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Smoked Pork Butt & other meats- I think I am ready to take the next step in my training

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    Smoked Pork Butt & other meats- I think I am ready to take the next step in my training

    OK, so I am not a complete noob. I am just a young grasshopper with an opportunity to be dangerous... In the past, I have smoked baby backs, spareribs, pork shoulders, briskets, short ribs, and even a USDA prime rib; but I have always done it the same way. I do have a Thermoworks system so I can check the temp of the air in the smoker and also the temp of the meat while cooking. And I've drilled holes into my rectangle box smoker to thread the wires through. And I've applied a temperature resistant gasket around the door of my smoker to eliminate temperature and smoke loss. I will do a dry brine for about 12-24 hours and then I use some rub that I've created from a decide in one of my books. Then, essentially, I heat up my gas (yes, I said gas) smoker to about 230-235 and I fill up my water pan and then I add whatever meat I am smoking and add my required wood chunks and let it start doing its thing. Depending on the wood used or the meat I am cooking I might add a second round of wood, but only if I am feeling frisky and confident. I will add water to the water pan to maintain temperature as needed as well. But I keep the door closed and just keep watching the temperature until it gets to the desired temperature and is done. then I take it off the smoker and let it rest for 30-60 minutes. And when I eat it, I think it is pretty good.

    But here is the deal.... I have read enough information on this website to be confused. I keep reading about taking it off the smoker at a certain temp and wrapping it in butchers paper and then putting it back on, doing something with camo or cambro or taking a cameo with it, putting it in an insulated cooler, put it on the seat of a dunk tank and throw balls at it until it is submerged once before putting it back on the smoker, etc. I have read that I definitely SHOULD and definitely SHOULD NOT use the Texas Crutch (though not sure what that is exactly). I think I read one article that said take a drop of unicorn blood and a strand of hair from a virgin for some spectacular result. Like I said, lots of information and I am confused.

    So based on what I have done in the past, this grasshopper kindly requests to learn what steps I can take in my technique to further my training from the (pit) masters? And I need some explanation behind what everything is and why I should do it. Thanks in advance!
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    There is more than one way to produce good BBQ. The posts spell out the particular preferenceofbthe cook, and they sometimes become a little dogmatic. Also, when someone talks about wrapping or resting in an ice chest it doesn’t apply to everything you cook. In addition, the type of cooker you are cooking on might suggest wrapping while another cooker might not. I wrap Boston Butts after they are finished and like to hold them in an ice chest for at least two hours. In addition to resting briskets for a couple hours, I like to wrap when they enter the stall because the point tends to dry out.

    My advice to you is to find a method that you like and stick with it.


      "And when I eat it, I think it is pretty good."
      You're probably right


        Yes, to all of your findings!
        unless it involves a microwave which I am told IS approved for reheat!


          My advice on your first cook is to follow the instructions over in the recipe on the free site to the letter. You can adjust on your next cook.


            I think you will find all the answers and relevant details by searching through the AR free content. There is a TREMENDOUS amount of knowledge, testing and recipes that allow to study, plan and try out for yourself. You can also get Meathead's book and Franklin's book and other such. I say this not to deter you from seeking answers, but what you have asked for is very broad in scope and is well covered by the resources mentioned.

            Then, pick one of the recipes/methods, try it and then ask away about that attempt if it does not produce what you expect or what problems it presented you with. I think this approach will get you where you hope to get to.


              It can be frustrating. When you want a definitive answer and you get "Well the only way to do it is" from 6 different people and all of them a different way. What LA Pork Butt said, try them and see which YOU prefer. It sounds like your doing things correctly.
              Here is a list of abbreviations commonly used: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...-abbreviations

              Putting the meat in a Cambro and in a cooler is the same thing (Cambro is a high end cooler or box) The dunk tank is taking it toooo far though

              Wrapping or not is a preference

              Holding, you decide. Although with Brisket and butt it is recommended it allows the juices to be re distributed in the meat.

              Just keep at it and you'll achieve Pitmaster!

              Others will add more info and correct me if I'm wrong. (I'm frequently wrong, just ask SWMBO)


                Texas Crutch is the wrapping with foil/paper/pink butcher paper/5000 year old mummy wrappings...

                faux Cambro is a resting stage to keep it warm and moist. Not necessary for anything that you can serve fairly promptly, though might improve brisket texture a bit.

                I source my unicorn blood from HeritageUnicorns.com, because I am not settling for feed lot unicorn products. Only the most well cared for unicorn products will do.

                all of the things you’ve mentioned are enhancements, not requirements. Worth trying, maybe, but not necessary to make good food. You’re already doing that.
                Last edited by Potkettleblack; May 21, 2020, 10:21 AM.



                  I'd start by doing two things. First, if you can, find really good BBQ in your area and compare yours to it. I don't mean a chain place, but some place that smokes on real wood out back etc. in addition, I'd think about what you feel is OK but might be done better. "My [X] is OK, but it's not something to rave about" - fine... ask about that. Tell us what you don't like or feel is lacking.

                  Here's an opinion that some might take issue with but....

                  There are no secrets. Good BBQ isn't hard. It's very simple. Get good meat. Season it simply. Cook it with care. Done.

                  There isn't involved, highly technical technique stuff to learn. "Cook it with care" mostly means to get and keep a target temp and get and keep good smoke. That can be tricky to learn on a given cooker, but once you do, it's not involved.

                  Start with good meat, though. A prime brisket will be better than a select grade brisket. Get ribs with enough meat on them to be worth it. Etc. You can't rescue bad ingredients.

                  Cook simply... A gas grill with wood will impart some flavors but not the same as charcoal with wood and neither of those will be the same as a stick burner. But if you can find really good examples of BBQ, taste them and then you say "My stuff is 80% as good and I'm fine with that" .... then enjoy.

                  Finally, read the "Science of... " articles on the free site. Tons of foundational info there.
                  Last edited by rickgregory; May 21, 2020, 11:26 AM.


                  • klflowers
                    klflowers commented
                    Editing a comment

                  This is easy.

                  All the food knows is if it tastes good.

                  Everything else is irrelevant. If your food tastes good, then you are doing it right.

                  Now there are more ways to make good bbq. And you might be able to make yours better. Change or add one thing, and see if the change is worth the trouble. For example, letting my briskets and pork butts rest for an hour works along with all the rest of my process. It might or might not work for yours. Try it and see.

                  By the way, Smoq in Chicago has some of the best bbq I’ve ever eaten. They use propane smokers.


                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    My only regret about moving to the burbs is that I’m no longer spitting distance from Smoque. It’s now 20 minute drive.

                  Lots of good advice here, but for me the bottom line is to cook something and if you are not happy, ask here how to make it better. When you do that, please include as much info as you can, (in no particular order):

                  fuel, and if you use wood,what wood and was it chips, chunks or splits
                  what you cooked and what you liked and disliked about it
                  cooking temps and finished product temps
                  rubs and sauces
                  did you hold it - if so, how long
                  anything else you might consider relevant

                  And if anyone else can think of something I forgot, please post it.



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