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Pulled pork takes forEVER on my WSM

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  • PhotoJoseph
    Club Member
    • Aug 2015
    • 50
    • Ashland, OR

    Pulled pork takes forEVER on my WSM

    Hey all,

    I’ve done pulled pork probably a dozen times over the years on my Weber Smokey Mountain “bullet” using the recipe here https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...ed-pork-recipe and it’s always incredible. BUT… it takes SO FREAKING LONG. The recipe says 8-10 hours, but as I type this my butts are at 13h26 minutes and just passed 190F. Temp in the smoker has been consistently 225 to 250. I pulled the water heat sink out an hour ago and got the temp up to 300F because frankly, the family and guests are probably sharpening their knives, and not to chop the meat.

    These are boneless pork shoulders from Costco, trussed up snug like a… well anyway. Trussed up snug.

    So… what the actual eff. This is so frustrating. Every time, I go though the same thing, but I only do it once or twice a year so I tend to forget.

    Any ideas why this is taking so much longer than the suggested 8-10 hours?
  • PaulstheRibList
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1597
    • Lake Charles, LA
    • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
      1.) A pair of Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5's
      2.) #LilTex, a 22" Expensive Offset Smoker (looks like a Yoder Witicha)
      3.) #WhoDat1, a HUGE Gravity Fed Insulated Cabinet Smoker (cooking chamber 3'x2'x6')
      4.) A Full Size Commercial Dryer/converted to Vertical Smoker.
      5.) Jambo Backyard stickburner (my FAVORITE Pit so far)
      6.) GrillMeister, a huge 24"x48" Adjustable, Charcoal Grill from Pitmaker.com
      7.) 22" Weber Kettle with Slow-N-Sear
      8.) Vault insulated reverse-flow cabinet smoker from Pitmaker
      9.) BarbecueFiretruck...under development
      10.) 26 foot BBQ Vending Trailer equipped with HUGE Myron Mixon 72xc smoker is HERE, Oct 2016!
      11.) Opened www.PaulsRibShackBarbecue.com Food Trailer officially in March 2017
      12.) Austin Smoke Works 500 Gallon Propane Tank Offset Smoker, named "Lucille" as travel pit for PaulsRibShack, Oct 2018.
      12.) Opening Brick & Mortar location at 4800 Nelson Rd, Spring 2019. Had a pair of 1,000 Gallon Austin Smoke Works pits, both in RibShackRed for our new place!

      Fabulous Backlit Thermapens, several Maverick Remote Thermometers (don't use any remotes anymore), Thermoworks Smoke, Other Thermoworks toys, Vacuum sealer, lots and lots of equipment...

      I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
      I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

    Love pork on the WSM! Here's the initial questions and suggestions:

    1. How are you measuring your temperature? If you have a Maverick or other reliable temp probe on the cooking grate, good for you.

    2. Nothing wrong with cooking pork butts a little hotter to get them done faster.

    3. If it's taking you 13.5 hours to get to 190 degrees IT, then your temp is probably less than that 225-250 range at the grate.

    4. You can wrap your butt in foil to get the cook moving faster if it's taking longer than you need for your dinner timing.

    Pictures of your cook, please!



    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      +1 ... yup.

    • Ahumadora
      Ahumadora commented
      Editing a comment

    • Beefchop
      Beefchop commented
      Editing a comment
      This would be my advice. I used to cook butts all the time on my 18.5" WSM and it took about this long - I timed mine so the majority of the cook would happen overnight. I use Meathead's faux cambro when cooking for friends/family.
  • PhotoJoseph
    Club Member
    • Aug 2015
    • 50
    • Ashland, OR

    Thanks for the quick reply. Just hit 195F and am calling it done, no matter what. But to answer…

    1. Measuring temp with a Weber iGrill (have been monitoring from minute 1); monitoring the smoker and both meat temps.

    2. Hotter is OK; good to hear.

    3. Temp lower than 225-250; it dropped to 200 for a very short period and I ended up tossing some new hot coals on, but it really was above that range most of the time.

    4. I don’t want to wrap because I don’t want to crust to get soft. I *love* the crunchy bits from the crust. I assume wrapping softens it up, no?

    Photos to come later; it’s FINALLY time to sharpen my claws.


    • jfmorris
      Club Member
      • Nov 2017
      • 2142
      • Huntsville, Alabama
      • Jim Morris

        • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
        • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
        • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
        • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
        • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
        • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
        • Anova
        • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
        • Thermoworks Dot
        • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
        • Thermoworks RT600C
        • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

      PhotoJoseph I'm hear to tell you that I have NEVER had a butt done to perfectly pulled consistency in 8-10 hours at 225, and I've smoked 2, 6, 8, 10 and 84 butts at once, on smokers ranging from my kettle with a Slow 'N Sear, to a large reverse flow offset trailer smoker. Mine always take more like 14 to 16 hours.

      The only way I have found to speed up the process are to:

      1. Texas Crutch (wrap in foil) around the time it hits the stall. I don't like doing this as bark suffers. But it takes several hours off the cook.

