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Pulled Pork - Help Please

GaryinchicagoGaryinchicago Posts: 22
edited 3:49AM in EggHead Forum
Hello. I have an XL BGE and want to do a pulled pork. While I am not a complete newbie, I have not done a long cook like this before. I have so many question related to set up and getting the temp right along with how to have proper smoke. Could someone please help answer the following with as much detail as possible?

1. How to start it properly? I have heard that the right way is to load it with lump and get it going with the top off and bottom vent completely open. Then close the lid and let it get up to 500 or 600 degrees.

2. when do I add the place setter, wood chunks and chips and food? After getting the temp up to 500 do i first shut the vents and get it down to 230 for my low and slow cook and then add all of these items?

3. How much wood chunk or chips to add for a long cook like pork shoulder? Do you soak them? Will what I add initially last for the entire cook? Do you have to add more along the way? How much smoke should I smell or see if I am only cooking at 230?

4. The biggest thing I have struggled with is getting the temp down to 230 or so. Once I get it going so it is really lit and up to 500 or so, it seems like I have to completely shut both top and bottom and wait a long time and it still sits around 250 or 300? What is the best way to get it lit and then back down to a temp for low and slow without nearly putting it out? Once I learn to get the temp to the right setting and get everything in there, can i really just leave it the lid shut and it will keep the temp an smoke going for 10 or more hours and on?

5. I am assuming 2 hours per pound at 230 is this how you would do a pork shoulder?

6. Do you need to inject anything into the shoulder?

7. Bone in or bone out for the shoulder?

8. any particular cut of shoulder to look for?

9. Does it need to be mopped or basted at all during the cook?

10. Any recommendations on prepartion and rub/ recipe for pulled pork would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance. I know this is a lot of questions but I thought it couldnt hurt to ask.

Comments

  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    Excuse me for sounding skeptical but,,, I am

    read this

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/elder.htm
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    1. If you let it get to 600 you will be waiting all night to get it back down. Light your fire, close the lid, then watch the temp. Start shutting down the vents as your temp reaches 250. Eventually you will stabilize at 250 with your bottom vent just barely open.

    2. Put your chunks in when you light it as well as the platesetter.

    3. 3-4 fist sized chunks will be plenty, cook at 250.

    4. Read # 1.

    5. Usually more like 1.5 hours.

    6. No.

    7. Bone in.

    8. Butt.

    9. No.

    10. There are thousands out there, check out Dizzy Pig. -RP
  • who(m)ever told you to get it rip-roaring and then back it down has never cooked on the egg. maybe they were just selling it to you....

    that's thing number one: if you want 250, don't go above 250.
  • Garyinchicago wrote:
    Hello. I have an XL BGE and want to do a pulled pork. While I am not a complete newbie, I have not done a long cook like this before. I have so many question related to set up and getting the temp right along with how to have proper smoke. Could someone please help answer the following with as much detail as possible?

    1. How to start it properly? I have heard that the right way is to load it with lump and get it going with the top off and bottom vent completely open. Then close the lid and let it get up to 500 or 600 degrees.

    Don't geaux to 500 - stop at 250

    2. when do I add the place setter, wood chunks and chips and food? After getting the temp up to 500 do i first shut the vents and get it down to 230 for my low and slow cook and then add all of these items?

    Put the PS in at 250 - temp will go down then back up to 250. When it gets back to 250, set the vents at about 1/16" open (top and bottom)

    3. How much wood chunk or chips to add for a long cook like pork shoulder? Do you soak them? Will what I add initially last for the entire cook? Do you have to add more along the way? How much smoke should I smell or see if I am only cooking at 230?

    Soak if you want to but don't need to. Put 4-5 fist sized chunks in and wait about 20 more minutes before putting the butt on. Don't need to add any during the smoke. alternatively, you could spread chips throughout the lump.

    4. The biggest thing I have struggled with is getting the temp down to 230 or so. Once I get it going so it is really lit and up to 500 or so, it seems like I have to completely shut both top and bottom and wait a long time and it still sits around 250 or 300? What is the best way to get it lit and then back down to a temp for low and slow without nearly putting it out? Once I learn to get the temp to the right setting and get everything in there, can i really just leave it the lid shut and it will keep the temp an smoke going for 10 or more hours and on?

    Don't go beyond your target temp

    5. I am assuming 2 hours per pound at 230 is this how you would do a pork shoulder?

    1-1/2 to 2 hours/#

    6. Do you need to inject anything into the shoulder?

    You can but I don't

    7. Bone in or bone out for the shoulder?

    Put it on just as it comes out of the cryovac and after you apply your rub

    8. any particular cut of shoulder to look for?

