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A Tale of 2 Butts: PBC vs ECB--

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    A Tale of 2 Butts: PBC vs ECB--

    Ok - so I have 2 equally sized bone-in pork butts (appx 7.5 lbs each) prepared in the same way: mustard slathered with good amount of HRR and then vacuum bagged and put in the fridge for appx 35 hours 'marinating'.

    I have decided to throw down the gauntlet on the PBC and do one on it and one my ECB. I have never done a butt on the PBC - so far just ribs and chuck roast; but I have done several quite well on the ECB, so this could get interesting.

    The one on the PBC should take 3-4 hours (per Noah's how-to video) before wrapping, and I'm guessing from experience the one on the ECB will take at least 8-9 hours slow smoking before wrapping at appx 160 - but time will tell for sure.

    Looks like the sun is about to peek over the trees here in SC, so I better get rolling - wish me luck!

    Pictures and details coming on the results.

    This will be fun, thanks for taking us along!


      I can't help but feel sorry for my neighbors who will be dragging themselves out of the house for work that will have that oh-so familiar smell of apple wood smoking goodness coming from my back yard and permeating the air for blocks!

      At least they know they'll get some samples tonight!


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        Here is the "BEFORE" pic.


          HC I love these kind of posts.

          Imma make a suggestion. Dont' wrap the PBC butt. Let it hang until 150F and then set it on the PBC rack. It'll get done about the same time as the ECB butt and you'll really like the result.

          Keep us posted, with pics!


          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually I am not comfortable enough hanging a butt or a fatty roast yet on the PBC, have only hung ribs. I am using the grate since I put the larger one on the PBC.

            Depending on how temps go today I might not wrap - so far off to a rocky start due to a rookie mistake of overfilling the water pan in the ECB.

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          ...and we're off ladies and gents!

          The larger of the two butts weighed in at a hefty 8.4 lbs and it went on the PBC.

          The smaller one went on the ECB - it weighed in at 7.1 lbs.

          Put a few chunks of apple wood on both cookers.

          PBC is rocking out from jump and holding at 260.

          ECB had an operator error of over-filling the water pan (see the 'tears' dripping down under the large thermometer?) and started slow at 175-200. After opening all the vents and cracking the fire box door a bit it is back in the game and holding at 230.

          Depending on the amount of operator error to come, at this point I am at least on track with my game plan.


            I'm loving this topic, HC. Thanks for doing this!



              Boy that black Brinkmann is bringing back memories. Mine is a dull grey now.


                Spending the morning smoking meat, don't think you could go wrong either way.


                • HC in SC
                  HC in SC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I got a feeling since its on cruise control I'm about to be recruited to help with Xmas decorations. Lol

                  The PBC just came to full temp of 305 and it is jamming!

                • David Parrish
                  David Parrish commented
                  Editing a comment
                  @John - It's better than a bad day fishin, even

                • _John_
                  _John_ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I did pork loin yesterday and was supposed to do lights, but it started raining. Might get them up by christmas.


                PBC is definitely in the lead for time: after 3.5 hours IT of butt is 147; ECB was at 132 after 3.5 hours.

                ECB has been a PIA since I have to switch coals -- and it started raining -- nice. LOL

                Think I will go ahead and wrap the PBC butt when it reaches 160 so as to be consistent with the process comparison since I know I'll be wrapping the ECB butt at 160 or so.

                PBC is still chugging on with a steady temp of 285-300.

                ECB is now back up to 225-235 after the firebox change out. It runs great when its running, but the fire pan is so small (and so poorly designed.


                • mtford72
                  mtford72 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To this point the PBC is a walking away with it. Would you agree?

                • HC in SC
                  HC in SC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So far, but when I last checked a few mins ago, the PBC took a big drop in temp to 200. I am just at the stall, so I am going to wrap and put in the convection oven @ 250 until done.

                  The ECB is still chugging on its new coals, but I'll have to wrap it in a few hours as well.

                  We'll see how the taste test goes - that is the real test.

                Great post man. Lets get some picks of the meat in the smokers. If you can get'm, those are the best!! Keep plugging' away at it!


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                  PBC Update:

                  The PBC took a fatal blow from this butt - granted, it did have a 1.3 lb "butt handicap" from jumpstreet.

                  After appx. 6 hours the PBCs coals gave out and dropped to under 175 and the butt has been wrapped and placed in the convection oven @ 250 for the remainder. I could re-up the fire pan in the PBC, but with the rain and all going on now, I'll skip it.