      2. Increase the heat of the smoker.

      I've found that #2 is the best choice. I accidentally had my smoker temp get up to 340 overnight during a cook last year, and I panicked when I found that when I woke up at 7AM and checked things (I had turned off the alarms on my Smoke as I trusted things to roll along overnight). You know what? That pork, which was at 225 for a long time, then shot up to 340, was perfectly fine. The graph on the Smoke app showed no stall due to the higher temp, and the worst thing was, it was done at 7:30, and not at noon as expected. I just took it off, wrapped in foil, and put it in a cooler (faux cambro), and all was fine. It was still piping hot when I pulled the pork at noon.

      I'm now running my cooks at 275, and the pork gets done in 10-12 hours. You could go up to 300-325 and be done in under 8 I bet. I sometimes run at 225 if I know I am going overnight, then crank the temp to 275 or even 325 when I wake up, to get it done quicker.

      Try increasing your smoker temp to 275 instead of 225 next cook, and see what you think.


      • PhotoJoseph
        Club Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 50
        • Ashland, OR

        WOW jfmorris that’s incredible to hear… OK, thank you. Something tells me Mr. Head needs to update the web page then! It’s great to know this isn’t just me then. I don’t really care how long it takes, as long as I can plan for it. Next time I’ll try a little higher temp; without the water heat sink I can hold 300 pretty easily, but the lower hunka meat will be closer. Maybe I’ll try the bowl without water in it and see what temp that gets me. Or, just do 225 overnight.


        • LA Pork Butt
          LA Pork Butt commented
          Editing a comment
          @photo-Joseph The advice of jfmorris is excellent. I routinely cook 10# bone in Boston Butts @ 225 on a Large Big Green Egg, and they take from 11 to 14 hours (usually 12 hours). Thickness of meat determines cook time and they are 4.5” to 5” thick. How thick are yours uncooked? Bumping up your cook temperature to 250 or 275 should solve it. I used to cook on an old bullet smoker without a thermometer and they took about the same time. I had no controls or idea at what temp,they were cooking.
      • PhotoJoseph
        Club Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 50
        • Ashland, OR

        OK, y’all wanted photos… here you go!
        Attached Files


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Well the results sure look great !!!

        • Surly Viking
          Surly Viking commented
          Editing a comment
          Looks Amazing, and worth the wait.

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Nicely done!
      • JeffJ
        Charter Member
        • Feb 2015
        • 2312
        • Michigan
        • Jeff

        Running hotter is the way to go. Anything under 300 is good.


        • RonB
          Club Member
          • Apr 2016
          • 11028
          • Near Richmond VA
          • Weber Performer Deluxe
            Pizza insert
            Smokenator 1000
            Cookshack Smokette Elite
            2 Thermapens
            lots of probes.

          Don't forget that you can cut a butt in half and it will cook quicker, and you will also have more bark.


          • Surly Viking
            Surly Viking commented
            Editing a comment
            Originally posted by RonB View Post
            Don't forget that you can cut a butt in half and it will cook quicker, and you will also have more bark.
            Mind blown. How did I never think of this? I love the bark.

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            There's No Place Like Bark lol!
        • HouseHomey
          Club Member
          • May 2016
          • 4280
          • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
          • Equipment
            Slow n Sear
            Drip n Griddle
            22" Weber Kettle
            26" Weber Kettle one touch
            Blackstone 36” Pro Series
            Sous vide machine
            Kitchen Aid
            Meat grinder
            sausage stuffer
            5 Crock Pots
            Two chimneys (was 3 but rivets finally popped, down to 1)
            cast iron pans,
            Dutch ovens
            Signals 4 probe, thermapens, chef alarms, thermapop and maverick T-732 and various pocket instareads.
            The help and preferences
            1 extra fridge and a deep chest freezer in the garage
            A 7 year old princess foster child
            Patience and patio furniture
            Lots of ice cubes
            "Baby Girl" The cat

            Erik S.

          Agree above and don’t truss.


          • HouseHomey
            HouseHomey commented
            Editing a comment
            PhotoJoseph Thinner cooks faster. Shoulder has enough intramuscular fat to stay moist trussed or not. Thinner will cook oddly from the fat parts though so judgment call on the thickness. I only truss those for space reasons.

          • Sweaty Paul
            Sweaty Paul commented
            Editing a comment
            Not trussing gets more spice too!

