The Virtual Weber Bullet The Virtual Weber Bullet
TVWB Homepage TVWB Product Info TVWB Cooking Topics TVWB Operating Tips & Mods TVWB Videos TVWB Resources TVWB Shopping
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: My first long smoke - Pork shoulder

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    London
    Posts
    3

    My first long smoke - Pork shoulder

    Hi Everyone,

    Well, I am six months into my smoking journey, results have ranged from superb to very good to not so great, but generally on the very good side with room/ideas for improvement next time round. Have had a fat fire (tried to be too clever too soon), and food falling into the water pan, needed the bottom cooking grate for the grill and didn't put the top grate on properly, a few harsh lessons learned!

    Generally I am smoking about 2-3 times a month, mainly wings, spatchcock chickens, pork spare ribs (only type I can find are those with only inter bone meat so are very thin), pork loin, very small rolled lamb shoulders (<1kg) and whole butterflied legs of lamb. the lamb dishes have been the star of the show, just superb.

    My WSM 18.5 and I are also starting to understand each other. The only mod I have done is put a seal around the fire door before the first use, as that did not have a good fit at all, and it hold temps pretty well.

    Longest smokes have been about four hours in length with water in the pan, don't need another fat fire, I was well overdue for a long smoke so last month I decided on a pork shoulder.

    Before I start with the long smoke, a quick word on temperatures, I really don't know what temp I am smoking at, I aim for the middle of the smoke range on the hood thermometer, about 110c / 230f. I think it runs about 15c / 59f hotter at the top grate, I put a meat thermometer through the grommet one time and it showed 15c / 59f warmer than the hood.

    If the hood thermometer indicates (IND) 110c / 230f it could well be (CWB) 125c / 257f, and that is what I work off. If IND drops to 100c / 212f or rises to 120c / 248f I will take action.

    So to the big day.

    Temp: 20c / 68f
    Wind: very strong gusts of wind. Smoker is in a corner sheltered on two sides by a shed and a fence, wind coming from other side so quite exposed.
    Meat: 3.2kg / 7.0 lb bone in pork shoulder.
    Cooking temp: aiming for IND 115c / 239f CWB 130c / 266f
    Finish internal temp: aiming for 90c / 194f
    Cook start time: 9:30am - more on that later.
    Rub: Mustard and the Modified Armadillo Willy's Rub from this website
    Fuel: Full rim of Weber briquettes, hole in the middle filled with about 1/2 a large chimney fully lit.
    Wood: Two small mesquite wood chunks, only wood I had available, never used before, worried about over powering the pork, as normally use fist sized apple and hickory mix, so small chunks used.
    Water pan: About 5 liters of cold water - more on that later
    Hood Temp check every hour,

    8:30 am
    Smoker lit, and left to settle and smoke to calm down. Bottom vents, one closed the others at about 1/4 open.

    9:00 am
    Mustard Top and bottom of shoulder



    9:30 am
    All rubbed up and on smoker, lid closed
    Temp IND 115c / 239f
    Temp CWB 130c / 266f



    1:30 pm 4 hours in
    First look under lid, looking good
    Last four hours temp holding fairly steady at IND 115c / 239f CWB 130c / 266f, gusty conditions leading to some variation. No changes on vents during that time
    Meat internal temp 66c / 150f



    2:30 pm hourly temperature check. 5 hours in
    IND 130c / 266f
    CWB 145c / 293f
    Closed vents, temp still climbing, checked water pan, nearly empty OOPs!, put more cold water in,

    3:00 pm. Check temp after changes
    IND 90c / 194f
    CWB 105c / 221f
    Realised I hadn't opened the vents after putting water in, DOH!! So the smoker had been shut down with a whole lot of cold water just added.
    Opened vents to 1/4 each quickly settled at about IND 118c / 244f CWB 133c / 271f left it at that

    3:30pm 6 hours in
    Second look under the lid, am happy with how it looks, but what would I know, I am just guessing at this stage.
    Meat internal temp 73c / 163f so expecting stall or in stall.




    6:30pm 9 hours in
    Third look under the lid



    Okay, in trouble now. was expecting bark to be set, meat felt really tight/hard so I guess in the stall. People about to get hungry, luckily we were in garden meeting our new neighbours so everyone was happy to be having a few beers and a chat. reckon I got about two hours left........ running out of time - more on that later
    Meat internal temp 76c / 169f
    It was cooked, so we wouldn't go hungry but not what I was wanting at all.
    Based on the fantastic information on this forum, I thought I had three options to get through this:
    1) close lid and carry on. Discounted as felt something had to change.
    2) wrap and close lid. Discounted as bark wasn't set and I really wanted bark.
    3) Throw some heat at it, and that is what I did, opened all the vents fully, temp rose to:
    IND 125c / 257 f
    CWB 140c / 284f
    and left it at that. One final hail Mary pass.


    8:30pm 11 hours in
    The moment of truth!!

    There was quite a hungry crowd gathered around the smoker at this point in time, if the truth has to be told, so was just a touch nervous, some fantastically skeptical raised eyebrows from the wife before the lid was raised. Think of Spock raised eyebrow and you get only part of the picture.

    So with one final bite of the lip I opened the lid and this is what we saw!




    Yes, Yes, Yes!!! that is what I was hoping for!

