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Advice on Pulled Pork

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    #16
    Guy. This is in response to your questions. Never responded to a comment so I'm not sure if this will appear behind your comment or after PenskeFile.

    I filled the charcoal ring completely full and then piled some of the charcoal from the middle to the outer edges (I created a small crater about 2 inches deep. I lit a full Weber chimney and let it heat for 30 minutes. When I poured it on the unlit coals, I spread it across the top 1/2-2-3 of the surface. There was a slight mound to the charcoal in the ring with the lit coals on. They were what I would call red hot -- bright orange in color and flaming. Temp went above 230 immediately and I quickly started shutting lower vents. Put meat on immediately and was able to stabilize at 230 within about 20 min by further tweaking the lower vents.

    I use a Brinkman charcoal pan as the water pan so I did not have to worry about the water pan resting on or being too close to the hot coals.

    After all the cooking was done, I opened all the lower vents and let it run wide open to use all of the charcoal and see how long it would last. I never added any additional charcoal, but did add more wood chunks at 7 in the am. I added cherry chunks before smoking the fatty and sausages.

    So from starting the smoke at 10pm the night before, it ran until 6pm the next day at which time the Maverick finally dropped below 230. The main cook was with top wide open and bottom vents around 1/4-1/3 open and temp of 230. Once I foiled the pork, I opened one bottom vent 1/2 way and that took the temp up to about 250 for the next three hours for the pork and two additional hours for the sausages (I was going for 165 for the fatties). I was done cooking at noon and the coals had been going 14 hours. I opened the bottom vents all the way to see how long it would remain over 230. Temp quickly went into the 320s and stayed there before starting to drop between 4-5 pm.

    Bottom line - with the charcoal ring completely full (or mounded), I would feel very comfortable in expecting 20 hours of cooking time (but I don't think I will ever need that). I was testing the max time so that the next time I cook overnight I would have some idea of how much charcoal I could remove and be sure to run overnight. My guess is that it would be one unlit chimney and one lit chimney. That should get me easily through the night and then allow me to add more coals as needed the next day.

    I should mention that I have modified my WSM with the Cajun door and the gasket kit. Also use the hinge on the lid.

    For Huskee: When I opened the 13 pound package from Costco, the pork was already in two pieces. I would guess about 7lb and 6lb. So I cooked two butts not three as you recommended. I trimmed all the fat off and tied with cooking twine. I was going to use some Salt Lick rub but after tasting was afraid it had too much pepper. I used John Henry Pecan Rub instead. Pork was great and John Henry Pecan Rub is great on ribs and chicken, but if I had to do it again, I would try your Huskee Rib Rub. The bark could have used more kick and once pulled, the pepper flavor would have been spread throughout the pork. Lesson Learned.

    John

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    • Guy
      Guy commented
      Editing a comment
      John, wow do you write for a living?? This was an awesome description. I have modified my WSM too except for the hinge. I have one but have not installed it yet. I don't know if you have a newer WSM than me but the newer ones don't take the gasket on the bottom stack. It does not seem to leak though. John what part of the country are you from if you don't mind me asking.

    #17
    Penskefile, yeah I had to read it twice again to understand what I wrote. It does not matter now but I thought you split them when they were half cooked already. That is interesting though about the different color meat. Maybe closer the bone darker the meat. Does anyone know about this?

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      #18
      Guy. Nope, I don't write for a living. But being able to write helped me through my career (24 yrs in Air Force and 15 yrs working for USAA). I have a new (2014) WSM. Did not need a bottom gasket as you indicated. I am retired in San Antonio. First started smoking in mid 70s on a $50 converted oil drum offset. Really didn't smoke again until about 7 years ago when my wife got me a Brinkman electric. Decided on the WSM after reading reviews on this website and the Virtual Weber website. Convinced me I wanted to go back to smoking with charcoal. Most of what I have learned in the past year has been from you folks on this forum.

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      • Guy
        Guy commented
        Editing a comment
        John, first let me thank you for serving our country for 24 years. Would shake your hand if you were here.

        Did you look into the PBC before you brought the WSM?

      • jlazar
        jlazar commented
        Editing a comment
        Guy. Thanks for the handshake. Just one of many who have served. I couldn't spend the money for a good offset or something like the Chubby, so when I started looking, I keyed on a smoker similar to the Brinkmann electric that I was used to (and pretty happy with). Just wanted to do charcoal and wanted something better than the Brinkmann version. Comments on the web seemed to put the WSM at the top of that category. Found this site and all the reviews, recommendations after I already had the WSM.

      #19
      Great looking pulled pork! Looks like y'all had a great meal.

      Click image for larger version

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      Sometime when you have longer to cook, you owe it to yourself to cook all the way to 203*F without wrapping in foil. It truly takes pulled pork to another level.

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        #20
        Thanks Pit Boss. I will probably do that on the next one.

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          #21
          Sounds good. Cook two. Wrap one. That'll really help show the differences.

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            #22
            Great idea. Will do.

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              #23
              Final question. After I wrapped in foil at 160, it took about 3 hours to hit 201-203. Roughly how much longer will that take by not wrapping? Another 2 hours?