                  The PBC cranked hard on that 8.4 lb butt, but the butt finally won.

                  I am sure if it was a 4-6 lb butt the PBC might have pulled on thru on one load of coals, but this one was too much.

                  Note: I put 3/4 basket of unlit coals in minion-style and dumped a very full mini-chimney of hot coals on it for a full basket. I'm not sure I could have put many more coals on it initially - just in case the question comes up; I did not skimp on the charcoal on the PBC.

                  ECB is still cranking at 230-245.....more to come....


                  • HC in SC
                    HC in SC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    True on the "set and forget" feel you get from Noah's videos. Although extremely informative, 1000x more than I've gotten with the purchase of any other grill I have bought, he does leave out a few obvious tips like cracking the lid and stirring coals.

                    I have a newfound love and appreciation for Jerods "alien" setup with the valve controlled exhaust stacks.

                  • Spinaker
                    Spinaker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Awesome pics. They look really good.

                  • Beefchop
                    Beefchop commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I agree with mtford72 - I've had to stir the coals a bit on longer cooks to get the full life out of one basket of charcoal in my PBC.

                  Bummer HC! I been there... tried to do 2, 8 lb butts one time and same exact thing happened. I did not want to fire the PBC up again because it was snowing like a big dawg, so I just put them in oven bags (something I been experimenting with) and finished them in the oven

                  Ya know, Kathryn and Huskee have been talking about cutting the butts into smaller chunks ahead of time... I think they are unto something
                  Last edited by smarkley; December 8, 2014, 12:38 PM. Reason: more info


                  • HC in SC
                    HC in SC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Another unforced error. Lol.

                  Ok. Update to the update on the PBC.

                  After leaving the lid off while taking the butt inside, I came back to find the PBC back to 300! Granted, that is without a huge piece of meat on it, but it definitely got a second wind. I have read where you said you guys cracked the lid to the the temps higher, but if I figured the coals for dead when they bottomed out at 170.

                  Lesson learned, but better safe than sorry with the meat in the oven.

                  It made it just to stall before dropping; but hindsight being 20/20 the PBC might have pulled it out to the end if I let the second wind effect go with cracking / opening the lid for 10 mins after a big temp drop.


                  • Spinaker
                    Spinaker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm sure you thought of this, but incase your didn't. I always take the meat off when i add coals or stir them. Otherwise, all that soot gets on the meat. But I guess you don't hang much so maybe not a concern.

                  Interesting that the full basket of coals died at 6 hours at 270-300 ave PBC temp, HC. Good to know. My ave at that temp (so far) is around 8 hours, so I'll keep a heads up on that. Thanks!

                  The longest run I had was with my first brisket cook, Kingsford Original, 11+ hours, 225-250 deg F. I purposefully kept it at that temp. After that I figured that 250-275 was better to help kick a PBC brisket through a stall. As Tuffy Stone says, the smoker's got to be given free reign to settle in to its sweet spot. Starving a fire can result in bad taste in the meat, he says. Not that that's what happened with you, HC, since you ran a nice hot fire. I just like to see how PBC fires behave, cook to cook.
                  Last edited by fzxdoc; December 8, 2014, 12:58 PM.


                  • HC in SC
                    HC in SC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'll definitely try cracking or outright opening the lid next time I have a drop like that. It went from 285 to 170 in the matter of an hour slowly but steadily dropping. I just figured the coals were toast, not so - or at least not yet. It is still holding at 280 and it has been almost 8 hours, albeit without a meat heat sink on it to slow it down. Hindsight is 20/20.

                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's good to know too, HC. That's why they call it a learning curve. I'm still loping my way up that curve as well, but oh how much fun it is!

                    P.S. I see we were posting at the same time , so I didn't see your post about the PBC coming back to life. It's good you commented to my post or I might have missed it altogether. Thanks.

                    Last edited by fzxdoc; December 8, 2014, 02:28 PM.

                  • HC in SC
                    HC in SC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    No problem and thanks! BTW: the PBC is still rocking at about 260 or so empty. Without a doubt I could have finished up this butt on the PBC by wrapping it like Noah does in the how-to video. It may have finished it up as PitBoss suggested and just letting it sit on the grate all the way to 190-195.

                    A learning experience for sure, but this "happy accident" makes the challenge more equitable seeing how the butt on the ECB will be around stall temp when it is wrapped and put in the oven.


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