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Old 06-12-2007, 10:10 AM   #1
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ISO Smoked Pork Shoulder rec for Saturday

So I've got this pork butt. Would be my first attempt smoking one. I pulled a recipie from here: Barbecuebible.com :: View topic - Boston Butt FAQ

Any other ideas? Tips?

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Old 06-12-2007, 10:29 AM   #2
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Check out these three threads for a lot of good info.

HERE

AND HERE

AND HERE
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:02 AM   #3
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My first thought when reading your link is bypass the finished cooking time for slicing and definitely go straight for the 200 - 210 degree mark for pulling. You won't be sorry! I probably do mine the most simple of anyone and it turns out great every time. Rub down with salt, pepper, olive oil. I'm not a huge fan of rubs because I want the natural flavor from the meat and the hickory smoke. My other flavors will come from my cider-based sauces or a thinner tomato-based sauce. I put apple juice in my water pan and it DOES make a difference - it's great!

The next time I do a pork butt I may play with a brine.

Just make sure you smoke fat side up - don't peak too much or you will slow the cooking process down. And don't over smoke - whatever smoking chunks I put on I only replace them a couple times before I just add more hardwood briquetts only to keep the temp up.

Also - use Hickory CHUNKS - chips just don't produce enough flavor. I get my chunks at Lowe's or Home Depot. I've tried mesquite but Hickory gives the best flavor to a pork butt.

I also have a slaw recipe and a couple bbq sauce recipes if you want them.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:26 AM   #4
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A coupla questions. Some of those cooking times vary tremendously as noted in the top link Andy provided, and the link I found. Can I start the butt in the oven, let's say 250 deg at 6am for 3 hrs, transfer to smoker, indirect method at 225 for 8 hours? This would give me a finish time around 5pm and a totla cooking time of 11 hrs.

I would use some oak first, then a bag of Hickory chunk. Spray with mop every 30-45 minutes.

I agree with your method "less is more" and will try the apple juice.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:34 AM   #5
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If possible, I would do the smoking first and finish it in the oven. So the answer is yes, you can.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:38 AM   #6
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Why wouldn't you just do it in the smoker for the whole 11 hours?

A "bag" of Hickory chunks would be waaay too much smoke. If you use maybe 6 chunks of Oak at first I would do another 6 or so chunks of Hickory and then that's all or maybe a few more the next time you add some hardwood briquettes. But much more than that and you will have a bitter taste.

Just be sure to soak your wood chunks for at least 30 minutes before adding to your hot coals.

Maybe someone else can answer this but I don't know how pre-cooking in the oven affects the smoke penetration. Would the outside already be somewhat sealed and prevent smoke penetration? It's probably a dumb question but it crossed my mind.

Edited to add: Be sure and give enough time for this chunk of meat to rest for at least 30 minutes.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:40 AM   #7
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How many pounds is your pork butt Jeekinz?
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:53 AM   #8
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I just glanced at it in the freezer after the DW brought it home. Looks to be 6 1/2 lbs. I'll check tonight.

I have lump charchoal and wood chunk for fuel. Not an electric smoker. I may "annoy" the neighborhood firing up the smoker at 6am.
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:04 PM   #9
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Lump and wood is fine (I believe it's lump for the long lasting issue and wood for the higher burning temp? - is that right Andy M?) - just be sure to have about 3 or 4 bags on hand, along with your wood chunks you will be using. I would plan on no less than 11 hours cooking time and bring it to 200° finished temperature if you can - at least in the 190's is better than nothing.

I used to have an electric smoker and while I loved it because I could leave and go do things I do like my "regular" smoker better! It makes one heck of a Thanksgiving turkey!!!
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:31 PM   #10
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Not sure what you're asking...

I believe lump burns hotter and faster than briquettes. I would also expect it to burn hotter than wood, but there are several factors that effect the result. The size of the wood pieces, the type of wood, how dry it is and how much you use.

If the wood is just for the smoke, you would be using small chunks soaked in water to slow the burn and make smoke. The charcoal would provide the fuel and the wood would provide the smoke.

If you are intending to use hardood logs for heat, they need to be dry. Logs will last longer than the lump.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:43 PM   #11
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I read that soaking is unnescessary, even soaked overnight.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:46 PM   #12
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You get more smoke for longer if you soak.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz
I read that soaking is unnescessary, even soaked overnight.
I was always under the impression that soaking for about 30 minutes helped them smolder and smoke versus just burning when added to the hot coals. I could be wrong - someone else can chime in here. I'm not a believer in much more than 30 minutes though - only so much water can soak into wood.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:38 PM   #14
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All About Smoke Woods - The Virtual Weber Bullet

About 1/4 of the way down the page.

