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First SnS Pork Shoulder Questions

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    First SnS Pork Shoulder Questions

    Hi Gang: Smoked my first Pork Shoulder (8.75lb before trimming) last weekend using the SnS. I have an old Weber Kettle (30+ years). For some reason I couldn't get the temperature in the kettle to get above 200 degrees. I was using Royal Oak Charcoal because I had some sitting around. When this is done I'll get Kingsford. The outside temperature in Wisconsin on Saturday was around 60, so that shouldn't have been much of a factor. I'm thinking I didn't have the 3 bottom vents open enough plus I didn't cover the grate side opposite the SnS with foil, which presumably would have directed the outside air towards the SnS side. The top vent was open at least 3/4. To make matters worse, I was called away for most of the day so I couldn't fiddle with the charcoal and the vents, etc. Bottom line was that it was a 12 hour low temp (under 200 degree) smoke. The internal temp of the shoulder may have gotten to 170 or 180 but nowhere near the target 203 degrees. When I took the meat off, it had good bark and was super tender, pulled apart easily and tasted great. I was a little worried about bacteria but my wife and I have been eating it for 3 straight days and we're still alive. If possible I'd really appreciate some input regarding how to get the temperature up as well as some thoughts as to why it turned out ok despite the low internal temperature attained. Again, it was very tender. Thanks for your advice!! Tom O.

    #2
    The one thing you have left out is your thermometer. Were you using the dome thermometer or did you have a grill lever thermometer with and outside digital readout? More importantly did you verify the accuracy of you thermometer? Sometimes you can get an extended stall which may be where your internal temperature stayed. Next time experiment by doing a dry temperature control without food.

    Comment


    • Gottliebo
      Gottliebo commented
      Editing a comment
      Maverick thermometer. The one thing that I did think about was that the grill surface probe was located on the bottom grate which was a number of inches below the meat. Hmmmm it would have been cooler down there especially if outside air was hitting it, right?

    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      Gottliebo if you are referring to the grat the SNS sits on, then yes. Heat rises and the water pen would insulate the frie from it.

    #3
    What thermometer were you using? Where was it placed? I'm surprised that it pulled so easily at 170-180, that's usually in slicing range for me. My wild guess is that you were cooking at a higher temp than you think. Curious to know though.

    Comment


    • Gottliebo
      Gottliebo commented
      Editing a comment
      You may be right there. See above. Thanks!!

    #4
    Couple quick points - Glad it still turned out good for you!
    Breaking down all the collagen is a product of temp+time, you want to break it down fast enough that you're losing minimum moisture, but have your meat at a high enough internal temp. Once your internal temps get to about 160, collagen starts breaking down. As long as you were above 160 long enough, and you had a sufficiently well marbled shoulder (which many are), you'll get a tender, juicy cook, even if internal temps don't reach 200+. Lower cook temp just takes longer and you run the risk of drying it out before the collagen completely breaks down - which luckily didn't happen in your case.

    To get your temps up, it's airflow and fuel. Couple things you can try:
    1. you mentioned already opening your intake and exhaust vents more, yes, you should try that, but when you do that, watch it carefully, it's an easy way to lose control of your heat, which is worse than running it a bit too low.
    2. Try to start with more lit coals, how many did you start with?
    3. The foil shouldn't make that large of a difference, though I haven't tested this. It sounds like you're just not getting enough heat out of your fuel.

    Comment


    • Gottliebo
      Gottliebo commented
      Editing a comment
      Started with 12 that I lit in a chimney, dumped in and then boosted with a propane torch. They were white but not fully engulfed. Then I dumped a whole chimney full (80 or so maybe) right next to the lit pile.

    #5
    Oh, and good calls above regarding thermometer from LA Pork Butt and JPGators17 , the dome temp usually run hotter than at the grate on a kettle (sometimes a lot hotter), but if you had your probe too close to the meat, that can lower the temperature reading considerably, make sure it's a couple inches away.

    Comment


    • Gottliebo
      Gottliebo commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you!

    #6
    As you already have good advice above.............. A hearty welcome from Illinois.

    Comment


    • Gottliebo
      Gottliebo commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you and congrats on the Cubs great season!!

    #7
    Welcome Gottliebo

    Comment


      #8
      Welcome aboard Gottliebo! You've gotten some great advice and as has been said, it's much cooler on the charcoal grate, probably 30-50 or more degrees so you were likely cooking at 230-250+ cooking grate level. On your next cook put your pit probe on the cooking grate 2-3" away from the meat. It's possible that your meat probe was reading low for some reason since it pulled so easily, possibly in an air or fat pocket. You probably want to check the meat probe to verify its accuracy. My pork butts are usually probe tender at 195-198 on a 12-14 hour cook. Also it sounds like you started your fire right with 12 coals ashed over. I typically have the bottom vent at 1/4 open and the top about 1/3 open on my 2015 22" kettle for a 225-240 temp using Kingsford Blue Bag. We'd love to get an intro from you over in the Introduce Yourself channel when you get a minute.

      Comment


        #9
        Welcome to th' Pit, Gottliebo !!!

        Comment

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