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Attempting my first low & slow

pileit1971pileit1971 Posts: 110
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum
Getting ready for Saturday night, putting about 10# of pork shoulder for Sunday's Browns Game Tailgate

I have the new maverick, I have the AR rig with oval stone.

Based on all the posts I am looking for about 250-275 dome temp and about 225 grid and at that temp I should plan on 2 hours per pound...

I am doing (2) five pound pork shoulders, I am assuming that the 2 hours per pound is for each piece and not the total weight...

As far as AR set up, I am assuming that I want raised, indirect for this cook...

Now the one thing I am not sure about and need advice is starting the fire... especially with the one of the other posts I read about the fire burning down the middle of the lump.... I have an electric starter, should I start the lump in a couple areas?  Left side and Right side of pile or just in the middle???

I have heard of oil and paper towel method, do you roll up towel like a "stick" or just lay it flat?

How many people would you expect 10# of pulled pork to feed, I know it depends on what else we are having, and this is the main course, will be sides, appetizers...

Any ideas or tricks on best way to keep tray of pulled pork warm during a outdoor tailgate, short of bringing a grill, which I am trying to avoid..

Any comments or changes???

Wish me luck and thank you for all the advice and answers...

Scott K


  • I don't have an AR so I can't help there, but I have a platesetter and go indirect.  I go 250 grid and it usually takes about 1.5 hours/pound of the smallest butt.  If need be, I FTC (foil, towel, cooler) that and finsh the larger butt.  I light according to a clock face at 12, 4 & 8.  I have not had a problem with my fire burning down the center with this method.  Speaking of lighting, I use a weedburner and that works for me.

    As far as how many people that will feed, I don't know.  We always buy more than enough for "drop-ins" and leftovers.  We like to freeze leftover pulled pork for an easy supper starter as you can do just about anything with it.

    Have fun with it and good luck with the Browns.  How do you like Weeden?  I got him on my fantasy team.


    Flint, Michigan
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    The fire burning straight down, which isn't very common, will be something you can catch with the Maverick. If you see the fire temperature drop a lot, just take a long stick or rod and stir the unburnt lump around the sides into the center.

    I'm unfamiliar w. electric starters, so I can't help there. I too use a weedburner, and start 3 small places. I have used the oil and towel method a few times. Twist it up, put it in the center, and maybe weight it down w. a small piece of lump.

    The butts should be separated from each other. If they are pushed together at the start, they will cook more slowly until they shrink enough to let air pass around their surface. My butts cook faster than 2 hours/pound most of the time, w. a dome of 250. I'd expect them to finish sooner. The temp can always be raised toward the end to hurry them up. Even if they are not pullable, they make good chopped meat sandwiches by 180F.

    If you pull them when they are 200F, and wrap them right away in double HD foil, and towels, they should easily stay above 140 for 4 hours. I've gone 6.

    The cooked yield for butts is a bit more than half the starting weight. Your 10 pounds should yield maybe 6 pounds cooked meat. Good for at least 18 large sammies.

  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited September 2012
    First off, RELAX - you'll do fine!!  The main thing I'd be worried about is - why the Browns??? heheheeh J/K!! =))  

    Now, as far as the cook, +1 for FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler) to keep the meat warm.  It'll keep it warm for several hours.  Not sure what the "record" is, but Gdenby has gone for 6 hours - heck that's a rib cook!!   :)

    If you don't know the details for what an FTC is:  Get a cooler, fill it w/ warm water (to "pre-heat" it).  Take your meat & wrap w/ aluminum foil (some say to use HD foil, some say to double-wrap - it's up to you).  Dump out your water then line the cooler w/ towels, then place your foil-wrapped meat in the cooler, then cover w/ more towels.  The towels help to insulate the meat, and the cooler helps to insulate the heat & keep it from escaping.  

    Also, as far as starting your fire, don't overthink it.  It's fire.  A wildfire doesn't care if it was started w/ a cigarette, a campfire, or a lightning strike.  Once it's started, it does it's thing, which is to burn.  You can use an electric starter, oil & napkin, torch, paraffin cubes, or even 2 sticks - it doesn't matter.  FWIW, the "burning down the center" has never happened to me either.  And what I do is light the fire in 3 places (approximately Noon, 4, & 8 as looking down into the Egg).  Then after a few minutes I stir the lump to more evenly distribute the lit coals.  Some folks stir, others don't.  But I found I get a more even fire if I stir (ie, no hot / cold spots).  
    If you're adding smoke (chunks or chips, doesn't matter), mix them throughout your lump, distributed top to bottom & left to right.  That way, no matter *which* way the fire burns, its almost certain to find its way to a piece of wood for smoke.  

