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First long smoke advice

I about going to start my first long smoke (more than 12 hour prok butt for pulled pork.)  If anything is wrong, please correct me.  I am using BGE lump charcoal that I have filled up to the top ring.  The steps I plan to follow are:

1)  Bury a firelighting square and make a small teepee with lump charcoal above it.  Give it about 10-15 mins to get just over 200*.  

2)  Using a separate probe to monitor internal egg temp and one to measure internal meat temp as well.  Once the internal egg temp is just over 200*, close the bottom dampeners to about 1/2" and daisy wheel to just slits that are open.

Do I now spread the coals out evenly or just let them continue to burn in the center where the firestarter square was?

3)  Wait until the internal temp of the egg is at 250* for about 30 mins (maybe longer?)

4)  Place 4-5 Applewood chunks on the coals (any suggestions as to an arrangement or just randomly put them on unlit coals?)

5)  Place probed pork butt on and wait until internal temp is reached (I am guessing at least 12 hours for a 5-6 lb piece of meat.)

How does this look?  Any additions/fixes?  Sorry for the long post but I really want this to turn out great for my daughter's birthday party.  Thanks again.

Comments

  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,257
    edited July 12
    Give it a half hour, at least 20 minutes of stable 200. You may want to rethink your temp for somewhere between 225-250. It’s always easier to increase a temp than decrease one. If you want to cook at 225 but your egg seems to want to burn at 240, don’t sweat it. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • SPRIGSSPRIGS Posts: 439
    Not sure I understand your "teepee" method.  I don't use fire starter cubes to light but if it was me, I would load the egg with lump all the way to the top of the fire ring.  Arrange a few pieces of wood in the lump around the center - perhaps a few buried in with the lump.

    I would then light the charcoal in the center top of the lump.  Start closing the vents down around 200 and let it settle in at your desired temp.  My XL liked 275 so that is what I use to settle on before I getting a temperature controller.  As for vent settings - there are so many variables (outside temp, is it windy, raining, etc.) I don't think my vents were ever set the exact same for a given temp.  They will be fairly closed off though for a low temp smoke. A small crack at the daisy wheel with the bottom vent around 1/2 inch or so open.   

    Once the bad smoke has cleared (hold your hand above the daisy wheel in the smoke and then smell your hand), load the meat and cook away.  Before getting a temp controller - it always took at least an hour and sometimes longer before my egg stabilized.  

    As for timing - the meat determines the time.  Might take 12 hours and it might be done in 5-6.  If it finishes early, wrap it in aluminum foil, wrap that in some beach towels and place it in a small cooler to hold until time to eat.  You can hold meat several hours this way.

    Just my thoughts and good luck.
    XL BGE
  • TEXASBGE2018TEXASBGE2018 Posts: 1,611
    edited July 12
    Hoops10 said:
    I about going to start my first long smoke (more than 12 hour prok butt for pulled pork.)  If anything is wrong, please correct me.  I am using BGE lump charcoal that I have filled up to the top ring.  The steps I plan to follow are:

    1)  Bury a firelighting square and make a small teepee with lump charcoal above it.  Give it about 10-15 mins to get just over 200*.  

    2)  Using a separate probe to monitor internal egg temp and one to measure internal meat temp as well.  Once the internal egg temp is just over 200*, close the bottom dampeners to about 1/2" and daisy wheel to just slits that are open.

    Do I now spread the coals out evenly or just let them continue to burn in the center where the firestarter square was?

    3)  Wait until the internal temp of the egg is at 250* for about 30 mins (maybe longer?)

    4)  Place 4-5 Applewood chunks on the coals (any suggestions as to an arrangement or just randomly put them on unlit coals?)

    5)  Place probed pork butt on and wait until internal temp is reached (I am guessing at least 12 hours for a 5-6 lb piece of meat.)

    How does this look?  Any additions/fixes?  Sorry for the long post but I really want this to turn out great for my daughter's birthday party.  Thanks again.

