My first boston butt

Juho A

TVWBB Member
...ended up in the bin.

I know, I was being the captain of Titanic here. Overly confident on my new equipment(charbroil Kamander), I decided to do an overnight cook as my first one. Mind you, I did burn it in first, and then let it cool, set up a lump charcoal snake around the pit, lit it up and spent an hour or two adjusting to get it to the right temp (115c at grate) and made sure it held there for half an hour before putting the meat in. It held nicely for a couple of hours, so I decided to spritz it with apple juice before going to sleep.

I slept for 5 hours and went to check. The kamander was stone cold and the meat interior temp was 22c. I wrapped it and put it in the oven. Then I started reading and determined it had to have spent more than 4h in the danger zone, so I turned off the oven and put it in the bin.

I am happy that I wasnt enough of a Titanic-captain to do this with brisket... But still, I was looking forward to my first ever home-made pulled pork and spent a good amount of time prepping this.

Well, I will chalk it to learning experience. I wont try an overnighter again before I have my heatermeter built and running. And next slow&low I try, I will start in the morning.
 

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Brad Olson

TVWBB Wizard
Tough break, Juho, but it sounds like you made the right decision and are taking it in stride. Hey, I'll bet even Eero Saarinen had an early project or 2 that didn't quite pan out!
 

Bill Hall

TVWBB Fan
Don't let it discourage you. I had quite a few mishaps before I started getting it right. Smoke on and have a good time.
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Thanks Timothy, Brad, Bill and Jeff for your encouragement. I definitely agree it could have been much worse, and next time I will certainly apply my management principle: "trust but verify". :D

Brad, I am sure Eero had some early drafts that didn't quite make it. Most of his designs I've seen are beautiful, and despite the neo-futuristic approach, I like most of them. However, I am personally more of a fan of Bauhaus / modern functionalism design, and one of my favourite designers is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. A fun fact: I work in a building designed by Alvar Aalto. :)
 

Dick Buchanan

New member
I tried a couple overnight cooks years ago and they didn’t go well. Not the disaster yours was but temp fluctuations which required attention. I decided to start early morning instead. That gives me a good 10 hours of smoking before dinner—enough time to smoke most anything. As you see almost everyone has a few rough patches before they find their sweet spot and start churning out incredible meals. Try, try again!
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Thanks, Dick, I think that is solid advice, and definitely I will make my next try during daytime. I prolly wont have my heatermeter operational for another month, so theres some time to practice "au naturel" :)
 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
So, what happened? Did it run out of fuel or did the fire go out because of a break in the snake? It is probably best to start the next one in the morning, but unless you have some idea what happened, you're in for a struggle.
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Thanks Jerry, that's a good point. Yes, it seemed my snake was not put together meticulously enough, honestly after reading more about it I should have been way more careful putting it together, but I just figured it was enough if there was "a bridge" between the coals. And I think me opening the cover to spritz the meat before going to sleep probably also affected the situation. On hindsight, it would probably have been a good idea to spritz it a bit earlier and then stay up until it stabilises.
 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
I’ve never done the snake method, but I would imagine that it would be a lot easier to do with briquettes. Good luck on your next cook. FWIW, you’re not alone. It takes a few try’s to get it right, learn your cooker and be able to sleep through the night. Staying up and watching the cook will teach you a lot. Mainly, you’ll see whether or not you can hold steady temp for a long time. That’s the goal and it comes a lot easier if you can resist opening the lid (like you wouldn’t do overnight).
 

Bruno

TVWBB All-Star
Been there done that? Too many beers and an overnight cook were killing me. So i bought more beer and a SmokeFire and have been killing it!
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Thanks Jerry and Bruno. I think that for my next cook I will go with a full load of coal, with about 6 tennisball-sized pieces of hickory, as adviced somewhere. I picked up ~2,5kg of pork neck yesterday, and am planning to do my 2nd try of pulled pork with that, this time starting the cook in the morning and checking the temp every 15min, so it won't be able to end up in a complete catastrophe. I will have my old gas grill right next to the Kamander if the fire would die and I wouldn't be able to restart it, plus as an extra backup I have my electric oven. :D

Can't wait to have the remaining parts for my heatermeter with damper and fan, after that it'll be smooth sailing. :)
 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
Wow, six chunks of wood is a lot. It is a subjective thing though so have at it. If you haven’t used that much smoke wood before, I’d start at half that and work my way up or down on future cooks.

If you check temps every 15 minutes, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Check it often early and then a lot less often after it stabilizes. Also, set a wide range for adjusting temps along the way. If you’re shooting for 275, don’t adjust down until it hits at least 300 and don’t worry about it going down until at least 250. Point is, it’s going to fluctuate, so don’t drive yourself crazy. Also, watching it as it fluctuates helps you learn your machine. Good luck.
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Well, in the end only one of those chunks burned, so looks like I still have lots to learn. I had a bit of challenge getting the temp to settle, and after 3hrs it started shooting up so I foiled and went to electeic oven. The taste is quite mild, but perhaps thats not a bad thing, the kids will eat it too. At least its edible and quite OK so thats a bunch better than last weekend. Feel like I redeemed a bit of myself. :D



 

Jerry N.

TVWBB Emerald Member
Why did you give up when the temp rose? That’s the time to learn. You don’t need to worry about the temp going too high on a butt cook. Sure, you don’t want it at 400 degrees for an hour, but moving it down from a spike is a skill you want to learn. Not familiar with your cooker, but there should be some way to choke it down and get it under control.

Oh well, you did keep your eye on the ball and put food on the table. Good for you. It will get easier and better the more you do it. Indeed, you did redeem yourself. Time for some ribs?
 

Teddy J.

TVWBB Pro
I’m not familiar with this Charbroil you speak of, but my ole’ WSM is over here handing me a flyer to your local Lowe’s, front page has a picture of an 18” on it. 🙂
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
Why did you give up when the temp rose? That’s the time to learn. You don’t need to worry about the temp going too high on a butt cook. Sure, you don’t want it at 400 degrees for an hour, but moving it down from a spike is a skill you want to learn. Not familiar with your cooker, but there should be some way to choke it down and get it under control.

Oh well, you did keep your eye on the ball and put food on the table. Good for you. It will get easier and better the more you do it. Indeed, you did redeem yourself. Time for some ribs?
One of the reasons for moving to electric oven was that a friend of mine was being adamant that it should be foiled between 67C-70C or it will be dry. This combined with the fact that the temp was rising, and I had just inserted the meat probe to notice it was 68C, and I had some powerpoint slides to finish, I decided to take the easy way out this time. :) Ribs are actually on the menu next weekend. Just need to come up with a BBQ sauce that my stomach will be able to handle, I have some digestion problems and the BBQ sauce I picked up for the pulled pork did not agree with my stomach even though it was very tasty.
 

Juho A

TVWBB Member
I’m not familiar with this Charbroil you speak of, but my ole’ WSM is over here handing me a flyer to your local Lowe’s, front page has a picture of an 18” on it. 🙂
Might have been a good idea for me to pick up a WSM for the smoking endeavors, but I wanted a "jack of all trades" kind of solution and learned that a Kamado style grill would be that. So this unit is a Kamado-shaped double-steel walled thing with synthetic insulation in between. Operating principle is the same, but the heat retention is a bit less, although not considerably.
 

Teddy J.

TVWBB Pro
Might have been a good idea for me to pick up a WSM for the smoking endeavors, but I wanted a "jack of all trades" kind of solution and learned that a Kamado style grill would be that. So this unit is a Kamado-shaped double-steel walled thing with synthetic insulation in between. Operating principle is the same, but the heat retention is a bit less, although not considerably.
What you describe is my Performer. I’m partial to Weber of course, but yes - Having one cooker to grill high heat, smoke low and slow, cook pizza, make jerky, etc. When you find your right setup it’s tough to beat. WSM made me fall in love with the Weber family, but the Performer is hands down the only grill i couldn’t live without.
 

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