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First Pork Shoulders - Problems

FisheyesFisheyes Posts: 40
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
This weekend, I tried my first overnight cook of Pork Shoulders. My wife went a little overboard and got two big 11 pounders. So, I had to really pack them into the egg. I followed a lot of direction from some veteran eggers on the internet. I loaded up the firebox with Mali's lump and had the temp steady at 200 F. Everything was going great for the first 13 hours.[p]After 13 hours, the temp started to fall. I opened it up, but I could not get any heat. I was steady at about 175 F for a long time. Unfortunately, the temp of the meat started to fall. After I decided to open the egg and investigate, I found that the lump had almost all burned off and the airholes were clogged with soot. No air, small amount of lump, and no heat.[p]I ended up doing a big no-no and moving the meat to the oven to finish the cook, wrapped in tin foil. It still ended up fantastic, but I was really bummed out that I had to cheat and take the meat off the egg. It hurt my BGE pride a little bit.[p]How do the pros handle this issue of the lump burning out? Do a mid-cook clean out? Use better lump? Any siggestions will help.[p]Thanks,
Brad

Comments

  • Fisheyes,
    What brand of lump? You say to the top of the firebox, but you can/should load it up about 1/2 way up the fire ring. [p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,121
    Fisheyes,
    some lumps dont burn long enough so a better lump may be needed. that might not be the problem though. when doing these long cooks i used to fill the egg so that the center of the lump was a little higher than the fire ring (the grill was actually balancing on some lump).that much is not needed if you have a long burning lump, but i still fill to about a half inch to the grill. on long burns its also important to shake the bottom grid thru the lower vent, you can do this with a bent coathanger and it also helps to push lump from the sides to the center of the fire box as ive had a few "center burns" where the sides didnt catch. staring the cook at a highr temp 250-275 also helps and let the temps drop to about 210-220 when the butt hits the plataue stage is easier than holding that lower temp that you had cooked at.

  • Fisheyes,
    I've done a number of shoulders and butts and have never run out of fuel. (I have had the fire go out though!) When you say "loaded up the firebox", what do you mean? I usually have my lump partway up the firering for a low and slow. And 200 seems a bit low to me when that's the temp you're heading for. I shoot for 230.[p]Finally, you did the right thing by swallowing your pride and using your oven. There is much at stake when dinner is involved! Plus, you probably got most of the egg benefit from the 13+ hours.[p]Hope this helps.[p]Paul

  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 154
    Fisheyes,
    It sounds to me like you did not have enough lump - also what type (brand) are you using, it sounds odd that your air holes are so clogged. I load my lump 1/2 way or even a tad more up the fire ring that sits on top of the firebox. I can hold 250 for over 20 hours. I use Wicked Good Lump, but have also used BGE Lump over night before too with no issues.[p]Glad it was still yummy! You MUST try it again! Do not let it discourage you!

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Essex County,
    i agree[p]13 hours is plenty of egg time

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Fisheyes,[p]I'm with fishlessman on a little higher temp to start off, espically when putting that much cold meat into the cooker. As far as the ash clog, I get a little more agressive with the WoodyWiggle and stick the coathanger up through several of the holes & shake the lump. Also make sure your firebox grate is not upside down. The bevel side of the holes should be facing the ash compartment (if they are toward the lump, they clog easier). [p]~thirdeye~

    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Fisheyes,
    Wicked Good lump is the only way to go. It may be a little more expensive than you are used to paying but I can load my large with WG half way up the fire ring - larger pieces on the bottom moving up to the chip sized stuff. I've had 20 hour cooks and still had enough lump left to cook dinner for 3 or 4 nights. I think it's worth the investment to have WG in the shed all the time. You can always mix it with some of the cheaper charcoal. Not sure I see the eeconomy in it though.[p]May want to think about using a dome temp of 250º it seems to be a much easier temp to maintain for people. It's all a great learning curve and the forum will be here for you. You're doing great!

  • PoppasamPoppasam Posts: 440
    Fisheyes, I've also got 20 hour cooks out a full load of Green Egg lump. At contests after about ten hours I will lift the plate setter, grill, and product out. Then stir the lump to knock the ashes down and add more lump so I don't have to even think about making the total cook time. Then replace set up and watch for a few minutes to make sure it's stable. A bent coat hanger used to stir the lump down the side and shaking it thru the grate helps also.[p]Were you cooking full shoulders?[p]Good Eggin' to You,
    Poppasam

  • Poppasam,
    Thanks to you and everyone else that replied. I only filled the lump to the edge of the firebox. I probably should have used more. I was using lump bought at Lee's called Mali's. It seems to be pretty good.[p]I like the idea about stiring things up after 10 hours or so. I also will plan to cook a little hotter next time. I think that 200 may have been a little too low, as the temp did drop down below 200 for some time.[p]The pork still turned out very good. It had great BGE taste and was still really juicy. So, I guess all was not lost.[p]Now I have a great excuse to try again soon. The dent in my pride will heal.[p]Thanks,
    Brad

  • PoppasamPoppasam Posts: 440
    Fisheyes,The dent tuned out good so don't worry be happy. I use to tell my students,"Show me someone that makes no mistakes and I'll show you someone that never tries anything new." At least Egg Mistakes are good most of the time.
    I still consider myself a rookie but the Forum sure has helped my learning curve. Great group of folks here that always help you in a second. Has also helped me get my typing up to about ten words a minute using two fingers instead of one!! [p]Have Fun Eggin"
    Poppasam

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