    As far as how long it'll take to cook, I NEVER like to try to give times or estimate, as it ALWAYS ends up biting me in the buttocks!  Sometimes it's 2, sometimes it's 1 1/2 hour / lb, etc, etc.  And then you have the infamous "stall."  And in my "Egg-sperience" I, more often than not, hit TWO (2) stalls!!  The first time this happened to me, it took me by surprise, and I had already been through the first stall so was NOT expecting another one!!  It ruined the meal because my GF was in charge of the sides, and I told her it'd only be about 1/2 hr b4 the meat was done (had gotten to about 190).  Well, an hour & a half later, it FINALLY moved to 200!!  (BTW, was told by folks on the forum that I should have just pulled it at 190, that it was "close enough").  

    Anyway, my point is that, rather than try to have the meat "done" at a certain time, make sure you start it early enough that you KNOW it will be done, and if it's TOO early, you can FTC until you are ready to eat (better to be too early, than to have a bunch of hungry guys waiting, and not have it get done till AFTER the game)!!  So, as far as a ROUGH estimate - figure out what time you wanna eat, then estimate the time per pound, then add 2-3 hrs (to account for the stall, or stalls).  If it's done early, FTC baby!!

    Another bit of advice - I've had good results w/ injecting my butt.  Some do, some don't.  Some say it doesn't matter.  I dunno.  My family & I personally felt it tasted better, so that's how I do it from now on.  I mix up a batch of 50:50 mix of Coke & ham stock (used the only brand I found @ the store which was "Superior Touch" Better than Bouillon Ham Base).  

    Maybe since this is your first one you shouldn't try to do too many things at one time, so maybe you needn't worry about injecting - just thought I'd throw it out there.  Just pick your favorite rub & put AS MUCH ON AS YOU CAN.  PILE IT ON, DON'T SKIMP!!  - the rub is what provides the bark, and the bark is what makes pulled pork SOOOOOOOOO good!!

    The only other thing I can think of is to make sure you have enough lump - don't be afraid to go above the fire box (I know, the BGE manual / video says not to go above the fire box, but forget that - you can safely fill above the box and into the ring).  And if you're getting close to the end of the bag, start w/ a fresh bag, as it usually has more "big" pieces & not as many little pieces or dust.  Finally, make sure you start w/ a clean Egg, no ash covering the holes in the fire ring, or in the bottom - since it's such a long cook, you don't wanna be adding lump halfway through, and you don't want the fire goin out cuz you've let it get filled w/ ash.  

    Anyway, best of luck & let us know how it goes (w/ pics, of course)!!


    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,674
    If you have a maverick, shoot for 250 -275 at the grate and completely ignore the dome temp. Just my $0.02.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • Wow, thanks for the great advice and details, this is what eggctly what I was looking for.

    I do have a maverick and will be using that for sure, and I know its cheating but I also got a stoker that I am going to try out.  I know the naysayers say that I have to learn to control the temp manually  for the Blackout (Revolution) but I have 3 kids and need my sleep when I can get it and not tending to the egg all night long, especially when I am trying to get meat done at 8am.

    Believe me, when I do an all day cook it will be maually done with me sitting around it enjoying and drinking with it...

    One final question, (for now :)))
    Internal temp goal is 190-200 correct?

    Thanks a bunch, I am on a trip in Phoenix and get home tomorrow at 3pm, then I am picking up the pork and will get it ready... is it overkill to have the rub on it a whole day before or should I get it going Saturday morning with the rub, I am trying the dizzy pig dust course, know its says salt free but I don't want to pull to much moisture off the pork...

    Will definitely get pics...
  • I have had the best result with:
    Drying with paper towel
    Foil 24 hours
    More rub sprinkled on
    230 grate (sweet spot for my mbge to hold temp overnight without any gadgets. Once the fire is going, I go six screen holes and daisy holes half open.) I fill lump and Mix in about five fist sized chunks of apple and cherry. I pile lump until i can't see the Firebox anymore...then put an an oil soaked paper towel twisted and on the middle, pile a handful of lump on that and light the sucker.

    Go until 200 and ftc for an hour or so...then pull.
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