          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            Good catch. Was going to recommend the same.
        • Troutman
          Club Member
          • Aug 2017
          • 6492
          • Republic of Texallence

            22" Weber Kettle - Red Premium Limited Edition
            6 Burner Weber Summit Gasser
            22" and 18" Weber WSM Smoker
            18” Jumbo Joe
            36" double door Lyfe Tyme offset stick burner (SOLD !)
            Pitts & Spitts Pellet Pro 2436
            Classic Thermopen
            Thermoworks SMOKE
            Fireboard Pro with Pit Viper fan
            Grill Grates
            SNS for the 22" Weber kettle
            A-MAZE-N Smoker 12" Tube & Tray
            Weber stainless veggie basket
            Weber stainless fish basket
            Weber stainless rib rack
            Phat Mat cooking mats
            Barbestar BBQ Cooking Gloves
            For Beef (brisket, beef ribs, large clods/roasts) = 100% mesquite, oak or hickory
            For Chicken & other fowl = competition blend, cherry/oak/hickory
            For Turkey = 100% hickory or competition blend
            For Pork Shoulder = mesquite, oak or hickory
            For Pork Chops or Ribs = 100% applewood
            SOUS VIDE
            Anova Immersion Circulator 900 watt & 12 & 18 quart Rubbermaid containers with hinged sous vide lids
            Generic Calphalon non-stick cookware set of pots and pans
            12" & 14" All-Clad Stainless skillets
            Cast Iron 12" skillet by Victoria
            La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Yellow Round
            La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Cherry Oval
            Old Revere Wear Copper & Stainless Pots (handed down)

            JA Henckels 15 piece Stainless Knife Set
            Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Slicing Knive
            Victorinox 6" Curved Boning Knife
            Set of Dalstrong Japanese Steak Knives

          Let me chime in. I’ve cooked on WSMs successfully for years. I typically cook my pork butts on a pellet cooker but have done many on my WSM. Lowering cook times are accomplished by the following;

          1) Ditch the water pan. If you want moisture put a small water pan at the grate level. The heat sink concept fights your ability to decrease cook times imo.

          2) Cook hotter. As a repeat to above, get your temps up to the 275-300 range.

          3) Get an adequate amount of fuel in the basket. Use the minion or snake method.

          4) Although it involves an investment, get a controller like the Fireboard along with a fan like the Pit Viper. You get a closed system that is completely controlled temperature wise.

          5) Wrap your butts either during or shortly after the stall. Use pink butcher paper. You won’t loose a significant amount of bark. I’ve gotten away from foil for that reason, but foil will work well and capture that magical purge. Bottom line wrap that sucker.

          I’m all for low and slow and going nekkid if you want to wait 14 hours for a pork butt. With the steps above you can easily cut 2-4 hours off that cook time. Try some or all of these and let us know the results !!! Good luck.


          • Potkettleblack
            Club Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 1797
            • Chicago, IL
            • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330
              Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
              For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
              Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi
              Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something)

            That's basically how long they take.

            Reduce the butt size by cutting in half, as advised. It increases bark and dramatically reduces cook time.

            I go at about 250, but 275 would work and go faster.


            • PhotoJoseph
              Club Member
              • Aug 2015
              • 50
              • Ashland, OR

              Tons of great advice here, thank you everyone. Cut in half and raise the temp a bit is what I’ll try next. I’d be reluctant to pull the water heat sink out as Troutman has suggested because the lower grate would then be quite close to the heat, and presumably hotter than the top, and susceptible to drying out that lower chunk, no? And I can get about 275 with the water bowl in if I leave the vents all the way open.

              My coal method is the donut; I’ve never tried the snake one. I researched methods on this site when I got the WSM years ago, decided on the donut (don’t recall exactly why now) and have stuck with it ever since. I can get about 7 hours off a single setup that way. Does the snake, or another method, get you a longer burn?


              • klflowers
                klflowers commented
                Editing a comment
                Minion method get me 12 hours at least with a full grate of kingsford blue
            • Jared49
              Club Member
              • Oct 2016
              • 83
              • Appleton, WI
              • WSM-18.5"
                Green Spot
                Blues Hog

              I have the 18” WSM I’ve been doing my butts in the 225+ish range, gotten temp up to 260’s but generally in the 225-250’s. Takes me 12-14 hours. I love the WSM as I can get the temp dialed in easily and then let it go overnight and temp doesn’t fluctuate very much. As good as they turn out, I ain’t changin nutten!!


              • IowaGirl
                Club Member
                • Dec 2018
                • 441
                • Northeast Iowa, USA

                "...because the lower grate would then be quite close to the heat, and presumably hotter than the top..."

                There's no need to presume at all -- you can find it out, easy. Put an air probe on both grates and measure those temps with and without the water pan. Then you'll have the hard numbers.


                • Hulagn1971
                  Charter Member
                  • Dec 2014
                  • 723
                  • NC, The Triad
                  • WSM 22.5", Pitmaster IQ110, Weber 22.5" Kettle with SNS, Weber 14" Smokey Joe.

                  I have a WSM 22 and have been cooking on it since about 2010. Keep the water pan in there do not fill it with water just put foil over the top so it's easier to clean. I typically smoked my butts at 275 to 300 degrees. With that kind of heat you're going to get a really nice bark and then you can foil them or use pink butcher paper once you get the bark that you want. This will not make it mushy. Just a note, having water in the water pan is great for temperatures in the 225 degrees range but if you're trying to get over 250 it's very hard because you're taking a lot of energy from that charcoal and using it the heat that water and get the temperature up to where you needed to be. You're pulled pork looks amazing by the way.




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