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Need help with first butt cook.... T.I.A.

EggineerEggineer Posts: 30
edited 9:35PM in EggHead Forum
Guys and Gals....
My new egg arrives Tomorrow (w/ plate setter).
Wicked Good Competition Blend came in today....
Maverick ET-73 and Bear Paws also came in today.
I've read the posts, now it's time to show the wife what a good investment the egg was.
I want to make pulled pork for about 14 people, so here are my questions....
How much meat should I buy?
What is the best way to light the lump to achieve the right temp (I'll buy a chimney or MAP torch if I need to)?
What should I rub the meat with (too late to get any Dizzy Pig)?
How many wood chunks sould I use (what is the best way to use them)?
This will be my very first cook on the egg, so I need your advice.
Thanks in advance for all your help.
I look forward to seeing you guys at upcoming egg fests and to dumping my gasser off at the scrap yard.


  • Smokin BobSmokin Bob Posts: 239
    Eggineer,[p]I pretty much use the Dizzy Pig method however you can also find numerous accounts if you go to the bottom of the forum page and use the Google Search function...
    [ul][li]Dizzy Pig Pulled Pork[/ul]
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Let me first say...trying pulled pork for your first cook is awfully brave.....there is a "slight" learning curve to holding temps, and cooking butts is an all night cook. If the maverick will monitor pit temp and meat temp you may be all right, or you may not get any sleep that night because you are constantly making damper adjustments..with that said, let me try to answer your should get 2 maybe 3 7-8# butts. I prefer to light the lump with just a cube starter....fill the firebox with lump all the way to the fire ring...wicked good is much harder to get lit than BGE but once it is burning you should be fine....get the temp stabile before you place the meat on the grill...rub, use any general pork rub until you can get some Dizzy Pig...wood chunks depending on the size I would use 1 chunk approx. fist size and place it in the center once the coals are burning ( not the starter) should figure 18+ hours for the cook in the 235° range, back to the no sleep comment, if your remote therm. will tell you pit temp then set it by your bed and check it frequently, if not....set your alarm clock for say 2 am and go out and check your I said earlier, after you learn to control temps steadily you will be able to sleep through the night without worry, or just buy a far as showing the wife a "good investment" trust me that will prove true in short time, you may however be taking on a big task for a first cook.....I commend you for trying.. and by all means..let us know how it turns out...HTH[p]Wess

  • Eggineer,[p]My first thought is that you don't want to cook for folks when you are trying something new but it sounds like you are committed to it, so lets hope for the best.[p]I would go for 1 really big butt (8 or 9 lbs) or two smaller ones (5 - 6 lbs each). Bone in or boneless won't matter too much. As far as rubs go, use whatever you have handy or like. Aint no real need to get carried away with a bunch of fancy stuff, especially for the first cook. I would try something like salt and pepper. Don't get me wrong though, that there Dizzy Pig stuff be mighty good and I always have some on hand (no I am not paid to mention that).[p]Next will be the fire. Just get it lit, the pork butt won't care if you use mapp or a chimney starter or an electric starter or whatever (just don't use lighter fluid in the egg!!!) to get it going. You will be trying to get the egg temp up to around 250° - 300° (pork is forgiving, so that range should do ya just fine). Just make sure that you calibrate the thermometer in boiling water first so that you know that you are getting a fairly close reading. As far as wood chunks go, I guess that you could toss in two or three fist sized chunks. They will smolder just fine with the lump during the course of the cook.[p]Set the egg up with the platesetter as I am sure that others have shown you once you have your temp up. Then toss on the pork. It's gonna be cooking for along time. A real long time. I would guess that depending on the temp (closer to 250°) and 1 large pork butt (instead of 2 smaller ones) will take a lot longer than the other options. Maybe as long as 18- 20 hours. At the higher temps I can see it being finished up in as little as 10-12 hours. Either way you will be looking for an temp of about 195°, or when the butt is more like a jello and the bone acts like it can come free without effort. If it's done before the guests are there then just wrap it up in foil and then let it sit in a preheated (use warm water) ice chest (sans ice) until ready to serve. Just open it up, shred, and throw on cheap buns.[p]If it aint done when the guests arrive and are ready to eat then order a pizza. I prefer something like pepperoni mushrooms.[p]Good luck,

  • PainterPainter Posts: 464
    South O,
    Very good and honest response.

  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    Eggineer[p]One small addendum to WessB's comments: You have the Maverick ET-73 - its a good one. But if you intend to take it very far from the Egg, like to your bedside, please make very sure that it can receive the signals from the sending unit. The specs say that it receives up to 100 feet (or whatever) but I've found that mine will not receive 40 feet away where it has to pass through a single brick/block wall. And it won't receive from 25 feet when it passes through one brick and two old fashion plaster walls (not sheetrock.) You can tell if its receiving because the little symbol near the top of the screen will flash every second or three - if it doesn't flash, it isn't receiving. So don't rely on it unless you are sure . . . as WessB says, set your alarm to wake you every couple hours. BTW, on my first butt the Egg held perfect temps for about 4-5 hours and then started to slide - I caught it at 2 AM with the grill temp just above 200 degrees and nudged it back up - it held the rest of the night perfectly but my insecurity meant that I woke up more frequently during the night. [p]And as South O says, you are a brave man to make this your first cook for company! ;>)
  • EggineerEggineer Posts: 30
    Thanks for all the wisdom. What a great bunch of guys!!!
    Regarding the sleep, we have a newborn, so I'll check when it's diaper changing time. I hope I don't screw this up. I can certainly follow directions. Will let you all know how it turns out.

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    <p />Eggineer,[p]Well, here are two pictures of what you're shootin' for. [p]eb5545fd.jpg[p]I wish you the best of luck on your first cook. Please remember that barbecuing is a technique, it’s not a recipe or a science and it is not always as easy as it looks due to the number of variables you may have to adjust for. Making good barbecue is an art that takes time, patience and practice. I am the first one to admit that the Egg is the most forgiving and one of the easiest cookers I have ever used, but like WessB said, you are very brave to do a butt on your first cook especially when guests are involved. [p]It’s a good idea to keep a log of your early cooks so you will know what works and what you need to adjust. Include cooker set-up, weight of meat, rub type, wood used, grate temperature, cooking time and temperature, bastes, sauces etc. This will be valuable for you later on. Be sure to let us know how it turns out.[p]

    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 21,368
    make sure to read all 4 parts of elder wards pulled pork directions. you will have a much easier time maintaining temps at 250 to 275 for your first cook, and i would get up every 3 hours during the night to check on things. my first cook on the egg was pulled pork. i would do 2 8 pounders so that you have leftovers. after such a cook its unsatisfying not to have leftovers

    [ul][li]elder ward[/ul]
  • BuzzBuzz Posts: 63
    Eggineer,[p]The already gave you some good advice above. I doff my chef's hat is off to you for trying an overnighter on your first outing.[p]Since this is your first time, I'll give a lot of detail. Hope it helps.[p]Safety first. I keep a pair of leather welding gloves around. They are good for handling anything hot and you never know when you might need to do that. I also put one on before opening the dome unless it has been cooking in low n' slow mode for a long time. (A fire extinguisher is also a good thing to have close by.)[p]My rule of thumb is that 2 lbs of uncooked meat is enough for 5 servings. I think I read on The Naked Whiz's site that you should count men for 2 servings and women/children as 1. I try buy a piece of meat just a bit bigger and have never gone wrong with that formula.[p]When possible, I apply the rub several hours or even the day before cooking then wrap it tighly in cling wrap. It won't see the air again until it is ready to go directly on the cooker.[p]Plan for a cooking time of 2-2.5 hours per pound. Shoot for the pork to be done 2-3 hours before dinner time. Holding the pork wrapped in foil in a cooler is a lot better than having hungry, impatient guests standing around waiting.[p]I like to get the fire going and let the egg warm up without the platesetter and grid. It is just fine to let the egg run at a stable temperature 30 minutes or even longer before putting anything in. Since this is your first cook, I'd advise allowing plenty of time to stabilze the fire. Nothing wrong with letting it run for an hour. If my dome thermometer is reading a steady temp of 250-275 or so, that is just fine. (YMMV)[p]I make a disposable tray out of aluminum foil and put on top of the inverted platesetter. This catches drippings from the meat and keeps the grease off the platesetter. The platesetter is cleaner to handle if it isn't all gunked up.[p]The reason I let it warm without the platesetter is so I can add my hickory chunks easily. I put one good sized piece on the top and another piece or two outside the current hot spot. Then I put the platesetter, foil drip tray, grid, meat, and temp probes all at once. While the dome is open, I try to work fast so that the fire doesn't blaze up due to the extra air rushing in. Unless something goes wrong, I hope not to open the dome again until I take off the meat at the end of the cook.[p]The wires on the Maverick don't like to be exposed to open flames. If you position the plate setter correctly, you can run the wires out on top of one of the legs and they will be protected from flames from below.[p]When I first put in the Maverick cooker probe, it will read 50-75 degrees lower than my dome thermometer. This is okay. You'll see the temp rise as the plate setter and meat warm up.[p]A fire will keep going at 230 degrees F with the vents only open a sliver. It is much easier to raise the temp a few degrees than lower it. Your ideal cooking temperature is between 230-250 degrees at the grid, but anything below 275 will work just fine. Once you get a stable grid temp at 250 degrees +/- 25 degrees, stop fooling with the vents.[p]As you've no doubt read, the pork temp will rise pretty quickly until the temperature plateau somewhere around 160-170 degrees. Have faith, it will eventually break through. Pull it off at 200 degrees.[p]If the Maverick remote loses communication with the base unit, you have to turn off the base unit and turn it back on.[p]I do set the alarm on the Maverick to beep if the cooker drops below 200 degrees or goes above 275 degrees. My experience is that the cooker temp usually varies less than 10 degrees once it is stabilzed but I don't really want to adjust unless it really goes out of range.[p]Finally, resist the temptation to open the dome or constantly fiddle with the vents. [p]Good luck!
  • CdnQerCdnQer Posts: 23

    What wealth of information! Now I am interested in attempting this as well.

    Could I pull it off without the high tech equipement? ie No Maverick or Guru?

    Any tips?

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