    9. Does it need to be mopped or basted at all during the cook?

    Don't look - don't mop/baste

    10. Any recommendations on prepartion and rub/ recipe for pulled pork would be appreciated.

    Google pork rub or use a commercial rub - Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust is mightyfine

    Thanks in advance. I know this is a lot of questions but I thought it couldnt hurt to ask.

    Wrap the butt up after it hits 195 and place in a cooler covered with towels for a couple hours after you take it off - makes your cooler smell good :)
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    read the elder ward recipe posted. in the cooking section change the cooking temp to 250 dome, write it in big print in that section, you want 250 dome. bring the egg to 250 dome and wait for the smoke to smell good, put the butt in. it doesnt matter if the temps vary, 220 to 275 dome and your cooking pulled pork. its a very easy cook, plan 12 to 18 hours cooking indirect. no reason to get the egg really hot first, that works against you as temps dont come down for a long time, just get it to temp and wait form the smoke to smell good, you will know when its ready
  • Read the Naked Whiz instructions linked above. Then come out to the Eggfest in Oswego on Saturday, meet some of the folks there, and we'll talk you through it. There will be food provided. ;)

    http://eggwegofest.com/

    Welcome to the forum.
  • Garyinchicago, I start my butt cook with my egg cleaned out and fresh lump up to the fire ring. I will have 3 to 6 chunks of hickory mixed in the lump.

    I lit my egg in about three places and put the plate setter in and close the dome keeping the daisy wheel off as well as the bottom vent wide open.

    As the fire spikes the dome therm (dependent on what you used to lite the lump) let the therm go past 250 degrees up to 300 then begin by closing the spark arrestor. As the dome therm continue to rise continue to close the bottom damper a little at a time.

    I never let my egg go to 500 or 600 degrees before a but cook.

    As mentioned above continue to close the bottom damper until bottom is about 1/2 inch open. Then put the daisy wheel on but wide open and slowly close it leaving the peddles open but the slider closed. You will get 250 degrees in the this configuration. I would continue heating the egg at 250 degrees with the plate setter in place for up to an hour.

    Then you can put you drip pan in and your butt. Straight out of the refrigerator with rub all over it.

    I don't inject. I don't mop or baste either. That don't mean you can't but why not make your first butt cook simple.

    One more thing instead of getting a small butt get the biggest one you can fine. Somewhere around 7 to 9 pounds. ;)
  • 1. How to start it properly?
    I set up my large BGE with a more-than-full firebox of lump charcoal. I light it right in the center (either with a MAPP torch of fire starter) and once the temp gets up to about 350°F, I adjust the vents so that the daisy wheel has the little holes about half open and the lower vent is closed down to about the width of a nickel. I put the plate setter and drip pan in place.

    2. when do I add the place setter, wood chunks and chips and food?
    When the temp gets stabilized at 250, I add my smoking wood, grate, and meat.

    3. How much wood chunk or chips to add for a long cook like pork shoulder?
    A couple of chunks the size of a small fist will do it. I don't soak. You will get an initially burst of smoke, but with the vents closed down it quickly turns into a thin, blue, stream. You'll smell it more than see it.

    4. The biggest thing I have struggled with is getting the temp down to 230 or so.
    You will go from 350 to 250 pretty quickly considering how much mass you are adding.

    5. I am assuming 2 hours per pound at 230 is this how you would do a pork shoulder?
    Yes, but it’s a little more complicated. The big thing is to get the butt to between 190 and 210, no matter how long that takes. The internal temp will move up to 160 pretty quickly, but then will hang there sometimes for hours.

    6. Do you need to inject anything into the shoulder?
    Some do, some don't. Try it plain first.

    7. Bone in or bone out for the shoulder?
    Bone in will taste better, but I get my best deals on bone out and nobody complains.

    8. any particular cut of shoulder to look for?
    Pork shoulder roast - aka Boston Butt. A roast will run 7-11 pounds.

    9. Does it need to be mopped or basted at all during the cook?
    You can, but it really doesn't need it in the BGE. I will sometimes mist it with a little vinegar and apple juice, but only maybe twice, because the more often you open the lid the longer it takes to cook and the greater your chance of drying out the meat.

    10. Any recommendations on prepartion and rub/ recipe for pulled pork would be appreciated.
    My favorite: Pulled Pork a la Alton

    butts_P1020119050610.jpg

    Asking questions is good, but know that you will get a lot of advice. Filter through it, figure out what you want to try, give it a go, and learn from you efforts.