    I'll answer as follows:


    1 Yes

    2 Depending on if your egg is brand new or not these settings may not be 100% accurate. You may need to play with them a bit. Just let the coals burn, no need to spread them out. I would start closing them down as you hit around 200 and let them sit there for 20min or longer to stabilize.

    3 I usually let it sit there for an hour or so with the Plate setter or stone in. Make sure you put it in when lighting up the egg not after it gets to temp.

    4  That's probably fine. You may be able to do with only 2-3 depending on the size

    5 It may take less than that. I usually wait till it shows around 190-200 on the probe. But also look to see if the bone is sticking out. Make sure your probe is not anywhere close to the bone or your temps can read wrong.


    Have fun, welcome and post pics.

    Rockwall, Tx    LBGE, 36" Stainless Blackstone Griddle, Contemplating which size Egg to get next. Cast Iron Hoarder.

    "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas"- Davy Crockett

  • TEXASBGE2018TEXASBGE2018 Posts: 1,611
    Also I will add don't get as fixated on holding an exact temp. You will get a lot of advice with a wide range of temp suggestions. Most large BGE tend to settle around 250. But If you are at around 275 don't worry, especially with a pork butt they are very very forgiving. Some would argue they actually cook better at higher temps.

    Rockwall, Tx    LBGE, 36" Stainless Blackstone Griddle, Contemplating which size Egg to get next. Cast Iron Hoarder.

    "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas"- Davy Crockett

  • Hoops10Hoops10 Posts: 15
    Thank you all for the advice.  I forgot to mention, it is a Large BGE and the temp tonight isn't supposed to be cold.  I take it with the firestarter square in the middle that the lump charcoal will burn out from the center evenly once started?  Is there an exact science as to where to put the applewood chunks?  I know I want thin, blue smoke going before I put the meat on (not white smoke that is pouring out.)
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 2,301
    It all sounds good to me except for the part about "Place probed pork butt on and wait until internal temp is reached..." as the last step.

    Some things you cook by temp, but other things you cook by tenderness.  Internal temp on a pork butt matters less than actually testing whether it's tender or not by sticking a probe in it several places to see if it goes in easily ("like buttah"), or sticking a fork in it and twisting a bit to see if it looks like it's ready to pull apart easily.  Sometimes tenderness seems to happen at different temperatures, and often different parts of the meat will get tender while other parts aren't yet.  The real bottom line is that you want it tender.  Don't pull it out of the Egg until it actually tests tender.
  • TEXASBGE2018TEXASBGE2018 Posts: 1,611
    Hoops10 said:
    Thank you all for the advice.  I forgot to mention, it is a Large BGE and the temp tonight isn't supposed to be cold.  I take it with the firestarter square in the middle that the lump charcoal will burn out from the center evenly once started?  Is there an exact science as to where to put the applewood chunks?  I know I want thin, blue smoke going before I put the meat on (not white smoke that is pouring out.)

    I just usually put them in a triangle around where I am lighting it but not touching the initial flames. This way all your good smoke isn't burning up while its getting to temp.

    Rockwall, Tx    LBGE, 36" Stainless Blackstone Griddle, Contemplating which size Egg to get next. Cast Iron Hoarder.

    "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas"- Davy Crockett

  • onedbguruonedbguru Posts: 1,611
    My advice.... sit back and enjoy the ride -preferably with the beverage(s) of your choice.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,083
    I'd tweak a few things. The main problem w. starting right in the center is that on rare occasions, the fire burns straight down the center, and goes out w. 80% of the lump un-burnt. I haven't used starters since early on, but would usually toss in 3 - 4 half ones to get the fire going all over.

    Mix the wood in before starting. For long cooks, scatter it thru the lump. As the lump heats up, and off gasses its VOCs, the wood's moisture goes w. it, eventually producing the good "blue" smoke. I usually expect 45 min to get the good smoke, and if it comes sooner, no prob.

    You are right, start shutting your vent at 200F. Over shooting can be a problem. I used to aim at 250F dome, but now go w. 275. It shaves a small amount of time off, and doesn't change the results as far as I can tell. Fires have some tendency to go out w. dome under 225. Possibly 'cause there's just a single bit of lump burning, and the fire doesn't travel to adjoining pieces.