    The end near the camera felt so soft, and seemed to wobble a bit when touched. The far end, just a little bit firmer but not by much,

    Meat thermometer showed internal of 88c / 190f, thermometer just slipped in

    Close enough for me, besides no chance to do anything else.

    very loving look from the wife.

    Took it off and let it rest

    Grabbed another beer, it didn't touch the sides on the way down.

    hope it tastes nice.

    9:00 pm
    Back in the kitchen where we started 12 hours earlier.




    Just after 9pm





    It was fantastic, nice level of smoke flavour throughout the cut, the bark was just outstanding, really nice chilli hit in the rub.
    It was juicy, soft but still with a little bite. Not fatty tasting at all. in fact very little fat in the meat. Nice pork flavour coming through.
    Ripped apart quite easily with forks into large chunks.

    I have never had really fresh smoked pork/pulled pork before, and to be honest I have always been a little underwhelmed by it previously, it has always had an overpowering sauce added that is also far to sweet, just not to my personal taste at all. or it has been cooked the day before and reheated in oven and seemed dry, still lovely but maybe my expectations are far to high, don't know.

    I understand the fuss now!

    Served on hot dog buns, freshly made coleslaw and chopped up pickled jalapenos, no sauce added to the meat, stunning.

    made fantastic lunches the next day.

    So really happy with result, got away with that this one I think,

    A few points to myself for the next pork shoulder smoke (probably this weekend)

    1) Get up a lot earlier you lazy sod
    2) Fill the water pan - don't know why I put such a small amount of water in, looking back just dumb, must of been on auto pilot for short smokes.
    3) The problems I had were created by me so should be easy to fix / not repeat
    4) you won't always get so lucky
    5) remember to enjoy the day / process it like I did this time, it was great fun!

    Cheers

    Aaron
    Last edited by Aaron Z; 10-15-2018 at 07:05 AM.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Diamond Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MICHIGAN
    Posts
    3,646
    I would not be too concerned about any of it, end result is what counts!

    The big points I do differently,
    No water, terra-cotta plant saucer wrapped with foil set in the water pan (also wrapped with foil).

    I set things up and basically DO NOT PEEK until under an hour before projected completion time.

    The more often you open the lid the more temperature fluctuations happen. That said, a two headed temperature probe is the best investment you can ask for, the dome thermometers are not always reliable. I didn’t spend over forty bucks on mine and I have no complaints, but, I did order a spare set of probes (free from thermpro) and have not needed them...yet
    That keeps peeking to a minimum.
    All that said, I’d say you had a pretty successful cook!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  3. #3
    TVWBB Super Fan
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    296
    Yes, I agree with Timothy, that looks like good pork. Really nice bark.

    I also agree with Tim, the best way to measure smoker temp is with a remote , like Maverick. I would not trust the dome gauges Weber uses. On my 18" WSM, years ago I installed a Tel Tru gauge.




    Instead of putting it in the dome, its on the side of the lid where it measures at grate level. And it still measures 25* to 50* less than my Maverick remote. I've tested it in boiling water several times, it always reads true, I've no idea why it differs. But I only trust my Maverick remote.

    And to hurry along your cook, once the bark was set, you could've wrapped in foil and gone inside to the oven at 350*.

  4. #4
    TVWBB All-Star Lew Newby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Deltona, FL
    Posts
    1,049
    Outstanding post on a very successful cook. You're at the point when you pretty well have it figured out. You'll be surprised by how much meat fits in that cooker. A remote wireless thermometer is a big help to knowing temps but you proved they're not absolutely necessary. The proof in is the finished product. Maverick is just one brand of wireless thermometers and there are several less expensive options on Amazon. Keep up the good cookin.
    Old dog, learning new tricks - one cook at a time :-). -14.5", 18.5", & 22.5" WSM, SS Performer, Auber ATC. CB Rotisserie, Rec Tec Mini Pellet Grill

  5. #5
    TVWBB Gold Member Larry D.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    Posts
    2,645
    You've already learned one of the cardinal rules: "Always give yourself more time than you think you will need." I would add one suggestion. I know it is tempting to remove the lid to see how the meat looks, but every time you do you lose heat and you add time to your cook. As you gain experience you will be more confident that everything is working as it should, even though you can't see it. Believe it or not, you can see a lot by looking through the top vent with a good l.e.d. flashlight. That, plus monitoring the meat temperature with a remote (not necessarily wireless, but wireless is a lot more convenient) thermometer will tell you what you need to know.
    "If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?"
    18.5 WSM | 22.5 OTG (green) | 22.5 Kettle (OTS, black)

  6. #6
    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Montgomery, IL
    Posts
    6,250
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry D. View Post
    You've already learned one of the cardinal rules: "Always give yourself more time than you think you will need." I would add one suggestion. I know it is tempting to remove the lid to see how the meat looks, but every time you do you lose heat and you add time to your cook. As you gain experience you will be more confident that everything is working as it should, even though you can't see it. Believe it or not, you can see a lot by looking through the top vent with a good l.e.d. flashlight. That, plus monitoring the meat temperature with a remote (not necessarily wireless, but wireless is a lot more convenient) thermometer will tell you what you need to know.
    Sound advice from an esteemed member!

    Tim
    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •