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Lil' help on my first butt please. . .

WashogWashog Posts: 58
edited 2:42PM in EggHead Forum
I've read all the threads pertaining to butts along with Elder Ward's recipe and I've decided to try and duplicate the cooking method of Ward's. I have a few questions and as always, I hoping the great folkes here will come through with great tips. First, I like the idea of starting out with a clean egg so I cleaned out all the ashes and coles, removed the ceramic ring and cleaned out the ash box. So from that perspective I'm ready. I think I will pass on sifting through my bag of lump cole sorting into the three differnt sizes, but I do plan on filling the fire box by hand instead of dumping the bag. Question 1... ( I know, you thought I'd never get to it) Elder's directions say fill to the top of the fire box. Exactly where is the top of the fire box? Question 2... I like the idea of starting the coles from the top, letting a fist full of coals glow, then put my pork on to allow the smoke to penetrate, I plan on using the amount of wood per the instructions. Elder gives two methods of lighting the cole, using a small piece of fire place lighter or Use a Chimney and put a fist full lump in it with a news paper. Here's my question. Can you use an electric lighter in place of the 1 inch fire place stick and if so, how would you do it? If I can't use an electric lighter, I'll go to the store and buy some lighter sticks unless someone can explain to me what the heck Elder calls a chimney in his second method. Next Elder says you can use a heat defector (pizza stone) and drip pan and again I like the idea, however, my experience with heat defectors is limited to cooking pork at higher temps. The low temp cook needed for butt using a heat defector concerns me a bit. I'm afraid that if I'm going to maintain the cooking temp with a pizza stone and drip pan, my coals will burn out before the butt is done. My question is, am I being paranoid? Next Elder recommends a cooking temp of around 195. Every post I've read has said at least 200 deg until the plateau. Elder also suggests putting the butt on at 11 pm to serve the next evening at 5 or 6 pm. Again, all the posts I've read seem to indicate a longer time is to be expected. I am cooking two butts. One is 5.16 lbs and the other is 5.60 lbs. Here's my last question. Is Elders cooking temp and time on the money? [p]As always, thanks in advance. Everytime I've come here you guys have given me excellent advice.[p]Scott A. Springfield, Mo

Comments

  • WashogWashog Posts: 58
    I just noticed I misspelled coal. Sorry, it's getting late.
  • Washog,
    A chimney is one of those things that looks like an oversized coffee pot, open at the top and at the bottom (slightly) that you fill with lump/charcoal and a bit of newspaper, which starts your glowing coal action. I've never used one, but they work fine for everyone who has. Electric fire starters are just fine, pull it when you've got some flame action.[p]Yes, you have to use something to deflect the heat so you don't burn up your meat and also, to help you stabilize a steady, slow and low temperature for many hours. I suppose a pizza stone could work fine, but I'm not sure it has sufficient mass to help the stabiization process as well as a plate setter, or firebricks would.[p]I would recommmend you try to maintain your dome temp between 225 and 250--lots of Eggsters here seem to subscribe to that, and it will still give you a sufficiently low, long cook for the process of getting to that magic plateau and beyond. Much easier to control than 195-200, too! Plus, when you hit the hay, if your cook slows down, a drop from 250 is a lot better than 195![p]Look inside your Egg. The firebox is the very bottom portion that sits lowest, next followed by the fire ring which is just above it (like a big collar, and that's what your grid sits on. Load lump into the firebox so that the biggest pieces are sitting over the holes on the bottoms and sides, so as not to impede air flow (little pieces can get lodged in the holes), and fill that firebox all the way up, and maybe a wee bit higher into the area adjacent to the fire ring--better safe than sorry!
    When some of the others rise and shine, you'll have some more advice comin' at ya!! Bon Eggetit!
    Big Murth

  • MarkMark Posts: 295
    Washog,
    If your egg sits in a place that is easily washed down I would suggest cleaning it out with the hose, the whole thing, every nook and cranny, a lot easier than taking the thing apart, then lite your fire. Don't worry about the water, it will dry. I might suggeat a plate setter for heat deflection, they work great. Also a temp of 225-250 is much easier to mantain than 200. As far as the 195 opposed to 200, I've done both and can't find much differance. If it's at 195 and your hungry, eat, if not wait for 200. By the way let the butt sit 30-45 minutes after it comes off. And by all means don't raise the lid every 20 minutes, you do have a Polder? Good luck.
    Mark

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Washog,[p]Here I am on this soapbox again, but with so many new people showing up here all the time, I feel it needs to be said. When I got my Egg, 3-4 years ago, I found this website in its very early beginnings. It had only been around for a few monthes, as I recall. There were few, very very few, recipes then but Elder, JJ, C~W, KennyG, Mr Toad, Earl and a few others were here helping the newbies (me). There became a "race" to publish recipes - being first counts and working out all the kinks before sharing it with the forum became pretty common. Elder is certainly a wonderful WordSmith and it's fun reading his pulled pork dissertation - BUT - just as the Wright Bros made the first plane, it has since been improved and changed. Elder's Pulled Pork recipe is very good, and an excellant primer for the new user, but there have been improvements or changes that many would make to his recipe. The biggest, in my opinion, is to suggest 200 deg dome temp to a new user. It's hard to hold 200 for a novice user and very difficult for the experienced user. The fires are very apt to go out with that low temp. Using 200 deg also increases the cook by hours over using a 250 deg temp for the cook. [p]I also don't think much of the starter chimney or sorting lump - but then everyone here knows that by now.[p]Tim -- Merry Xmas to all
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Washog,
    Great advice below already! I find using 200 is painful for me. The cook progresses very very slowly, it is harder to maintain, and cooking times become unpredictable. Like I said, this is for me...some seem to enjoy using 200.[p]If you go with 225-250, your butts will probably take 12-15 hours.[p]Have a blast with the cook...and the eatin!
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
    Washog,
    As the others have told you - 200 degrees is very hard to maintain. Cook your first butts at 250 degree dome temp. It will be much easier to maintain. The cooking time will also be reduced. I've never done a butt larger than 4-1/2 pounds so I can't really tell you how long it will take (I would guess 12-14 hours). I can't seem to find butts that large in my area. The secret to cooking good butt is to keep it in the plateau temp range as long as possible. That will tenderize and de-fat the pork so that when done it will pull apart very easily with only small pockets of fat remaining.[p]As for the fire - DON'T sort the lump. Just place a few large pieces of lump over the air holes in the fire box to keep them from plugging up then dump in the rest of the lump. I've never used an electric starter so I can't help you much there. I use Webber starter cubes. I place one on top of the pile of lump then place a couple of pieces of lump on top of the cube. After they start to burn I place my smoking wood chunks (I use hickory when cooking butt) on top of the pile of lump.[p]I usually cook my butts on a "V" rack. The rack sits in a disposable aluminum foil drip pan. Sometimes I just use a piece of alum. foil under the V rack. [p]Hope this helps.[p]Have a great holiday and a happy new Beer.[p]Mr Beer

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Mr Beer,
    Ooooo. Happy New Beer. I like it![p]Best of the weekend, and holidays to ya.
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
  • Washog,
    agree with fellow eggers... cook that hog at 225-250...
    if you cook it at 195, i don't think you'll eat it til Christmas...
    :) Pup

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