    Your final vent setting will probably be more around 1/4", and as the cook progresses and the ceramics heat up, it may be down to a tiny crack.

    As above, you can't quite do by temperature. Some butts fall apart at 195 IT, but most in my experience are closer 205. Do have a great big spatula handy, or a couple of slotted spoons. A well done butt is as floppy as a pile of jello

    The time rule of thumb is 1.5 hr/lb at dome 250. If things are going too slow, the dome can be taken as high as 350 to finish on time. There are lots of folks who do "turbo" style at 350 the whole time. If done early, FTC should hold for at least 4 hours w/o problem.
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,226
    Hoops10 said:
    I about going to start my first long smoke (more than 12 hour prok butt for pulled pork.)  If anything is wrong, please correct me.  
    ...
    3)  Wait until the internal temp of the egg is at 250* for about 30 mins (maybe longer?)
    ....
    5)  Place probed pork butt on and wait until internal temp is reached (I am guessing at least 12 hours for a 5-6 lb piece of meat.)...
    You may need to rethink the cook time.  No harm in finishing early.  Here are some times.  Not sure, but think small butts like what you are cooking will be on the shorter times.

    Approximate cooking times for pork butt/shoulder:

    225º:  2 hours a pound

    250º: 1.5 hours a pound

    275º:  1 hour per pound

    350º:  30-45 mins per pound


    There is a good amount of variability between individual pieces so take all times as rough. Times assume a full sized butt - 7-10 pounds. Temps are dome.

    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 17,975
    Nothing to add to the above except welcome aboard and enjoy the journey.  Above all, have fun.  
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • Hoops10Hoops10 Posts: 15
    UPDATE:  I just pulled the meat off.  Apparently the pork butt was a little larger than I first thought, it ended up being a 10 lb piece of meat.  The temps stayed between 225*-275* throughout the cook and the entire cook took almost 17 hrs.  Does that sound right?
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,226
    well within the expected range.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • TEXASBGE2018TEXASBGE2018 Posts: 1,611
    It can. Every cook is different. As an example I've had 10lb Briskets get done in 9 hours and I've had 4lb Brisket Points take 12. To borrow @lousubcap's phrase "the pig (in this case) drives the cook"

    Rockwall, Tx    LBGE, 36" Stainless Blackstone Griddle, Contemplating which size Egg to get next. Cast Iron Hoarder.

    "You may all go to Hell and I will go to Texas"- Davy Crockett

  • Hoops10Hoops10 Posts: 15
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the help and suggestions.  I was told about the DigiQ to help regulate temps but if I can dial in the dampeners and learn how they "behave" I don't think I would need one.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 17,975
    @Hoops10 - regardless of where you land with a controller, it is a great move to learn and feel confident in the full manual temp/cook management process.  That way if/when the controller decides to break you are not held hostage.  Just an opinion...
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,226
    No one needs a controller.  They do provide a convenient way to regulate temps.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • Hoops10Hoops10 Posts: 15
    I just examined what is left of the lump charcoal and had a question.  The lump was filled to the top of the fire ring, so much that the plate setter was almost touching it when the smoke started.  As you can see in the picture, it seems like the fire only stayed in the center, is that the way it is supposed to burn?  I always thought the fire would burn from the center outwards to the perimeter.

  • GrillSgtGrillSgt Posts: 2,257
    It always burns from the inside out. I use 2 starters (oil soaked paper towel) placed along the center line about 1/3 of the way from edge. Burns wider than that but not a whole lot. 
    Woodford & Barren Co. KY

    LBGE, XLBGE, Smobot, 2 Weber Genesis, Weber 22" kettle

    I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,083
    Hoops10 said:
    I always thought the fire would burn from the center outwards to the perimeter.

    The fire follows the air flow. Started in the center, air flow coming straight up from the bottom, the lump burns easiest on that path. Put a big hunk of lump at the bottom, or even a wood chunk to force the air to flow around it. Better yet, start in a couple of places around the rim.
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