    Hope this helps. Let us know how it turns out.

    Dave
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • I have an XL also. This is how I start my fire:
    Fill with good lump
    Light in three places with MAPP with lid open and bottom vent open for 7 min
    Close lid without Daisy wheel and let it come to 300
    Stabilize to 300 for 30-45 min using Daisy wheel and lower vent about 1" open
    Add in 3 fist-sized hickory chunks (only one directly on top of fire)
    Add plate setter (temp will come down to about 275)
    Let stabilize at 275 for20 min
    Add drip pan, grate, butts and leave about 1/4 open on Daisy wheel while bottom is still 1"
    Temp should come down to 230 or so but will climb back up
    Adjust Daisy wheel until you stabilize at 250 dome temp
    if doing this over nighty, you might want to stabilize at 260 if the weather drops several degrees during the night
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,859
    One thing I didn't see mentioned here... once the smoke no longer smells acrid and you have your temp stable at 250° (for me, that means I haven't had to change vent settings for at least 30 minutes), it's time to add the meat. When you do that the dome temp will drop since you just added a big chunk of cold meat. Don't mess with the vents! If you had it properly stabilized, the temp will come back after a bit. 30-60 minutes maybe? Can't remember for sure. If you didn't, you'll be chasing temps all day (or all night).

    Can't imagine why anyone would tell you to go to 500° and then back off. Unless he was a lump salesman.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Thanks. I forgot to ask but does everyone on here seem to find that once you get the temp stable at 250 or so you can truly leave it for the entire cook (12-18 hours) without doing anything to it? Meaning... you really dont need to go buy one of those gurus to make sure the temp stays stable?
  • There's a difference between not having to do ANYTHING, and making do without a guru. I don't have a guru. I have a Maverick et-73 thermometer, that has a remote pager, and alarm setpoints for high and low temperatures in the egg, and a high temp alarm for the meat. If I'm doing an 8 pound butt for dinner, I usually start it around 10 or 11 at night, and for some reason, 4AM is the magic time that the alarm goes off, and I need to go make an adjustment. There are several other accessories I'd buy first, before I dropped the cash on a guru. But I suppose I don't really do butts all that often...every 2-3 months is plenty for me.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,739
    i get up once a night around 4 to 5 hours after the last check, about one in ten cooks will the temps be off enough to make an adjustment. ill shake the lower grate with a wiggle rod (bent coat hanger ) to shake and poke ash collecting on the lump grate and back to bed. would get up with a guru as well just to check if its working.
  • I use a Maverick remote thermometer to keep tabs on overnight cooks. I can leave it for about 6 hours at a pop. If I get it on and stable by 6pm, I'll check it again and tweak it before I go to bed at 11pm or so, and then again toward morning. If it drops (I've never had to temp rise) in between those check-ins, then the Maverick goes off.
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • Thanks!
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • Thanks everyone. This has been very helpful. One more question... While I understand various factors (weather temps, wind, etc) will impact how open or closed the vents should be... is there any consensus on how open or closed both the top and bottom vents should be once you are at a stable temp of around 230 to 250?
  • MJF24MJF24 Posts: 146
    In general, to maintain 250 degrees, the bottom should be open somewhere between the witdth of a credit card and about 1/4 of an inch, and the big part of the top will be closed with daisy wheel spun to show about 1/2 of the petals (if that makes sense).
  • Not sure on an XL. On a large my daisy wheel's small holes are about half closed and the bottom vent is open about the width of a nickel (I use the handle of the ash tool as a guide).

    I don't notice the outside temp has much of an impact (I've gone low and slow below freezing), but wind strength and direction sure seems to change how much air is getting to the fire.
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • MJF24MJF24 Posts: 146
    Here's a link with pictures showing what I was trying to say: http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=746823&catid=1

    A picture is worth 1,000 words!
  • I was looking for that and couldn't find it. Can we get that stickied somewhere on the site?
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • That really helps. Thanks.
  • MJF24MJF24 Posts: 146
    Can we get that stickied somewhere on the site?

    There seems to be a reluctance to have sticky posts on this forum. I'm not sure that I understand why. I also think that Grandpa's Grub's general introductory post for newbies should be made a sticky, but, because it is not, he just re-posts it periodically.
  • So, were you successful? I remember cooking my first Boston Butt and I too was amazed that the temperature stayed rock steady at 225-250 for 20 hours, and I don't have a single fancy gadget that I use.

    It's like sex, after the first time, all the anxiety magically disappears.
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