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BBQ newbie's take on Butts
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SimonSmokes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 9:03 am    Post subject: BBQ newbie's take on Butts Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

just joined these forums a couple of days ago, and just bought a WSM as my first smoker about 3 weeks ago. So far i have done ribs twice, one being a near disaster and the other one definitively a good step in the right direction, but still requiring much tweaking (have a feeling the steam from foiling too long messed up the meat texture...or i didnt let it out of the foil long enough afterward...).

I have now very successfully cold smoked salmon and bacon back to back, which brought my confidence high enough to attempt my next cook : pulled pork (i hear its a forgiving cut, so one step at a time !)

Now, as with all BBQ items, everyone has their own little tweaks on things, and the information vary widly. i get a feeling that some times/temps are just way off, so i would like to know the general guidelines i should try to follow. Here's the info i think is good to start with :

- Smoker's temp : 225-250 degrees

- pork internal temp before taking it off : 190-200

- set in foil about 1h, (most seems to do this in a cooler, but i dont have that. should I just put it in my largest pot, fill it with towels and such to encapsulate and close ? or is regular foil rest on the counter good enough ? also, how many of you put it back on the smoker after the foil phase in order for the bark to kick some of that humidity off?)

-as of planning the times ahead, some say 1h 1/2 to 2h per pound ? (i know its done when its done, but just to get a general idea of when to start it so it should be rdy at approximately x hour)

-I intend to give 2 sauce choices, Roxy's SC Mustard and some other red sauce...any suggestions on a fabulous red type sauce to go with pulled pork ?

-I was also planning to put a pan under my butt to gather the juices and get some of that in the finished product to keep it moist and make sure the pork flavor is there over the taste of the sauces. Good idea or not ? some of you use that as base for BBQ sauce instead of something ?
-Coleslaw is a must, but i cant decide what's best inside the pulled pork sandwitch...mayonaise or vinaigre based ? not a huge mayonaise fan myself so i'm thinking to go the vinaigre route.

-I intend on using a simple injection, mostly cause i bought the needle when i got the WSM and it's gonna be my first use...I guess ppl recommend injecting and letting the meat rest over night ? kind of like a marinate for the interior ?

-after that i wanted to only put a dry rub on, let it sit over night, and start with a cold piece of meat in the smoker, after having applied another shot of dry rub.


So...am I rdy to go ?

Thanks for the replies, my readings on these forums have been great so far, looking foward to this information sharing !

SimonSmokes
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Canadian Bacon
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring SimonSmokes,sounds like you are already to go,i really can't add anything to what you have already layed out.....good luck and post some pics.
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DJW
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard,SS...I'd put the pan UNDER the Butt to catch the juices,and not actually have the Butt IN a pan....then ya can use whats in the pan to mop,along with...........
(I use about 2 cups Apple juice with about 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's).

But that's just my choice,I'm sure there's some way you'd want to "personalize" yours.

Also.....I use a piece of aluminum rod(rounded at one end) to take the place of my temp guage after I check temps,i THINK it helps keep the temp guage hole from running.

One of the best things about this Q'n thing,is all the practicin'
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Mr Tony's BBQ
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting to know your smoker will mandate time....in my Lang, I can easily finish to 200 in 1 hr / pound at 225 - 250 - being a RF, it gets heat off the RF pan, speeding things up [?] anyhow- every cooker has its thing...I put in pan and foil the pan at 160 - sometimes....it does take from the bark! I have also put back in its drippings from pan below, let rest, and pull - no foil at all.....after a few you will learn what you like best [ maybe the family will help make that decision Confused ]
I have never injected a butt, only dry rub the night before - and no need to baste due to drippings hitting RF plate, turning them to steam....works for me, your results will vary....just keep on smokin!
Sounds like you are on the road to a great meal!
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SimonSmokes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah i definitively meant to put the tray under...not the meat in a tray. If i already fill the water bowl of the WSM, i dont know how much liquid i should put in that pan in order for the fat/juices that drop to not dry out and burn. I'm used to higher temperature cooking where you absolutely need some liquid to collect, but i'm guessing with temps around 225-250 you dont need much liquid at all.

as for the injection, yeah i'm sure it's fine without, and i'll make sure to test it out that way next time and try to compare. Like i said, i just have this huge needle that needs some stabbing time !

Tnx for you guys' posts. Any suggestion on the 2nd sauce ?
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard SimonSmokes
Sounds like you have done your research and have a plan of attack.
Smoker's temp : 225-250 degrees Yep
pork internal temp before taking it off : 190-200 Mostly right, sometimes 205
Don't have a cooler? Use a microwave or oven, instead. After resting don't put it back on the smoker. Pull it.
Your times sound good. Just add a couple more for rest and cooker startup.
I don't use a pan nor do I foil during the cook.
Roxy's SC mustard is great. Red is whatever you like. Sweet, sweet with heat or just flat arse hot.
I don't inject my butt. Shocked It is moist enough as is.
You can rub and wrap the night before if you want. I pull from the fridge, hit it with the rub and throw it on a preheated smoker.

Good luck and take pics.

Edit: Here is a list of regional sauces to look at.
http://www.amazingribs.com/search_results.html?cx=partner-pub-8128519037824464%3A4hk0pwverq6&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=sauce+recipes&sa=Search+AmazingRibs.com&siteurl=amazingribs.com%2Frecipes%2FBBQ_sauces%2Fkansas_city_classic_BBQ_sauce.html#944
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Soapm
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jarhead wrote:
I don't inject my butt. Shocked It is moist enough as is.


I hate when that happens. Makes the TP stick... Smile
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SimonSmokes
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i guess i have to suck at search engine, but i'm having a hard time finding a definite thread on the pros and cons of a variety of thermometer for the smokers (i have a wsm), some double probe unit i guess, remote or not. All i hear is that the maverick et-73 is a hit and miss (with lots of misses!), but i cant find the info on what you guys found out were some of the better ones (in the reasonable price, ie <100$).

at first i thought about just getting the thermapen and do a quick reading, but the more and more i read i see that for BBQ its very nice to just monitor the settings without lifting the dome.

oh well, i'll keep searching ! if there's a sticky i missed, or an epic thread ppl refer to, let me know

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Jason_Florida
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16 10 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, the best sauce for pulled pork that I have found is a Carolina style vinegar sauce. There are many variations on the recipe, but basically cider vinegar, a little brown sugar, a pinch or 2 of crushed red pepper, and a dash or 2 of hot sauce. You can also add a little bbq sauce or ketchup if you want.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17 10 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there are a hundred smokers answering, I'll bet each one has tried 2 or 3 different methods so now you have three hundred definitive answers about what did or didn't work for them on their pit, under the conditions they cooked in.

Your best bet is find one of the many that you want to try, cooked either on the same pit you have or using an ingredient that you like your meat to have, give it a try, see if it works for you in your circumstances, if it works stick with it, if it doesn't work come back and tell us about that cook, and repeat the process with another technique.

Until you find out for yourself what works or doesn't work for you, it's all just so much blown smoke. Wink Laughing Wink
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Bunqui
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17 10 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you're good to go. In addition to the red sauces I would recommend looking at the Alabama White Sauce recipes for pulled pork. It's a mayo based sauce that to me is lighter and a nice change to heavier, sweeter sauces. Smile

As for a thermometer a good chef's stick thermo is relatively cheap and easy to calibrate. For a remote one I picked up a nice unit at ValdeMart for $13 on sale that works just as well as the $100 unit. Hey, cheap sometimes works... Very Happy
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KAKid
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17 10 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jarhead wrote:
Welcome aboard SimonSmokes
Sounds like you have done your research and have a plan of attack.
Smoker's temp : 225-250 degrees Yep
pork internal temp before taking it off : 190-200 Mostly right, sometimes 205
Don't have a cooler? Use a microwave or oven, instead. After resting don't put it back on the smoker. Pull it.
Your times sound good. Just add a couple more for rest and cooker startup.
I don't use a pan nor do I foil during the cook.
Roxy's SC mustard is great. Red is whatever you like. Sweet, sweet with heat or just flat arse hot.
I don't inject my butt. Shocked It is moist enough as is.
You can rub and wrap the night before if you want. I pull from the fridge, hit it with the rub and throw it on a preheated smoker.


SoEzzy wrote: "Until you find out for yourself what works or doesn't work for you, it's all just so much blown smoke."

What SoEzzy said+++. Everyone is right, and nobody's wrong. (with apologies to Buffalo Springfield)

My whole "procedure" is exactly like Jarhead's. I put the foiled butt in the oven (off) to rest. I'm rarely cooking anything else in it at the same time.
I do keep a log of all my cooks, and critique it soon after eating. Helps me remember what TO DO and what NOT TO DO on later cooks. I have bouts of CRS. Laughing

To answer your last question---Yeah, you're ready to go.
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ckone
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17 10 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you are good to go. I do vinegar slaw with my PP, I don't care for mayo that much. It really is a matter of opinion.
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SimonSmokes
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what are you guys using to keep track of the temps ?

ideally without having to open the lid.
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Jo Jo
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use an inexpensive digital probe thermometer that stays in the cooker at meat level. Bought it at Wally World for $14.95. Works great.
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Rockpyle
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
If there are a hundred smokers answering, I'll bet each one has tried 2 or 3 different methods so now you have three hundred definitive answers about what did or didn't work for them on their pit, under the conditions they cooked in.

Your best bet is find one of the many that you want to try, cooked either on the same pit you have or using an ingredient that you like your meat to have, give it a try, see if it works for you in your circumstances, if it works stick with it, if it doesn't work come back and tell us about that cook, and repeat the process with another technique.

Until you find out for yourself what works or doesn't work for you, it's all just so much blown smoke. Wink Laughing Wink


I agree, although reading the 300 definitive answers helps to define the envelope. Having the options in mind as you see what works and doesn't work for your particular setup should help guide the process better.

Rock
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with JoJO- I use a el-cheapo remote that I made sure is calibrated to keep an eye on my temps. I make a little holder out of foil to keep it off the grate and so far it has worked great for me. I use a char-griller and my brother in law has a WSM that I really like. I have used it twice and it is almost "idiot proof" in my opinion. Not saying your an idiot!!! I rub my boston butts with a mustard slather and then hit it with my own rub blend, which is something you should really start working on. Like the others here have said-it's the practicing that makes the cooking fun. Good luck and make sure you post pics!!
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rockpyle wrote:
I agree, although reading the 300 definitive answers helps to define the envelope. Having the options in mind as you see what works and doesn't work for your particular setup should help guide the process better.

Rock


IMO some folks get too hooked on the information overload available on the Internet, and can run in circles never actually pulling the trigger and cooking anything anyway, because they want the definitive answer to all the questions they can think to ask.

Sometimes I think you are better reading a little, and practicing a lot!

If the first one you try doesn't meet your expectations, read some more and try some more, it's only going to work on your set up, when it works on your setup, until one gets off the fence and picks one way to try it the first time, you can roll around in the theory but still not get anywhere!

JM2C, I learned more in a winter of practicing two and three times every week, than I ever did by just reading about smoking, because I learned what flavors and techniques worked on my pits, for my family, with the meat, wood, and charcoal mixes I used!

It gave me a basis to continue to refine those things I like to do, and how I like to do them.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whichever way you decide, make a smoker log.
That way if you screw it up you won't do it again or if it's great, you will know how you got there.

Edit to add log
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/cookinglog.html
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Last edited by Jarhead on Thu Nov 18 10 5:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Big Ron
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18 10 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you got some good info here. As for me I rub the night before with a low sodium rub, pull out and let sit at room temp until the smoker gets up to temp, dust again with a low sodium rub and smoke at 250 until at least 165 or when the bark looks good. Wrap in foil and keep cooking until 200, pull wrap again in a clean piece of foil and then wrap in a towel and in a cooler for at least one hour. When time to eat, pull out of foil and let sit at least 30 minutes but 1 hour is better. Pull it and eat it. Very important to clean as you go as well Smile Best of luck
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