listened to sports radio and drank a lot of Bud during this time, so that was fun). Lol!

BBQ Grail
04-10-2008, 12:46 AM
Sea Dog...

Let me be the first to say: "No Pics...Didn't Happen"

I saw the picture of your smoker in your Cattle Call post and it looks very similar to the Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain that many of us have. It's a great little smoker.

Harbormaster
04-10-2008, 12:49 AM
i think i added a little pepper to that also, but I forget. Get yourself a spiral notebook so you can record this stuff. If it was good, you wanna be able to repeat it.

I smoked it all day. I left the pork wrapped up for most of the day, and unwrapped it for the last 3 hours or so. Thatís when I mopped it and poured the smoke to it.

I've since talked to some other folks who have advised me to smoke the meat 1st, then wrap it later.

Those "other folks" are right! Put the sweet blue to it first. This will help your pork develop a 'smoke ring' that you will not get if you start with it wrapped. I don't wrap mine until it reaches 190 or so, and then it goes into the cooler to rest for a couple of hours.

Glad you had a good smoke though. Keep at it, and if you have questions, ask!

MileHighSmoker
04-10-2008, 10:05 AM
If I read your post right you left the butt covered in the smoker until the last 3 hours? I agree with Harbormaster that you are far better to smoke it while the meat is coming up to temp then foil it as opposed to finishing it off with some smoke.

Pipin' Pig
04-10-2008, 10:12 AM
Agree with the others. If you are going to wrap in the smoker in foil, I would wait until it reaches a temp around 160-170 or so. If your meat has already reached a high temp when you uncover you are likely to still get smoke flavor, but not develop much if any smoke ring.

Put the smoke to it first, then wrap. Once the ring is formed and the but is wrapped it is no different that cooking in an oven at that point.

To echo two other comments above. Create a log and record everything you do. that way if a cook goes well you know what to repeat and if it did not go well, you know what to avoid. And finally, without pictures it didn't happen.

Sea Dog
04-10-2008, 10:24 AM
*Laughing* Yeah, I'll hafta take pics next time around, but fellas I was so hungry by then that photos didnt enter my mind. Lol!

I'll do as you folks suggest next time too. I got that brown crust (Mr. Brown), last time but no true smoke ring. Instead of wrapping, couldnt I just put the butt in a cheap foil pan with maybe some apple juice and cover it tightly? For me, it'd be easier to handle.

Papa Hogg
04-10-2008, 10:41 AM
Sea Dog the meat really quits taking on smoke flavor after it reaches about 160 degrees, so you should leave it unwrapped in the cooker at all times. Once the internal temp of the meat reaches 190* - 195* then you can take it out of the cooker wrap it in plastic wrap, then in foil & put in a cooler to rest for an hour or two.

After all you don't want to be known as someone who uses the:

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh211/ejstratman_2008/crutch.jpg

Porky
04-10-2008, 10:50 AM
If you want to achieve that smoke ring and some nice bark place the butt in the aluminum pan, just don't cover it. Let it absorb the smoke. You will have an opportunity to cover or wrap it in the later stages off your cook.

Sea Dog
04-10-2008, 04:03 PM
Wow...I'm thoroughly confused now. Lol! I'm hearing folks say to wrap it...and I'm hearing folks saying 'dont wrap it'. I wrapped it because i was afraid it would dry out on me. My ribs sure did but maybe I cooked em too long. . But it will be ok if i dont wrap it then? Should I use the water pan then?

Another thing... a couple of books I'm reading said that my butts should be done after 4 or 5 hours (cooking at 250 F). But they werent. they took around 12 hrs or more. Whereas the ribs were done by 4 1/2 hours. i'm afraid to cook at higher temps because i want that blade to slide out of the meat like everyone talks about. So I kept it around 250 F but after 12 hours it still didnt slide out (but the meat did pull apart pretty well). :confused:

Pipin' Pig
04-10-2008, 04:27 PM
Another thing... a couple of books I'm reading said that my butts should be done after 4 or 5 hours (cooking at 250 F). But they werent. they took around 12 hrs or more. Whereas the ribs were done by 4 1/2 hours. i'm afraid to cook at higher temps because i want that blade to slide out of the meat like everyone talks about. So I kept it around 250 F but after 12 hours it still didnt slide out (but the meat did pull apart pretty well). :confused:

OK some explanation here. Your butts will be done after 4-5 hours at 250 but they will not be "done". In short you can eat them, but they will not be fall off the bone tender to the point you can pull the pork, etc. For this you need to go by a combination of temp and feel. To get this way ever decent size butt is going to take around 8 hours or longer depending on actual temp.

A good rule of thumb will be to wrap in foil between 160-170 internal temp and continue to cook to 195 - 205. Pull off the cooker and place in a cooler wrapped again in another layer of foil (more for protection of your cooler than anything else as the first wrap of foil should be fine for the rest) to rest for an hour our more. I have left mine this way for up to 4 hours and when I went to serve it was still to hot to pull by hand.

For your ribs, 12 hours is wwwwwaaaayyyyy tooooo long. 6 hours is usually more than enough for spares and 4 -5 hours for baby backs. Do a search for the 3-2-1 and 2-2-1 methods for ribs and it will be a great place to start.

I personally do 3-1.5-1 for spares and 2-1-1 for baby backs at 230-250 and then start to sauce/glaze for another 30-45 min. This gives me tender ribs that are firm enough to make a clean bite through but not too done that the pull away from the bone and result in a chin slapper. Fall off the bone can be good and sometime preferred but once I tried competition style doneness I was hooked.

Papa Hogg
04-10-2008, 04:56 PM
Don't cook by time cook by temp & feel, if you have not purchased a digital probe thermometer like a Maverick like this one http://www.amazon.com/Maverick-RediChek-Remote-Wireless-Thermometer/dp/B0000DIU49
also available at Linens-N-Things, it will make life & "Q"ing much easier. The internal temp will give you the range of when to start testing it for that butta feel. When the butt hits 190* pull the probe out & put it in another part of the butt (avoiding contact with the bone) if the probe slides in like going into butta you are good to go, if there is still some resistence then take it to 195* or 200* & test it again.

The nice thing with these remote thermometers is you can monitor the temp of the meat from inside your house.

ps. foil is for cheaters :wink: