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Thread: WSM 18 - Questions after first smoke

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Upstate New York

    Question WSM 18 - Questions after first smoke

    I purchased a WSM 18 inch and last week per some advice I read on here I fired it up with nothing in it to season/cure it and get off manufactured residue etc. Then for my first cook a few days ago I took a 4 pound pork shoulder, seasoned it, started up the WSM with lump charcoal and some hickory chunks, and once up to 225 added the meat and monitored throughout the day using my new Thermoworks Smoke - 2 channel alarm thermometer. Based on seeing it would take 1-1.5 hours per pound, I started it all up and added the meet at about 10:30 a.m. with a goal of being done somewhere around dinnertime. My goal was a consistent 225 smoke as best I could. The low and high temps of the day were around 207 and 255 (save the last half hour I'll explain later), but it spent 90% of the time smoking between 230-240. I reached 160 internal temp where the infamous 'stall' occurs that I read about. I don't recall the exact time but this was probably early evening. All in all I was only at about 170-175 by around 930pm, and ended up increasing temp to 270-280 for the last 20-30 minutes to get the internal temp from 175 up to 195 when I ultimately pulled it off and let it rest in my kitchen under aluminum foil for about 30-45 minutes (I was quite hungry at this point). During the smoke I did not baste or mop, tried to limit the opening of the lid and only did the front door a few times to add some charcoal when temps were too low. I do not believe the internal probe was touching the very small bone so I don't think I was getting incorrect temperatures, I should have double checked final temp with another thermometer when I pulled it but did not do that (I will next time)

    Hopefully the above is most of the information people need for my following questions:

    1. Is an 11.5 hour smoke for a 4 lb pork shoulder normal? Seems long for a small one. I was going to go with an almost 9lb one but wisely opted for the smaller one I had on hand to start with.

    2. On average would a pork shoulder twice in size take twice as long to smoke, i.e. for an 8lb one I can't imagine I'd be looking at a 24 hour smoke am I?

    3. It did end up being more dry than I was anticipating and didn't fall apart like a normal pulled pork I have done before in a crock pot or pressure cooker, would a mop help fix that? Any suggestions? Was it the final half hour at higher temp that doomed the texture and made it dry and not fall off the bone as easily? Did it not rest as long as it should have?

    4. The smoke flavor was great but the basic rub recipe I used wasn't ideal so I'll try another one, it also caked off of the pork and didn't really crust and stay on the pork, is this because I used too much rub (I think I did) or is there something else I can do so the crust doesn't flake off? Is that why some people put mustard under the rub?

    Any responses with some tips or tricks would be great, overall I enjoyed doing it and will again soon I'd just like to avoid any mistakes I made that are obvious to others but not a newbie. Also if you have a great mop recipe and advice on how and when to do so, and what benefit it provides, I'm all ears. Thank you!

  2. #2
    TVWBB Pro
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Welcome Chris! I had a similar experience with my first cook. It was a 3lb pork shoulder that I started at 1pm and around 8 hours later, I pulled it off around 190. The temp was around 225 for the entire time. Others recommended cooking at a higher temp like 275 to 300 to speed up the cook.

  3. #3
    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Montgomery, IL
    If it was dry then it was prolly overcooked.
    Check your therms or just go by probe feel ( when it slides in with zero resistance)
    8 to 10# butts usually take me 10 to 12 hrs, but I run at 275, 300 and I also foil when I like the color.
    For your rub question, try this
    It's a long read, but worth it.

    OBTW welcome to the form!

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

  4. #4
    TVWBB Fan
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Kansas city
    My only recommendation is to take a look at Chris's recipe.
    The Mustard works well on pork butt

  5. #5
    TVWBB Super Fan
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Yeah, id say thats long for 4 lb, but it all depends on temperature, and the meat. 7-10 lbers usually take me 13-15 hrs at 250. No wrapping.

    I had a brisket take 20+

    Sometimes you measure hotter than meat sees due to having thermometer in a current, and it takes unexplained longer than before. I get this with ribs a lot, where the ribs are crammed in keeping the thermocouple nearer to wall. Temperatures inside are not uniform, and can vary by 20F easy. Its taken 3 racks from 4-7 hrs before, all at 250 by grate probe. . Last time i realized it was slow, moved thermocouple an inch or two, and temp reading dropped 15F to agree with another i shoved in silicone grommet....never hurts to backcheck. Theres been a couple times probe touched meat too, or got dripped on....something shifted when putting lid on crowded grate.... .it reads really low then. Usually see controller at high output and temp not going up.
    Last edited by MartinB; 07-11-2019 at 01:08 AM.

  6. #6
    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Kalamazoo, MICHIGAN
    That does seem long but, this is as much art as science so, there’s not a lot that I think I can offer, get another butt, and try again. They get easier! The occasional ringer does happen. I had a brisket end up done much earlier than anticipated and butts take forever! Like I told someone on another thread, “Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.”
    Practice with one of these little units is half the fun, there is only Barbecue, never Bad Barbecue!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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