              Comment


              • LA Pork Butt
                LA Pork Butt commented
                Editing a comment
                jlazar While I only wrap with time constraints, I find that wrapping cuts the stall in half. I do 10# butts for 12-14 hours @ 225 without wrapping. The stall usually lasts 6 hours plus' and with wrapping it is 3 hours plus.

              #24
              You put the probe in the middle of the meat to check temp. Imagine cooking a bowling ball. Now cut the ball in half. Now the probe is half of the half. It will cook quicker. I like to leave the fat when smoking with the fat side down. The heat from my unit comes from the bottom so it kind of insulates the side facing the heat. I wipe the fat off later before pulling. I like to wrap at the stall and transfer to my oven sometime in the night. I'll share my secret. I double wrap but in between I wrap a layer of plastic shrink wrap. I wake up to a house smelling like smoke and spice and then I put in a cooler until lunch time.

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                #25
                I am surprised at the shorter cook time by cutting the meat in half. I thought I read Meadhead as saying thickness determines cook time. Are yo cutting the thickness or the length or with in half?

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                  #26
                  Originally posted by LA Pork Butt View Post
                  I am surprised at the shorter cook time by cutting the meat in half. I thought I read Meadhead as saying thickness determines cook time. Are yo cutting the thickness or the length or with in half?

                  When you cut them in half, you know have a smaller mass, and a lower distance to the middle from an additional side, the one you just cut. The heat can travel in all directions to that thickest center, which is now much smaller (the significant center is) since you cut that large rectangle of meat (pork shoulder) in half.

                  I like cooking boston butts in half mainly because it gives you more bark. That's more of the smoke penetrating more of the meat and infusing it with flavor, and more of the surface area with the rub and all its joy.

                  When I order pulled-pork at a bbq joint and it comes all in tiny pieces and no evidence of bark...I just don't want to eat it very much now that I've seen how it can be. This isn't the best pic, but even then you can Clearly See the Mrs. Brown all through the pan! We cooked this for the 120 or so Volunteers at the recent Fresh Start Initiative Day that our District Attorney did, to help up to 250 participants apply for an Expungement of a n arrest/conviction so they can get a job or better job.
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                    #27
                    When dry brining with kosher salt on two butts can I wrap the butts or leave them open. I dry brined two racks of baby back ribs with kosher salt last month but I wrapped them with plastic then foil and they were excellent.

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                      #28
                      I would cover or wrap it.

                      Comment


                        #29
                        Perhaps not germane to the OP, but just thought I would share my recent experience. I recently acquired a GMG Jim Bowie Pellet grill so I could handle more meat than just my Weber Kettle could do. Making the switch from charcoal to pellet has been a little trying, but going okay. I had things dialed in pretty well with my Weber.

                        I put in two butts about 8 pounds each (from Costco) about 11pm on Saturday night. No crutch. Cooked at 225F. When I woke at 7am the meat was at 168F. At 9am it was up to about 175F, and I had to move it indoors to the oven because I had to start some prime rib outdoors, and I kicked the temp up to 275F. Rushed home at 1pm Sunday to get the pork, but it was only at 170F. Realized that it wouldn't be ready for church social. Left it in the indoor oven until almost 4pm at 275F when I had to move it back outside to use the oven for pie. It stayed on my pellet grill until 8pm at 275F and had just reached 192F. I went ahead and took it off instead of waiting for 203F. The meat was fantastic...perhaps the most tender I have ever done. But WOW - 21 hours to get to 190F? I'm sure that I lost some heat in the transfer from outside to inside and back. But still....Holy Stall batman.... I was thinking that the pig was going to rise again in honor of Easter.

                        Comment


                          #30
                          Originally posted by MrSkimo View Post
                          Perhaps not germane to the OP, but just thought I would share my recent experience. I recently acquired a GMG Jim Bowie Pellet grill so I could handle more meat than just my Weber Kettle could do. Making the switch from charcoal to pellet has been a little trying, but going okay. I had things dialed in pretty well with my Weber.

                          I put in two butts about 8 pounds each (from Costco) about 11pm on Saturday night. No crutch. Cooked at 225F. When I woke at 7am the meat was at 168F. At 9am it was up to about 175F, and I had to move it indoors to the oven because I had to start some prime rib outdoors, and I kicked the temp up to 275F. Rushed home at 1pm Sunday to get the pork, but it was only at 170F. Realized that it wouldn't be ready for church social. Left it in the indoor oven until almost 4pm at 275F when I had to move it back outside to use the oven for pie. It stayed on my pellet grill until 8pm at 275F and had just reached 192F. I went ahead and took it off instead of waiting for 203F. The meat was fantastic...perhaps the most tender I have ever done. But WOW - 21 hours to get to 190F? I'm sure that I lost some heat in the transfer from outside to inside and back. But still....Holy Stall batman.... I was thinking that the pig was going to rise again in honor of Easter.
                          That's the very reason why I wrap at ~180. So many people don't wrap thinking wrapping ruins your bark, which is not true if you wrap at the right time. I just don't want to be waiting that long for the meat to get done, wasting (to me) time and fuel when it's not necessary. The last unwrapped butt I did took 16hrs and it was only ~4-5lbs. It was excellent, but not 16 hrs excellent! I don't use a SIFI cooker either, so that is part of why I personally don't want such a long cook. Mine too only got to the mid 190s and since it had taken so loooong to get there, it had softened and all the magic happened and it didn't need the 200+ target.

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