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Water for smoking pulled pork

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  • OldNav2
    Club Member
    • Jun 2020
    • 6

    Water for smoking pulled pork

    Smoked my first pulled pork yesterday - a 3.6 pound picnic shoulder (a.k.a., a callie roast, here in SW Illinois) on the indirect side of a Weber propane grill using mesquite chips. I dry brined it for 24 hours and did a riff on Memphis Dust - swapping coriander for cumin, adding a lot more garlic. I just let the roast sit through the stall. According to Meathead's hints, I expected the roast to be finished in about 4-1/2 hours but, at 8.5 hours at a grill temp averaging of 237F, the roast was still only 200F when I pulled it because of hunger and a thunderstorm. It was positively wonderful - as good as any we've ever had in restaurants here around St. Louis.
    What I learned - put a disposable container under the roast to catch the drippings.

    Questions:
    1. Why did this small roast take so long? Or did it - was this a "normal" amount of time.
    2. The meat was tasty, but a bit drier than anticipated. I did not have a water reservoir in the grill - should I?
    3. I did not add additional chips - should I have?
    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    Attached Files
  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5506
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
      Thermopops
      Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
      Slo n Sear
      Cold beer

    #2
    Did the bone come out clean? Yes? It was done. Were you going by probe tender or just temp? Probe tender is THE way to know wheather its done. When estimating time its meat thickness not poundage that dictates this time.
    I use a pan to catch drippings and start the cook with some water in it to keep things moist until it starts dripping.

    Comment


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      It looks great!

    • OldNav2
      OldNav2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Bone came out easily and clean. Uh...just watched temp. Didn't know about probe tender. Will add that to the tool box. Thanks
  • Red Man
    Club Member
    • May 2018
    • 1028
    • Western Washington

    #3
    I’ve never done a picnic roast. They may not be as marbled as a butt, that could be why it was a little dry. I often smoke 4-5 pound butts and they take as long as 10 pound butts. At 250 they usually take around 10 hours.

    Comment


    • OldNav2
      OldNav2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks - my sample size of 1 didn't tell me very much. I know enough to trust my thermometers so the time didn't particularly worry me...until it got on towards dinner time.
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 12710
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
      Pizza insert
      Rotisserie
      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      Chefalarm
      Dot
      lots of probes.
      CyberQ

    #4
    You can up your temp without any problems. I smoke everything around 275° now and see no difference in the finished product.

    Comment


    • OldNav2
      OldNav2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks - I've read a little about using higher temps and plan to try that in the future. I actually did raise the grill temp to 275F for the last 45 minutes just to usher things along. Appreciate your post!
  • LA Pork Butt
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 5365
    • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

    #5
    Here is the important thing to keep in mind when estimating cook time. The thickness of the meat determines cook time and not the weight. How thick was the meat. I cook 10#ers that about 5” thick and they take 12-14 hours at 225. That piece of meat looked like it might have been 4” thick. A water pan probably would have helped and would have attracted more smoke.

    Comment


    • OldNav2
      OldNav2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks - didn't know thickness was the controlling factor. The meat was indeed 4" thick. Will use water pan next go.
  • smokin fool
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 1773
    • Mississauga, Ont

    #6
    I've done with and without a water pan on our BKK. While the water pan has its merits I prefer smoking without a water pan now.
    Better bark and seems to cook faster.
    Red Man is right the meat makes a difference my last two butts cooks were great, yesterdays not so much.
    Every cook is going to be different in some way.

    Comment


    • OldNav2
      OldNav2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks - I do understand that each meat and cook will be unique. Haven't had enough experience yet to figure whether this is an "average" or an outlier. Appreciate the feedback.

    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      Part of problem was me, we had company and I tried to rush things.
      You can't rush smoking meat, never ends well.
  • Skip
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 3304
    • Blue Earth, Minnesota
    • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

    #7
    Your pork looks great but so does your side dish in the background of your picture. Stuffed zucchini?

    Comment

    • Dadof3Illinois
      Club Member
      • Jul 2017
      • 860
      • Southeast Illinois

      #8
      As others have said, the thickness determines the time it takes to cook. You can always wrap which will help push through the stall thus speeding up the cook. Don’t be afraid to up your cooking temps, I use 275-300 often. Water pan will help With the dryness but I’m not like a lot of guys and I’ll pull mine between 190-195 internal. For me I find it has helped with the moistness. That and at least an hour hold wrapped in foil and towels inside a cooler.
      Another reason I like to wrap and force through the stall is i love to have that pig juice available to add back in just in case the meat is a little dry. But the best thing about this, I’ll call a hobby or affliction, is everyone has their way of doing things and finding what works for them.

      oh and since you live close to St Louis have you ever been to the St Louis BBQ store?

      Comment


      • OldNav2
        OldNav2 commented
        Editing a comment
        I appreciate all the pointers. I'll certainly consider pulling earlier in the future, but I didn't trust experimenting on my first attempt. I elected to just let it sit when it hit the stall, just to see how long it might take. Next time I'll use the crutch. Haven't been to the StL BBQ store - yet! Thanks for costing me some $$$ ;-)
    • Ricardo
      Club Member
      • Jan 2017
      • 185
      • Palm City, FL

      #9
      OldNav2
      My first pork shoulder attempt right after joining this site and reading meathead’s book, resulted in a very similar experience as you describe.

      After some input from fellow pit-master members, I realized that it turned out dry because I did not let it rest.

      I misunderstood meathead’s teachings. I thought nothing needed to rest before digging in. I miss understood the busted myth that meat needs to rest after cooking.

      Huskee commented on one of my very first posts here and accurately diagnosed my pulled pork dryness could have been due to not letting it rest. He was right. That alone elevated my confidence and since then, have not had dryness problems. He also clarified that the busted myth applied for something like a steak, not a large mass of pork or beef like a shoulder or a brisket.

      Later on, someone here recommended trying different cuts of pork, and commented that his or her family preferred pulled pork from the Boston Butt, as compared to the picnic cut. After trying, I agree. My family likewise prefers the Boston Butt for pulled pork, and other fixings.

      Give that a try, but let it rest before digging in. Hope this helps.

      Ricardo

      Comment


      • OldNav2
        OldNav2 commented
        Editing a comment
        BINGO!!! OK - yup, we let it rest only maybe 10 minutes.I'll work on my timing...

      • Ricardo
        Ricardo commented
        Editing a comment
        I would suggest once you pull it off the smoker, leave it wrapped... if you wrap to power through stall. If you don’t, then use some tinfoil, wrap it and set it aside in an empty cooler, and let it be for no less than 30 minutes. Ideally 45 minutes to an hour. After that, go for it.
    • OldNav2
      Club Member
      • Jun 2020
      • 6

      #10
      THANKS TO ALL FOR THE VERY HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS - it would have taken me a lot of different cooks to figure out all of them. I appreciate the generosity of your experience.

      Comment

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