This is why it gets so confusing. One read contradicts another.....and another. I'm jumping in head first, we'll see what happens.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:06 PM   #15
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Try not soaking and track the results. Another time, try soaking and compare.
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:28 PM   #16
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Jeekinz

I hesitate to comment due to your already information overload, but I will offer some suggestions.

First, make up your mind if you want to BBQ the pork butt, or cook it in the oven.
Either way with proper cooking methods you can produce an excellent product.
However; if you have just gotta do it both ways. Start on your bbq cooker, and then go inside. But why do that? Ya have already got the cooker going!

To soak or not to soak (flavoring wood) is a debate that has gone on for years at both amateur and professional levels, and will continue for several more years I am certain. Either will work if the pit master has control of his fire! So, for us back yard chefs to make it simple do this: Wrap your flavoring wood (chips or chunks) in aluminum foil, poke a few small holes in it and lay it on your coals. The wood will produce smoke, and not flame out due to lack of oxygen. You will get plenty of smoke, use less wood, and not cause temperature spikes due to flaming of your flavoring wood.

How long to cook it?? Until it’s done! Take your wrist watch off, and turn your clocks around backwards. Get yourself a thermometer. When it reaches 185*190* it’s done.
Take it off and let it rest until drops down to around 150*. Put on some rubber gloves and pull it.

Start with room temperature meat. Have your cooker stabilized at around 215* 225* at the cooking surface. (A simple oven thermometer for 10 bucks works great) Start your cook, set back and relax, sip on your favorite beverage, tell your wife she’s pretty, pat your dog on the head. The object is to have fun and….

Enjoy!


More later………

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Old 06-12-2007, 07:08 PM   #17
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Jeekinz...

A couple more suggestions.

There are as many opinions about fuel sources etc, as there are people who visit this forum. Most would agree (all things considered) that lump coal burns hotter and faster than briquettes, and that briquettes burn somewhat longer. Others would argue than pure wood coals (not flaming wood) are best. Where a long cook is planned in the case of a pork butt, I suggest you use briquettes as your primary source of heat started in a charcoal chimney. Any additional briquettes added during the cook need to be started in the same manner. Lump coal can be added directly to the fire. Its pure charcoal with no additives, binders etc. that can affect food taste. The only wood needed is the flavoring wood as I described earlier. If you choose to use wood coals then you will need two fires. One made of coals (not flaming wood) in the cooker. The other fire burning separately produces hot coals to replenish your cooker (coals) fire. I love food cooked with pure hardwood coals
But it is a lot of hard work. The simplest, easiest method is briquettes and flavoring wood!

How much smoke? The unfortunate misuse of this word has lead to many, many good pieces of good meat being ruined! Meat cooked for hours (briskets, pork butts, etc) can easily take on to much smoke. I suggest you start with as little smoke as possible. Gradually you can add more on subsequent cooks to achieve your and your family’s personal taste. Hopefully sooner rather than later you will discover that over smoked, blackened meat does not taste good! A couple of hours or less of light smoke at the onset of the cook is plenty. More than this and you run the risk of producing a piece of meat that is reminiscent of a black cast iron pot, rather than a nice golden/amber piece of BBQed meat.

The bottom line is, for amateur cooks like us, use briquettes and small amounts of flavoring woods when doing a long cook. Your wife will love you for it, and you kids want have to order out pizza. Good Luck!

Have fun, and Enjoy!
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:20 PM   #18
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lots of good info ...
butts are hard to do wrong as long as you keep it low and slow ..
good luck
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Old 06-12-2007, 09:20 PM   #19
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Uncle Bob,

Your second post has answered, and confirmed, many questions....and your post makes total sense. However, the briquette method you describe, would that be over direct or indirect cooking? Can I use the briquettes in the side fire box or offset in the main grill area? Lastly, if I were to use 100% wood coals, and having a second fire to prepare them, what would you recommend I use as a housing for it? I could use my fireplace but I would be heating up the house at the same time...doh!

Are you familliar with the Minion Method of grilling? Any tips?

I agree, I'll leave it in the smoker. Thanks, Uncle B.
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:39 AM   #20
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Do what Andy said. Smoke for 4 hours at 225-250* (no higher at any point in the cooking sequence!!) and then finish in the oven. There is plenty of smoke in that amount of time--even too much. Then finish for about 6 hours in the oven at 250* (because the "real" temp in the smoker was probably not all the way up to 250*).
It is easier to do this without all the hassle of keeping a fire going. The end result will be just as good--crusty, brown, succulent.
Be careful not to use an actively burning wood or charcoal. It needs to be embers/coals. Actively burning wood will give off an acrid smoke.
If using wood, start it in another container and shovel in the coals
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